Who is Daniel Bryan?
Daniel Bryan (Bryan Lloyd Danielson) is a former American wrestler, famously known by his ring name ‘American Dragon’. Throughout his career, Dan has earned several titles due to his deceptive play and technical finesse. He happens to be a three times WWE Champion and one time World Heavyweight champion. Daniel’s beginnings were quite humble though, but he rose from the financial limitations and was trained in Shawn Michael’s school of wrestling ‘Texas Wrestling Academy, where he was coached by Rudy Gonzalez. He was signed on for WWE, then called WWF, back in 2000, but the environment didn’t suit his style of wrestling and he started exhibiting his skills in other wrestling tournaments such as Ring of Honour, where he secured Pure Wrestling Championship and ROH World Championship. However, it was in WWF that he obtained the moniker ‘American Dragon’, which is stuck to him even now. Ring of Honour shaped him up to be a ruthless wrestler, who would secure win by any method whatsoever, by hook or by crook. Upon making his comeback to WWE in 2009, Daniel played magnificently and earned several titles to his name, starting feuds with the biggest WWE superstars. Due to medical complications, Daniel bid his farewell to professional wrestling career at a young age of 34. But he remained closely associated with the ring and in 2016 he was named the General Manager of Smackdown, once WWE brand extension made a comeback.
Childhood & Early Life
Bryan Lloyd Danielson was born in Washington DC on 22nd May 1981 in a modest middle class family. His father worked as a logger and his mother supported the household working as a therapist. Daniel has an older sister named Billie Sue.
Daniel’s parents divorced while he was still young and that scarred the young boy emotionally. However, he didn’t let it bring him down and he started moving towards athletics and by the time he was in school, he was a pretty good football player. Daniel said in an interview later that he couldn’t live his childhood to the fullest due to the separation of his parents and that changed his perspective on life forever, infusing a deep sense of discontentment inside him.
In 1999, Daniel moved to learn professional wrestling once out of the school and joined Dean Malenko’s wrestling school, which was shut sometime later. He then moved on to Texas Wrestling Academy, maintained by the likes of Shawn Michaels, an affluent wrestler himself.
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In 2000, WWF signed Daniel on for a developmental tour, and he was sent to Memphis Championship wrestling, where he was coached by superstar wrestler, William Regal. Just when the small time contract was about to come to an end, Daniel had already won Light Heavyweight Championship and due to his ferociousness inside the ring, he earned the moniker ‘American Dragon’ - he gives William Regal the credit to shape him up into a ‘dragon’.
Daniel wrestled in Frontier Martial Arts Wrestling in Japan for sometime after being released from WWF contract and joined independent promotion Ring of Honour in 2002. One of his matches in the tournament lasted for 80 minutes. Daniel had a long rivalry with a wrestler named Homicide, and ultimately he defeated him in a steel cage match.
Daniel got his hand on the ROH world championship by defeating James Gibson in 2005 and successfully saved the title from many opponents, until the final ROH event of 2006, where his 15 months reign was ended by Homicide. The match was emotionally and physically destructive, and Daniel suffered a shoulder injury, which kept him away from professional wrestling for quite some time.
In May 2007, Daniel made a return to the ring with ROH, which eventually made a debut on the American television in 2009 and in his first ever match which was telecast on the national television, Daniel defeated Austin Aries. Later in 2009, Daniel signed up for WWE, and in a farewell match for the title shot against Aries at ROH, he lost. However, he fought very last match for the company in September, in which he emerged victor against McGuiness, who was also bidding farewell to the Ring Of Honour.
In his first match for WWE, Daniel defeated Chavo Guerrero and made his debut on NXT in February 2010. His feuds with WWE stars, The Miz, and John Cena, ended with Daniel being excessively violent and WWE announced that he is about to get fired due to his excessively violent behaviour on an ‘entertainment’ show.
Daniel went independent post his release from WWE for some time and numerous offers from other wrestling setups started pouring in. Fighting at the CHIKARA event and Westside xtreme wrestling, he performed quite well and achieved some good wins, but also lost some, mostly due to disqualification for not adhering to the rules of the game.
In August 2010, Daniel made a comeback to WWE with SummerSlam and was drafted to SmackDown the next year. In July 2011, Daniel secured his first World Heavyweight Championship by winning a Money in the Bank Ladder Match against several other wrestlers.
His tag team partnership team with Kane, titled ‘Hell No’ was formed in 2012 and the same year, they got their very first tag team championship against the team of Kofi Kingston and R-Truth. The team retained the championship through the year and even the 2013 Royal Rumble. Their reign of 245 days finally came to end with a loss in the Extreme Rules episode to Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns.
In 2014, Bryan got injured, went for a neck surgery and came back two weeks later and declared that he would be better by the Royal Rumble 2015 and will participate in the match. At the Wrestlemania 31, Daniel won the Intercontinental Championship and made himself one of the six wrestlers to have won every other WWE title. In 2015, Daniel starting having concussions and stayed away from commenting on his future as he himself was quite uncertain and he retired eventually later that year.
On July 18, 2016, Daniel started his reign as the general manager of Smackdown and he continues to work in the position. In between, he does commentaries on the matches and picks up feuds every now and then with the wrestlers, but for the most part, he stays away from the ring.
Daniel has maintained that he is a Vegetarian since 2009 and will continue to be one. In 2012, PETA awarded him as the ‘Most animal friendly athlete’ in the world.
In 2014, Daniel married Brie Bella, a fellow wrestler, after dating for quite some time. Bella retired from wrestling post marriage and the couple had their first child ‘Birdie Joe Danielson’ in May 2017.
As of June 2017, Daniel Bryan’s net worth is USD 8 million.