The Shooter is back and things are heating up this week as we take a look at one of the IWC’s forever favourites – Daniel Bryan!

This week I was actually planning on doing a female wrestler and I had even chosen that special lady, Mickie James. Photos were extremely hard to find on her indy career, but fear not I did come across a small site whereby I found some indy pictures of her. Unfortunately after going to the bother of finding the photos I realised that there is literally NO information on her career in the Indies. I guess no one cared enough about her to keep track of what she done in the wrestling world; therefore I had to scrap the knockout article and skip onto the American Dragon himself Mr Bryan Danielson. I didn’t know whether to replace Mickie James with another indy wrestler like Austin Aries, Christopher Daniels or someone totally different like Colt Cabana. However, I felt that I’d cut the article out and make this series into 4 parts. This means that next weeks player will close out the series. But let’s get on with this week’s shoot!

Bryan Danielson first came into the wrestling limelight when he became a backyard wrestler competing in the BCW – Backyard Championship Wrestling under his real name along with the nickname of “The Dagger”. At BCW he became the promotion’s Heavyweight Champion. Danielson would graduate from high school in 1999 and this is when he decided that pursuing professional wrestling would be his life ambition. Initially Bryan attempted to train at Dean Malenko’s wrestling school however, due to its closure he instead took up training with Shawn Michaels at the Texas Wrestling Academy.  He would later debut in TWA and win his first wrestling championship when he teamed with Spanky to win the Tag Team Championships defeating Jeromy Sage and Ruben Cruz.

Danielson would tour the country and eventually get signed to a developmental deal by the then WWF. He was assigned to the MCW – Memphis Championship Wrestling, here he would gain exposure and train under William Regal (who Bryan oftens cites as the reason why he succeeded in wrestling). During his time under Regal, Bryan would adopt the now well-known name “American Dragon”. In 2001 WWF would cut off from MCW which meant Danielson was released from his contract but not before he won the MCW Light Heavyweight Championship and the Tag Team Championship with Spanky again. Danielson returned to WWF on later dates after it was renamed WWE and would compete on Velocity and Heat. At first he was brought in as an enhancement talent before he was allowed to compete in longer matches, where he even wrestled John Cena in a losing effort.

D-Bryan would also tour Japan with Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling with former trainee from TWA – Lance Cade, where they competed in several tag team matches. After Danielson was released from WWF he would wrestle in Japan’s biggest promotion New Japan Pro Wrestling. In NJPW he would use the American Dragon persona and actually wore a red, white and blue mask which would look partially like a dragon. Danielson enjoyed success in both singles and tag team competition in the company. Remember a few weeks ago I done a TNA worst gimmicks article? Yeah well little do you know that Bryan actually won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships with CURRY MAN from division veterans Jado and Gedo in 2004.

In 2002, D-Bryan had joined ROH where he is recognised by fans as a “Founding Father” of the company because he was one of the wrestlers who made ROH prominent during it’s inception. Bryan would also wrestle in the main event of the company’s debut show dubbed The Era of Honor Begins. The main event was a three way match in which Bryan would go up against Low Ki and Christopher Daniels. D-Bryan would continue to have great success in ROH and would be recognised as one of the best workers in the company as he would compete in longer matches. One match with Austin Aries lasted a full EIGHTY minutes. In the early years of ROH D-Bryan would compete in one of the most notable rivalries to date against Homicide which eventually ended at The Final Showdown in a steel cage match that Danielson would win.

At this point in his career Bryan would be regarded as the best wrestler in ROH that never held a major title, despite winning the company’s Survival of the Fittest tournament in 2004. In 2005, Bryan stated in the ROH Newswire that he had quit ROH due to being frustrated at his inability to beat Austin Aries for the ROH World Championship. However, it was later revealed that Bryan had become frustrated with wrestling and had planned to take some time off to evaluate if wrestling was really his best career option. Thank god he chose wrestling eh?

In May 2005, rumours had started saying that TNA was interested in signing him and he also had some tryout matches with WWE, none of these led to anything and Danielson would remain with ROH. Hey TNA, nice to see you choked on another big star!

On September 15th 2005 Danielson would win the ROH World Championship at Glory by Honor defeating James Gibson (Jamie Noble for y’all that don’t know “James Gibson”). The rest of 2005 saw Danielson fend off competitors from all corners, even different promotions such as Pro Wrestling Noah star Naomichi Marufuji at Final Battle 2005. In 2006 Chris Hero (now Kassius Ohno…OH NO) from Combat Zone Wrestling invaded ROH and targeted Danielson. This then led to the two exchanging words over the internet before having a match together with nearly the entire rosters of both companies embarking on an interpromotional feud. Danielson would switch foot and invade CZW, this led to him having physical altercations with a number of CZW wrasslers. Hero would intensify the rivalry leading to the two men having a match at ROH’s Hell Freezes Over event where Danielson successfully defended his ROH World Championship. Danielson would then fill the void in the ROH five man team which participated in one of CZW’s more popular attractions – a steel cage match called the Cage of Death. The Cage of Death was a ten man tag team match that would have a man from each team start in the cage with a random competitor entering the match after a certain amount of time. Danielson would turn on his team assaulting his rival Samoa Joe. Remember this from two weeks ago? No…. OH NO. After attacking Joe Bryan would just leave the match leaving ROH to win the match minus a man. As the two companies fought it out over the next coming weeks Bryan had to be ready for any competitors from CZW to challenge him. Samoa Joe would also challenge Bryan however, Joe would be unsuccessful as their match ended in a sixty-minute draw.

Bryan wouldn’t be the best champion in ROH. Nigel McGuinness (Desmond Wolff for all you TNA folk) was the ROH Pure Championship. The Pure championship was seen as equal value to the ROH World Championship. Therefore the two men faced off to unify the championships, they met at April 29th in a match fought under pure wrestling rules. McGuinness would win the match but would not win the World Championship as Bryan was counted out after receiving a chair shot from McGuinness. The two would face off again in a unification match in McGuinness’ native England where ROH said that there would be a definite winner as the title could change hands on a count out and disqualification, with a draw forcing a restart. DB would go on to win the match and retire the championship as the last champion.

During a match with Colt Cabana, Danielson got injured, tearing two tendons in his shoulder and tearing another tendon in his chest. Danielson would take a few matches off but would return at Glory by Honor V: Night 2 and was challenged by KENTA, a guest competitor from NOAH. Danielson regained his title. At Final Battle 2006 Danielson’s 15 month reign would come to an end as he lost to Homicide, after losing Bryan took time out to heal.

On May 11th D-Bryan would make his return to ROH at the Reborn Again event where he defeated Shane Hagadorn and Adam Pearce in separate matches. On May 12th ROH filmed their first pay-per-view, Respect is Earned, where Danielson teamed with ROH World Champion, Takeshi Morishima to take on Nigel McGuinness and Kenta, Danielson and Morishima picked up the win as Kenta tapped out to the Cattle Mutilation. Bryan would go on to defeat Nigel McGuinness at Domination which would appear on the company’s next PPV Driven. This allowed him to challenge Morishima for the title at Manhattan Mayhem, however Bryan would lose to Morishima. Incidentally this was the match in which Bryan suffered the detached retina which now restricts his vision somewhat. After surgery Danielson returned to challenge Morishima again, leading to a match at Man Up which the referee stopped due to Danielson being unable to respond to him. Morishima would return to Japan but later return to ROH at Final Battle 2008 in a match billed as “Fight Without Honor” in which both competitors were allowed to use weapons. Danielson won this match.

Danielson would then work with Austin Aries as friendly rivals with both men gaining victories. Danielson would also aid Aries by becoming his partner in order to take on The Age of the Fall as revenge for Aries. Bryan and Austin would wrestle all members of the group in a series of different stipulation matches as well as teaming together to challenge Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black for the ROH World Tag Team Championships. As part of ROH’s agreement with Japan promotion Noah, the company held a show in Japan on September 14th titled Tokyo Summit where Bryan wrestled Yoshinobu Kanemaru and won the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship. Following this victory he announced that he was allowed to defend the title in ROH with the first successful defense being at Glory By Honor VII. He would then go on to lose the belt to Kenta in Japan on October 13th. Danielson would then challenge McGuinness for the title at the next ROH PPV Rising Above but was unsuccessful.

ROH would make it’s national TV debut with Ring of Honor Wrestling where Danielson would main event its third episode by defeating Austin Aries. The following episode featured a match between Danielson and Tyler Black which ended in a draw. This was the start of the rivalry between the two that highlighted the respect that Danielson held for Tyler. Out of respect Danielson would later team with Black to challenge for the tag team championships however they wouldn’t win and this lead to a conflict that ended the partnership.

On August 23rd Danielson announced that he had signed a deal with WWE. This led to ROH putting on a farewell tour known as The Final Countdown Tour, which saw Danielson challenge Aries for the title in a losing effort. On September 26th at  Glory by Honor VIII: The Final Countdown he won his last match in the company against Nigel McGuinness who was also having his final match with ROH.

Some Daniel Bryan facts:

  • Applying a submission hold while the opponent gets a part of their body in the ring ropes, leading to the referee counting to five (not releasing the hold by the count of five would result in a disqualification); as the referee would be about to disqualify Danielson, the latter would release the hold, instructing the referee: “I have till five!”
  • At the beginning of Danielson’s ROH matches, the crowd chants, “You’re gonna get your fucking head kicked in!” at Danielson’s opponent.
  • In honor of Danielson, Mayor Micah Cawley of Yakima, Washington declared January 13 as “Daniel Bryan Day”

Here is the slideshow you’ve all been wishing for whilst reading the above!

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PHEW, can you believe the amount of history Daniel Bryan has? I knew he had a rich history but I never thought for one second that he had done so much in ROH alone! Danielson has wrestled for many promotions but I think what I have here has probably left you lying asleep with drool over your keyboard haha. Thanks to Wikipedia, without you none of this would be possible.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks edition of the Shoot. I’m the Shooter and I wish you all the best until next week!

If you wish to contact The Shooter, you can do so by following him on Twitter @Razor_WWE94 where all things wrestling and non-wrestling can be discussed.