WWE’s Daniel Bryan might just be the most beloved Superstar since “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, as it seems the fans cannot get enough of him. The fans want to see him succeed and take down the corporate monster, and although he is a much smaller man in comparison to Austin, the love for him is clearly similar.
Several similarities can be seen with the two, but the biggest one might just be the chants. Austin’s “What?” chant became a massive part of the wrestling fan’s language during shows. So much so, even without Austin the What? chant would be done. This kept occurring years after Austin’s retirement from WWE and it seemed that no chant would ever topple it. Enter Daniel Bryan’s YES! Chant.
Always wanting to be seen as a top guy despite being a small man in a land of giants, Daniel Bryan wanted to come off as a legit contender. The problem with this, is that the fans were not on his side as a heel. Daniel Bryan felt the only way to make himself known was to believe in himself. So he began shouting YES! YES! YES! as he came out and, of course, after victories. Soon the fans began to love the chant, so Bryan went with a NO! NO! NO! chant to spite them. Then, the WWE fans decided they would say that.
Seeing the fans take to everything he did, the WWE decided to make Daniel Bryan a lovable heel or bad guy, and eventually a babyface or good guy. The fans began to forget Austin’s What? chant and use the YES! or NO! chant at their hearts content. Bryan was beginning to become a top guy. This led to an eventual shot at the WWE Championship at Summerslam against the undisputed face of WWE, John Cena. Daniel Bryan beat Cena, cleanly, by pin fall. While his reign was short-lived, he has been in the main event scene since and many consider him the next face of WWE.
John Cena is aging, and Daniel Bryan is clearly the number two face in the company right now. His popularity cannot be denied. How does he feel about this sudden rise to fame however? Bryan spoke with Brian Fritz of BetweenTheRopes.com about it all.
“I’ve never gone up to anybody and said ‘hey, look at what I’m doing, I should be a main guy here’. I’ve always let my work speak for itself and I’ve always let the fan reaction speak for itself and make it so they don’t have a choice but to do what they do with me right? It’s not me pushing for me to get this opportunity. It’s the fans who have been pushing for it and them saying no, this is what we want. We want this at WrestleMania and WWE has to listen to them. And that to me is pretty cool. People have so much more power than they think and not just in wrestling, in the world in general. A lot of these building have got like 14,000 people in this building compared to a couple people backstage who run the WWE. And that’s pretty much the ratio of people in the world and people in power. You know what I mean? We have a lot more power that we think. So it’s pretty cool.”
“It’s interesting because I don’t feel any different that I did six months ago really. I’m just kind of me. I just do my thing. People ask me to do different stuff and now they ask me to do more stuff and that’s pretty much it. It’s strange because Total Divas is following us around now but next week the (WWE) Network is going to be following me around just to follow me around and see what I do to get prepared for WrestleMania and all that kind of stuff. I don’t feel like a cover guy or anything like that but people are asking me to do more stuff!”
While Daniel Bryan may not feel different, it is obviously noticeable that he is clearly one of the top guys in the WWE right now. He’s potentially at the top of his profession and he is only climbing in most eyes. Whether or not he continues to show himself as one of the best is yet to be seen. Many think that he do so however. Daniel Bryan is a big favorite to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30. If he doesn’t, I feel bad for WWE management, as there might be a riot on their hands.