Bryan Danielson
Daniel bryan
Birth name Bryan Lloyd Danielson
Born May 22 1981 (1981-05-22) (age 37)
Aberdeen, Washington, USA
Resides Phoenix, Arizona, USA
Spouse(s) Brie Bella (m. 2014)
Children 1
Family Nikki Bella (sister-in-law)
John Laurinaitis (step-father-in-law)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) American Dragon[1]
Bryan Danielson[2]
Daniel Bryan[1]
Daniel Wyatt[3][4]
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight 210 lb (95 kg)
Billed from Aberdeen, Washington
Trained By Masato Tanaka[1]
Rudy Boy Gonzalez[1]
Shawn Michaels[1][2][5]
Texas Wrestling Academy[6][5]
William Regal[5][7]
Debut December 1999
Retired February 8, 2016


Bryan Lloyd Danielson (born May 22, 1981)[6] is an American retired professional wrestler who to WWE under the ring name Daniel Bryan,[6] he currently work for them as on-screen general manager of SmackDown Live.

In WWE, Bryan held the WWE World Heavyweight Championship three times and the World Heavyweight Championship once, in addition to being a one-time United States Champion, a one-time Intercontinental Champion, and a one-time WWE Tag Team Champion as part of Team Hell No (with Kane). He was also the 2011 SmackDown Money in the Bank winner and the 2013 Superstar of the Year Slammy Award winner. He is the 26th Triple Crown Champion and the 15th Grand Slam Champion in WWE history and headlined several major pay-per-view events, including SummerSlam in 2013 and WrestleMania XXX.

Danielson was previously signed to the WWE, then known as the WWF, for an 18-month period from 2000–2001. Prior to joining WWE for his second stint in 2009, Danielson wrestled for various companies internationally using both his real name and the ring name (and later nickname) "American Dragon".[6][8] He wrestled for Ring of Honor (ROH) from 2002 to 2009, being recognized as a "Founding Father" of the promotion, where he was a one-time ROH World Champion, as well the final Pure Wrestling Champion (unifying the Pure title with the World title). He was the first winner of ROH's annual Survival of the Fittest tournament in 2004. Along with CM Punk, Seth Rollins and Kevin Owens, Danielson is one of four men to have won a world championship in both WWE and ROH.

Danielson also wrestled extensively in Japan, winning the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship in Pro Wrestling Noah (NOAH) and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (with Curry Man) in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW). Between WWE, ROH, and Japanese promotions, he held 11 total championships, including five world titles. Danielson also won numerous titles on the independent circuit, including two PWG World Championships, the FIP Heavyweight Championship, and the wXw World Heavyweight Championship.

In 2016, at age 34, Danielson retired from professional wrestling due to medical issues (including seizures) arising from multiple concussions and a brain lesion. Later that year in July, Danielson was named the General Manager of SmackDown Live following the return of the WWE brand extension.

Early life Edit

Danielson was born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington, to a father who was a logger and a therapist mother, who divorced when Danielson was young. Danielson has an older sister, named Billie Sue. He competed in various sports at Aberdeen-Weatherwax High School including football.[9]

Professional wrestling career Edit

Japan and other promotions (2001–2004, 2009) Edit

Danielson first toured Japan with Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) with Lance Cade, a fellow trainee from the TWA, competing in several tag team matches.[1][10] He returned to Japan after his release from the WWF, competing in Japan's premier promotion, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), where he used his American Dragon persona, and donned a red, white, and blue mask reminiscent of a dragon.[11] As a part of the junior heavyweight division, Danielson had success in both singles and tag team competition in the company, winning (without wearing a mask) the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Curry Man on March 12, 2004.[12]

After his departure from wXw, he made his debut with Philadelphia-based independent promotion, CHIKARA to compete in their King of Trios tournament, which saw him team with Claudio Castagnoli and Dave Taylor in a contingency called Team Uppercut.[13] In the same year, it was announced Danielson would compete in Dragon Gate USA (DGUSA) in their second show, which saw him lose to Open the Dream Gate Champion Naruki Doi.[14]

Return to Dragon Gate USA (2010) Edit

While Danielson continued on undefeated in EVOLVE in the following day by returning to Dragon Gate USA, and submitted SHINGO in the dark match main event Return of the Dragon.[15] After the match, Danielson joined BxB Hulk, Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi, and PAC as the fifth member of the stable World–1.[15] On September 25, Danielson returned to Dragon Gate USA (despite being signed with WWE) and defeated YAMATO in the main event of the evening.[16] The following day, Danielson defeated Jon Moxley.[17]

Persona Edit

Danielson spent the majority of his career without an overt character in favor of becoming popular with the fans through his monikers, signature mannerisms, and wrestling ability. His attire has varied, as well, with the majority of his tenure wearing a pair of short trunks,[18] but also ventured into wearing a mask for a time in Japan as an extension of his "American Dragon" persona.[11]

A notable part of Danielson's persona are his mannerisms and the reaction he inspires from the crowd during the course of his matches that include:

  • During his time in Ring of Honor, Danielson made his way to the ring to his entrance song, "The Final Countdown"; once in the ring, he stood on the top turnbuckle and sang the refrain along with the fans in attendance.[19]
  • After winning the ROH World Championship, Danielson displayed traits of a heel-like persona, starting to behave more aggressively and threatening to the fans, as well as taking more liberties with the rules. Despite his rulebreaking character, he still retained a certain level of popularity with the fans, as well as his upholding of the company's Code of Honor, ROH's storyline rules of wrestler conduct, allowing him to perform as a more neutral character.[20]
  • As a heel, 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!".[21]
  • During his initial reign as ROH World Champion, telling the ring announcer to add an extra note about him appertaining to the current circumstances around his match; this was generally insulting the crowd or his opponent.[22]
  • At the beginning of Danielson's ROH matches the crowd chanted, "You're gonna get your fucking head kicked in!" at Danielson's opponent.[23]
  • After winning WWE's World Heavyweight Championship, Bryan began shouting "Yes!" repeatedly on his way to the ring and after defeating an opponent. Danielson credits mixed martial arts fighter Diego Sanchez with the inspiration.[24][25] This chant grew in popularity, and has been even heard outside WWE events, at Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and National Basketball Association games,[25][26][27] and even at music concerts, in particular at Andrew W.K. concerts in both Glasgow and Manchester, UK.[28] After turning heel at the start of 2012, Bryan slowly turned against the fans and after WrestleMania XXVIII he began chanting "No!" instead of "Yes!" Bryan claimed that the fans were mocking him by chanting "Yes!" so he chanted "No!" back at them. This then further encouraged the crowd to chant "Yes!" at him to annoy him as he was a villain. Shortly after turning face, Bryan began saying "Yes!" again, but would still shout "No!" when in a negative situation or showing disdain towards a critique, which also involves crowd participation.
  • Bryan's "Yes!" chant again entered popular culture in late 2013 and early 2014. During Michigan State's regular-season victory over arch-rival Michigan, Spartans guard Travis Jackson celebrated a touchdown with a "Yes!" chant.[29] On January 7, the university honored the football team, fresh off victory in the Rose Bowl, during halftime of the men's basketball home game against Ohio State. Jackson again led Bryan's chant, this time with the entire home crowd, especially the student section, joining in. The event quickly went viral and drew extensive coverage on ESPN's SportsCenter. One contributor to Yahoo! Sports speculated that this event and the associated media coverage led WWE to turn Bryan away from The Wyatt Family.[30] In the wake of Bryan's championship victory at WrestleMania XXX, the Pittsburgh Pirates began using the "Yes!" chant as a rallying cry, gradually replacing the Zoltan gesture the Pirates had been using the previous two years. It is said that Pirates first baseman Gaby Sánchez, a huge wrestling fan, was behind the team using the "Yes!" chants.[31] In May, members of the San Francisco Giants started using the chant and hand gesture to celebrate home runs. This led to Bryan performing the chant at a Giants playoff game and actively supporting the team all the way to the World Series, which the Giants won against the Kansas City Royals in seven games. Bryan was also a part of the team's victory parade.[32] Fans of the New York Islanders now use the "Yes" chant after every Islanders goal scored during home games.[33]
  • On several occasions, such as during the 2013 Slammy Awards, fans have successfully hijacked segments in which Bryan was either not involved in, or involved only secondarily, with his "Yes!" chant. In the case of the "Championship Ascension Ceremony", the fan's continuing "Yes!" chants forced John Cena to go off-script and acknowledge Bryan (especially since the show was held in Seattle), since that segment was supposed to be about Cena and Randy Orton's impending title unification match.[30]
  • Danielson, who was a vegan in his day-to-day life previously, incorporated his vegan lifestyle into his heel persona to elicit heat from the crowd.[34][35]

Other media Edit

Danielson was prominently featured in the Wrestling Road Diaries documentary, which was filmed in 2009 before he signed with WWE.[36] Danielson is a fan of indie rock music and recorded a single with Kimya Dawson that was a tribute to wrestling legend "Captain" Lou Albano.[25]

Danielson's relationship with his wife Brie Bella, including their wedding[37] is regularly covered in the WWE reality series Total Divas on the E! Network.[38]

Danielson was one of the judges on the sixth season of Tough Enough, alongside Hulk Hogan, who was later replaced by The Miz, and Paige.[39]

Personal life Edit

Danielson has cited a number of wrestlers as influences to his style, including Toshiaki Kawada, Mitsuharu Misawa, and William Regal.[40] He has also made mention of modeling his wrestling off of the work of Dean Malenko and Chris Benoit in his early career, then using Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a platform to develop his own style.[41]

In 2009, Danielson relocated to Las Vegas, Nevada, where he began training in mixed martial arts at Randy Couture's Xtreme Couture gym.[5][42] He was also roommates with Xtreme Couture's head grappling trainer, Neil Melanson.[5]

During his time as ROH World Champion, Danielson was appointed the head trainer of the ROH Wrestling Academy, replacing Austin Aries.[43] He relinquished the position to Delirious in 2007.[44]

Danielson became a vegan in 2009, after getting elevated liver enzymes and several staph infections.[45][46] In 2012, he was awarded a Libby Award from PETA for being the "Most Animal-Friendly Athlete".[47] In honor of Danielson, Mayor Micah Cawley of Yakima, Washington declared January 13 "Daniel Bryan Day".[48] In September 2012, Danielson revealed that he was no longer a vegan due to his inability to find vegan food while travelling on the road for WWE.[49] He later elaborated that he had developed a soy intolerance and could not find enough non-soy-based vegan food, but he still keeps a mostly vegan diet on the road. On Twitter, he stated that he has vitiligo.[50] Danielson has stated in his book that he does not drink due to his father's past as an alcoholic.

Danielson described himself in ranking in the bottom 1 percentile for ambition in a personality test WWE gave him. In response, he said, "I have no ambition for what society says is important as far as things like money, and all that kind of stuff. What I am ambitious about is I want to be the best wrestler that I can possibly be."[51]

In October 2012, a social media campaign was started in an attempt to help Connor Michalek meet Danielson, his personal hero. Michalek was aged six at the time, and suffered from cancer of the brain and spine.[52] The campaign succeeded, with Danielson meeting Michalek at the Consol Energy Center in December 2012,[53] and again in October 2013.[54] Michalek was an inspiration to Danielson due to "the way he approached life and the joy that he had" while never complaining. Michalek, at ringside at WrestleMania XXX, was the first person Danielson embraced after he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.[55]

On April 11, 2014, Danielson married WWE Diva Brie Bella, with whom he had been in a relationship for nearly three years.[35][37][56] On April 6 2016, nearly two months since Danielson's retirement, Bella also retired part-time from wrestling in order to start a family with him.[57]

"The hard part about the professional low point and personal low point coming at the same time is that wrestling is always how I've dealt with personal issues. People think what we do is entertainment but this is how I express myself. To not be able to do that while going through this personal loss is very difficult."

—Danielson on losing his loved ones and requiring surgery back in 2014[55]

On April 21, 2014, WWE announced the death of Danielson's father. He insisted on performing that night on Raw as scheduled, but left for home immediately after his segment had aired.[58]

Danielson described his WrestleMania XXX victories and his marriage shortly after as high points in his professional and personal life, but within two months he then experienced personal low points – the deaths of his father and Connor Michalek – followed by a professional low point of requiring surgery.[55]

In July 2014, Danielson's home in Phoenix, Arizona was broken into by two burglars. Danielson came home at that time, and managed to chase down and subdue one of the burglars with a rear naked choke until police arrived.[59] Based on information gleaned from the caught burglar, police apprehended three other people who were involved in burglaries throughout Arcadia and Phoenix.[60]

During a 2014 interview, Danielson stated that he cannot swim or go deep into water due to a ruptured ear drum he suffered in an unspecified 2007 Ring of Honor match against Kenta. Danielson has never had the ruptured ear drum fixed, and he claims he still has problems hearing in his left ear.[61]

Danielson is a supporter of Premier League club Everton,[62] and a fan of his hometown Seattle Seahawks.[63]

In wrestling Edit

  • Finishing moves
    • As Bryan Danielson/American Dragon
      • Bridging dragon suplex[1]
      • Cattle Mutilation[1][64]/Arms Across America[65] (Bridging double chickenwing)[66]
      • Crossface chickenwing, sometimes with bodyscissors[67]
      • Crucifix position followed by multiple elbow strikes to the side of the opponent's head[68][66]
      • Double wristlock to a grounded opponent followed by multiple stomps to the opponent's chest, face, and head[69]
      • LeBell Lock (Omoplata crossface)[70] – 2010
      • Regal-Plex (Bridging leg hook belly-to-back suplex) – adopted from William Regal[64]
      • Triangle choke,[66] sometimes followed by multiple elbow strikes to the opponent's head[67]
  • Signature moves
    • Ankle lock[71]
    • Arm trap seated abdominal stretch[66][67]
    • Backflip off the top rope over a standing opponent[72] followed by a crooked arm lariat[73][74][75]
    • Cobra clutch to a facedown opponent[1]
    • Corner elbow smash[76]
    • Discus elbow smash[1]
    • Diving headbutt[1]
    • Dragon screw[77]
    • Dragon sleeper[78]
    • Drop toe-hold into the turnbuckles,[79] sometimes followed by kicking the second rope into the opponent's throat[80][81]
    • European uppercut[82][83]
    • Heel hook[84]
    • High knee from the apron to the outside of the ring[85][86]
    • Indian deathlock[1]
    • Jumping knee drop[81]
    • Multiple kick variations
      • Corner drop[82]
      • Front missile drop[82]
      • Repeated shoot to a kneeling opponent's chest followed by a roundhouse to the opponent's head, with theatrics[86][87]
      • Roundhouse[88]
      • Running big boot[1]
    • Multiple suplex variations[66]
      • Belly-to-back,[1] sometimes from the top rope[1][64]
      • Belly-to-belly[67]
      • Cravate[89]
      • Danielson Special (Double underhook floated over into a cross armbreaker)[83][90] - innovated
      • German[67]
      • Northern Lights[1]
      • Snap underhook[1][67]
      • Super[67]
      • Tiger[67]
    • Rolling fireman's carry slam[1]
    • Running leg lariat[82]
    • Single leg Boston crab[78]
    • Sleeper hold[71][86]
    • Small package[91]
    • Suicide dive[73][92]
    • Surfboard,[67][82] sometimes while applying a dragon sleeper[93]
  • Managers
  • Nicknames
    • "The American Dolphin"[95]
    • "The American Dragon"[1]
    • "The Best Wrestler in the World"[1][96]
    • "The Dazzler"[1][97]
    • "G.O.A.T. (Greatest of All Time)"[98]
    • "The King of Beards"[97]
    • "The Master of the Small Package"[1]
    • "Mr. Small Package"[99]
    • "The Submission Specialist"[100]
    • "The World's Toughest Vegan"[101]
  • Entrance themes
    • "Self Esteem" by The Offspring[102] (Independent circuit)
    • "Obsession" by Animotion[94] (Independent circuit)
    • "The Final Countdown" by Europe[19] (ROH/independent circuit)

Championships and accomplishments Edit

  • All Pro Wrestling
    • APW Worldwide Internet Championship (1 time)[103]
    • King of the Indies (2001)[66][104]
  • All Star Wrestling
    • ASW World Mid-Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[6]
  • East Coast Wrestling Association
    • ECWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Low Ki[105]
  • Connecticut Wrestling Entertainment
    • CTWE Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[106]
  • Evolve
    • Match of the Year (2010) vs. Munenori Sawa on September 11[107]
  • Extreme Canadian Championship Wrestling
    • NWA Canadian Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[108]
  • Full Impact Pro
    • FIP Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[66]
  • International Wrestling Association
    • IWA Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[109]
  • Memphis Championship Wrestling
    • MCW Southern Light Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[6]
    • MCW Southern Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Spanky[6]
  • NWA Mid-South
    • NWA Southern Junior Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[110]
  • New Japan Pro Wrestling
  • Pro Wrestling Guerrilla
  • Pro Wrestling Noah
  • Ring of Honor
    • ROH Pure Championship (1 time)[113]
    • ROH World Championship (1 time)[114]
    • Survival of the Fittest (2004)[6][66]
  • Texas Wrestling Alliance
    • TWA Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Spanky[6]
  • westside Xtreme wrestling
    • wXw World Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[115]
    • Ambition 1 (2010)[116]
  • World Series Wrestling
    • WSW Heavyweight Championship (1 time)[117]
  • Wrestling Observer Newsletter
    • Best Technical Wrestler (2005–2013)[118]
    • Most Outstanding Wrestler (2006–2010)
    • Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Decade (2000–2009)


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