Why do we love the wrestlers we do?
Editor’s note: This feature will be running regularly and is hopeful to be written by different readers submitting their own stories about a wrestler they are passionate about, sharing how they became a fan and discussing 3-4 matches that stand out in their mind as most pivotal to their memories of loving this wrestler.
Our debut edition is by Robbie Fox. Take it away, Robbie!
Fandom Retrospective: Daniel Bryan by Robbie Fox
Before we begin, I’d like to address why I’m doing this writeup on the American Dragon. I’m not writing this to tell my story, but I think in telling my story, many wrestling fans will relate.
Daniel Bryan first came to my attention in 2009, when Ring of Honor released a statement saying he had agreed to a contract with the WWE. This was within the same month that I discovered the famous, “internet wrestling community”. Late to the party, I had to pick up some slack. I was able to find a few matches online, one of which was his now classic battle against Nigel McGuinness at ROH Unified. This was the first time I was watching a wrestling product that wasn’t WWE, WCW, or TNA. I watched the match, and as soon as it ended, I watched it a second time. I didn’t know what it was about Bryan that was so good, but I knew he connected with me, in a match I knew absolutely nothing about. I was a lifelong fan from that day on.
Throughout his run in the WWE, I was focused on everything he did. I didn’t miss a single match or promo. When I would go to live events, I’d go to the merch table (hey Tom Blackett, how ya doin?) and buy his shirts, action figures, towels, and pretty much anything with his name on it. Everyone around me, wrestling fan or not, didn’t really understand why I liked Bryan so much, as opposed to John Cena, or other wrestlers. Eventually this changed, as Bryan got more over with the crowd, who evolved into the “YES Movement”.