Superstar Scores: Daniel Bryan Career Retrospective Ranking | Smark Out Moment

Superstar Scores: Daniel Bryan Career Retrospective Ranking

Posted by Anthony Mango Wednesday, February 10, 2016
On this fourteenth edition of SUPERSTAR SCORES, we take a look at Daniel Bryan, the leader of the Yes Movement who came onto the scene as another "indie guy" but managed to become one of those popular stars before succumbing to injuries. He just announced his retirement from in-ring competition, so this is the perfect time to reflect back on the career he had.

If you're unfamiliar with how the segment works, here is a quick breakdown: Each edition, a wrestler will be put under the spotlight and rated on a 0-100 scale based on 10 categories that have been broken up into 5 umbrella sections: In the Ring Skills, On the Mic Skills, Appearance, Backstage, and Crowd Reaction. The rating scale is as basic as you can get: 0-1-2-3-4 | 5 | 6-7-8-9-10. It follows the Three-Count Critique method of green being the good, yellow being in the middle, and red being the bad. A perfect 100 is the goal.



Athleticism: Does the person have a good signature moveset and finisher? Can they perform a wide variety of moves on a regular basis and not botch them?

My Rating = 8

We're all in pretty much universal agreement that Bryan was one of the best in-ring talents on the roster during his tenure. He's no Shawn Michaels to me, but he was really fun to watch on such a consistent basis that 8 seems about the range I'd place him.

Psychology: The wrestler's ability to tell a story in the ring. Do they make you believe it's real or do they forget to sell their injuries properly? Can they make a long match stay interesting and not get boring?

My Rating = 8
The pacing of Bryan's matches was one of the best parts, which is why he scores so high for me here. He also knew his role as the underdog very well and played that part up as best he could given the proper opponents. I can't go higher than an 8 because sometimes, if he were paired up with someone significantly bigger than him, my suspension of disbelief went out the window as I just didn't buy into the idea that he could be adequately bringing the fight to someone like Big Show. Put Bryan with someone close to his size, though? You're in for something awesome.


Charisma: If they get a mic, can they cut a promo without stuttering? Are they repetitive or do they keep things fresh?

My Rating = 6
Let's be honest, Bryan didn't make a career out of talking. He's not the worst person on the mic by far, but he was never really special, which is why a 6 to me is fair. He had enough of a grasp of the idea and enough charisma to carry a promo well enough, but I can't remember a single specific line that is on par with the people that would score higher than this. "Yes" doesn't count as that isn't something that requires the gift of gab.

Character: Is their gimmick(s) interesting? Can they pull off being both a heel and a face?

My Rating = 8
Bryan was a textbook underdog and just a regular guy who loved to wrestle. He pulled that off extremely well, cause it was just him. The fans saw the honesty behind it and that's one of the reasons people gravitated toward him.


Physique: Are they in the proper shape for their gimmick or are they out of shape? (note: someone like Mabel isn't supposed to look like John Morrison, but Matt Hardy gaining weight deducts his points).

My Rating = 4
Bryan is small, not particularly muscular, his ring gear wasn't flashy or interesting, and while I'm in the minority, I'm really glad he's cut his hair and trimmed his beard as I never liked that look.

Entrance: Their music, the pyro if they have any, whatever taunts or actions they do to make it interesting.

My Rating = 7
I love Ride of the Valkyries and I love the yes chant, but if I'm giving someone like The Undertaker a 10 and that has so much more to it than something like this, I can't justify giving Bryan higher than a 7. There's no pyro, no tricks with the lighting, etc.


Professionalism: Are they a locker room leader or do they cause problems behind the scenes? Are they bogged down in politics? Do they put other people over or screw people over?

My Rating = 9
Bryan handled his problems the right way—we didn't hear about reports him bitching people out backstage, causing a scene because he wants to get pushed, refusing to lose a match because he simply wanted to win, or anything like that. He clearly wanted to be valued more than he was for a long time and he let the WWE Universe do the talking for him.

Public Relations: Does this wrestler have an image problem with arrests and such, or are they someone that promotes the company well, does charities, talk shows, etc?

My Rating = 8
Bryan wasn't what the company looks for in a lot of ways, but that helped him stand out a bit. He wasn't the charismatic Rock / Cena type to go on Jimmy Kimmel and light the world on fire, but he makes up for that for being involved in things like The Warrior Award. Bryan wasn't getting in trouble and causing bad publicity for the company, nor was he getting busted for drugs and suspended with Wellness Policy violations.


Popularity: How loud are the cheers and boos for them? Do they sell merchandise? Are ratings up or down when they're on screen? How many Twitter and Facebook followers do they have?

My Rating = 9
Come on. I don't need to explain this.

Credibility: Is this person someone you would see as a main eventer and a future legend or are they doomed to forever be a jobber?

My Rating = 8
Here's the thing. Bryan was someone that everyone wanted to win far more often than he actually did. By no means did he end up being booked badly enough to have poor credibility, but it's too much of a stretch to say he was close to a 10 like a John Cena where he wins every match and gets championships left and right. Bryan struggled for a long time and he was passed over in multiple ways. Nobody would have batted an eye if he won the title after his big WrestleMania win, but the injuries put a huge damper on that, which is why he went down to the Intercontinental Championship afterward instead of replacing Roman Reigns. His main event run was short, unfortunately.


FINAL THOUGHTS: Bryan ranks around the same level as some other great talents like Chris Jericho, Brock Lesnar, and Triple H. Funny enough, the one thing hurting him from being higher and closer to Shawn Michaels' record is his physique, and the second lowest score I gave him was mic skills—the two things that likely were the reasons why WWE officials were so hesitant to give him that top spot. Thankfully, they did for a short while, because Bryan was great.


Daniel Bryan rating scale 1-100 Is Daniel Bryan the best wrestler ever?


Tony Mango is the head writer, host of Smack Talk, and founder/CEO/director of operations for Smark Out Moment as well as all branches under A Mango Tree including Fanboys Anonymous. He is a writer, creative director/consultant, media manager and entertainer. You can follow him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.


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