How The New Daniel Bryan Is Elevating EVERYTHING In WWE

The American Dragon breathes fire into a cold wider product.

Daniel Bryan

You could put the New Daniel Bryan in the mere vicinity of a WWE production, and produce something brilliant around it.

On the next episode of SmackDown, Bryan could cut a promo standing next to one of those gigantic, gas-guzzling production trucks driven from city to city—one with the uncaring face of AJ Styles plastered on the side of it, dumbly complicit in WWE’s obscene carbon footprint. AJ uses the planet as a platform for his own selfish ends, Bryan could argue.

Bryan could cut a promo in a merchandise warehouse, bringing into focus the sheer extent of WWE’s unethical, consumerist revenue stream. Bryan could cut promos from the mansion gates of his various opponents, portraying them as aloof celebrities in contrast to his selfless, tireless pursuit of saving the world. Bryan could rage against the sheer waste thrown away by the New Day; third world children are starving to death, and Big E pours cereal onto dirty floors to make his buddies laugh. Jeff Hardy can paint himself different colours all he wants; underneath, he is the same, greedy force of self-destruction he always was. Rey Mysterio exists to sell masks to children, the mass production of which puts the existence of their children’s children at risk. Rey Mysterio pretends to love kids, but he only cares about money.

That is because the New Daniel Bryan is, by some distance, not merely the best character in WWE right now: this perfectly-defined, multi-faceted, zeitgeist-grabbing character, so genuinely, passionately crafted by Bryan himself, is the best WWE has promoted in years. A great character interacts in perfect harmony with their environment, pun very much intended—and Bryan’s is so potent that he elevates the environment around him.

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Former Power Slam Magazine scribe and author of Development Hell: The NXT Story - available NOW on!