Longtime Botched Spot readers will know that I am a huge fan of Daniel Bryan. When I first saw him on NXT season one (no, I can’t claim to be a true original Bryan Danielson fan) it was love at first sight! Not only was he great in the ring, but his devil-may-care attitude really shined in challenges where he said he deserved to be eliminated or he handed out free copies of WWE programs when he was supposed to be selling them. “Down with capitalism!” he cried! He didn’t care if he was fired and you could tell.

When he was fired it was pretty hard though. I mean I was devastated when he was just “eliminated” from NXT, let alone fired from WWE entirely after choking out Justin Roberts with his tie. Mattel’s okay with wrestlers hitting each other with chairs, as soon as the ties come out they start worrying about impressionable kids?

Mattel never did capitalize on this by selling a Daniel Bryan action figure with a necktie accessory.

Even after Bryan’s return at SummerSlam 2010 when he quickly fell to the backburner in low card feuds with Cody Rhodes, Sin Cara, and the other Sin Cara, I never worried about him because I knew his skill would eventually bring him to the top. I loved watching him come out to no reaction but by the end of his match having the whole crowd cheering for him. I get similar feelings now watching Mustafa Ali on 205 Live.

To be fair, Cody was putting everyone’s head in a paper bag, even Corpus Christi.

Whatever happened to this game series?

As much as I loved cheering Bryan, his heel work was some of his best. Maybe not being abusive towards crazy AJ, but the vegan stuff and “No!” chants were amazing at getting the crowd involved. I remember going to a house show in Bowling Green Kentucky where he chastised the locals for not having any vegan restaurants. Sadly, a cursory Google search tells me they’re still lacking one.

Maybe the tail should’ve gone through the chair back.

Truly the best in the world.

Of course!

Of course being a Daniel Bryan fan doesn’t come without its frustrations too. Both as a heel and a face his role was often relegated to getting over the star WWE REALLY wanted to push before their next big show, even if it was Michael Cole. While it was painful to watch live, Sheamus’ attempt at being WWE’s goofy top babyface (between Cena’s “JBL is poopy” phase and Roman’s “sufferin’ succotash” phase) was responsible for Bryan’s quick loss but ultimate gain at Wrestlemania 28.

I sat in stunned silence for five minutes after this. Really killed the Wrestlemania party I was at.

Thankfully I was completely wrong!

Of course Daniel Bryan went on to beat Triple H and win the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships at Wrestlemania 30! It was easily one of my favorite moments as a wrestling fan, even if it was originally meant for the returning Batista.

I know, I posted this in my last blog, but it’s hard to do a Retrospective of Daniel Bryan Botched Spot Comics without it!

Bryan’s injury afterwards was hard, but I definitely didn’t think it would lead to his retirement. I was sure he would bounce back fine if he just cut out the flying headbutts (I can still hear JBL yelling “it’s a flyin’ goat, Maggle!). Unfortunately that wasn’t the case and after a brief return at the start of 2016 he retired for good… or so we thought!

It alone would be worth the $9.99!

I still can’t believe people ever do flying headbutts and think it looks like it hurts the opponent more than the attacker.

Unfortunately I was wrong about this one! I wanted to believe so badly that Bryan was okay.

Bryan’s devil-may-care attitude was on full display when WWE brought him back as the General Manager of Smackdown Live and the co-host of Talking Smack! He had no problem talking about James “big hog” Ellsworth and who he was voting for (I’m sure Jill Stein appreciated the effort) and taking Mick Foley to task during the State of the WWE Universe Address. I’m still not sure what the point of that was, but Bryan calling Foley out for running to TNA as soon as he finished with WWE was priceless.

Well I guess he can still wrestle Adam Cole, baby.

I wish they’d just ended it for good. Set it on fire with Sister Abigail and Seth Rollins’ tights.

Where’s Kenny? Was I ahead of my time or did I just not want to draw his mane of hair? I’ll let you decide.

While I’ve enjoyed Bryan’s time as General Manager of Smackdown, I can’t wait for him to get back in the ring. And as happy as I am about his in ring return, I still feel all those old doubts creeping back in. Is he just going to be used to put over WWE’s favorites while rarely achieving anything himself? Will we have to sit through more 20 minute segments where WWE tells us he’s ugly and sucks while the announcers just bury him the whole time? Will he win the WWE Championship and then immediately have to run away from Kane? I personally hope he has a US Championship run like John Cena’s open challenge where he just has great matches week after week. No matter what it’s great to have him wrestling again!