Legend of The American Dragon: Daniel Bryan's unlikely rise to the WWE Title & beyond (Part One)

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September 18, 2013

Daniel Bryan is a WWE Superstar. But he is also not a WWE Superstar. He is – in his words – a wrestler. He’s a vegan. He’s a stout 5-foot-8 rather than a hulking 6-foot-3. He is, potentially, the only multi-time World Champion in history to have not passed gym class, as he’s five PE credits short of a General Studies degree at Grays Harbor Community College. It has been roughly two-years since his face was clean-shaven; throw him in a suit and you don’t get Tom Brady so much as the Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.

His is a career full of hirings, firings, three-letter words, 18-second humiliations with a payday of riches, 10-minute draws that netted him fifty bucks on a good day, codes of honor, goat faces, Big Red Monsters and, at one point, an honest-to-goodness eye patch. That’s hardly the route Hulk Hogan took, but it’s one that has made Daniel Bryan a champion all the same. And it’s a story that has largely gone untold within WWE until very recently.

Track Daniel Bryan's career in photos | Read Part One? Go to Part Two

More than most, Bryan’s path to WWE Superstardom is a career trajectory that’s even more unlikely than he seems to give it credit for, one that might force a less tenacious athlete to simply call it quits. But Bryan is a competitor whose what-me-worry personality belies a killer instinct. Fire him from WWE, and he’ll show up in an armory the next day selling his own merch. Injure his shoulder and he’ll just have to tap you out with one hand. Steal the WWE Title from him, and he’ll come back faster and harder to get it back.

Strike Daniel Bryan down and he becomes more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

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