Following a crushing defeat to Roman Reigns on the April 30th edition of SmackDown, Daniel Bryan was banished from the blue brand indefinitely.
What’s more, his WWE contract expired at midnight after the show, meaning that Bryan is now a free agent. While speculation begins to run riot over what Bryan may do next, the past couple of weeks have also marked a time of reflection.
Throughout his in-ring career, Bryan wrestled some of the finest wrestlers on the planet on some of the biggest stages that the world has to offer. He became a legend on the independent scene, and later headlined WrestleMania’s winning WWE Championships.
Responding to a listener question on the latest episode of Jim Cornette’s Drive Thru, the promotor turned podcaster appraised Bryan’s career. Cornette praised the American Dragon on his “tremendous” in-ring skills, although he doesn’t feel he cracks the top ten greatest American wrestlers in history.
The question initially asked whether Bryan was one of the best of all time, something Cornette said that he disagreed with, but that it doesn’t stop Bryan being very, very good, moving to praise his in-ring ability.
“He’s definitely a tremendous in-ring performer, and while all of his promos are not all-time classics, the ones he really believed and really got into, the big one where he was himself, were very, very good and very meaningful.
However, the wrestling personality went on to question Bryan’s drawing power, explaining that it’s something that does count against him. Although Cornette also admitted that this is largely due to the era in which he was competing.
“On a list of all-time box office attractions it’s not fair to put him on it. Because he came along at a time, and was used in a company, where there really was no box office attraction past the company and the package. Yes he’s sold tickets. But was Bryan ever the biggest box office attraction in this business in a calendar year? No. Was he in the top three, four or five? Probably not. Even with his run as WWE champion… Maybe he was by lack of any other draws during that period of time. But the point is, that one big piece of the all-time great puzzle is ‘were you a box office attraction? Did you draw money?’ And almost nobody over the course of the last 15 years apart from John Cena can say that.”
“So you know, for the modern era he’s been tremendous. He’s done fantastic. Over a 125 years I don’t know if we can make that case or not.”
When Daniel Bryan made his WWE debut as part of the Nexus in 2010 he was fired almost immediately. As the group stormed Monday Night RAW, Bryan choked announcer Justin Roberts with his own tie. This led to Bryan being let go. Reflecting on the incident Cornette says that he wouldn’t have returned to the company as Bryan did.
“If it would have been me… well if it would have been me I wouldn’t be able to wrestle like Daniel Bryan anyway, but that time when they fired him for choking Captain Sunshine, Justin Roberts, when they fired him for choking the guy with his tie, if I’d have been Daniel Bryan that would have been the last time that I took a phone call from those motherf***ers. Which I guess shows you that being a more reasonable, level-headed person, can get you ahead in life. When they did that, I couldn’t believe that.
Cornette closed by praising Daniel Bryan’s perseverance, adding that he has “nothing but good things” to say about the star.
“He persevered in being there and coming through when they didn’t want to put him over but the fans did. So yeah, the past 15 years has been great. And he’s had his ups and downs with the concussion thing, but even when they thought they could count him he was able to come back. So I have nothing but good things to say about Bryan Danielson, except I don’t know that he’s in the top ten of all-time.”
At time of writing there is no news on when or where Daniel Bryan will appear next. However, it has been reported that WWE are “pushing hard” to sign the former world champion to a new deal.