|Daniel Bryan’s Sunday Schedule|
10:30AM-11:30AM Photo Ops – VIP’s First then General Admission
11:45AM-12:30PM Autographs – VIP’s First then General Admission
12:30PM-1:00PM Q&A Panel
Daniel Bryan is no up-and-comer. Trained by WWE Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels, Bryan competed on the indy wrestling circuit for more than 10 years. Honing his craft on multiple continents, Bryan became well-known for his hybrid of Japanese and American offensive styles that made good use of vicious elbow strikes, precise kicks, spine-jarring suplexes and various torturous submission maneuvers like the “Yes!” Lock, formerly named after martial arts specialist Gene LeBell.
First coming to WWE as part of the inaugural season of WWE NXT, Bryan soon made it clear he was destined for great things.
After shaking the drama of The Nexus — which formed out of WWE NXT season one contestants — Bryan refocused his efforts on a solo career, exciting the WWE Universe with his unique in-ring style and bone-snapping artillery.
Eventually, the determined Superstar’s efforts came full circle, when he enjoyed his first (vegan) taste of title gold in WWE from then–United States Champion The Miz, his former WWE Pro. In summer 2011, Bryan won the Money in the Bank Ladder Match, which propelled the skilled grappler to his greatest achievement: the World Heavyweight Championship. After Bryan cashed in at WWE TLC 2011, the weightier prize around his waist wasn’t the only difference in the typically humble competitor. Bryan’s newfound arrogance distanced him from the WWE Universe that once pulled for the underdog.
After losing the World Heavyweight Title at WrestleMania XXVIII in only 18 seconds, the former champ broke up with longtime girlfriend AJ Lee. Bryan’s behavior became increasingly erratic, and after the self-affirming Superstar defeated Kane at SummerSlam 2012, the two entered anger management therapy together. One week after attempting to “hug it out,” their anger management counselor Dr. Shelby arranged for the duo to team up in a match, and the odd couple shockingly became No. 1 contenders to the WWE Tag Team Championship. An even bigger shocker? Kane & Daniel Bryan actually won the titles at Night of Champions 2012.
Dubbed Team Hell No by the WWE Universe, the pair slowly got on the same page. Further unity was forced upon them when Kane & Bryan incurred the wrath of Dean Ambrose, Seth Rollins and Roman Reigns — a trio known as The Shield. Team Hell No battled so-called purveyors of justice over the following months, joining forces with Superstars including Ryback and The Undertaker. A constant thorn in Team Hell No’s side, The Shield finally ended the duo’s eight-month title reign at Extreme Rules 2013.
Afterwards, their partnership began to crumble with Bryan insisting that Kane believed he was the “weak link” in their team. The former World Heavyweight Champion caught fire, going on tirades in the ring and out, but was unable to score a clean victory over Randy Orton on their first two meetings. When a third match on the June 24 edition of Raw ended in a double disqualification, Bryan and Orton faced off a fourth time in the main event where Bryan finally forced The Viper to tap out to the “Yes!” Lock. Orton extended his hand to the victor out of respect, who had definitively made the case against anyone referring to him as the “weak link.”
In the Money in the Bank All-Stars Ladder Match at Money in the Bank 2013, Bryan entered the contest as the match’s hottest property. Although he didn’t win the contract, John Cena selected Bryan the next night on Raw to challenge The Champ in the main event of SummerSlam. In the weeks building toward the historic contest, Mr. McMahon expressed his doubts given the fiery Superstar’s shaggy looks and smaller physique, while Stephanie McMahon and Triple H seemed to believe that Bryan is the future of WWE. In fact, to ensure that Bryan’s SummerSlam contest with Cena would be called down the middle, The Game made himself the match’s special guest referee.
It was at the highpoint of Bryan’s career – defeating Cena for the WWE Championship at The Biggest Party of the Summer – that he also suffered his greatest defeat. Moments into the new champion’s celebration, Randy Orton cashed in his Money in the Bank contract and — with a shocking assist from Triple H, the man who supposedly believed in Bryan — successfully claimed the WWE Title for himself.
Can Daniel Bryan respond to this devastating setback? One word sums up what is sure be the response of the bearded wonder and the WWE Universe behind him: “YES!”