Daniel Bryan is one of the most successful wrestlers in the world. He has led an exceptional career, since his early years working on the independent circuit for promotions such as Ring Of Honor up until his ascension to the top of the hierarchy in WWE.
His meteoric rise to stardom could not have been foreseen, as Bryan is the antithesis of Vince McMahon's preferred champion material. Nevertheless, he remains one of the company's most decorated Superstars. Here are Daniel Bryan's ten most iconic moments, ranked.
10 His Talking Smack Segment With The Miz
Having to retire from in-ring competition due to a series of concussions did not stop Daniel Bryan from having an active role in the company. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion's announcement as SmackDown General Manager was met with loud approval from fans, as were his segments on Talking Smack.
One highlight from the post-SmackDown talk show includes a brutal argument between Bryan and The Miz in which the A-Lister berated Bryan's reckless wrestling move-set before the Bearded One stormed offset.
9 Team Hell No Win The Titles
The unlikely duo of Daniel Bryan and Kane captured the WWE Tag Team Championships at Night Of Champions in 2012, another milestone in Bryan's unlikely journey towards becoming a Grand Slam Champion.
Bryan and Kane had great in-ring chemistry and their gimmicks worked well together. The two Superstars were spurned by former Divas Champion AJ Lee and forced to attend anger management classes before surprising the WWE Universe by winning the tag-team titles.
8 His Third Return
Daniel Bryan has had more than one run with WWE throughout the years. His return at SummerSlam in 2010 was a sign of things to come for the Bearded One, as he made his entrance as a member of Team WWE, immediately being inserted into one of the company's top programs.
7 Beating John Cena
There aren't many WWE Superstars who have beat John Cena without any outside interference or disqualifying antics. The 16-time world champion was the franchise player from 2004 until 2017, often being criticized for burying younger talent and indie darlings like Daniel Bryan.
Bryan defeating Cena at SummerSlam in 2013 for the WWE Championship was a sign that WWE was prepared to push the former independent wrestler to the top, even if Randy Orton's subsequent Money in the Bank cash-in did sour the moment. It was a short but sweet brush with the WWE Championship for the ROH founding father.
6 His Retirement Speech
There wasn't a dry eye in the crowd when Daniel Bryan announced his retirement on an episode of Raw in February 2016. Bryan had appeared to make a miraculous initial comeback from injury following WrestleMania XXX, and his retirement announcement seemed to confirm that one of the greatest talents in wrestling would no longer be able to compete in the ring.
Bryan was revealed by Shane McMahon to be the new SmackDown General Manager, which soothed the pain slightly. The former WWE Champion excelled in the role and was an integral presence on SmackDown Live going forward.
5 Royal Rumble 2014
This is an iconic moment from Daniel Bryan's career that he technically wasn't even a part of. Vince McMahon was determined to give fans Randy Orton Vs. Batista for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship on the Grandest Stage of Them All, but the WWE Universe wasn't prepared to accept that decision.
When Rey Mysterio entered the Royal Rumble match instead of Bryan, the crowd immediately turned on the Superstars. Batista's win was booed out of the building and WWE hastily rewrote the narrative to feature Bryan, building towards his moment of victory at WrestleMania.
4 First World Title Win
Daniel Bryan is a beloved figure in wrestling, though this does not impact his ability to play a convincing heel. His first world title win at TLC in 2011 demonstrated this, as he cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on former friend Big Show to capture the big gold belt.
The former American Dragon pinned Big Show after his victory over Mark Henry to win the World Heavyweight Championship for the first time in his career. His gradual descent into villainy was an entertaining stepping stone that paved the way for his pessimistic NO! gimmick and Team Hell No.
3 The YES! Movement Takes Over
Few wrestlers have led an open rebellion against WWE the same way Daniel Bryan has. His takeover of the ring on Raw in 2014, which saw the crowd surround him in protest, forced Triple H to award him a championship opportunity at WrestleMania.
It remains as a powerful image and proof of how fiercely wrestling fans will rally around their favorite Superstar, as well as providing a pivotal moment in Bryan's underdog-to-champion journey.
2 Return From Retirement
Daniel Bryan's retirement announcement was a heartbreaking moment in WWE history, but his return after being cleared to compete by doctors was a triumphant victory that amazed and inspired fans.
Despite an underwhelming rivalry with Big Cass, Bryan's post-return programs have included a highly anticipated bout with The Miz as well as a WWE Championship reign and another heel turn that has revitalized his character.
1 WrestleMania XXX
The most iconic image from Daniel Bryan's career has to be him standing tall following his match against Randy Orton and Batista with the WWE World Heavyweight Championships clutched in each hand.
Bryan overcame the odds to win the title, including interference from Triple H and a crooked referee. It was the ultimate happy ending to Bryan's underdog story, a moment that felt like a victory for fans.