Daniel Bryan’s career as a wrestler is over. But in his incredible, even unlikely sixteen years in wrestling, he accomplished a great many things, things nobody would have expected. He had great matches, influenced the careers of many other wrestlers, rose to the top of the industry and became a legend along the way. It’s unlikely we’ll ever see another wrestler quite like Daniel Bryan, simply because of the many ways in which his career actually changed the world of professional wrestling, mostly for the better. It seems unbelievable, but when you look at the career of Daniel Bryan closely, you can see how profound an effect he had on the business that he loved.
10. He Made It Okay Not To Look Like A Wrestler
By and large, pro wrestlers who make it far in WWE all look the same. The vast majority of them are chiseled statues of men, with rippling biceps and rock-hard abs, the type of body you can only get through working out at a level that 99% of us are not prepared to deal with. They’ve got clean-cut good looks, too. No five o’clock shadows or wild hairstyles. The craziest thing about them, these days, is the number of tattoos they’re all covered in. Sure, there are wrestlers that don’t match that body type, but they don’t usually get to be World Champion. They’re the sideshow acts, the freaks. And Daniel Bryan doesn’t look like a wrestler. Even setting aside his below-average height, which we’ll cover later, there are so many reasons why he fails the eye test. He’s wiry and lean instead of solid muscle. He debuted with a haircut that looked like he paid ten bucks for at a barber college. When he tried a shaved head he just looked weird, so he went in the opposite direction and let it grow out. Same for his great bushy beard, which would be the envy of most men, but rarely seen on a serious wrestler. After Bryan, we’ve started to see an increase in non-standard wrestlers, ones who don’t quite fit the mold. Wrestlers like Bray Wyatt, Kevin Owens, and Samoa Joe are being allowed to show that you don’t have to have a six-pack and 34-inch pythons to be one hell of a wrestler.