Daniel Bryan is quite an inspirational story in the WWE, as he really can thank his hard work and dedication as well as the fan support (not to mention the post-WrestleMania boost from John Cena and a certain catchphrase) for how far he’s come in such a short amount of time. It’s not easy to break through the ranks of the WWE, and yet Bryan has done so to the point of where he’s one of the top ranking guys in the company today, and will likely remain that way for some time to come.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt that his charisma and ability to work the crowd is topped off by incredible in-ring work night in and night out. Yes, Bryan is also one of the best technical wrestlers out there, and is constantly referred to as a submissions expert by those announcing his matches. His ability to pull holds out of nowhere really help make his matches a bit more unpredictable, which makes it so that fans watching his matches tend to stay on edge.
It’s been a long while since the WWE has taken advantage of having such a wealth of strong top tier talent that can tell a great technical story in the ring. Bryan’s recent matches with CM Punk are easily up there as match of the year candidates, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg as of late. Ideally, I’d love to see CM Punk Vs. Bryan in an Iron Man match, though I’m not sure that the road both men are on at the moment can lead there any time in the near future. And if things stay the way they are, is it possible that their roles could be reversed in the eyes of the fans when they do clash again?
While there’s plenty to debate about where Bryan is today and what he’ll be doing in the future, looking back on his climb up the WWE ladder is an extremely entertaining one. While a bigger release is definitely in his future, the WWE have given Bryan a place in their latest WWE Superstar Collection, and it turns out that his release is the best of the bunch as far as the first crop of releases are concerned.
The DVD begins with Bryan on NXT and ends with him as World Heavyweight champion, and while it’s a quick 90-minute ride, it’s definitely one that wrestling fans should jump on.
Let’s take a look at the matches that are found on the disc…
Singles Match (NXT – Feb. 23, 2010)
Chris Jericho Vs. Daniel Bryan
This is a really solid match, and showed that the idea WWE had for NXT was a strong one right out of the gate, with some of the more mainstream wrestlers “mentoring” a younger wrestler trying to break onto the scene. Bryan’s arrogance shines through right from the start, with him telling his mentor The Miz that he doesn’t need his help to become big, and it shows that much like Edge and Christian, Bryan will always be best as a heel that we still want to see succeed.
The match was a television match, so it’s fairly quick. Also, Jericho was the World champ at the time, so for Bryan to be allowed to put on a show against him really shows how much Jericho has been giving back these past few years.
The match ends with The Miz beating the hell out of Bryan for disrespecting him earlier and embarrassing him by losing against Jericho.
Daniel Bryan and The Miz History Promo
This beatdown leads nicely into the next segment which finally begins to fix an issue this series has had (and for those of you who read my Zack Ryder and John Cena Superstar Collection reviews know how much I hated them not being there) and adds a promo montage of The Miz and Daniel Bryan leading up to their PPV match, and thus, helping make this DVD feel that much stronger than its predecessors.
United States Championship Singles Match (Night of the Champions – Sept. 19th, 2010)
The Miz Vs. Daniel Bryan
This is a well-paced back and forth match that sees Bryan going for various submissions near the start of the match, and The Miz focusing on the arm/shoulder of Bryan for most of the middle part of the match in order to stop him from applying submissions. There are some great close calls in the final act of this bout, and a definite “who’s going to win?” factor that keeps viewers and the crowd on edge. The finish is fantastic, and really caps off this story well. Bryan has fought his way up the ladder to the top heel he is today, but seeing this major stepping stone in his career is definitely a must for fans of his, and a great match that will no doubt be on his inevitable 3-disc release. Great to see that the WWE is sticking with some strong PPV matches of Bryan’s on this release, as we jump from this strong match right into the Smackdown! Money in the Bank ladder match!
Smackdown! Money in the Bank Ladder Match (Money in the Bank – July 17, 2011)
Sin Cara Vs. Wade Barrett Vs. Daniel Bryan Vs. Justin Gabriel Vs. Kane Vs. Cody Rhodes Vs. Sheamus Vs. Heath Slater
Right off the bat I’m thankful that Booker T is now the Smackdown! GM and no longer at the announce table. I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it through this entire PPV listening to him say, “D. Bryan is my man!” and “D. Bryan is a superhero!” He sounds like a tabloid magazine talking about R. Patz and K. Stew. Okay, those are worse, but it’s still pretty bad.
This match is awesome, to say the least. The mix of big guys and small, highflying guys really help the pacing of this bout. There are some huge spots early on, and it really sets the stage for the rest of this bout. There’s a crazy powerbomb by Sheamus on Sin Cara through a ladder that leaves things rather awkward for the crowd, as they really play it up as though Sin Cara is injured, and the crowd silences for a while until the paramedics take Sin Cara away on a stretcher. Of course, the truth is he failed a drug test earlier, and this was an angle written to get him off TV for a while.
The rest of the match comes off great, with some awesome spots and plenty of finishing moves being nailed throughout. Definitely a match that’s worth watching a few times, and a great addition to this DVD set.
Singles Match (Smackdown! Nov. 4, 2011)
Daniel Bryan Vs. Mark Henry
This match shows what a great job the WWE did with Mark Henry last year when he was dominating Smackdown! As we’re seeing with The Big Show now (who’s actually in Bryan’s corner in this match) if the WWE works it well, even a guy who wasn’t seen as much of anything for a few years can all of a sudden be a major threat due to size alone.
This is actually a really solid television match, with Bryan playing the obvious underdog. The two go back and forth; with Bryan actually coming out on the losing end after Big Show interferes due to Mark Henry doesn’t stop pummeling Bryan in the corner. There’s a tease of Bryan cashing in his Money in the Bank briefcase after Show knocks out Henry, but Henry recovers before Bryan cashes in and lays Bryan out.
Triple Threat Steel Cage Match for the World Heavyweight Championship (Royal Rumble – Jan. 29th, 2012)
Daniel Bryan Vs. Big Show Vs. Mark Henry
Just three months later we’re at the Royal Rumble, Bryan has a beard, and he’s now World Heavyweight champion. While we don’t get to see Bryan cash in the briefcase to win the title, there’s at least a small recap of what happened between Big Show and Bryan on recent Smackdown! episodes that at least help set the stage somewhat for this bout.
Just seeing the three of these guys standing in the ring sets the tone for this match, as Big Show and Mark Henry are just behemoths, while Bryan is just your average sized wrestler.
This is a decent steel cage match, with enough of the cage being used to make it worthwhile. Of course, there aren’t going to be any high flying moves, as Bryan is a technical guy, and the other two…well, I don’t think I have to explain why they aren’t doing any hurricanranas. Still, the story gets told well for the time they’re given (the match is roughly 12 minutes long, mainly due to injuries Henry was battling) and Bryan comes out victorious in a somewhat sneaky, somewhat anticlimactic manner, as Big Show was hanging onto him by one arm, and while it looked like Show may try to do something crazy like yank him back over, Bryan simply fell to the ground and retained.
The Daniel Bryan Superstar Collection is definitely the best deal in the new collection thus far. There’s a great selection of matches on this DVD, with three of the five being solid PPV matches, and the other two being entertaining televised bouts. It’s a strong DVD that finally adds a promo to the mix to hype up The Miz Vs. Bryan match, and while I love that they added that, another one for the Big Show Vs. Henry Vs. Bryan feud would just be icing on the cake.
While it’s inevitable that a 3-disc career covering Daniel Bryan DVD/Blu-ray will hit the stands in the future, this DVD is a must-buy for fans of his, and fans of great wrestling as well. With the awesome selection of matches chosen by the WWE for this disc, and the ability to pick this up for under $10, the answer to whether or not you should buy Daniel Bryan’s Superstar Collection DVD is simply, “Yes, Yes, Yes!”
Like usual for WWE DVD releases, the visual quality of this DVD is solid throughout, and so is the audio portions. As I’ve stated before, the WWE is almost always on the top of their game when it comes to video production, so this should be no surprise to those who collect these DVDs.
There are no special features found on this DVD.
WWE Home Video presents WWE: Superstar Collection – Daniel Bryan. Featuring: Daniel Bryan, The Miz, Chris Jericho, The Big Show, Mark Henry, Sin Cara, Cody Rhodes, Justin Gabriel, Sheamus, Heath Slater, Wade Barrett, Kane. Approx. Running Time: 90 minutes. Rating: TV-PG. Released: August 7, 2012. Available at Amazon.com.