Daniel Bryan’s Slow Burn (2014)

Originally published as a List Feature at WhatCulture.com

n the same night in Chicago that the “Summer of Punk” was to springboard with the hometown star’s clean takeover of the WWE Championship, our other flag-bearer of the Reality Era – a clean-shaven Daniel Bryan – was set to appear in WWE’s ninth Money in the Bank ladder match.

In the match Bryan would wow the crowd with his trademark high wattage charisma, springboard suicide sentons, and a gullotine submissions. The announcers were invested in the match, stating: “That’s that super hero D-Bry,” and “The pest just keeps coming back . . . for Daniel Bryan, persistence pays off.”

Those words foreshadowed the slow burn WWE would be giving to the counter-culture hero over the next two years, and unofficially pinned the greater fan’s favorite wrestler against the ‘chosen ones’ of the McMahon machine.