There is no substitute for hard work- Thomas Edison
2012 will always be looked at as a transitional period in professional wrestling. The period where the top spots in the main event are handed over to someone new, and someone fresh. If you look real closely, it’s as clear as daylight. CM Punk is WWE Champion, and has been for 1 whole year. Sheamus stood atop the blue brand as its World Heavyweight Champion for the majority of the year, and will probably regain his spot once again before the year ends. In TNA, Austin Aries’s meteoric rise to the top has been great; as has Kevin Steen’s in ROH.
Basically, with a plethora of new main event talent (and mid-card talent, for that matter) in every single mainstream company, newcomers in today’s pro wrestling aren’t rare. One man, however, has managed to rise above the rest. This man has been a staple of brilliant technical and scientific wrestling for his entire career, but his rise to pro wrestling stardom has been anything but scientific.
The man I am talking about is Daniel Bryan. He began his 2012 as the World Heavyweight Champion. He had, however, yet to truly find his niche in the WWE. His babyface character was becoming stale, and he needed to transition into a different character quickly. For the majority of 2011, he seemed to barely be over, and at times seemed to bore people. It was obvious he needed a change, possibly in the form of a heel turn. Almost everyone, however, was doubtful that Daniel Bryan could truly be a top heel in World Wrestling Entertainment.
He did it though. Bryan turned heel and made himself over with the WWE Universe. Daniel developed a self-obsessed, condescending, woman-abusing, heel character that was so far from the real Daniel Bryan, that it is simply outstanding that he played it as brilliantly as he did.
Daniel Bryan truly broke out of his charismatic shell at the beginning of the year. He became great on the microphone, and was soon cutting 10-12 minute promos, and entertaining the crowd; something that possibly nobody thought he would be able to accomplish.
Daniel Bryan was given the ball as a heel World Champion, and much to the surprise of many, he ran with the character. The American Dragon was THE face of SmackDown, and by far the most intriguing and entertaining part of the blue brand. Daniel Bryan even helped to build up a highly anticipated headlining match at Wrestlemania, versus Sheamus.
Although Daniel Bryan’s World Title reign would end at Wrestlemania XXVIII, his momentum would certainly not die. The night after Wrestlemania, Daniel Bryan’s catchphrase would become legendary. YES! Became the new phenomenon in pro wrestling. Just as WHAT had before, YES! Is now just as infamous and popular as anything else in the business. The fact that Daniel Bryan’s catchphrase became so popular during Wrestlemania weekend shows that the fans of WWE were being hooked onto this guy unlike any other in the entire business.
After Bryan’s outstanding feud with Sheamus would conclude in a fantastic 2 out of 3 falls match at Extreme Rules, Bryan would move on to yet another massive feud. Daniel Bryan had gained the confidence of the top WWE executives, and had made himself so popular with the WWE audience, that he transitioned into a feud with the WWE Champion, CM Punk.
Bryan’s match with Punk at Over The Limit could possibly be the greatest one this year, and the storyline that followed was excellent. Daniel Bryan and CM Punk would engage in a wildly entertaining love triangle with AJ Lee. The storyline became, by far, the most interesting and entertaining angle of the whole summer.
If Bryan’s mic skills an charisma weren’t perfected and polished up as a heel, they were here. This feud/storyline was damn near perfect, and it did wonders for Daniel Bryan, in making sure that he would be a top star in WWE for the remainder of his career.
Daniel Bryan’s character, however, took a turn for the better come the end of the summer.
Daniel Bryan would slowly begin transitioning into a tweener character, and develop a hilariously entertaining partnership with longtime rival, Kane. Their forced Anger Management sessions were of Saturday Night Live quality comedy, and Daniel Bryan’s comedic timing was impeccable. Bryan and Kane’s performances in the ring and out of it have been praised by some of the greats in the business, and many people have mentioned that they have been the most entertaining part of RAW each week since their partnership began.
Daniel Bryan has added a brand new element to his now highly popular character, and he has done it with ease and grace, much like how he slowly and perfectly turned heel at the beginning of the year.
2012 has been a year for the youngsters in pro wrestling. No other superstar, however, has been able to pull of everything they have been asked to do with perfection. No other superstar has been able to make absolutely everything work, and engage in three of the best and most acclaimed feuds/storylines of the entire year. No other superstar has been able to acquire a massive following by the WWE Universe, and make them either boo him or cheer him with such ease. No other superstar has been able to attain a massive reaction from the fans at any event or arena as the American Dragon has.
Daniel Bryan has done all of those things in just one year. And it’s especially amazing to think that before 2012, Daniel Bryan was simply a boring mid-card talent that was seemingly going nowhere.
In 2012, Daniel Bryan made himself into a true superstar.
One question, however, remains. Is Daniel Bryan the Breakout Star of 2012?
YES! YES! YES!