WWE – Daniel Bryan – Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! (Cert 15)
2 Disc Blu-ray / 3 Disc DVD (Distributor: Fremantle Media) Running Time: 66 minutes approx.
Injury may have put Daniel Bryan in an awkward position in terms of his WWE career at the moment but if we are being frank, he was always in an awkward position within the WWE. Many “smaller” wrestlers have bucked the trend of the “land of the giants” but none have been forced to publicly carry the stigma as Daniel Bryan has. Yet he always comes out of it as a giant in the eyes of the fans. This latest retrospective release from WWE Home Video looks at why this is.
The main feature is an extended remix of the special which aired on the WWE Network, with additional newly shot interviews that make up the match previews and Blu-ray extras. The theme of this biography is a behind the scenes look at Bryan’s journey to his to history making matches at Wrestlemania 30, detailing the last few weeks prior to the big event fly-on-the-wall style, intertwined with a look at his history.
Pulling back the curtain on the world of wrestling with his trademark humility and self-effacing nature, Bryan relates his humble beginnings in as a small town boy who entered the wrestling world aged 18 training with Shawn Michaels, to his hard earned status as King of the Indies to his current position as the WWE’s top underdog. Bryan approaches every subject with complete honesty and candour and this is supported by his peers who offer their opinions and comments, including his wife Brie Bella, Seth Rollins, William Regal, John Cena, Shawn Michaels, The Miz, Michael Cole and more.
With footage from HBK’s Texas Wrestling Academy (TWA) school/promotion and Ring Of Honour (ROH) to illustrate his early days, we meet Bryan Danielson a skinny, nervy kid with a great in ring skill that caught the attention of many in the business. under the moniker American Dragon and often sporting a mask, HBK cajoled WWE into giving Danielson and other TWA students a developmental contract in 2000 which saw them sent to Memphis, a subdivision that would shut down a year later.
Following advice from his mentor Regal, Danielson made his way across the country and the globe gaining experience and raising his profile and reputation in the UK, Europe, Japan and beyond. No footage remains so do get to see his runs in PWG, Dragon Gate USA, NJPW or Pro Wrestling NOAH leaving snippets from ROH again to represent this part of his career. Danielson explains how 2008 was going to be his last attempt to gain a WWE contract; he left ROH at the same time as Nigel McGuinness and both were going to sign with TNA if WWE didn’t work out, but McGuinness failed a medical and went to TNA as Desmond Wolfe.
As we know Bryan’s indie status didn’t sit well with WWE as Vince McMahon who likes to control everything about his talent including ignoring their history when presenting them to the fans. The original NXT show was a showcase for developmental talent to earn a spot on the main roster and Bryan was the best known name of the “rookies” due to his pre-WWE career so they put him with The Miz as his mentor (Miz admits he had to Google Bryan!) to cheese off Bryan’s internet fanbase!
Bryan isn’t shy about sharing his negative opinion on NXT and the handling of his career by WWE afterwards, not in the least the firing for the choking incident which Cena and Pat Patterson boldly stand up to say how Vince overacted on that one. Bryan’s aimless run after winning the Money In The Bank and his Wrestlemania disappointments gets some deep discussion time, with Sheamus chiming in with his own withering feelings of their WM 27 match being shifted to the pre-show.
From here it is the evolution of the “Yes” gimmick and how it was the fan’s reaction to the 18 second whitewash of Bryan at WM 28 that kicked it all off. While the rest of the story is now familiar to us, Bryan talks about how the “B+ Player” shtick that the Authority throw at him on TV does reflect some backstage opinion of him (i.e. Vince) and feels it is more counterproductive than a heat getting device.
Bryan himself is such an affable, unaffected and easy going guy that he is a joy to listen to and his candour is refreshing without it seeming like a bitter shoot. He takes everything in his stride, including his disappointments, displaying a grounded and generous persona that compliments his tireless work ethic. He can even laugh at Vince’s asinine assertion that Bryan would never be a star because “he doesn’t even eat meat”.
This seems to have rubbed off on wife Brie who comes across as less of a diva then you might imagine, explaining how she is perplexed at her husband’s reluctance to embrace his fame. It is this exact quality that make Bryan so special in today’s ego driven business and why he is so respected and loved by wrestling fans the world over.
Most of the key matches from Bryan’s WWE career are here from his NXT debut to his MITB win, World title win, WWE Tile win and of course his Wrestlemania 30 double. Arguably the most interesting archive footage will be the TWA students WWF tryout match in 2000 with Bryan as American Dragon teaming up with Shooter Schultz against the late Lance Cade and Brian Kendrick, who sports THE worst wrestling gear ever, in what is a very good match for guys with just four months of training behind them!
While limited to the amount of archive footage available to them the WWE have done a tremendous job in telling the wrestling side of the Daniel Bryan story, while the man himself charms us with his unfailing warmth, candour and level headed demeanour.
Should you buy this release? I think we both know the answer to that!
He Gave Me A lot
Velocity – February 8th 2003 – John Cena vs. Brian Danielson
NXT – April 13th 2010 – Daniel Bryan vs. William Regal
WWE Monday Night RAW – December 6th 2010 – Daniel Bryan & Brie Bella vs. Ted DiBiase & Maryse
WWE Monday Night RAW – August 2012 – Daniel Bryan and Kane Attend Anger Management
The Wyatt Family’s Newest Member
WWE Monday Night RAW – January 13th 2014 – Steel Cage Tag Team Match – The Usos vs. Bray Wyatt & Daniel Bryan
School of Wrestling
Just A Dude
King of the Indy’s
Yes / No ?
Book of Yes
Rating – **** ½
Man In Black