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   December 21, 2014



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Daniel Bryan DVD cries out for more
By MATTHEW BYER - SLAM! Wrestling


Will you see great wrestling matches? Yes!

Will you be amazed by the chemistry that Daniel Bryan has in the ring with not only smaller wrestlers, but bigger guys like Mark Henry and The Big Show? Yes!

Will this DVD leave you wanting more? Yes!

World Wrestling Entertainment's Superstar Collection Daniel Bryan is an interesting kettle of fish as it covers Bryan's career from February 2010 to January 2012. The DVD includes five matches for a total runtime of 90 minutes and the producers have chosen some good ones. However, the majority of the matches take place during the period when Daniel Bryan was a babyface in the WWE and arguably it is really only once Bryan became a heel that his wrestling persona had a chance to flourish.

The DVD starts off with a short vignette covering Bryan time during the first WWE NXT season. For those not familiar with WWE NXT, the concept is basically a rookie wrestler is teamed with a 'pro' wrestler and at the end of the WWE NXT season a winner is chosen. Failing to win the WWE NXT doesn't preclude going on to success in the WWE and in the case of Bryan, he is a textbook example of this.

Bryan's mentor was The Miz and the announcers make it clear that the two had an antagonistic relationship right from the beginning. As a result The Miz makes no effort to help Bryan during the first match featured, which is against the World Heavyweight Championship Chris Jericho. The match is an impressive one and clearly demonstrates what a polished in-ring performer Bryan was during this early period of his WWE career. In fact it may surprise many people, but the announcers make mention of Bryan's time on the independent scene, but fail to specifically talk about his time in Ring of Honor -- or his name on the indies, "The American Dragon" Bryan Danielson.

The DVD next naturally slides into Bryan's United States Championship match from September of 2010 against The Miz. The vignette shown prior to the match adds further colour to what is another really solid and fast-paced match. The match takes place at a very interesting point of The Miz's career as it's just before he began his ascent towards the WWE's Championship. The Miz was clearly at the top of his game, but Bryan easily matched him in the ring and held his own.

The third match featured on the DVD is the Smackdown July 2011 Money in the Bank match. While the match itself is excellent and is one of the biggest wins from Bryan's WWE career when looked at objectively its inclusion is questionable. Being that the DVD is meant to highlight moments from Bryan's career, the Money in the Bank match really only had some interesting spots from Bryan, but in terms of showing off his talent in the ring it seemed disappointing. The Money in the Bank match also takes up a high percentage of the overall 90 minute running time which could have been better used to feature other moments of Bryan's WWE career.

Perhaps the biggest surprises came from the fourth and fifth matches on the DVD. A November 2011 Smackdown match against Mark Henry is a very entertaining and was likely a catalyst in demonstrating to Vince McMahon that Bryan could put on a good quality match regardless of the size of his opponent. The Triple Threat Steel Cage match for the World Heavyweight Championship between Bryan, Mark Henry and The Big Show is also quite good with a pretty fun ending. Yet, curiously that Triple Threat Steel Cage match is the only one from when Bryan had started his run as a heel. The vignette just before the match begins is the only point that Bryan's girlfriend AJ is featured too.

The DVD never shows Bryan winning the World Heavyweight Championship which is really strange. The build throughout the entire collection seems to be leading up to seeing Bryan win that championship, so its omission is pretty jarring.

Unfortunately, there are no documentaries, no extras, no promos, and no interviews, which leaves the decision of whether to submit to buying the DVD or not entirely dependent on the matches themselves. Realistically the matches featured here are fairly good, but Bryan would go on to have much higher calibre performances in the WWE, most notably his recent feud with CM Punk. They also pale in comparison to Bryan's matches during his time in Ring of Honor.

So as an appetizer WWE's Superstar Collection Daniel Bryan is pretty good for a cheap price, but it left me wanting something more substantive to watch.

RELATED LINKS

  • Daniel Bryan bio and story archive
  • Previous SLAM! Wrestling DVD reviews

    Matthew Byer was able to recover from his earlier DVD/Blu-Ray review of The Undertaker The Streak thanks to Kane and is now helping as one of The Big Red Machine's minions to plot revenge on The Deadman from a secret place in Victoria, BC.