This week, the good people at WWE release Daniel Bryan: Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! on Blu Ray and DVD. A hotly anticipated release, Bryan's five year tenure in the company has made him one of the most beloved stars on the roster. From his mixture of brutal-looking strikes with exciting speed, to his genuinely endearing charisma, there's a lot about Bryan that's made him stand out and capture the hearts of WWE fans worldwide.
While it shouldn't be surprising that his tremendous in-ring skills and crowd-controlling personality had made him a fan favorite even in his many years competing prior to WWE, what may not be as known is how his musical choices and endeavors helped foster quite a unique place for him in the sports-entertainment world as well. With two fingers pointed in the air, we at the Weekly are celebrating this week's release with a gallop back through Bryan's musical memory lane. This is Daniel Bryan's musical history.
Before debuting at the turn of the century, Bryan (then wrestling as Bryan Danielson) was trained by WWE Hall of Famer “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels. While Michaels has the unique distinction of sticking to one song for the entirety of his career, “Sexy Boy” a WWE in-house composition by wrestling manager and former member of The Gentrys Jimmy Hart, Bryan began using something far less macho. Making his way to the ring to The Offspring's “Self Esteem,” Bryan's natural likability caught on quickly, soon getting fans all over the world to sing along with the track's opening “la-la-lalala.” Given the DIY punk aesthetic of early-2000s independent wrestling, the track fit right in as Bryan's stand-out abilities made him considered by many to be among the best in the world.
But Bryan's next entrance choice would become one of his pre-WWE trademarks. In 2005, Bryan was competing in top indie promotion Ring of Honor and was set to challenge their reigning world champion James Gibson. Shortly before the bout, as legend has it, Bryan was flipping through the pages of music magazine Blender when he came across their list of the Worst Songs of all Time.
As an inspired joke, he selected one of the songs of the list's dubious distinction, Europe's “The Final Countdown.” After Bryan defeated Gibson for the belt, the new song signaled a change in his persona as soon the track became just as big of a part of his persona as the wrestling itself. As Bryan would make his way to the ring, fans would sing along, occasionally when the track would bleed into the start of the match such as when Bryan faced Takeshi Morishima in 2008.
The crowd reaction to his choice of entrance songs is an element Bryan would sometimes play with depending how he wanted the fans in attendance to receive him. In 2005 as part of the often-violent indie promotion IWA Mid-South's annual Ted Petty Invitational tournament, Bryan decided to make his wrestling-purist character represent everything the nu-metal loving audience wasn't accustomed to by entering to The Byrds' “Turn, Turn, Turn.” But, for the most part, Bryan was tied to “The Final Countdown.” It was so married to his character that, when Ring of Honor acquired a television deal, due to royalties they had to change it and even marked the occasion with an official press release:
Bryan wrapped his Ring of Honor tenure up using a “Final Countdown” sound-alike. His time with the knock-off was shortlived as Bryan soon found himself signed by WWE. After a rocking first year between generic rock themes, Bryan's unique presence on the roster was soon matched by the decision to pair him with a recognizable excerpt from Wagner's “Ride of the Valkyries” from his opera Die Walküre. Using an orchestral version for roughly a year, Bryan's rising star was soon updated with an irresistible rock arrangement of the legendary composition that he's used ever since.
But Bryan's musical ventures aren't just confined to his squared circle skirmishes. Along with being a longtime record collector, the Aberdeen, the Washington native once sang back-up vocals on a track with Moldy Peaches/The Uncluded's Kimya Dawson and Aesop Rock.
Then, there's also the time Bryan attempted rapping to win a WWE storyline talent contest.
While Bryan's currently sidelined for an indefinite amount of time with injuries, the release of Just Say Yes! Yes! Yes! should be music to fans' ears.