Daniel Bryan never had the look of a top guy in WWE. He wasn't as big as most WWE superstars and he didn't have the personality many thought he needed to succeed in WWE. Bryan was one of the top names on the Independent scene for years, which in theory hurt him as, at that time, WWE rarely looked to pluck from the Independent scene.
But the success of CM Punk and the wear and tear of the Independent scene changed things and had Bryan re-thinking how he looked at his future in wrestling.
"I actively didn't want to go to WWE," said Bryan on WWE Backstage. "I liked the DIY aesthetic and liked being in control of my own schedule. I remember when Punk signed with WWE. I thought, 'Man, if they give him a shot, he's gonna blow them away.' I didn't think that about myself. The reason why is WWE is so promo and interview heavy. At that point, I was not good at promos. I was actively bad. I could do a sports promo, but as far as being entertaining, I could do it a little, but that's not what they would do with smaller guys. My interest has always been in my love for wrestling and not wanting to be famous. I only needed enough money to survive. It was when I started getting a decent amount of injuries when I looked at my life and I was like, 'Either I'm gonna have to sign with WWE to where I can save up enough money to be taken care of or I'm gonna need to start looking at another path.' 2009 was this make or break year where I decided, I'm gonna spend all year training MMA because I've always wanted to do and never got the chance and I'm gonna work hard to get into WWE and if that doesn't work out, I'm gonna go back to school and cut down on my Independent dates and start working towards a normal life."
Bryan did sign with WWE and was part of the inaugural season of NXT in 2010. Bryan was an original member of the Nexus, but was fired after choking Justin Roberts with his own necktie. He returned to the company after a few short months on the Independent scene and has done pretty well for himself since, becoming a Triple Crown and Grand Slam Champion.
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