Night of Champions (2010) was a professional wrestlingpay-per-view (PPV) event produced by World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and presented by WowWee's Paper Jamz, that took place on September 19, 2010, at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois. It was the third annual event to be promoted solely under the Night of Champions name and the tenth annual event under the Vengeance/Night of Champions chronology. Similar to the previous three events, the concept of the show was that every championshipin the company was defended at the event. It was also the first Night of Champions event to feature a non-title match. Seven matches took place at the event. The event had 165,000 buys, down on the 2009's Night of Champions figure of 267,000 buys.
Night of Champions featured professional wrestling matches involving different wrestlers from pre-existing scripted feuds, plots, and storylines that played out on World Wrestling Entertainment's (WWE) television programs. Wrestlers portrayed villains or heroes as they followed a series of events that built tension and culminated in a wrestling match or series of matches.
The main rivalry heading into Night of Champions from the Rawbrand featured the defending champion Sheamus, Randy Orton, John Cena, Chris Jericho, Edge and Wade Barrett, feuding over the WWE Championship. At the Fatal 4-Waypay-per-view in June, Sheamus won his second WWE Championship in a fatal four-way match after interference from The Nexus, and at Money in the Bank in July, defeated Cena to retain the title in a steel cage match, again after The Nexus interfered. At SummerSlam, Sheamus lost to Orton in a championship match via disqualification, but as per WWE rules, retained the title. On the televised August 23 episode of Raw, the Anonymous Raw General Manager of the show set up a series of matches that night to determine the next contender for the WWE Championship, and allowed Sheamus himself to handpick his opponent for Night of Champions. The matches saw Edge defeat R-Truth, Jericho defeat The Great Khali, and Orton defeat John Morrison and Ted DiBiase in a Triple Threat match, while The Miz defeated Cena via disqualification. During the night, Barrett called off The Nexus' "truce" with Sheamus, and at the end of night decided to cash-in his right (due to winning the first season of NXT) to challenge for the WWE Championship at Night of Champions. However, the general manager announced that Sheamus was to defend his WWE Championship against Orton, Cena, Jericho, Edge, and Barrett in a Six-Pack Challenge at Night of Champions. On the 900th episode of Raw, Chris Jericho added a stipulation that if he cannot win the championship, he will leave the WWE. However, the following week, he participated in a match with John Morrison under the stipulation that he would be taken out of the Night of Champions match if he did not win. Jericho lost the match and was removed from the Six-Pack Challenge. On the September 13 episode of Raw, the Anonymous Raw General Manager announced the match was changed to an elimination format. In addition, the General Manager also offered Chris Jericho an opportunity to re-insert himself in the match via a handicapsteel cage match against The Hart Dynasty. Jericho was successful in defeating the duo and thus was re-admitted to the Six-Pack Challenge.
The main rivalry from the SmackDown brand featured the champion Kane against his storyline half-brother The Undertaker for the World Heavyweight Championship. Approximately three months prior to the pay-per-view, The Undertaker had been mysteriously put in a vegetative state. Upon finding out about this, Kane had attempted to seek vengeance against the culprit. At the Money in the Bank pay-per-view, Kane had won the Money in the Bank ladder match and cashed in his briefcase later that night against then champion Rey Mysterio. Mysterio used his rematch clause on Kane to challenge him at SummerSlam but failed. During the weeks leading up to SummerSlam, Kane was convinced that Mysterio was the one behind the attack on his brother and upon defeating him, attempted to put him in a casket when The Undertaker appeared inside it. Upon seeing his brother again, Kane attacked The Undertaker turning him heel. On the September 3 episode of SmackDown, Kane challenged the Undertaker putting his Championship on the line and promises to end The Undertaker for good.
Another rivalry involved an inter-brand match involving the WWE Divas ChampionMelina and the WWE Women's ChampionLayla and Michelle McCool, collectively known as Team Lay-Cool, in a Title Unification Match. On May 14, Layla had pinned then-Women's Champion Beth Phoenix in a two-on-one handicap match which awarded Layla the championship. However, both Layla and McCool decided to make themselves Co-Women's Champion (as, by their logic, the Championship was won in a handicap match), going as far as splitting the main championship belt to keep co-reign. At SummerSlam, Melina had won the Divas Championship from former champion Alicia Fox. After the match, Lay-Cool had attacked Melina, stating they had defeated everyone on the SmackDown brand while champions and decided to go after Raw Divas. On the 900th episode of Raw, Lay-Cool challenged Melina to a Title Unification match. Melina accepted under one condition, their match would be a Lumberjill match.
Another rivalry from Raw involved champion The Miz against Daniel Bryan for the WWE United States Championship. The feud had begun during the first season of NXT, when The Miz was Bryan's storyline mentor, and felt that Bryan did not respect him. Bryan had been released from WWE in June, but returned at SummerSlam to join Team WWE, taking The Miz's place. Afterward, the two resumed their rivalry, distracting or attacking each other during matches, with The Miz joined by his rookie from the second season of NXT, Alex Riley. On the September 6 episode of Raw, Bryan challenged The Miz for the United States Championship, which The Miz accepted.
Another SmackDown rivalry involved the champion Dolph Ziggler against Kofi Kingston for the WWE Intercontinental Championship. On the August 6 episode of SmackDown, Ziggler defeated Kingston for his Intercontinental Championship. Kingston got a rematch at SummerSlam only for The Nexus to interfere resulting in a no contest. Following this, Kingston got several rematches against Ziggler only to be disqualified for one of them and counted out for another. To correct this, General Manager Theodore Long declared that Ziggler would defend his title against Kingston and if he were to be disqualified or counted out, then the title would go to Kingston.
The event opened with Dolph Ziggler defending the Intercontinental Championship against Kofi Kingston. The match ended when Kingston attempted Trouble In Paradise on Ziggler but Ziggler avoided the move, trapping Kingston's leg in the ropes. Ziggler executed a Zig Zag on Kingston to retain the title.
Next, Big Show faced CM Punk. In the end, Punk attempted a Springboard Clothesline on Big Show, but Big Show delivered a Spear in mid-air and executed a KO Punch on Punk to win the match.
After that, The Miz defended the United States Championship against Daniel Bryan. Bryan forced Miz to submit to the Lebell Lock to win the title.
In the fourth match, Women's ChampionMichelle McCool faced Divas ChampionMelina in a Lumberjill match to unify the titles. In the end, Layla interfered, starting a brawl involving the Lumberjills. McCool executed a Big Boot on Melina to win the match.
Main event matches
In the fifth match, Kane defended the World Heavyweight Championship against The Undertaker in a No Holds Barred match. At the start of the match, Undertaker attacked Kane on the entrance ramp, throwing Kane into a pillar on the entrance ramp. After brawling inside the ring, Kane threw the broadcast table cover at Undertaker. Undertaker performed a Clothesline on Kane, knocking Kane over the barricade into the timekeeper’s area, and leapt over the barricade onto Kane. In the end, Undertaker delivered a Chokeslam to Kane for a near-fall. Undertaker attempted a Tombstone Piledriver on Kane but Kane countered into his own Tombstone Piledriver on Undertaker to retain the title.
Later, a Tag Team Turmoil match for the WWE Tag Team Championship took place. Defending champions The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd) and The Usos (Jimmy Uso and Jey Uso) began the match. The Hart Dynasty were eliminated after Kidd was pinned by Jey following a Superkick. Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov entered next. Santino and Kozlov were eliminated after Jimmy pinned Marella following a Samoan Drop. Evan Bourne and Mark Henry entered fourth. The Usos were eliminated after Bourne pinned Jimmy following an Air Bourne. Cody Rhodes and Drew McIntyre entered last. Rhodes performed a Cross Rhodes on Bourne to win the title.
In the main event, Sheamus defended the WWE Championship against Wade Barrett, Randy Orton, John Cena, Edge and Chris Jericho in a Six-pack challenge elimination match. Orton eliminated Jericho after an RKO. Cena eliminated Edge after an Attitude Adjustment. After interference by The Nexus, Barrett eliminated Cena after a Wasteland. The Nexus attacked Orton but Cena used a chair to attack The Nexus. Orton eliminated Barrett after an RKO. Sheamus executed a Brogue Kick on Orton for a near-fall. As Sheamus attempted a High Cross on Orton, Orton countered and pinned Sheamus after an RKO to win the title.
A sellout crowd of 13,851 people attended Night of Champions live at the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, Illinois.
Writing for The Sun, Rob McNichol rated the event 8.5 out of ten. He praised most of the matches, especially the United States Championship match, Kane vs Undertaker, and the main event, which he described as "superbly booked".
- The lumberjills were: Alicia Fox, Brie Bella, Eve Torres, Gail Kim, Jillian Hall, Kelly Kelly, Layla, Maryse, Natalya, Nikki Bella, Rosa Mendes and Tamina.
Tag Team Turmoil match
Elimination Six-pack challenge
|Elimination||Wrestler||Eliminated by||Elimination move||Time|
|1||Chris Jericho||Randy Orton||RKO||01:25|
|3||John Cena||Wade Barrett||Wasteland||18:58|
|4||Wade Barrett||Randy Orton||RKO||20:32|
|5||Sheamus (c)||Randy Orton||RKO||21:28|
Other on-screen personnel
WWEpay-per-view and WWE Network events
|Night of Champions|
- ^ abMartin, Adam (September 22, 2010). "Recent WWE attendance figures (9/18 and 9/19)". WrestleView. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- ^"Night of Champions 2010". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- ^"Night of Champions". In Demand. Retrieved 2010-08-01.
- ^"Live & Televised Entertainment of World Wrestling Entertainment". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on November 18, 2013. Retrieved 2010-07-18.
- ^McNichol, Rob (September 20, 2010). "Orton ends night as champ". The Sun. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- ^ abcEck, Kevin (2010-09-20). "Night of Champions thoughts". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved 2010-09-27.
- ^Martin, Adam (September 20, 2010). "Dark match result before Night of Champions PPV". WrestleView. Retrieved April 6, 2012.
- ^"Results: Cougar's company helps Dolph deliver". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- ^"Results: Big Showing". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- ^"Results: For whom LeBell tolls". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- ^"Results: Unified front". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- ^"Results: The brother he destroyed". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- ^"Results: 'Dashing', diabolical and dominant". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
- ^"Results: Fanging on for dear life". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-19.
Bryan Lloyd Danielson (born May 22, 1981) is an American author and retired professional wrestler currently signed to WWE, where he is the current on-screen General Manager of SmackDown Live under the ring nameDaniel Bryan
In WWE, Bryan held the WWE Championship[Note 1]three times and WWE's World Heavyweight Championshiponce, in addition to being a one-timeUnited States Champion, a one-timeIntercontinental Champion and a one-timeWWE Tag Team Champion as part of Team Hell No (with Kane). He was also the 2011SmackDown Money in the Bank winner and the 2013 Superstar of the YearSlammy Award winner. Bryan is the 26th Triple Crown Champion and the 6th Grand Slam Champion in WWE history and headlined several major pay-per-view events, including SummerSlam and WrestleMania XXX.
Danielson was previously signed to the WWE, then known as the WWF, for an 18-month period from 2000–2001. Prior to joining WWE for his second stint in 2009, Danielson wrestled for various companies internationally using both his real name and the ring name (and later nickname) "American Dragon". He wrestled for Ring of Honor (ROH) from 2002 to 2009, being recognized as a "Founding Father" of the promotion, where he was a one-timeROH World Champion, as well the finalPure Wrestling Champion (unifying the Pure title with the World title). He was the first winner of ROH's annual Survival of the Fittest tournament in 2004.
Danielson also wrestled extensively in Japan, winning the GHC Junior Heavyweight Championship in Pro Wrestling Noah and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship (with Curry Man) in New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW). Between WWE, ROH and Japanese promotions, he held eleven total championships. Danielson also won numerous titles on the independent circuit, including two PWG World Championships, the FIP Heavyweight Championship and the wXw World Heavyweight Championship.
In February 2016, Danielson retired from professional wrestling due to medical issues (including seizures) arising from multiple concussions and a brain lesion. That July, he became the SmackDownGeneral Manager following the return of the brand extension.
Danielson was born and raised in Aberdeen, Washington, the son of a logger father and a therapist mother, who divorced when Danielson was young. Danielson has an older sister named Billie Sue and competed in various sports at Aberdeen-Weatherwax High School, including football.
Professional wrestling career
Early career (1999–2000)
After Danielson graduated from high school in 1999, he decided to pursue wrestling professionally and attempted to train at Dean Malenko's wrestling school. When it closed he trained under Shawn Michaels and Rudy Gonzalez at the Texas Wrestling Academy (TWA). He debuted in the TWA and on March 21, 2000 won his first championship when he teamed with Spanky to win the TWA Tag Team Championship, defeating Jeromy Sage and Ruben Cruz.
World Wrestling Federation/Entertainment
Memphis Championship Wrestling (2000–2001)
While touring the country independently, he was signed to a developmental deal by the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) to work in their developmental system and was assigned to Memphis Championship Wrestling (MCW), where Danielson gained exposure and was trained by WWF competitor William Regal, whom he credited as being instrumental in the development of his career. During this time, Danielson adopted his moniker "American Dragon". WWF severed its ties with MCW in 2001, but not before Danielson won the MCW Light Heavyweight Championship and the MCW Tag Team Championship with Spanky.
After 18 months with the company, Danielson was released from his WWF contract in July 2001. Danielson revealed in his 2015 autobiography that he was close to being called up to the main roster during the 2001 Royal Rumblematch. He explained that the WWF thought of using him as one of their key figures in the newly created cruiserweight division which was inspired by World Championship Wrestling (WCW).
Enhancement talent (2002–2003)
In 2002, Danielson wrestled two matches for the renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) despite not being a contracted performer for the company. Danielson was quickly defeated by both Sean O'Haire and Little Guido in his two appearances. Danielson went on to make four additional non contracted appearances for WWE in 2003 on its secondary programming, Velocity and Heat, initially as enhancement talent before being allowed to compete in longer matches; he wrestled Jamie Noble at a Velocity taping in January, Rico at a Heat taping in February, John Cena at a Velocity taping also in February and making his final appearance in November in a tag team match against Paul London and Spanky at a Velocity taping in which Danielson was partnered with John Walters. This would be Danielson's final appearance for the promotion for over five years.
Danielson first toured Japan with Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling (FMW) with Lance Cade, a fellow trainee from the TWA, competing in several tag team matches. He returned to Japan after his release from the WWF, competing in Japan's premier promotion, New Japan Pro-Wrestling (NJPW), where he used his American Dragon persona and donned a red, white and blue mask reminiscent of a dragon. As a part of the junior heavyweight division, Danielson had success in both singles and tag team competition in the company, winning (without wearing a mask) the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship with Curry Man on March 12, 2004.
Ring of Honor
Founding father (2002–2005)
In 2002, Danielson joined the independent promotionRing of Honor (ROH), where he is acknowledged as a "Founding Father" of the company. On February 22, he competed in the main event of the company's debut event, The Era of Honor Begins, in a three-way match against Christopher Daniels and Low Ki. One of his matches with Austin Aries, performed on August 7, 2004 at Testing the Limit, lasted eighty minutes. One of the more notable rivalries he had in the early years in the company was with Homicide, as the two fought numerous matches with a variety of stipulations, culminating in a steel cage match on May 13, 2005 at The Final Showdown, where Danielson was victorious.
Despite winning the company's inaugural Survival of the Fittest tournament in 2004, he had not yet won a ROH title. In 2005, Danielson announced in the company's newsletter, The ROH Newswire, that he had quit ROH after being frustrated by his inability to defeat Austin Aries for the ROH World Championship. It was later revealed Danielson had become frustrated in general with professional wrestling and planned to take some time off to evaluate his career options. However, Danielson had several dates booked in Europe and Japan, leading fans to believe that the periodical was likely a storyline claim for Danielson's absence during this period. In May 2005, rumors started that Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) was interested in signing Danielson and he also had some more tryout matches with WWE at that time, but none of these events led to anything and he remained in ROH.
ROH World Champion (2005–2006)
Danielson defeated James Gibson for the ROH World Championship at Glory by Honor IV on September 15, 2005. The rest of the year saw Danielson have successful title defenses even against wrestlers from other companies, such as Pro Wrestling Noah star Naomichi Marufuji at Final Battle on December 17.
At the beginning of 2006, Chris Hero, a representative from Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), invaded ROH and targeted Danielson—the two exchanged words over the Internet before having a match together, with nearly the entire roster of both companies embarking on an interpromotional feud. Danielson became personally invested in this feud and invaded CZW himself, which led to him having physical altercations with a number of CZW wrestlers. Hero intensified the rivalry, leading to the two wrestling at ROH's Hell Freezes Over event, where Danielson successfully defended the ROH World Championship. On July 15 at Death Before Dishonor IV, he soon filled the vacant slot on ROH's five-man team which participated in one of CZW's more popular attractions, a steel cage match called the Cage of Death, a ten-man tag team match in which a man from each team starts in the cage and a random wrestler enters periodically thereafter. During the match, Danielson turned on his team by assaulting his rival Samoa Joe before leaving the match and effectively abandoning his involvement in the animosity between the two promotions. As the interpromotional hostility with CZW heightened, Danielson also defended against challengers from the rival company, who had signed an open contract for any CZW wrestler willing to challenge for the ROH World Championship. Former champion Samoa Joe also challenged Danielson at Fight of the Century on August 5, but their match ended in a 60-minute draw.
While having the ROH World Championship, ROH faced the issue of having another title with seemingly equal value, the ROH Pure Championship. Danielson and the ROH Pure Champion Nigel McGuinness had a match to unify the titles. They met at April 29 in a match fought under pure wrestling rules and McGuinness left Danielson outside the ring after a chair shot to win by countout—this was enough to retain the Pure title, but not to win Danielson's World Championship. They had another unification match in McGuinness' native England, where ROH declared there would be a winner, with a title changing hands by countout and disqualification and a draw forcing a restart. Danielson won the match on August 12 and retired the Pure title as its last champion. During a match with Colt Cabana on August 26, Danielson suffered a real injury when he separated his shoulder, tearing two tendons in it and he tore another tendon in his chest. Danielson returned at Glory by Honor V: Night 2 on September 16 and was challenged by Kenta, a guest competitor from NOAH, due to the two company's talent exchange agreement—Danielson again retained his championship. At the last ROH's event of 2006 named Final Battle on December 23, Danielson's fifteen-month title reign finally ended after he lost to Homicide at his 39th defense and he subsequently took time off from wrestling in order to heal his shoulder.
Final feuds and departure (2007–2009)
On May 11, 2007, Danielson returned to ROH at Reborn Again and defeated Shane Hagadorn and Adam Pearce in separate matches. On May 12, ROH filmed its first pay-per-view, Respect is Earned, which had Danielson team with ROH World Champion Takeshi Morishima against Nigel McGuinness and Kenta. Danielson's team won after Danielson made Kenta tap out to his signature submission hold, the Cattle Mutilation. Danielson vied to contend for the ROH World Championship by defeating McGuinness at Domination on June 9, which appeared on the company's next pay per view named Driven which took place on June 23, but was aired on September 21. This allowed him, now as a fan favorite, to challenge Morishima for the title at Manhattan Mayhem II on August 25 in a losing effort in which he also suffered a legitimate detached retina. Following surgery, he fought Morishima again in a match at Man Up on September 15, but the referee stopped the match since Danielson was unable to respond to him. In a rematch at Rising Above on December 29, Morishima was disqualified. Morishima returned to the company at Final Battle on December 27, 2008 in a match billed as a "Fight Without Honor" in which both men were allowed weapons and which Danielson won. Danielson commented in March 2012 on how he felt validated at Final Battle 2008, because he and Morishima managed to get 2,500 people to see the show in New York City.
The following months, Danielson worked with Austin Aries again as friendly rivals exchanging victories, including a match on pay-per-view at Take No Prisoners on March 16, which Danielson won. He helped Aries as a partner in order to take on The Age of the Fall as the two wrestled all members of the group in a series of different stipulation matches and teaming together frequently to challenge members Jimmy Jacobs and Tyler Black for the ROH World Tag Team Championship.
As part of ROH's agreement with Pro Wrestling Noah, the company held a show in Japan named Tokyo Summit on September 14, where Danielson wrestled GHC Junior Heavyweight ChampionYoshinobu Kanemaru and won the championship. Following his victory, he announced that NOAH would allow him defend the title in Ring of Honor, with his first defense being at Glory By Honor VII on September 20, defeating Katsuhiko Nakajima. However, this was his only successful defense as he returned to Japan on October 13 to lose the title to Kenta. Following his loss, Danielson challenged McGuinness for the ROH World Championship at the next ROH pay-per-view Rising Above on November 22, in a losing effort. Ring of Honor made its national television debut with the program Ring of Honor Wrestling and Danielson made his television debut in the main event of its third episode on February 28, 2009 by defeating Austin Aries.
In the fall of 2009, Danielson signed with WWE after a farewell tour with ROH, during which he challenged Aries for the title again and lost. On September 26 at Glory by Honor VIII: The Final Countdown, he won his last match in the company against McGuinness, who was also having his final match with the company.
Independent circuit (2003–2009)
Aside from competing primarily in ROH, Danielson has also competed in a multitude of other independent promotions, both in the United States and abroad. In 2003, Danielson also toured the United Kingdom for British promotion, All Star Wrestling (ASW). While he was in the United Kingdom, Danielson won the World Heavy Middleweight Championship on May 6 in an eight-man one-night tournament in Croydon defeating James Mason. He spent the next six months in the United Kingdom, working for ASW, Frontier Wrestling Alliance (FWA), the World Association of Wrestling (WAW) and Premier Promotions. He returned several times over the next five years, working for various promotions. In February 2005 at New Dawn Rising, Danielson made his debut in ROH's sister promotion, Full Impact Pro (FIP), teaming up with Rocky Romero in a match against Austin Aries and Homicide. The next night at Dangerous Intentions, Danielson competed in a losing effort against CM Punk, which led to a brief feud between the two. Danielson's biggest success came in 2006 by winning the FIP Heavyweight Championship, holding the belt for eleven months before losing it to Roderick Strong. Danielson wrestled his last match for FIP in December 2006 at Florida Rumble, where he lost to Erick Stevens.
Danielson wrestled in the Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG) promotion. He made his debut in November 2003 at An Inch Longer Than Average in a losing effort to PWG ChampionFrankie Kazarian. He continued to appear in PWG over the next couple of years, winning the PWG World Championship in 2007 and holding it for six months before taking an eleven-month hiatus from the company. He made his return to PWG at the 2008 Battle of Los Angeles tournament. In May 2009, he made another appearance teaming with Paul London, referring to himself as "American Dolphin" in a parodied manner. On September 4 at Guerre Sans Frontières during his last night in PWG, Danielson defeated Chris Hero to win the PWG World Championship for the second time and immediately vacated it afterward.
Following his return from his injury in 2007, the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) published a video of Danielson stating his intent to challenge for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship, as the establishment that sanctioned the title at the time, Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, was relinquishing the title back to the NWA. A tournament, titled Reclaiming the Glory, was held to determine the new champion with Danielson making his way to finals, scheduled to compete face Brent Albright on September 1, but due to the eye injury he sustained at ROH's Manhattan Mayhem event, the NWA announced he withdrew from the tournament with and Adam Pearce replacing him—Danielson was appointed the referee of the match.
In 2009, Danielson's contract with Ring of Honor expired, which opened up Danielson to travel to other companies more freely while competing in his home promotion.
In 2009, Danielson also signed a short-term contract with German wrestling promotion Westside Xtreme Wrestling (wXw). Shortly after his debut, Danielson won the wXw World Heavyweight Championship against Bad Bones and held it over a month before losing it to Absolute Andy.
After his departure from wXw, he made his debut with Philadelphia-based independent promotion CHIKARA to compete in their King of Trios tournament, which saw him team with Claudio Castagnoli and Dave Taylor in a contingency called Team Uppercut. In the same year, it was announced Danielson would compete in Dragon Gate USA in their second show, which saw him lose to Open the Dream Gate ChampionNaruki Doi.
Return to WWE
Florida Championship Wrestling (2009−2010)
Danielson re-signed with WWE in August 2009. He made his WWE debut on January 4, 2010 in a dark match prior to Raw, defeating Chavo Guerrero. He went to Florida to train with Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW), the WWE developmental territory, to acclimate himself to his new work environment and work on his "ring rust". He debuted at the FCW television tapings on January 14 and lost to Kaval. At the February 11 tapings, Danielson was renamed Daniel Bryan. He later indicated that he was given a list of ten possible ring names to use in WWE (including Buddy Peacock and Lloyd Bonaire) and Daniel Bryan was one of them, while his real name was not on that list. His name was given by William Regal.[unreliable source]
NXT and The Nexus (2010)
See also: The Nexus
Bryan made his debut on the inaugural episode of NXT on February 23, losing by submission to then World Heavyweight ChampionChris Jericho and being attacked by his storyline mentor The Miz for disrespecting him earlier in the show. Over the next several weeks, Bryan failed to win a single match, but despite a record of 0–5 he was ranked first in the inaugural Pros' Poll on the March 30 episode of NXT. After losing five more matches on NXT, Bryan got his first victory on the May 10 episode of Raw by pinningSantino Marella in an eight-on-four handicap match. The following night on NXT, he was eliminated from the show, along with Michael Tarver, as neither man had confidence in themselves to win the competition. Despite his elimination, he appeared on the following episodes of NXT, being interviewed by Matt Striker and attacking both Michael Cole and The Miz.
On the May 31 episode of Raw, Bryan was granted a match against the Miz by guest host Ashton Kutcher—Bryan defeated him and threw him into Cole at ringside after the match. On the June 7 episode of Raw, the faction known as The Nexus (NXT rookies from season one) invaded the WWE ring, attacking John Cena and causing destruction around the ringside area. On June 11, WWE announced that Danielson was fired from WWE because Bryan had been too violent, pretending to strangle ring announcer Justin Roberts with his own neck tie. Danielson noted that WWE apologized to him for his release, claiming that they "had sponsors they had to deal with". His release was put in a storyline, where the rest of the NXT rookies kicked him out of the group for showing remorse for his actions and declared that Bryan would never return to the WWE again.
Return to the independent circuit (2010)
After being released, Danielson received several offers to sign with other wrestling companies, being contacted by TNA, albeit indirectly and some Japanese promotions. Two weeks after his departure from WWE, Danielson made his return to the independent circuit on June 26, defeating Eddie Kingston at the CHIKARA event We Must Eat Michigan's Brain in Taylor, Michigan. Rather than receiving streamers, the fans instead threw neck ties in light of the Justin Roberts incident in WWE. The following day at CHIKARA's Faded Scars and Lines, Danielson defeated Young Lions Cup holderTim Donst in a non-title match. On July 3, Danielson returned to wXw, defeating Wade Fitzgerald and TJP in the round robin stage of the Ambition 1 tournament. The following day, he defeated TJP in a rematch and finally Johnny Moss in the finals of the tournament to win Ambition 1. On July 17, Danielson debuted in the International Wrestling Association (IWA), being booked to defeat Q.T. Marshall for the IWA Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship. On July 23, Danielson debuted in the fledgling EVOLVE promotion, which was originally conceived to be built around Danielson as their top star before he signed to WWE. In the main event, he defeated Bobby Fish, while Danielson continued on undefeated the following day by returning to Dragon Gate USA and submitted Shingo in the dark match main event Return of the Dragon. After the match, Danielson joined BxB Hulk, Masato Yoshino, Naruki Doi and PAC as the fifth member of the stable World-1. On July 30, Danielson returned to Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, competing in a match where he defeated Roderick Strong. On August 7, Danielson unsuccessfully challenged Adam Pearce for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship at the NWA Legends Fanfest.
Despite returning to WWE on August 15, Danielson honored most of his independent bookings, making his first appearance on August 20 and defeating Jon Moxley (later known as Dean Ambrose in WWE) at Heartland Wrestling Association's Road to Destiny. The following day, he was defeated by Drake Younger at Insanity Pro Wrestling's Ninth Anniversary Reign of the Insane. On August 22, Danielson defeated J Freddie at a Squared Circle Wrestling event. On September 10, he returned to the IWA using the name Daniel Bryan and lost the IWA Puerto Rico Heavyweight Championship to Dennis Rivera. The following day, Danielson returned to EVOLVE by defeating Munenori Sawa in the main event. Later that same night, Danielson wrestled for New York Wrestling Connection in a tag team match, where he and Tony Nese defeated Dimitrios Papadon and Alex Reynolds. On September 25, Danielson returned to Dragon Gate USA and defeated YAMATO in the main event of the evening. The following day, Danielson defeated Jon Moxley. On October 1, Danielson wrestled the last of his independent matches by defeating Shelton Benjamin at a Northeast Wrestling event.
Second return to WWE
United States Champion (2010–2011)
Danielson returned to WWE as Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam, where he was revealed as the surprise seventh member of Team WWE for the seven-on-seven elimination tag team match against The Nexus, the other NXT season one competitors. At the event on August 15, Bryan was one of the two final members of Team WWE and managed to eliminate two members of The Nexus, but was eliminated by Wade Barrett after The Miz, whose place he took in Team WWE, attacked him. Despite this, Team WWE won the match. The following night, he was revealed as part of the Raw roster. Bryan feuded with The Miz, with both interfering in each other's matches and The Miz being aided by Alex Riley, his rookie from the second season of NXT. At Night of Champions on September 19, Bryan defeated The Miz to win the United States Championship, his first championship in WWE.
Bryan then successfully defended the title two weeks later by defeating The Miz and John Morrison in a triple threat submissions count anywhere match at Hell in a Cell on October 3. On October 24, he went on to challenge then Intercontinental ChampionDolph Ziggler to a champion vs. champion match at Bragging Rights as a special attraction SmackDown vs. Raw match, defeating Ziggler in a highly acclaimed match. On November 21, Bryan went on to successfully defend his title against Ted DiBiase at Survivor Series. On the November 30 episode of NXT, it was announced that Bryan was returning to the show as the Pro to Rookie Derrick Bateman on season four.
In late 2010, The Bella Twins began competing for Bryan's affection, leading to them supporting him at ringside and competing in mixed tag team matches together. On the January 24, 2011 episode of Raw, it was revealed that Bryan had been secretly dating Gail Kim, who began accompanying him to ringside. On the March 14 episode of Raw, Bryan lost the United States Championship to Sheamus ending his reign at 176 days. Bryan was originally scheduled to have his rematch against Sheamus for the United States Championship on the main card at WrestleMania XXVII on April 3, but the match was rescheduled as a dark lumberjack match that ended in a no contest when the lumberjacks fought among themselves to trigger the start of a battle royal. Bryan lost his title rematch the next night on Raw, after which he was saved from Sheamus by the debuting Sin Cara.
World Heavyweight Champion (2011–2012)
On April 26, Bryan was drafted to SmackDown as part of the 2011 supplemental draft. Bryan debuted for SmackDown on May 6, losing to Sheamus.Cody Rhodes then started a feud with Bryan by attacking him after losing their match and placing a paper bag on his head. Bryan then aligned with Sin Cara to feud with Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. On June 28, Bryan returned to NXT to manage Derrick Bateman once again.
On July 17 at Money in the Bank, Bryan won the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match which earned him a World Heavyweight Championship match at any point within the following year. On the July 22 episode of SmackDown, Bryan declared he would cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase at next year's WrestleMania. After several months of losing matches, Bryan began a feud with then World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry on the November 4 episode of SmackDown after Henry challenged Bryan to a non-title match to prove that Bryan could not become champion. During the match, Big Show knocked out Henry, making Bryan lose by disqualification. As his friend, Big Show then urged a groggy Bryan to cash in his championship match, but Henry recovered and attacked both Bryan and Big Show before the match could start. Bryan suffered attacks from Henry the following two weeks. On the November 25 episode of SmackDown, Henry was knocked out again by Big Show, at which point Bryan cashed in his briefcase for a title match and quickly pinned Henry, but SmackDown General ManagerTheodore Long revealed that Henry was not medically cleared to compete and voided the match, so Henry remained champion and the briefcase was returned to Bryan. Bryan later admitted he betrayed his principles by not waiting for WrestleMania, but explained he felt strongly about exacting revenge on Henry and realised he may not make it to WrestleMania due to Henry's continued attacks. Regardless of his briefcase, Bryan won a fatal four-way match on the same episode of SmackDown to become the contender for Henry's championship. On the live November 29 episode of SmackDown, Henry managed to pin Bryan to retain the title in a steel cage match. Also in November, Bryan started being involved in a romantic storyline with AJ.
Bryan cashed in his Money in the Bank contract on December 18 at TLC: Tables, Ladders and Chairs against Big Show, who had just defeated Henry and subsequently received a DDT onto a steel chair, which allowed Bryan to secure a pinfall victory and become the World Heavyweight Champion, thus making him also the first ever wrestler from NXT to win a WWE world championship. In the following weeks, tension was teased between Bryan and Big Show, with Big Show unhappy about Bryan taking the World Heavyweight Championship from him and Bryan being displeased about Big Show's lack of appreciation for Bryan's help in matches against Henry. As World Heavyweight Champion, Bryan began a slow villainous turn as he gradually showed signs of overconfidence and arrogance, with Bryan beginning to partake in excessive victory celebrations, even when he won his matches by disqualification or countout. Also despite AJ's declaration of love for him, Bryan avoided saying that he loved her in return.
In January 2012, Bryan successfully defended his title three times: the first occasion against Big Show when Bryan goaded Mark Henry into attacking him and causing a disqualification; the second occasion a no disqualification rematch with Big Show which ended abruptly after Big Show accidentally ran into AJ, hospitalising her within the storyline for which Bryan blamed him; and the third occasion against Henry in a lumberjack match when Bryan provoked the lumberjacks to interfere and cause a no contest. This culminated in a triple threat steel cage match to exclude outside interference at the Royal Rumble on January 29, where Bryan escaped the cage after freeing himself from Big Show's grasp to retain the championship.
At Elimination Chamber on February 19, Bryan defeated Big Show, Cody Rhodes, The Great Khali, Santino Marella and Wade Barrett in an Elimination Chamber match to retain the World Heavyweight Championship. After the match, Royal Rumble match winner Sheamus attacked Bryan and chose him as his WrestleMania opponent for the World Heavyweight Championship. In March, Bryan began to mistreat AJ, publicly demanding her to shut up and claiming that she always got in his way. Despite these actions, AJ continued to stand by Bryan. Bryan's reign as world champion ended at 105 days when Sheamus defeated him in 18 seconds at WrestleMania XXVIII due to Bryan being distracted with receiving a good luck kiss from AJ. On the following episode of SmackDown, Bryan blamed AJ for his world title loss and ended their relationship. Despite AJ's attempts to mend their relationship, Bryan cruelly rebuffed her multiple times, leaving AJ an emotional wreck. At Extreme Rules on April 29, Bryan failed to regain the World Heavyweight Championship from Sheamus in a two-out-of-three falls match, losing two falls to one.
Team Hell No (2012–2013)
Main article: Team Hell No
The next night on Raw, Bryan became the number one contender to CM Punk's WWE Championship when he won a Beat the Clock challenge by defeating Jerry Lawler in under three minutes. Bryan received his title shot at Over the Limit on May 20 and suffered a controversial loss—when Bryan rolled back onto his shoulders as he applied the "Yes!"Lock, Punk tapped out immediately after the referee counted a pinfall win for Punk. Shortly before Over the Limit, Bryan interfered in a match between Punk and Kane to frame Punk attacking Kane with a steel chair, leading to a three-way feud. During this time, a jilted AJ turned her affections to both Punk and Kane. On the June 1 episode of SmackDown, Bryan's interference caused WWE Championship match between Punk and Kane to end in a double disqualification, resulting in a triple threat match being set up on June 17 at No Way Out, where Punk managed to retain the title after AJ distracted Kane. On the June 25 episode of Raw, Bryan defeated Punk and Kane in a non-title three-way elimination match to earn another shot at the WWE Championship. At Money in the Bank on July 15, Bryan failed to capture the WWE Championship again from Punk in a no disqualification match with AJ as special guest referee. The following night on Raw, AJ accepted Bryan's marriage proposal, On Raw 1000, Bryan's storyline wedding ended in failure when AJ left Bryan at the altar and instead accepted Mr. McMahon's offer of the position of permanent Raw General Manager. Bryan's night turned from bad to worse as he was later attacked by The Rock and insulted by celebrity Charlie Sheen.
AJ's rejection of Bryan turned him into an angry and bitter individual and resulted in Bryan lashing out at audiences. AJ continued to exact her revenge on Bryan by denying him a WWE Championship shot and instead forcing him to face Kane on August 19 at SummerSlam, where Bryan emerged victorious. As a result of Bryan and Kane's issues, AJ enrolled them in anger management classes hosted by Dr. Shelby and they were later forced to "hug it out".