Saturday, June 23, 2007

Performer Analysis: Bryan Danielson

1) Innovation- 6/10-

Danielson is a rare breed of competitor that you find in the Indy scene these days. He was trained by one of the greatest pure workers of all time, Shawn Michaels, yet instead of adopting his ring style, as some of his fellow trainees did, he went the opposite way and become a puresou, or a pure technical wrestler. His style is more akin to Japanese wrestling, and at one point was adopted the name "American Dragon." An argument could be made that he, along with several other prominent indy talents, fueled the fires that become Ring of Honor, one of the most popular indy promotions in recent memory. It's his scientific style matched with great psychology and high impact blows that have trademarked him as one of the most sought out after talents. Whether or not his style will inspire more like it, time will tell, but he has become a unique persona in the wrestling business.

2) Conditioning- 10/10-
Danielson isn't the most well built, or the most muscular. Hell, he doesn't even have a tan. But, the guy comes to the ring to battle. Again, being trained by Michaels, who is known for his conditioning, seems an asset to Danielson. Also, he has embarked, as former ROH champ, on a litany of 60 minute Broadways that harken back to the days of old NWA champs touring the country and wrestling hour draws every night. He is extremely flexible and athletic in the ring and it has to do with his workout.

3) Skill- 8/10-
I think when you talk skill in the wrestling world today, and you try and name the ten best workers anywhere, Danielson would come up. He has some extrememly inventive submission holds that have become trademarks in his style, and he also has a very real looking style, in the moves he executes and his bumps. His selling is up there as well, with realistic facials that say "I'm a bad ass and I don't want to show that this hurts, but god, sometimes this shit hurts!"

4) Psychology- 8/10-
Danielson has trained himself quite well in the indy scene. There are so many young and old wrestlers trying to make a living by wrestling on the weekend, and so few of them break through that barrier and become stars. I think the difference is learning psychology, the art of showing emotion that comes from the punishment you absorb in the ring. Danielson has been able to do that and at a high level.

5) Interviews- 4/10-
Another important part of being a "sports entertainer" in this day and age is being able to talk in front of the camera. Danielson rarely cuts promos and there's a reason why. Being comfortable is probably the most important, which he is, and allows him to cut "cookie cutter" interviews, basically "he did this to me" or "I’m going to beat him down." Very generic subject matter lying within.

6) Character- 8/10-
Danielson began his career as American Dragon, the US version of a fighting Japanese warrior. His demeanor was very serious and everything he had poured into his matches. That aspect hasn't changed, but he began adopting a very dickish attitude, not a full blown heel turn, just enough to blur the lines and keep it real. His Ozark like beard added another layer to his character, as well as his long flowing cape and Empire March theme song. He has always represented hard impact action, but his character is one that has caught on with fans due to it's mystery and simplicity.

7) Fans- 8/10-
Danielson isn't so much loved as respected, which is something very hard to gain in the wrestling business. It's not that the fans can connect with him and identify with his character, it's that they admire what he can accomplish in the ring. He isn't a national star, which is hard to say for sure how world wide his appeal would be, but on a regional level, he is immensely popular.

8) Basics- 10/10-
His strongest trait is his very extensive technical base. Danielson has helped revolutionize the submission game in today's wrestling. He has invented some very unique holds, such as the Cattle Mutilation, but he also has shown his expertise for the classics of wrestling, including a hundred spin airplane hold. Danielson loves to throw kicks, but is just as happy working an arm for a twenty minute match and he does it very well.

9) Matches/ Feuds- 7/10-
Dragon has fought the best on the indy scene, no doubt about it and has created some of the finest in-ring highlight reel material available anywhere, perfectly fine tuned matches, and some historic heated feuds with the likes of William Regal, Samoa Joe, Homicide, and CM Punk. But, he has not as of yet competed against any of the biggest stars in the sport, past or present. And as far as ROH goes, he has some of the most remembered feuds in the company's history.

10) Gutcheck- 6/10-
To exude the fire and passion you can see on Danielson's face in most every one of his matches takes a certain level of dedication to the craft, and he has it. It takes a lot of hard work to make it in wrestling and Danielson has proven himself over and over again, in matches, in performances and to the fans, so I give him high marks for being such a hard worker and to continually please the wrestling fans that come to watch him compete.

Final Score: 75
Ranking: Superstar
PO: Thumbs Middle

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