One of the most famous chants in WWE is Daniel Bryan‘s “Yes!” chants, which took over the wrestling world in 2013. Raising his arms in the air repeatedly and shouting “YES!” in conjunction, this simple act of arrogance caught on, becoming a symbol of defiance against an out-of-touch Vince McMahon.
It propelled Daniel Bryan from a constant main-event loser, and from the fourth member of the Wyatt Family (Gosh, remember that?) and catapulted him into the main event of one of the biggest WrestleMania main events of all time.
However, WrestleMania XXX could have seen Randy Orton take on Batista and The Big Show in the main event, had they got their way. This sounds absolutely insane, but it’s what could have happened if Big Show stealing the Yes Chants actually went well for the WWE.
Daniel Bryan Got Incredibly Over With The Yes Chants
When he was set to win the World Heavyweight Championship from The Big Show in 2011, Daniel Bryan was told by Vince McMahon that he needed to be the most over-the-top champion in history.
He was told to celebrate like his life depended on it, despite only beating Big Show after he was attacked by Mark Henry, and with a Money in the Bank cash in. He celebrated by climbing the barriers and announce table, lifting his World Heavyweight Championship belt into the air and shouting “Yes!”.
“Vince’s only direction for me after I won was to celebrate like you won the Super Bowl.” So I celebrated like my life depended on it”. Daniel Bryan wrote in his 2014 autobiography, “Yes! My Improbably Journey Into The Main Event Of WrestleMania”.
In the weeks following, he would continue his celebrating every time he went into the ring. As The American Dragon walked down to the ring, he would lift his title belt in the air and shout “Yes!”, celebrating the fact that he had won the title at TLC 2011.
Like all good things in wrestling, the “Yes” chant was stolen and repurposed. He got the chant from UFC fighter Diego Sanchez, which Daniel Bryan explained here.
“That’s how I started using a simply yet emphatic word: Yes. I used the term as a way to how happy I was to be World Heavyweight Champion, an idea I actually got from one of my favorite MMA fighters, Diego Sanchez. As he walked down to the Octagon for his fights, he’d hammer down his fists and with a serious, intense face, he’d yell ‘Yes!’ Apparently, for him it was about positivity, but I saw it as great showmanship and almost covertly annoying.”
Big Show Fought Against The Authority And Took The Yes Chants
The Big Show returned to the WWE after a hiatus in August 2013, and was immediately made into an enemy of the Authority. He spoke out against the tyrannical regime, and was immediately placed into a handicap match against The Shield.
The WWE then dropped the bombshell that Big Show was broke (ignoring his “Ironclad contract” he signed two-years prior), and forced him to attack fan favorites, like Daniel Bryan and Dusty Rhodes, at the will of Triple H and Stephanie McMahon.
He did so with tears in his eyes, showing the incredible acting range that Big Show held – a rarity in the wrestling business, especially for a giant whose usual range of expression was limited to “angry yelling” and “slightly less, but still furious, yelling”.
After some months of helping screw Daniel Bryan out of the WWE Championship (after Randy Orton had cashed in on him at Summerslam 2013), the Big Show decided to screw Daniel Bryan out of the WWE Championship – but this time, as a good guy!
At Battleground 2013, the Big Show ran in from the crowd during the main event of Daniel Bryan vs Randy Orton. Bryan had been screwed for weeks by The Authority, with the likes of Triple H, Shawn Michaels and the “crooked ref” Scott Stanford going out of their way to cost him the WWE’s main world title.
Unchaining himself from the Authority’s shackles, the former The Giant ran in during the match, knocking out both Daniel Bryan and Randy Orton, ending the match as a no contest. The implication was that he used this to signify he was rejecting his job in the WWE, going out on his own to screw the Authority in his own way.
When I watched this a decade ago, I was fuming. Having seen Daniel Bryan end the last three pay per views without a title belt was infuriating, but this was ridiculous. Big Show was being pushed above Bryan, and we could not stand it.
But it got even worse. After ruining the main event of Battleground 2013, Big Show escaped into the crowd (a la CM Punk at Money in the Bank 2013), grinning as the crowd around him starting doing Daniel Bryan’s “Yes Chants”. However, that soon stopped.
It stopped Big Show began “Yessing”. He tried to co-opt the Yes chant, something he continued with for the next week on Raw and Smackdown. Daniel Bryan was also much less active in his “yessing”, which confirmed the obvious – WWE were trying to give Big Show the Yes! Chants, and take them away from Daniel Bryan.
Obviously, it did not work. The fans didn’t buy it, and it was dropped as soon as everybody noticed how utterly ridiculous it was.
But, in the grand scheme of things, it actually helped. Without the constant attempts by WWE management to get fans to hate Daniel Bryan, then the backlash against his de-pushing would not have been so extreme.
If Big Show hadn’t tried to take the Yes Chants from Daniel Bryan, then there’s no knowing if he would have been able to force his way into the main event of WrestleMania XXX, and win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in one of the best main events in WWE history.
Daniel Bryan’s Best Matches
While WrestleMania XXX had one of the best matches in WrestleMania history (well, two from Daniel Bryan on that night alone), it did not come close to topping the list of Daniel Bryan’s best matches in the WWE.
Here is a list of The American Dragon‘s best matches in his career, including two WrestleMania main events, and other fantastic bouts you may not have seen.
vs Edge & Roman Reigns – WrestleMania 37
Danielson’s final Wrestlemania match as Daniel Bryan is number ten on the list of his best matches.
The match was for Roman Reigns’ Universal Championship, and featured three of WWE’s top stars. It was an all-action, fast paced classic between Bryan, Edge and Roman Reigns in the main event of the biggest show of the year.
Edge won the Royal Rumble to face Reigns for the Championship and Bryan was added to the bout weeks before the show. Fan could not decide which of the two faces they wanted to win the match, with reaction split on they wanted to pin the champion.
However, Reigns would pin both men to win the championship, capping off a blockbuster year as champion as the top champion in WWE.
Hamish is a writer and podcaster and wrestling fan who is a key part of the Atletifo team.
After playing countless hours of WrestleMania X8 on the Gamecube, he discovered Rey Mysterio getting his head crushed by The Great Khali, and thus a love for professional wrestling was born.
He is also a Media Graduate, as well as writing for multiple sites about Premier League football and the culture of Wales – his home country.