Why Did Daniel Bryan Lose In 18 Seconds At Wrestlemania?

Hamish Woodward

At Wrestlemania 28, Daniel Bryan lost to Sheamus in 18 seconds in a match for the World Heavyweight Championship. This was one of the quickest matches in Wrestlemania history, at the time beaten only by Chavo Guerrero vs Kane at Wrestlemania 24.

The match saw Sheamus pin Daniel Bryan in front of a packed Wrestlemania crowd. The cocky Bryan was defending his title against the challenger Sheamus, and the pair had been feuding for some months over the title.

As the bell rang to signal the start of the match, Daniel Bryan told the referee to watch. He then turned to the apron toward his girlfriend, AJ Lee. The pair kissed and as he turned around, Bryan ate a Brogue Kick from the boot of Sheamus.

The Irishman then pinned the American Dragon, beating him in a lightning-fast 18 seconds to become the new World Heavyweight Championship.

But why did Daniel Bryan lose in 18 seconds? Why was the Wrestlemania match cut so short?

Why Did Daniel Bryan Lose In 18 Seconds At Wrestlemania?

Daniel Bryan lost the Sheamus in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28 because WWE wanted to don something memorable and surprising for the fans. Daniel Bryan had been a hated heel champion and the company thought fans would love to see him getting destroyed so quickly.

They also wanted to help get the Brogue Kick over as a deadly finishing move. It had never been kicked out before but they wanted to make sure that it looked even more deadly, knocking Daniel Bryan out in an 18 second match.

The result was shocking but had the opposite effect than the WWE expected. It did nothing for Sheamus but only made Daniel Bryan more popular despite losing in 18 seconds.

The WWE Universe were upset they were robbed of a match and wanted to see Bryan wrestle. They chanted his name and his “Yes!” catchphrase all throughout the Raw after Wrestlemania, even when WWE legend The Rock was in the ring.

This started a wave of support for the American Dragon that would eventually take him all the way to the main event of Wrestlemania 30. While not the original intention, the 18 second defeat turned Daniel Bryan into a beloved babyface and helped make him the huge star he is today.

Daniel Bryan’s 18 second loss at Wrestlemania 28 wasn’t something he took personally. However, he did understand the fans frustration at the quick match.

Speaking to The Soscia Network radio show, Daniel Bryan talked about how people love to boo him as a heel, but don’t want bad things to actually happen to him so they felt sympathy with him for losing in such a short match. He also felt they were cheated by missing out on a potentially great match against Sheamus

“I feel like part of it was a backlash against how short my match at WrestleMania was,” Bryan said. “A lot of it is that people like to boo me, but they kind of like me. They don’t want bad things to happen to me, like an 18-second loss at WrestleMania, especially the hardcore fans, which is mostly who comes for WrestleMania. People come from all over the world. They travel to WrestleMania, and a lot of those people know my story, how long it took me to get a WrestleMania match. And then for my first one to be an 18-second loss, it actually generated a lot of anger.”

Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus At Wrestlemania

WWE planned for a trilogy of Wrestlemania matches for Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus. They have wrestled twice at Wrestlemania, with a further third match planned but later cancelled.

Their first Wrestlemania match took place at Wrestlemania 27. The two men wrestled for Sheamus’ United States Championship, which was on the line in a lumberjack match.

The bout was supposed to take place on the main show of the event but was bumped to the pre-show due to time constraints. The two only wrestled for four minutes before the match was called off and declared a no-contest.

Due to outside interference the match was abandoned and instead turned into a Battle Royale. The Great Khali won the Wrestlemania 27 Battle Royale, last eliminating Sheamus to win the match. However, the United States Championship was not on the line so Sheamus remained Champion.

The second the trilogy was the aforementioned Wrestlemanai 28 match. Sheamus and Daniel Bryan lasted 18 seconds, giving them a total of about 5 minutes ring against each other at Wrestlemania. If you don’t count the pre-show, they have only 18 seconds.

The third and final Daniel Bryan vs Sheamus match was due to take place at Wrestlemania. Leaked plans for the show have revealed that instead of being in the main event match for the WWE Championship, Daniel Bryan wasn’t to wrestle for a title at all and face Sheamus in a grudge match.

Luckily Daniel Bryan got too popular to ignore and was placed in the main event of Wrestlemania 30. He won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Randy Orton and Batista while Sheamus competed in the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal.

Daniel Bryan left WWE to join AEW in 2021, so is unlikely he will be able to complete his Wrestlemania trilogy against Sheamus.

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