Daniel Bryan’s debut in WWE is a match you may think took place on NXT. You may remember seeing him for the first time in the main event of the game show, battling with Chris Jericho in a fun match that saw him losing to the then-world champion.
However, Daniel Bryan vs Chris Jericho was not his WWE debut. Keep reading to find out who his first WWE match was and let us know if you knew about this match before you read about it here.
Daniel Bryan’s WWE Debut
Daniel Bryan’s first match in WWE was against Jamie Noble on WWE Velocity on 12th January 2003. He had previously wrestled in Dark matches against the likes of Jerry Lynn, Lance Cade and Brian Kendrick, none of those matches were televised, so do not count towards his official “first WWE match” with the promotion.
He wrestled Jamie Noble at the event, which was broadcast from East Rutherford, New Jersey. He wrestled Noble in the opening match of the show under his real name of Bryan Danielson, as he would not be given the name Daniel Bryan until his return to the company in 2010.
The match lasted 6 minutes and was a relatively short affair. Both men were known as excellent technical wrestlers, with them each winning the Ring of Honor World Championship later on in their careers. This would have been a dream match some time in the future, but at the time they were early in their careers. This match would have been a rare treat for fans in attendance and a completely unexpected match to see in the WWE.
The match was a quick paced affair with some excellent back and forth action. The pair put on some entertaining sequences, with the ending of the match being a really fun one. Danielson tried his best to hit the Dragon Suplex on Noble, with little success, and even managed to hit Noble with a beautiful bridging German Suplex for a close 2 count.
Jamie Noble would win Daniel Bryan’s first match with a brutal looking swinging neckbreaker, as Michael Cole yells “What the hell was that!”. Even though he lost the match, Daniel Bryan really impressed in his WWE debut and it was a shock he was eventually released by the company despite this match.
The can watch Daniel Bryan’s WWE debut (as Bryan Danielson) below;
However, whilst this was Daniel Bryan’s WWE debut, he wrestled under his real name of Bryan Danielson. For Daniel Bryan’s first match as “Daniel Bryan”, we need to fast forward to 2010 and the incredibly poorly received NXT game show.
Daniel Bryan vs Chris Jericho
Under his new name of Daniel Bryan, his first match in WWE came on the first episode of the new NXT Game show in 2010. After re-signing with the WWE, The American Dragon was repackaged and appointment as The Miz’s “Rookie” for the purpose of the show.
NXT involved a number of physical and mental competition, with one wrestling being eliminated by the fans each week. At the end, the winner would received a WWE Championship opportunity, which would unsuccessfully fall to Wade Barrett at the end of this season.
The show also involved wrestling matches (who knew!) and regularly pitted the “rookies” against other mentors as part of the series. Chris Jericho, who was the pro for eventual winner Wade Barrett, took on Daniel Bryan on the first episode of the show in somewhat of a dream match for fans of Bryan Danielson in Ring of Honor.
The match short, a little over five minutes, and saw Jericho win as expected. However, it introduced Daniel Bryan to the audience and made him a fan favourite almost overnight.
He talks about the Daniel Bryan vs Chris Jericho match in his book, “Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania”;
“I wrestled Chris Jericho, who was the World Heavyweight Champion at the time, in the main event of the show. Chris is a true pro, and even though the match was only five minutes and I lost, he made me look like a star.
After the match, The Miz started beating me up, and again I had no idea he was going to do it. neither did he, apparently as the instruction was sent to him from the produces through the referee in the ring Despite the confusion and the chaos, it had been a decent debut. Yet it all went downhill from there.”
Daniel Bryan vs Chris Jericho was clearly a favourite match of Bryan as his first match in WWE, but felt that after the bout was when his WWE career would go downhill. Luckily he managed to soldier on and eventually topped the mountain by winning multiple WWE Championship and main eventing both Wrestlemania 30 and 37.
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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.