‘On This Day’ is a commemorative article series. It is dedicated to specific events, matches, and occurrences in wrestling history. We revisit those key moments and look back at how they went down and what they meant to the wrestling industry. Today we look back at Bray Wyatt Vs Daniel Bryan 2014 Royal Rumble.
It feels like forever since the days of the cult leader Bray Wyatt. He had debuted in WWE during 2013 with his Wyatt Family by his side. Setting the company ablaze with his unique persona that got comparisons to maybe being the new figure like The Undertaker.
The same goes however for Daniel Bryan. Who was by all accounts the hottest thing in wrestling between 2013 and 2014. He became the forgone favorite of the fans to be catapulted to the top as the “YES Movement” was alive and well. And he became WWE World Heavyweight Champion at WrestleMania XXX.
Now, in just two days’ time, the rolls are completely changed. Bray Wyatt has left his Wyatt Family well behind and has become “The Fiend”. Something, unlike anything fans, has ever seen before which has oh so quickly had him rise to the top.
Then on the other side of the ring will be Daniel Bryan. Who has mentally in all ways went down a path that saw him leave the beloved “YES Movement” behind for new days. Both men have gone through so much since their last important meeting. From morphing into these new characters – Bray losing his touch and having to completely refind himself. While Daniel Bryan had to battle his way back from a career-threatening injury. As they prepare to go to battle as brand new men, we look back as a part of Flashback Friday to their incredible match at the 2014 Royal Rumble.
The battle between Bray and Daniel was an intense one and for good reason. They got to this point after time and time of these two feuding. With Daniel Bryan even joining the Wyatt Family for a short time.
Bray continued to beat down Daniel, and it was finally time for the leader of the “YES Movement” to fight back. In the forever remembered steel cage moment on Raw when Bryan has Bray all to himself with Luke Harper and Erick Rowan on the outside. He beat him down, leading to this match which would kick off the Royal Rumble. An event the fans desperately wanted Daniel Bryan to win. But then again, Daniel Bryan literally couldn’t do wrong back then.
This was by all accounts the best match in Bray Wyatt’s career at that point. As the technicality of Bryan met the rugged, brawling style of Wyatt. Bryan opened up the match early by somewhat dominating the flow. Attacking the limbs only like he can, it was a slow start which was rather unprecedented for Wyatt matches. He usually dominated for much of his bouts. It wasn’t long however before Bray turned it back into his favor, slowing down the pace into more of his style match.
The beating that Bryan was handed in this match is something that makes him so great. As he makes his opponent look just as good, if not better than even himself. This was the closest Bray got to the main event status – thanks to Bryan.
As the match came down to the end, Daniel Bryan hit that second gear of his. It’s one of the best things to watch in pro wrestling history, period. During this era of the “YES Movement”, the way the crowd reacted? When Bryan made his classic comeback in the corner? It really was something truly special.
Bryan was hitting some of the hardest YES kicks in this one as the crowd chanted along. What’s concerning is there’s a real chance this was a time where he began experiencing his concussion problems. He noticeably hit his head awkwardly when Bray pulled him into the second rope, but he kept going.
A YES Lock was put on but Bray managed to somehow survive. The match continues. Bryan then attempted to hit a suicide dive but was caught on the outside by Wyatt. Who would drive Bryan into the barricade with a Sister Abigail to the displeasure of the fans. Bryan was out, but fans still believed their chosen one could fight back. But, unfortunately, that was not the case. He rolled the lifeless Bryan into the ring and hit another Sister Abigail and pinned him in the middle of the ring.
Yes, Daniel Bryan lost to Bray Wyatt. This was a win to propel Bray into stardom but that was not completely the case for him either. Either way, Bray won the first bout and now can attempt to do the same on Sunday.
Like I said earlier, the match this Sunday at Survivor Series is between two totally different. Bryan has killed the “YES Movement”, while Bray has created “The Fiend”. What is most notable about this match is that it seems like “The Fiend” is trying to drive out the old Daniel Bryan.
The one that left him lying in the cage all those years ago. The version that many would agree is the absolute best version. The one fans want. “The Fiend” seems to be an unstoppable force. But so was the “YES Movement”. Regardless, if these two can have as good of a match as they did half a decade ago, fans are in for a treat.
Originally written by Scott Edwards