Summerslam 2010, when he made a surprise return sooner than expected.
Night of Champions later that same year, where he fought The Miz in an excellent match and won the United States Championship, his first title in WWE.
The 10/25/10 RAW saw CM Punk on commentary during Bryan Danielson's match with Dolph Ziggler. The end of the match, with Danielson looking over at Punk, was seen by the IWC as a massive tease towards a Danielson/Punk feud (unfortunately it never materialized as Punk was injured soon after).
11/14/10's RAW gave humanity a taste of heaven on Earth, as his match with Jack Swagger was called by none other than Jim Ross.
His 12/20/10 RAW bout against his trainer and mentor William Regal, who is getting close to the end of his in-ring career. As expected, it was a grapplefest with a ton of stiff strikes.
Royal Rumble 2011, Started off in No. 2 against CM Punk and fought against Regal again in the same Rumble.
In the 2011 Supplemental Draft, he was drafted to Smack Down, a show where young talent and good wrestlers shine.
Winning the Smackdown Money in the Bank!
And he later made it clear he wasn't going to pull an Edge like every other MITB winner (except for Rob Van Dam and Mr. Kennedy), no he's going to cash it in at WrestleMania XXVIII!!! For everyone who was enraged that he was pulled from the last Wrestlemania, it's an Author's Saving Throw to end all Author's Saving Throws.
But now he's started to cash it in. Does this mean he's Jumping Off the Slippery Slope for his hypocisy, or is Cole just feeding the hate for him that is unwarranted?
Actually he's copped to the hypocrisy, stating that after a brutal attack from Mark Henry, he realized that he may lose the opportunity to cash in before Wrestlemania, or worse, lose the contract altogether. This has happened befoer when Mr.Kennedy lost his Money in the Bank contract to Edge, so it's not an unreasonable concern.
April 2, 2012. Daniel Bryan is the most popular man in the world, with his YES! chant getting yelled all night on RAW, in the halls of the arena and even in the car park and the streets after the show. Not bad for a guy squashed in 18 seconds the night before.
April 29, 2012. Daniel Bryan vs. CM Punk at Over the Limit for the WWE Championship. That is THE match that the IWC have wanted to see since they debuted.
Mexicans Hate Bryan Danielson: Despite managing to get over nearly everywhere in the world, Danielson had particular trouble getting a reaction in Mexico.
Crosses the Line Twice: A big part of why his heel character is so popular. He has little to no redeeming qualities. He's a misogynistic douchebag, a preachy vegan extremist, cheats and connives his way through most of his matches leading to totally bogus finishes, just a shameless douche in general. And yet.....he's not loved by his fans in spite of this all, but partly because of it. It's such a radical departure from the average cocky pretty boy heel, and his over the top promos culminating with that magical three letter word just make it hard to hate him for too long, you can just tell he's having fun. And of course, the fact that he's an amazing wrestler doesn't hurt at all.
Ensemble Darkhorse: It seems like everytime WWE tries to make him look like a joke, he gets more popular. Fire him for being too violent? Next PPV is bookended by chants of his name. Make him an undeserving champion? He gets a popular catchphrase. Make him lose in 18 seconds at Wrestlemania? He becomes the most beloved star of the following Raw, moreso than hometown hero The Rock and a returning Brock Lesnar.
Really, if WWE was trying to get fans to hate him by turning him into an Arrogant Kung Fu GuyManipulative Bastard Heel, then it backfired spectacularly as it's only made him even more popular than he already was. Casual fans prefer his Heel persona due to disliking the squeaky clean babyface persona from before, and Smarks prefer his Heel persona due to his in-ring talent and it reminding them of his Heel run in Ring of Honor. It really all comes down to the fact that Danielson simply makes a far more effective Heel than he does a Face.
Expy: Bryan seems to draw comparisons to Chris Benoit. This mostly comes from both being good technical wrestlers that are known as submission specialists. In addition, the diving headbutt tends to show up in their matches (though Bryan does not connect often with the move, perhaps to avoid or minimize head injuries), as well as suplexes. They also have overcome the stigma of being "short" wrestlers in WWE. To be fair, both men tend to differ after these similarities. Benoit was typically described as an intense wrestler devoted to the sport. Bryan is lauded as a tactician in the ring, and comes off as a relatable person or everyman in his persona.
Fan Dumb: Ever since he joined WWE, while there are arguments that DBD could be booked better, smarks have taken every single defeat he's had as irrefutable proof that WWE is trying to bury him to Santino levels of Jobberdom. Even if he wins the US Championship. Or Money in the Bank. Or said defeat comes after putting on a 20 minute clinic pushing the other guy to the absolute limit... you get the idea.
Fan-Preferred Couple: Bryan/Brie? Bryan/Nikki? Bryan/Gail? Bryan/AJ? Forget all of those, the OTP is Daniel Bryan/Derrick Bateman.
Fridge Brilliance: Was the fans embracing Bryan following his 18-second Mania loss part of the WWE's plan all along?
Judging from the fact that Smackdown tapings have been edited to eliminate his cheers and he's only become even more of a douche since then to counteract cheers, probably not.
Hollywood Homely: DBD may not have the super defined bodies of a lot of his peers, but put him in any other circumstance and he'd be quite studly.
Ho Yay: He and his manly...so manly...oh, so manly NXT rookie, Derrick Bateman. So, so much.
From his Ring of Honor days: "You're gonna get your fucking head kicked in!" (Chanted to the tune of what is known in Australia as the "You're going home in the back of a divvy van!" chant)
YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Stemming from his run as World Heavyweight Champion.
This could be headed for Ascended Meme status, as WWE crowds are starting to adopt this as a chant not only in support for Bryan, but for EVERYTHING.
Not to mention, WWE has officially made a "YES! YES! YES!" shirt.
Memetic Sex God: Apparently, he is the only guy to pull both the Bella Twins and Gail Kim. Too much man!
And now add AJ.
Moral Event Horizon: Yes, his behavior had been increasingly sketchy ever since he won the World Title, but the moment he essentially used his girlfriend as a human shield and tried to make it look like an accident firmly cemented him as something of a calloused bastard. At his next appearance, the heat leveled at him was nothing short of nuclear. (It doesn't help matters that AJ was a very firm Ensemble Darkhorse by this point.)
YES! YES! YES! YES! YES! Even as a heel, Danielson is Narm Charm incarnate.
Never Live It Down: Danielson was always a good wrestler, but from 2002-2005 his promo and speaking ability were...well, "lacking" is generous. He improved quite a lot as ROH Champion and afterward, but he seems incapable of escaping the label of "talented in the ring, but no personality," no matter how much he has hammed it up since then. NXT tried its best to alter that perception. His feud with The Miz is helping too, especially since the Miz is excellentawesome at promos.
One of Us: Oh yeah, this is just a small sample of how nerdy Daniel Bryan truly is.
Pandering to the Base: Bryan beating up Michael Cole was awesome not just because of the angle, but because there is significant overlap among WWE fans who hate Michael Cole and WWE fans who like Bryan Danielson. For that exact same reason, Cole goes over the top in heeling it up whenever he's announcing a Danielson match.
The same is true, to a somewhat lesser extent, with his feud with The Miz. Smarks actually tend to like Miz (as a rule, they're fans of charismatic heels)... but they didn't like the much less experienced Miz being made the NXT mentor for the man whom many consider the best wrestler in North America.
Tear Jerker: His ROH farewell speech. Especially when he tells the sound guys to cue up his "favorite song" one more time.
Unintentionally Sympathetic: The beginning of Bryan's WHC run. Yes, he is now a heel that has a high opinion of himself. Yes, that was a dick move using AJ to take a hard bump from The Big Show in a title match. However, it was a little hard to not root for him. Putting aside his admirable past work for a moment, his feud going into the 2012 Royal Rumble alone was "David v. 2 Goliaths" of Mark Henry and The Big Show (who were also booked to Won't Work On Me most of Bryan's offense). In addition, he defended the title three times before the Rumble, coming out with somewhat clever methods to walk out with the title against the odds (though again, using AJ to help in one of those matches was questionable at best).
There's also the fact that Michael Cole, an unambiguous heel commentator (and ridiculously annoying one at that) still hates his guts.
Cole seems to be on Bryan's side nowadays - either because of Daniel's heelishness or Cole sucking up to the champion.
For that matter, even the other commentators other than Josh seem to flop back and forth as to whether they support him or are against him. Josh for his part remains the face and while he doesn't outright question Bryan, he will often call the others out for their conflicting statements.
His Wrestlemania match against Sheamus. Despite everything which had happened up to then, entering into Wrestlemania as champion as he had wanted, only to lose the title in 18 seconds after Sheamus takes advantage of distraction from his pre-match good luck kiss left a bad taste in the entire show.
This was taken to an entirely different level on the 4/2/12 RAW, where the Miami crowd, filled with leftover fans from the previous night's Wrestlemania, took over the show and spent the entire night chanting variations of "YES!" and "DANIEL BRYAN!"
↑ he never had a chance to cash it since Edge won it from