Daniel Bryan is a four-time world champion in WWE, but it was almost all completely taken away from him before it even started.
On June 7, 2010, the WWE introduced its fans to the Nexus, a group of young upstarts that emerged on Monday Night RAW and completely destroyed everything: John Cena, the ring, the set, everything.
And… Daniel Bryan, a part of the Nexus, took it a bit too far in the eyes of WWE.
Bryan caused controversy by choking out ring announcer Justin Roberts with his neck tie, which was all part of the original plan to make the Nexus look like group of invaders wrecking up the place on television.
“Everybody from Vince [McMahon] down was happy with what took place,” Roberts said in his book The Best Seat in the House about the feeling backstage after angle happened. However, Roberts mentions that the feeling didn’t last long, as WWE — with reportedly Vince McMahon handling it himself — suddenly fired Bryan the following Thursday.
Weird considering the WWE is entirely built around stories people that are supposed fighting each other, right?
While the choking with the tie is considered the main controversy, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer noted at the time that Bryan spitting on John Cena during the angle may have also been a cause of the firing.
Considering that Bryan would go on to be WWE’s biggest star and the centerpiece of the WrestleMania 30 main event, it mind-boggling to think that the company nearly let him go before his career with WWE ever really started. However, he was eventually brought back into the angle, as Meltzer reported that Pat Patterson and Jim Ross pushed McMahon to rehire Bryan before that year’s SummerSlam event. Bryan was a surprising entrant for Team WWE against the Nexus in the 7-on-7 main event match.
After capturing pretty much every title in the company, Bryan is currently retired from in-ring competition due to multiple concussions. Bryan currently serves as the on-screen general manager for SmackDown Live.