DVD Release Date: Tuesday, August 7, 2012
From NXT Season 1, 2.23.10: World Heavyweight Champion Chris Jericho (w/ Wade Barrett) defeats Daniel Bryan (w/ The Miz) at 5:54. This is the main event of the first-ever episode of NXT. Kudos to Jericho right away, who gives Bryan plenty of offense and makes him look good throughout the match. Midway through the match Bryan knocks Jericho to the floor and wipes Jericho out with a suicide dive, taking a nasty bump onto the announce table in the process. Back in the ring Bryan traps Jericho in a painful looking leg submission and Jericho reaches the ropes. Jericho then catches Bryan with a Codebreaker, and then locks on the Wall of Jericho to get the win. That was a great debut for Bryan against the perfect opponent. I would have loved to see these two against each other in a longer match.
From Night of Champions, 9.1910: Daniel Bryan defeats WWE United States Champion The Miz (w/ Alex Riley) at 12:29 to win the title. Miz has been the champion since 6.14.10 and this is his second defense. Danielson’s music here is truly wretched. Bryan uses his superior technical skill but Miz is able to keep him grounded by working the arm and shoulder. The challenger is able to knock Miz to the floor and wipes him out with a dive. He comes back in the ring with his missile dropkick for a close near-fall. Miz actually uses a Nigel McGuinness lariat (the one out of the corner with Bryan on the top rope; wonder who came up with that idea?), which is awesome. The crowd is juicing on Bryan big time, and they’re totally buying his near-falls. Riley tries to interfere but it consistently backfires. Miz argues with the referee and Bryan traps him in the LeBell Lock and Miz taps the title away! What a terrific showing for Bryan, and Miz looked awesome too. These two are perfect foils for each other and I would love it if they re-program them at a higher level at some point.
From Money in the Bank, 7.17.11: Daniel Bryan defeats Cody Rhodes, Heath Slater, Justin Gabriel, Kane, Sheamus, Sin Cara and Wade Barrett in a Money in the Bank Ladder Match at 24:33. This is the first time for Bryan, Slater, Gabriel, Sheamus, Cara, and Barrett. It’s the second time for Rhodes and the fifth time for Kane (with one win). This is quite the international Money in the Bank, with a competitor from South Africa, Ireland, Mexico, and England in the fray. All eight men provide tons of action throughout the match. The big infamous spot from this match comes when Sheamus drills Cara with a Brogue Kick, and then hits a powerbomb off the apron and on top of the ladder! The crowd loved that but Cara is hurt, like for real. Down the stretch Barrett is a house afire, getting rid of Gabriel and hitting Rhodes with a pumphandle slam. Rhodes recovers and clotheslines Barrett to the floor. Up on top of the ladder Bryan traps Rhodes in a guillotine choke. Barrett tries to sneak in from behind and grab the case but Bryan thwarts him. Bryan knocks Rhodes and Barrett down to the mat and is able to pull down the briefcase for the win. That was smartly booked and creatively wrestled by all eight men. Bryan going over was a huge surprise at the time but he certainly deserved it and has since made the most of it in the ensuing months.
From Friday Night SmackDown, 11.4.11: World Heavyweight Champion Mark Henry defeats Daniel Bryan (w/ Big Show) by disqualification in a non-title match at 6:24. Bryan uses his quickness to try and go after Henry’s legs, but the massive Champion counters with his power and throws Danielson around. I’m not sure what Bryan is allowing Show to be in his corner, other than it gives the writers a good reason to place Show at ringside. Bryan comes back with a flurry of offense and tries to choke Henry out. Henry escapes with a suplex, and he’s angry now. He squashes Bryan in the corner three times. When he turns around Show is in the ring! Show knocks Henry out with a WMD for the DQ. I feel like they could have found a better match to showcase Bryan on his own DVD than this one.
From Royal Rumble, 1.29.12: World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan defeats Mark Henry and Big Show in a Triple Threat Steel Cage Match at 9:10 to retain the title. Bryan has been the Champion since 12.18.11, and this is his fourth defense. Pin, submission, and escape rules are in effect here. The Champ immediately tries to climb out but gets brought back down. Show turns his attention to Henry, and squashes him between the ropes and the cage. Late in the match Henry picks Bryan up for the World¬¬¬’s Strongest Slam and Show stops that with a WMD! Show covers Henry and Bryan breaks it up. Bryan climbs to the top of the cage and makes it over but Show pulls him back in! The resilient Champion fights Show off and drops to the floor to get the win. That was short but they packed a lot of action in there and kept up a pretty good pace. Bryan looks good in lasting with the monsters, and he won fair and square.
Of the five matches, two of them are four stars or higher, so on a one-disc set that’s worthy of a recommendation right there. Also of note, the match against Jericho from the first episode of NXT is the first match from that program ever released on DVD. This is definitely worth the bargain price.