3. Daniel Bryan
What a roller coaster of a career Daniel Bryan has had. His journey from Ring of Honor to WWE and through retirement is unlike any other. However, years before his debut on the original NXT Daniel Bryan competed off-and-on as an enhancement talent for WWE.
Bryan had his first match in the WWE in 2000 where he and Shooter Schultz teamed to face Lance Cade and Brian Kendrick in a dark match. The four were recent graduates of Shawn Michaels’ wrestling academy and were given a chance to perform in front of a WWE crowd. Over the years that followed, Bryan competed in enhancement matches for WWE under his real name, Bryan Danielson.
In 2003, Bryan had the most famous of these matches as he wrestled as the American Dragon against John Cena on a February episode of Velocity. Yes, the SummerSlam 2013 main event took place on Velocity over a decade earlier. Bryan would lose to Cena but the match would be featured on Daniel Bryan’s DVD in 2014.
Following his match with Cena, Bryan would return to the independent scene. He competed in Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Guerrilla, and New Japan Pro Wrestling until 2010 when he made his debut as The Miz’s rookie on NXT Season 1.
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