The first time I saw Daniel Bryan wrestle was during his iconic feud with Nigel McGuinness. I’d heard from the online chit chat that this guy was good, the best in the world according to some, and I was naturally intrigued. Yet, when Bryan came out, it was a bit underwhelming. Sure, the fans loved him, but to look at him, it was hard to be impressed.
And then he started wrestling, and suddenly everything made sense. Daniel Bryan is one of the few wrestlers who is good enough to make you believe everything that happened in the ring. He wrestled like a man possessed, and it was impossible to see him and not love him. It was that ability that led to him becoming one of the most over guys in WWE history, and it is what he does best.
Sadly, I can only imagine that that passion for the business played a big part in him having to announce his retirement last night. During those matches with McGuinness he at times crossed the line, it is hard now to look back on the headbutts and the times they drove each other into the ring post and not link that to his current issues. Those two men were willing to leave everything in the ring and in many ways they may have left a little bit too much.
Yet great ring ability and even a connection with the fans isn’t always enough to get yourself to the top in WWE. Ask Dolph Ziggler. Bryan had to have something more, and he did. He had an ability to take storylines that on paper were total dross and turn them into magic. Whether it was Anger Management with Kane or chanting ‘Yes!’ I mean just think about that for a second, he became the most over guy in wrestling, by chanting yes. A word that will now join ‘wooo’ as a standard of wrestling shows the world over.
If Daniel Bryan never wrestles again, that is sad. But if Daniel Bryan wrestles tomorrow and injures himself to the extent that he never walks again or is left brain damaged. That’s a tragedy. I would rather watch Total Divas and see him and Brie have children than watch Raw and see him kill himself. In his run to the WWE Title, Daniel Bryan created history. He went up against the man, and he won. He even pinned the man clean for Christ sakes. His career, whether it be in the indies or the WWE, has proven him to be one of the best guys ever to lace up a pair of boots, and it was a damn pleasure to get to watch him do his thing.