Yesterday seemed as if it was going to be just another day in the world of professional wrestling with a new episode of Monday Night Raw on the horizon. Then, all of a sudden, a particular tweet from a particular wrestler changed all of that. 20 words, or 137 characters, informed the world that Daniel Bryan has retired from professional wrestling.
Daniel Bryan’s saga has been well documented over the past couple of years. He was the anointed hero of the masses that WWE was reluctant to recognize due to an archaic way of thinking that a towering colossus with GQ looks is the recipe for successful storytelling.
Resounding chants of “YES, YES, YES” from jam-packed arenas all over the world shined a spotlight on the fact that Daniel Bryan was the most popular wrestler in the business. Sadly, a neck injury followed by the latest in a line of concussions closed the door on a remarkable career.
While the wave of emotions following Bryan’s heartfelt retirement speech is still fresh on our minds, the memory will eventually fade but it will never be forgotten. It will take some time, but one day fans, wrestlers, and industry insiders will truly understand the enormity of Daniel Bryan’s accomplishments.
Independent wrestlers with name recognition outside of WWE are slowly becoming the rule instead of a cautious exception. Bryan’s hard work, mastery of his craft, and a refreshingly honest persona made the audience proud of their ringing endorsement of him.
There were no blurred lines between die-hard and casual fans as support for the Aberdeen, Washington native was practically unanimous. This propelled Bryan to the main event of WrestleMania 30 for the ultimate happy ending that was never a part of the plan. His title reign only lasted 62 days, but it’s a moment that can never be taken away from him.
“Brutal” Bob Evans stated that one of the keys to making it in professional wrestling is to be undeniable. Daniel Bryan proved he was undeniable, and now, on a subliminal level, AJ Styles is currently reaping the benefits. Styles recently entered WWE with the character and impressive reputation that preceded him, all while stepping over the glass shards from the ceiling that Daniel Bryan shattered.