Daniel Bryan will never wrestle for WWE again.
Repeat: Daniel Bryan will never wrestle for WWE again.
It has only been a few days since the news was confirmed, but that sentence above may never fully be accepted by fans. While that outcome was always an option and had been predicted by many for awhile (like Bret Hart months ago), the entire episode of WWE RAW on Monday night felt like a huge wave of reality crashing into your face.
Bryan is done wrestling, and while everything is still being sorted out, I am compelled to write down my thoughts on his WWE career, in true "Yes! Movement" fashion.
"Bryan Danielson is just an indy nerd that WWE will never sign. Ever!"
Remember this sentiment about Bryan? It absolutely existed, and if you have some time, feel free to Google search plenty of old articles. Lots of folks expected him to stay on the independent scene forever, never getting a WWE tryout. Never getting a WWE developmental deal. Never even getting a chance with WWE. He not only did eventually get a contract, he got much more...
"Daniel Bryan will never make the main roster. He will just sit in developmental. Just watch!"
Heck, the first article I Googled about Bryan signing WWE had a clown GUARANTEEING he would be released within six months. Well, that prediction sure was on the money (kinda...). Needless to say, he did more than just sit there and train. Rumors even have it that Bryan specifically requested to spend some time learning the "WWE style" before heading to the main roster - something Sin Cara didn't care to do and found out the hard way how important that can be. Whatever the case may be, WWE did indeed sign the young talent, proving the doubters wrong - a trend that would continue for the next few years.
"See! WWE fired Bryan and ruined him! What a BURIAL!!!! Stupid move."
Even in the middle of a chaotic debut for the Nexus, Bryan went over the edge (a little) and was made an example out of him. Not entirely fair but story has it Vince McMahon personally called him to break the news and told him he was welcome back once the dust settled. As we saw, the dust did settle, and two months later, Daniel FREAKIN' Bryan was in the main event of WWE Summerslam. His first WWE Summerslam main event. Again, all the naysayers ate crow.
"Who cares? Bryan will be a JOBBER and never win a title! Never!!!"
Daniel Bryan won gold only a month into his WWE return story line. He defeated The Miz clean as can be at Night of Champions 2010 and became the NEW United States Champion. Considering The Miz was on a roll in 2010 and soon to be a main event star, it was a huge deal. Bryan had now signed with WWE, made the main roster, and won gold. You would think the 'haters' would have shut up by now, but nope, they continued on.
"Pfft. It's just the stinking US Title. Bryan ain't ever getting near the main event. Vince hates him; I totally read it on the internet! Mid-card for life, haha."
After being shifted around the card for much of 2011, his time had finally arrived in the summer on Smackdown. Not only was Daniel Bryan in the big Money in the Bank ladder match, he was the victor. Folks remember the WWE Championship match that evening with John Cena vs. CM Punk in Chicago, but that pay-per-view also marked the beginning on Daniel Bryan's rise to the top of the card. He was going for the World Title this time, not the stinking US Title!
"Dude, Bryan will be the first to cash in MITB and lose! I know it man; I just know it. WWE won't have him be World Champ."
At the end of 2011, a dream was realized. The TLC PPV marked the first World Title win for Daniel Bryan in WWE. He had achieved something many thought was impossible. Not only that, the reign lasted for a few months, and the man got to walk into WrestleMania as World Champion. Think about that. Daniel Bryan was the World Champion at Mania. Not too shabby for a guy who would never get signed, never get out of the mid-card, never win a title, etc.
"There you go! Sheamus BURIED HIM!!! His career is all downhill from here. WWE SUX!"
Daniel Bryan lost the World Title, and proceeded to feud with CM Punk over the WWE Championship, have a great entertaining run as tag team champs with Kane, and then have a remarkable 2013 run. He beat Sheamus clean. He beat Kane clean. He beat Randy Orton clean. He also beat many guys below him on the card fair and square in the middle of the ring. So much for being BURIED?!?!??!?!?!!!?!
"Alright, alright. Fine. But of course John Cena will beat D-Bry at Summerslam. He may have won the World Title, but he is NEVER getting the WWE Title!"
All of this led to Daniel Bryan main eventing yet another Summerslam event in 2013 - against John Cena for the WWE Championship. The top prize. Versus THE MAN in the entire company. Surely, all the reports of WWE burying Bryan and not liking his size, and blah, blah, blah. Cena lost clean in the middle of the ring to Bryan for the WWE Title. One, two, three. New champ. The Yes! Movement was in full effect at this point, and it was nearly impossible to believe otherwise. Nothing but credit to the man who consistently defied the odds and proved people wrong, except...
"Oh, look! Randy Orton is champ again! SEE!!! WWE hates Bryan and will bury him. Can't believe this. I will boycott this company. Wahhhhh!"
It is very ironic that one man made his living by chanting "YES!" but was doing it by defying authority and telling them "NO!" throughout his entire life.
Daniel Bryan had already cleanly defeated Kane, Randy Orton, The Shield, Sheamus, John Cena, and many more. Yet still, it seemed folks did not want to believe the hype was real, and WWE was clearly behind him. It seems some suddenly forget the shows on television are exactly that - shows. All of that was confirmed once more at WrestleMania XXX when Daniel Bryan beat Triple H CLEAN in the opener and made Batista tap out CLEAN to win the WWE World Championship in the WM main event! As confetti fell from the ceiling and over 75,000 fans cheered, reality set in. Daniel Bryan, the man who would supposedly never get a WWE deal, never get out of developmental, never win a title, never main event, and never amount to anything, had made it...
...so like Daniel Bryan said on Raw this past Monday during his retirement speech, let's give it up to him one last time.
Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!
Follow me on Twitter: @JustinWatry
Email me feedback: firstname.lastname@example.org