Thank You, Daniel Bryan


In the last 24 hours WWE has finally lost one of its greatest ever stars, it will be hard to replace him.

Monday, Feb. 8, 2016, will always be remembered as the day that Daniel Bryan retired from wrestling. In the past, we’ve seen so many guys announce that they were set to retire, but then turn up back in the ring months, weeks, even days later. But this, this is real. Daniel Bryan really is gone from the wrestling ring forever.

The last time he wrestled in a WWE ring was April 2015, on an episode of SmackDown recorded in London, England. Bryan teamed with John Cena to face Tyson Kidd and Cesaro in the main event of the show. It was a short match that sent the crowd home happy when Bryan made Kidd submit to win the match for his team. When the news of his retirement broke I went back and watched that match, what was plain to see was that something was not right. During that tour it was thought that he’d suffered a concussion, possibly in a match with Sheamus (which Bryan denied) and during that final match he never really took a bump. He was pulled off the apron a couple of times, the only time he hit the mat was when Kidd rolled him up for a near fall.

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Following that match, he was pulled from the tour and never wrestled in a WWE ring again. He’s appeared a couple of times on tv, was part of Tough Enough and is a regular on Total Divas, but he’s never gone at it in a match since that day in London. One of the greatest wrestlers of his generation has hung up his boots and will never go into battle again.

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Concussions are not something to be messed with and WWE was right to stop him getting back in the ring. Bryan had apparently been cleared by doctors that he’d personally been to see, but WWE’s own expert Dr Joseph Maroon would not clear him to get back into action. After much discussion, Bryan finally had more tests and realised that Dr Maroon was right all along. That lead to what will probably go down as the most emotional, the realest, the most heartbreaking retirement in WWE history.

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  • Bryan has been forced to retire during what should have been the most important years of his career. At 34 years old he is an eighteen year veteran of the ring. Some of the matches he’s had during those eighteen years are the reason behind the concussions that have forced him to retire from the sport he loves so much. During that emotional segment on Raw he used the line “Maybe my brain wasn’t as ok as I thought it was”. That’s the true tragedy here. Bryan thought he was ok. He asked for his release from the company so that he could go elsewhere to continue his in-ring career, they denied him that option. If he had been allowed to leave and carry on there’s no telling what may have happened to him.

    At a time when the study of concussions of the human brain, and the diagnosis of the problems they can cause, is at an all-time high, I for one am glad that WWE didn’t allow him to come back and wrestle anymore. Daniel Bryan has done so much over his eighteen years as a professional wrestler. WWE rarely likes to acknowledge that wrestlers had a career before they reached WWE, but you can’t deny some of the classic matches he had during his time in Ring of Honor, Pro Wrestling Noah, across Europe and in Indy companies across America. Bryan set the standard for indy wrestlers around the world and was the reason a lot of the guys that WWE fans love in the company now are in wrestling at all. There’s a generation of fans that will only know Bryan as a WWE wrestler, with the proliferation of wrestling on the internet that doesn’t need to be the case.

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    I’ve been a wrestling fan for nearly all of my life, over 25 years in fact, and in all that time nobody has connected with me as much as Daniel Bryan. He’s the guy that changed the game for everyone. Growing from nothing in the company to its biggest star at the insistence of the fans, not the design of the men at the top. If it hadn’t been for his connection to the crowd he may not have achieved any of what he did in a WWE ring.

    I’ll admit that during the retirement speech on Raw I had a tear in my eye. Listening to the reaction from the crowd, hearing them chant his name, seeing other people feel the same things that I felt at that moment, told you all you need to know about Daniel Bryan. He’s a star like no other, it will be a long time until anyone gets close to the level he achieved through his own ability and determination.

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    Daniel Bryan gave so much during his 18 years as a professional wrestler, the matches he took part in should be part of any aspiring wrestlers watch list. Daniel Bryan has been able to walk away on his own terms, not in the way he would probably have wanted to. At least, he got the opportunity to say his goodbye in the ring, in front of the crowd that adored him, in his own way.

    Thank you, Daniel Bryan, it’s been one hell of a ride!