Daniel Bryan: The Man and the Impact.
I want to begin this post with an “O Captain! My Captain” level of depth. But my writing skills cannot reach there even though my heart does feel a grave void. It was a Monday night there and a Tuesday morning here when I, much like many other ardent WWE fans heard this-
“It is with a heavier heart and the utmost sadness that I officially announce my retirement (No………)”
It’s true and it’s official. One of the greatest WWE superstars, hell one of the greatest sports-persons and possibly the greatest technical wrestler of the millennium has bid goodbye to the millions and millions of his fans world-wide. Daniel Bryan, 34, appeared on WWE Raw this Monday in his hometown of Seattle and shocked the world. It was an emotional moment for one and all and the impact this was going to leave on Pro-Wrestling was unprecedented. Within Minutes, social media was abuzz with hashtags of #DanielBryan and #ThankYouDanielBryan and many eyes went blurred. It was an emotional moment for every wrestling fan no doubt but I feel the true impact of this hasn’t really sunk in yet.
I remember writing a post recently about how some wrestlers are able to make an impact in wrestling but they do not leave a lasting legacy behind. I regret not talking about Daniel Bryan there. Maybe because I thought that it wasn’t the right time to sum up his career; that he still had to go a long long way. Maybe because I, much like other fans, had not really imagined of a possible scenario where Daniel Bryan would not be available for wrestling in future matches. But all that is behind us now and what lies ahead is a shoddier, a little less perfect WWE.
Of course, the show must go on and the tide does not stop for anyone. There were times when it was difficult to imagine pro-wrestling without stars like Hulk Hogan, Ric Flair, Bret Hart, Stone Cold Steve Austin, The Rock and many others. But they are gone while WWE still flourishes. Similarly, we would too endure this crisis. All we can do to pay homage to this prodigy of a fighter is to look back and wonder about the fairy-tale career of this giant small man.
I don’t really mean to go into his history, to talk about his training under true wrestling greats and his grit to come into the business. That has been exemplary Yes and every wrestler barring a little few have to come through those times. What I am concerned with is the sheer magic this man has produced in that arena, in that ring, with his body, with his mike-skills and with those two hands rising to the chants of ‘YES, YES, YES’. Daniel Bryan fought like he wanted to prove something to the world and much more, to his own self. He would take those risky falls and intense rope-dives just so they knew he could go on doing it again and again, every night, without breaking a sweat. He was probably the only wrestler after Shawn Michaels who literally got audiences to feel for him whenever he took a punch, or a body drop or a chair to the head. It was this presence, this connection with the people that made him the man he today is and always will be.
People talk a lot about why I or other people for that matter watch WWE, calling it fixed or something, not even knowing anything about the dynamics of it. To this, I tell them that Buddy, the term you do not know, or probably will never know if you keep this mirage of knowing everything about Wrestling in front of your eyes, is that pro-wrestling is scripted. There is a whole program and that is what is followed throughout. But this, in no way means that they do not put their bodies on the line. They do it all the time just so they could bring that smile, that look of amazement on our faces. And nobody, I mean nobody who came into WWE this millenium understood the nerve of the audience better than Daniel Bryan. Body drop off the top rope? We have seen it. Frog Splash? Been there, witnessed that. Power Bombing your opponent in mid air ? Every week of the early 2000s. And Still, I am here to watch you wrestle. I know everything you can possibly show me but I still care to see it. And it is this showmanship that is the greatest treasure of pro-wrestling. Something like this cannot be programmed, can’t be instructed and you cannot be really trained in it if you haven’t got the grit in you. Look at Roman Reigns, the guy is being booked as the next John Cena and he cannot make a move without humiliating himself in the process. Then Look at Bryan and the booking he received with fans finally literally intervening to get him that magic moment at Wrestlemania 30. Apart from that, he was always been the low lying guy and today he is the king of the YES movement!
There is a buzz around online media that WWE cannot afford to lose this guy from its banner even if it requires hosting him in an official department, by making a producer out of him instead of a talent. We cannot see him in the ring anymore and this is totally alright considering his “brain isn’t as okay as he thought it was” status. How we can expect to see him in WWE in times to come is in the role of a good manager or a mentor or pay-per-view host. And masses will pay to watch him and we would love to catch a glimpse of him every now and then. You see, Wrestling is not all about fighting. It’s about showing the world that you have the fight within you. AND ONE MORE THING- YES! YES! YES!