About 4 months into my live tweeting of Monday Night Raw, my favorite wrestler makes his big announcement for the live Raw crowd. Daniel Bryan tweeted the following on my birthday, 2014:
(note to WWE Superstars, please don’t announce you are retiring on my birthday).
All of the dirt sheets were saying he was announcing his retirement, but it turned out he was entering the 2015 Royal Rumble. I was elated taht the WWE had the opportunity to learn from their mistakes . . . but when the event rolled around, he was unceremoniously eliminated from the match — and almost entirely off-screen, no less. They hadn’t learned their lesson, and they were going to push Roman Reigns down our throats, whether anyone but Vince McMahon wanted it or not.
Let’s go back to when Bryan started his “Yes” movement. The summer of 2013, he was just ending a tag team with Kane and getting the biggest pops every time he came out. John Cena saw this, and whether kayfabe or not, he chose Bryan as his opponent for Summer Slam. Then they had a “match of the year” contender. But the real story came from Vince saying that Bryan didn’t have the right look for a mainevent-er, trying to get him to cut his hair and beard and talking about how short he was.
If you don’t already know, Vince thinks all pro wrestlers should be 7 foot tall and made of pure muscle. It didn’t matter to the fans, they had decided he was their guy, and damnit if they weren’t gonna cheer him despite everything WWE would do. Triple H made himself the referee for the match and called it down the middle until the end. Randy Orton came down with the money in the bank, a briefcase that gives the owner a WWE Title match whenever, or wherever, he wants . . . including just after the champion has competed.
As Orton made his way to the ring, H kicked Bryan in the gut and gave him a pedigree, then counted the three count and handed the WWE title to Orton to a chorus of boos. Bryan would be screwed out of two more chances at the title over the next two months. Once by a crooked ref fast-counting and another time by his trainer Shawn Michaels kicking him in the face.
Bryan would be taken out of the title picture by Bray Wyatt and his “Family”. He would stay in this until he would win the opening match at Royal Rumble, and not competing in the Rumble. This made the fans, let’s call it effing pissed, that he wasn’t even in the match and the returning Dave Batista was going to be the winner, like they’d basically told us he was in all the commercials and was the man Vince had chosen. They were gonna put the belt on him to help promote his upcoming role in Guardians of the Galaxy.
Bryan would be placed inside an Elimination Chamber match for the WWE title, only to lose to Randy Orton. Fans were engraged, but at Wrestlemania 30 he would get himself a match with H which, if he won, he would be added to the Main Event for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He won on the biggest stage WWE has, was on the champion, and behind the scenes he married the woman of his dreams days before the big event. Two months later, he would have to vacate the title because of a neck injury.
I already told you about his return, but Roman Reigns was the winner of the 2015 Royal Rumble. This lead to #CancelWWENetwork to trend on Twitter for the next few days. Bryan would go to WWE’s February PPV Fastlane against Roman Reigns. This was a match trying to get Roman over by having him beat Bryan and then Bryan shaking his hand in a show of respect. Then Bryan would enter the IC Title Ladder Match and win it.
He would then face Dolph Ziggler on the following RAW, and after this nothing, he would eventually vacate the IC Title because he aggravated his neck injury. He made sporadic appearances, Pimping his book that came out the summer of 2015 and a one night stint as The RAW General Manager. Other than that all we would get were rumors that WWE were offering him backstage roles in the company like a producer or trainer at NXT. Bryan would continually say he wanted to return to the ring and even try to quit so he could just go to the independents and Japan or anywhere else that would have him. WWE doesn’t want this and at least a part of me thinks they are protecting him from himself.
All of this is just my way of saying that, while I do love Bryan, I don’t want to see him kill himself for entertainment purposes. Bryan has a hard hitting style and that includes one of his trademark moves, The Diving Headbutt, where he jumps from the top rope driving his head into a downed opponent. Two of the men who also made this move famous didn’t get the chance to retire. Dynamite Kid ended up in a wheelchair without the use of his legs and Chris Benoit took his own life after a tragedy I won’t go into here. This is why I believe WWE is protecting Bryan from himself, and I hope he takes the hint and helps the next generation of WWE Superstars down in NXT.
I want to thank Bryan for giving everything he could and I wish him all the happiness in the world.
All opinions are that of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Deck Ape...or anyone else. Arrr!