WrestleMania 37 was supposed to be headlined by Roman Reigns defending his WWE Universal Championship towards Edge. But, as at all times, the cardboard is topic to change and Daniel Bryan has now been inserted into the title match. It’s an unimaginable flip of occasions for a expertise who appeared to be simply having enjoyable wrestling his pals and now may have a chance to relive his epic title victory from WrestleMania 30.
But this time it is totally different.
The unbelievable journey for the 39-year-old is made much more important contemplating that the three males concerned within the title match have been all on the verge of getting their respective careers finish prematurely. Reigns overcame leukemia whereas Edge and Daniel Bryan discovered their approach again from career-threatening accidents.
Bryan talked with Sporting News to clarify how he ended up again right here, his present position with the corporate, why he needs to wrestle till he dies, his aspect of KofiMania, why he enjoys wrestling with out followers and who he believes is the way forward for the enterprise.
SN: Did you suppose that you’d ever end up again in the principle occasion title image for Wrestlemania?
Daniel Bryan: Probably not. It was humorous as a result of after the Elimination Chamber PPV last yr I advised the WWE that I had simply a little over a yr left on my contract and we want to work out the easiest way to use me as a result of when my contract is up I’m most likely not going to wrestle anymore. I needed to have the opportunity to put individuals over so this place might be higher as soon as I’m gone. In no approach form or type did that embody me being in the principle occasion of WrestleMania.
SN: How did all of it come collectively? Because it felt fairly apparent that we have been getting Edge vs. Roman Reigns in a one-on-one match.
DB: I first heard about it shortly after Elimination Chamber. We all assumed it might be Edge vs. Roman till they modified their minds. How it occurred, I do not know. I used to be not a part of any of that artistic course of.
SN: What has your position been with the corporate the previous few years? There have been rumors that you just had extra enter on artistic.
DB: How it began was I’d simply go in and contribute to issues for my very own tales. They preferred my concepts and I feel they preferred that the majority of my concepts weren’t about getting myself over. It was at all times about making the present higher. And then when the pandemic occurred and my pregnant spouse was actually due to ship in a few weeks, I had to step again. They requested if I would really like to take part in artistic. My position isn’t that huge, however they’d name and ask what I considered sure tales. And now that position has diminished since earlier than Elimination Chamber.
SN: You have been in the principle occasion as a part of a triple risk at WrestleMania 30 and entered because the underdog. You’re in a related scenario seven years later however every part is totally different. How do you are feeling heading into this match versus WrestleMania 30?
DB: I knew at WrestleMania 30 that me being added to that match was useful to the present. Heading into this present we didn’t have a stay crowd and I’m not satisfied that me being added was the perfect route to go. Obviously, I’m thrilled to be a a part of it. You do not flip down the principle occasion of WrestleMania, proper? But you don’t know for sure that was what the followers needed at WrestleMania 30. The largest distinction to me is that I’d hate to take away one thing that the followers actually needed.
SN: The different aspect of this is that Edge will get to be the Rated-R Superstar and, let’s be sincere, the unhealthy man has at all times been the perfect model of Edge.
DB: Yeah, I feel that is true. I can inform you, personally, it’s far more enjoyable being a unhealthy man. As neat because it is to have individuals cheering for you, speaking in regards to the planet as a unhealthy man was one thing I might actually sink my enamel into. It’s enjoyable being hated. One of the toughest issues to do in fashionable wrestling is being a good man that the followers like. This model of Edge is each cool and harmful.
SN: We’re seeing Cesaro lastly have his first WrestleMania singles match. I do know you two are shut. How does it really feel to see him in this place?
DB: I’m thrilled. He and I’ve recognized one another for the higher a part of 17 years. He’s somebody who works so onerous and is so gifted. He’s an anomaly. There was a time earlier than the pandemic that he did extra stay exhibits than anyone on the roster. You need to see individuals like that get rewarded. It ought to have occurred a little sooner, however hopefully this one will really feel actually good for him, particularly the primary time in entrance of a stay crowd. He will get to go on the market and do his factor. I’m tremendous excited for him.
SN: The previous yr has felt like you will have been having enjoyable working with your mates and expertise that you just’ve at all times needed to get into the ring with.
DB: Oh yeah, for sure! I received to wrestle with Drew Gulak in entrance of a stay crowd at Elimination Chamber last yr. But as soon as the pandemic began, we had to do these matches in entrance of no person. While all people else was making an attempt to work out what to do in entrance of no person, I used to be like, “Yes!” Me and Gulak might simply go on the market and do wrestling stuff and we do not have to entertain anyone. I feel that type of stuff truly performs higher with no individuals. I received to have a couple of matches with Cesaro in entrance of no person and It was a lot enjoyable. The one man that I did not get to wrestle when he was on “SmackDown” was Gran Metalik. I’ve had a lot of enjoyable over the previous yr.
SN: How do you are feeling bodily now in contrast with the way you felt heading into WrestleMania 30?
DB: I truly really feel infinitely higher now then I did going heading into WrestleMania 30. That was brutal as a result of I had began experiencing neck issues and shedding energy in my left arm. I really feel so significantly better now. I’ve in the reduction of on the heavy lifting and I take extra of a Tom Brady strategy to my athletic coaching. Unfortunately, it makes me look a little extra like Tom Brady. There’s a sure strain for if you headline your first WrestleMania the place you will have to ship. I don’t really feel that strain anymore as a result of I actually do not feel like I wrestle for anyone else now. I wrestle as a result of like it. There’s a sure pleasure to it and it is in contrast to the rest. Overall, I really feel bodily, mentally, spiritually higher than I did round WrestleMania 30.
SN: You have been one of many wrestlers who actually opened the floodgates for a lot of the unbiased expertise to make their approach into the WWE. I do know you aren’t one to take credit score however is there a a part of you who is conscious that he was a catalyst for the present crop of expertise within the WWE?
DB: I’ve had individuals ask me that earlier than, however I truly suppose it is the pure evolution of getting a lot tv time that you’ve to fill. As quickly as “Raw” went to three hours, and with “Smackdowns” being two hours, all of a sudden you will have to refill all this time with one thing. And the people who find themselves going to be finest at which might be the individuals who can go on the market and entertain as wrestlers. There are guys who can minimize promos, however you will have to go on the market and do an entertaining, two- or three-segment match with simply wrestling. You’re going to be used if you are able to do that. It’s onerous to say. Maybe I contributed to the WWE’s concept that a smaller individual might be in a headline spot. But earlier than me, there was Rey Mysterio and Rey is infinitely smaller than me. I do not suppose it is essentially me per se, however I feel it is simply a pure evolution that requires extra talent to maintain individuals’s consideration.
SN: But you’re recognized for wrestling and it seems like you will have been a huge a part of the evolution of this enterprise that has seen the WWE put extra emphasis on professional wrestling by signing the likes of Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, Chad Gable and others.
DB: I’m very pleased with how a lot the wrestling high quality has improved within the WWE, however I assume what I nonetheless get a little dissatisfied about is someone like Chad Gable, who is insanely gifted however nonetheless by no means has had a actual breakthrough. And then there’s Cesaro, who has had a breakthrough and the followers have gone nuts over him, however one way or the other this is his first singles match at WrestleMania. On one hand, I’m enthusiastic about how the WWE has advanced however there are nonetheless issues which might be missing and will enhance. I’m dissatisfied that a number of the individuals who I feel have been incredible are being neglected. But there has by no means been a time in wrestling the place there haven’t been incredible wrestlers who have been neglected. I guess if you happen to ask Leonardo DiCaprio if the perfect actors he is aware of got the perfect roles in motion pictures, I guess you the reply is most likely not.
SN: The wrestling enterprise misplaced a great one with Brodie Lee. Can you discuss what he meant to you and the boys within the locker room?
DB: I’ve a great story about Brodie. I had this actually cool second main into WrestleMania 30 that I do not even keep in mind in a metal cage match and I joined the Wyatt Family. We’re wrestling the Usos and I take off my jumpsuit and return to being “Yes!” Daniel Bryan. The complete crowd is going nuts. I don’t keep in mind a single factor from that day as a result of I received a concussion within the match. We do “Raw” and “Smackdown” the following day. Brodie and Cesaro stayed with me all the time. Eventually, the medical doctors advised me to go see a physician however I wouldn’t go away the constructing as a result of I couldn’t discover my filtered water bottle. I yelled at Brodie for following me round simply to make sure I used to be OK. He was simply someone who takes care of individuals and takes care of people who he cherished. It hit actually onerous after we misplaced him. But in this enterprise, you meet unimaginable individuals and also you by no means know after they received’t be right here anymore. But being round somebody who is that caring was unimaginable.
SN: Speaking of unimaginable, you have been instrumental in Kofi Kingston’s second profitable the WWE Championship, which was very related to your second at WrestleMania 30. Can you supply any perception on that match and being on the opposite aspect of it?
DB: I do not actually have any perception, aside from to say that we have been all watching it unfold and all people knew what the appropriate choice was. It wasn’t the unique plan, however you knew the followers have been going to like this far more. It was so cool being on the opposite aspect of it. There was one other sense of pleasure in it. Kofi wins the championship and all of us have this second the place we are saying how superior it is. But then what occurs is Kofi now has all people arising to congratulate him and you’ve got to take care of all that. That’s not as simple because it sounds. It drains a lot of power. I’m sure the following morning he had to stand up at 5 a.m. and do every kind of media. Meanwhile, I get to slink over to my spouse and daughter, give them a huge hug and we simply get to return to our resort room. I don’t have to get up till 10 a.m. the following morning and the highlight is off you. It’s so good and also you get to really feel that pleasure for someone else.
SN: You virtually had your professional wrestling profession taken from you due to accidents, however you’re proper again in the principle occasion. However, you talked about that you just don’t have a lot time left in your contract. Could this be your last WrestleMania?
DB: For the last 10 years I’ve had this factor the place I type of need to wrestle till I die. Not like wrestle till I hurt my well being and cross away. But I imply like how Terry Funk and Jerry Lawler can nonetheless do a present. Dory Funk will pop up at 70 years outdated and may nonetheless do his factor. Nobody asks musicians when they’re going to cease making music. I’ve to change how I do what I do and watch out. But once I’m 45 and once I flip 55, I’d nonetheless like to get on the market as soon as a month and do this factor that I like. I don’t care if it’s in entrance of 25,000 individuals at WrestleMania or 13 individuals at a flea market. Sometimes 13 individuals at a flea market is a little extra enjoyable. This being my last WrestleMania is a risk, however we’ve got to see the place the stability is between wrestling and household. I’ll do what feels proper.
SN: If you had to put the way forward for the enterprise in somebody’s arms who hasn’t had that chance to carry the corporate, who would it not be?
DB: It’s onerous, however that individual could be Big E. He’s such a good talker, wrestler and so charismatic. He’s nonetheless in his early 30s, he seems the half, he may be humorous or scary or every part in between. If I have been in cost, he would have a greater position. One of the issues with wrestling is that you do not know if someone is going to achieve the principle occasion spot till you place them in the principle occasion spot. You by no means know till they’ve that chance.