The Lasting Legacy Of “Yes”
By Anthony Zevoteck
Though it was over a week ago, the events of Feb. 8, 2016 will be one that WWE fans will always remember – Daniel Bryan being forced to retire from in-ring competition.
How can we possibly forget social media whirling in a tailspin of emotional headlines that spawned sadness, confusion and skepticism all over?
Bryan first gained notoriety in Ring Of Honor as a “founding father” who wrestled in the promotion’s first-ever main event and had classics aplenty with guys like Austin Aries and Homicide. What got him over then was his pure technical style and relentless in-ring nature.
His WWE run started in 2010 on the inaugural NXT. Though it took him a while to tap into his charisma and mic work, we now look at him as one of the business’ best, all because of the word “Yes.”
Without a doubt, his career moment will always be winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania XXX, defeating three men in two matches to do so.
The sad part about it all is that after that glorious moment was when it started going downhill, the latter part of his WWE career more synonymous with the sidelines than the top of the card and was soon stripped of the Title. Fans sat patiently, hoping for good news that Bryan could get back to the ring and we could return to the ultimate underdog story that struck WWE television between mid-2013 and mid-2014.
There was a taste of that last year when Bryan won the WWE Intercontinental Championship in a grueling ladder match at WrestleMania 31, but an injury again forced him to relinquish the belt.
Here we are in 2016 and the unfortunate news has still not settled in our stomachs yet, even after all the “Daniel Bryan” and “Yes!” chants throughout Bryan’s ever-classy retirement speech. He never looked more at ease in his home state, sporting a trimmed beard and haircut, reminiscing in great fondness a 16-year career that brought him happiness, joy and fulfilling a life dream.
Knowing that someone could retire from the job they love with acceptance and happiness makes it easier for us fans to accept, as we saw nothing but love on social media the next day. Everybody seemed to know about Bryan even if they never watched a WWE show in their life.
Needless to say, Bryan will always have a lasting impact in the WWE. His short height and average weight (by WWE’s standards) opened doors for other “indy darlings” like Cesaro, Seth Rollins, Dean Ambrose, Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and Samoa Joe to prove that they too could headline shows. WWE’s future has never looked so bright or diverse.
Bryan’s underdog rise to the top shows us that anything is possible if you keep going, stand up to authority when they’re wrong and do things the right way. A key part to it all was that Bryan was so over with fans, they actually helped him get to the WrestleMania XXX main event (something not even initially planned) by “hi-jacking” shows and social media, pleading for Bryan to get a chance. Fans influenced the product. How crazy is that?
When it comes down to it, Bryan was just a simple man from Aberdeen, Washington. However, his resiliency taught us to always fight back. His ferocity showed us that when a man was pushed too many times, no matter how calm, he’d do anything to achieve his goal.
There’s no doubt that Bryan’s name will soon grace the WWE Hall Of Fame, rightfully along with other names known for paving the future.
However, let’s not make that happen too soon. WWE has a tendency to quickly induct retirees and not allow fans to organically react to the news of an unexpected HOF induction.
Bryan will go down in history as one of the most charismatic and passionate superstars of all-time. He ate, drank and breathed this industry and ruthlessly put his body on the line to entertain millions, that very risk that cut things short, but the least we could do is pay Bryan back with the same thing he gave us – gratitude.
Posted on February 17, 2016, in Misc, WWE and tagged Anthony Zevoteck, Austin Aries, Cesaro, Daniel Bryan, Dean Ambrose, Homicide, Kevin Owens, NXT, Ring Of Honor, Sami Zayn, Samoa Joe, Seth Rollins, WrestleMania, WWE. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.