Daniel Bryan officially announced his retirement from professional wrestling on the latest episode of WWE’s Monday Night RAW. On a night without any football and barely any basketball of note, Daniel Bryan was the most talked-about athlete in sports and sports entertainment. He set social media abuzz earlier in the day Monday when he tweeted that he had decided to retire and would get the chance to elaborate in front of his hometown crowd in Seattle. By the end of RAW, #ThankYouDanielBryan was the number one Twitter trend worldwide.
In regards to Daniel Bryan’s retirement announcement, PWInsider reported that only a select few of WWE’s brass knew about the bombshell news. WWE production was forced to scramble Monday afternoon to produce all the Daniel Bryan highlight and tribute videos that were showcased throughout Monday Night RAW. The report also noted that Bryan took the brain tests he was referring to in his speech in New York City the Thursday before the Royal Rumble. He was then immediately flown to Pittsburgh for an appearance. Bryan’s whirlwind publicity tour will continue Tuesday night when he is the guest of Jonathan Coachman on the 9 p.m. edition of SportsCenter. It was expected that that interview was shot Monday night after Bryan’s farewell and will air Tuesday evening.
Daniel Bryan certainly left a lasting impression on the wrestling world as evidenced by the reaction received all over social media Monday and Tuesday. Wrestlinginc.com gathered all the key figures who paid tribute to Bryan over the last two days, starting with the bosses, Triple H and Vince McMahon.
— Triple H (@TripleH) February 8, 2016
— Vince McMahon (@VinceMcMahon) February 9, 2016
Countless others took to their social media accounts to honor their co-worker and friend Daniel Bryan, as Wrestlinginc.com reported, including Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, Kurt Angle, and others. William Regal was one of the few Bryan mentioned by name in his retirement speech, and Bryan’s mentor had this to say regarding one of his prized pupils.
“In 2004 I wrote in my book that the proudest thing in my career was having a hand in the training of Brian Danielson, now Daniel Bryan.That fact still hasn’t changed.He’s had an unmatched career and changed the world of Pro Wrestling and Sports Entertainment. On top of that, he is one of the nicest people I have ever met and a truly great man.I can’t ever see a time when he won’t be a part of my life. What a lucky man I am.”
CM Punk once mentioned that he thought Punk and Daniel Bryan could have been this generation’s version of Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels — the best wrestlers on the roster headlining WWE’s top pay-per-views. It doesn’t look like those plans will come to fruition, but Punk (who has tried to avoid WWE and sports entertainment altogether) did post a subtle nod to his old rival.
— Coach (@CMPunk) February 9, 2016
Perhaps for one final night, Daniel Bryan and the Yes! Movement took over Monday Night Raw. With his family in attendance, Bryan was emotional and enthusiastic as he talked about all the things he loved that came from wrestling, including his wife, Brie Bella. After RAW went off the air, the entire WWE locker room emptied onto the stage to pay tribute to an unlikely star whose career was cut short because he gave the sport all he had every single night. There was never anyone like Daniel Bryan before, and even though many have said there’ll never be another like him again, there just might be because he paved the way for those previously thought to not fit the mold.
[Photo via YouTube]