“Everything I’ve done in front of you guys…it’s fiction. It’s not real. If I have inspired any of you, you know, that’s great. But when you talk about inspiration, I’m talking about something that’s very real. And somebody who inspired me was Connor.”
When Connor was 3-years-old, he was diagnosed with medullablastoma, a form of brain cancer, and had to undergo many rounds of chemotheraphy and surgeries. In 2012, a social media campaign was launched to help Connor meet his hero, Daniel Bryan. From their first meeting in December of 2012, Connor quickly captured the hearts of Bryan and the rest of WWE, which led to several more meetings and front row seats at Wrestlemania XXX where he got to watch his hero win the world heavyweight championship.
Connor succumbed to his cancer in 2014.
Bryan inducted Connor into the WWE Hall of Fame and posthumously awarded him the inaugural Warrior Award, which is presented at the Hall of Fame ceremony to those who “exhibit unwavering strength and perseverance, and who live life with the courage and compassion that embodies the indomitable spirit of The Ultimate Warrior.”
Connor’s father and brother were present at the Hall of Fame ceremony where Steve Michalek gave a heartfelt and tear-inducing speech.
“The doctors told us that Connor would never make it to Wrestlemania, because he was too sick, but that didn’t stop The Crusher from making it to the show of shows. And dare I say, with his hero Daniel by his side, he became part of Wrestlemania history.”
At the Hall of Fame induction ceremony, which took place Saturday night, Bryan recounted seeing Connor at Wrestlemania the year before.
“I looked out and there was Connor, who despite being really sick had sat through this four hour show. He had to have been tired and there he was smiling and throwing his arms in the air. And he was in his dad’s arms. It gave me a sense of what is truly important, and it wasn’t what I was doing at the time. It was the love between a father and a son.”
Connor “The Crusher” Michalek became the first fan to be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame.
[Image Credit: Wrestling Inc]