It’s become more and more apparent that separating himself from professional wrestling is a daunting task for Daniel Bryan. It’s all he’s ever known and the only thing he’s admittedly ever been great at. Being involved in wrestling, or sports entertainment, is one thing, but actually wrestling inside a squared circle night after night is entirely different. Daniel was forced to retire from in-ring competition five months ago, which made it extremely difficult to be around the business rather than an active member of the roster in the business.
Two weeks ago, the Inquistir reported that Bryan attended his first live event under the WWE umbrella since announcing his retirement in an emotional send-off on Monday Night RAW in February. Daniel was in the house at an NXT taping in the second week of June, where he spent the majority of his visit in the gorilla position, offering his opinions on matches and promos whenever prompted.
The visit to NXT sparked a lot of speculation as to what role Daniel Bryan would play, if any, with the WWE. He’s essentially still under contract with the company so continuing to work together could benefit both parties if he felt he could take on a non-competitive position. At the time, the WWE had presented him with multiple job offers, all of which he had turned down. It was no secret that he and his wife, Brie Bella, were determined to expand their family, and he was still figuring out what other interests he wanted to pursue.
Some of those other interests led him into competitive weightlifting competitions, so it will be interesting to follow Bryan if he continues down that path. But for now, WWE finally presented him with a role that he views as a fit, one that could potentially lead to bigger and better opportunities down the line. According to WWE.com, Daniel has been hired as a co-host for the upcoming Cruiserweight Classic tournament.
Daniel Bryan will join Mauro Ranallo in hosting the groundbreaking new event that pits 32 of the best cruiserweight (205 pounds or less) wrestlers in the world against each other in a bracket-style tournament airing exclusively on the WWE Network. Whether the two sides just reached an agreement this week or if it was set in place previously is noteworthy, as tapings for the CWC are set to begin this Thursday. The first actual air date isn’t until July 13, so technically, they could have the announcers do some post-production, but it’s more likely that they’ll need to be there live, calling the matches from ringside.
As a light-weight wrestler hovering around that 205-pound mark for most of his career himself, Daniel Bryan will certainly offer a unique perspective on the product in the ring, but his mass appeal should drive more viewers to the Network when the tournament airs. Bryan has trained or competed with several participants in the CWC, including Brian Kendrick, Johnny Gargano, TJ Perkins, and the odds-on favorite and potential future WWE-signee Zack Sabre Jr. It’s just a shame Daniel’s health prevented him from ever competing against them in a WWE ring.
Bryan gained experience as an analyst when he was one of the judges for the most recent season of Tough Enough. Daniel joined Paige and Hulk Hogan (who was later replaced by The Miz) along with host Chris Jericho in helping decide the next WWE superstar. It was clear that Bryan was unfiltered in his judgment and never appeared in awe of or inferior to Hogan, even when they disagreed on a certain topic. Daniel Bryan and Mauro Ranallo will certainly provide an energetic and knowledgeable soundtrack to a tournament unlike any other WWE has ever put on.
[Image via WWE]