Yesterday was a bittersweet day. The news broke on twitter that Bryan Danielson aka Daniel Bryan was announcing his retirement from professional wrestling. This was inevitably due to injuries, specifically to concussions. He gave a heartfelt retirement speech on Monday Night RAW last night and was thankful of all the fans and was in his words “grateful”.
I have been a fan of Danielson’s work for many years, long before he came to the WWE. I have had seasons where I’ve gotten in and out of watching professional wrestling. One of the times I got back into was the mid 2000’s. It was during this time that I learned about an independent promotion called Ring of Honor. They had some really cool wrestlers that are well known today. One of those was Danielson. He had the nickname “The American Dragon” and his wrestling style was very old school in the vein of a Bret Hart, Dean Malenko and Shawn Michaels (who initially trained Danielson).
Along with being such a cool wrestler, he had the best entrance music. His entrance music was Europe’s “The Final Countdown”. And fans would chant along when it got to line “It’s the final countdown!” It was pretty sweet
Throughout his run in WWE, he was really the “ultimate underdog”. Even though he had tremendous success in the independents, he had to earn everything including respect from the bosses in WWE. Because he didn’t have the size that is known for the company, he became a star because of how well liked he was and that he really was a great professional wrestler. It all culminated at Wrestlemania 30 when he became the only man to win 2 matches at Wrestlemania on the same night and became the WWE World Heavyweight champion. (Well I should say 2 matches not involving a tournament, Macho Man Randy Savage won 3 matches back in Wrestlemania 4)
Danielson is from Washington state. He was born and raised in Aberdeen, a city I visited several times when I lived in Seattle when I would travel to the coast. He’s a huge Seattle Seahawks fan like myself. He’s a guy that I never got to see wrestle live in person but I have watched a lot of his matches. It is bittersweet that his career is over but he has the next phase of his life to succeed. And he did provide one more thing that is pretty cool. And that is the “Yes!” chant. So to you “American Dragon”, this one is for you. “Yes! Yes! Yes!”