Miami where it all ended, started for WWE superstar Daniel Bryan

 

jvarsallone@miamiherald.com

Enjoy the ride because you never know how long it will last.

For Daniel Bryan, that’s exactly what he’s doing, and the WWE Universe is enjoying it with him.

“It’s been a lot of fun, and it’s just surreal,” Bryan said. “It feels like yesterday I was wrestling at the armories in front of 200, 300 people. Now being in these big stories in WWE and main eventing pay-per-views, I’ve main evented every show I’ve been on the last two months, it’s pretty surreal, and to do it in front of large crowds on such big shows, it’s awesome.”

The bearded wonder will headline another WWE show, and this time is WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday, Oct. 27 from a memorable location for Bryan, the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

The AAA elicits a couple of memories for him, one fond and one not so much.

He’s hoping for another fond recollection after facing Randy Orton for the WWE title in a Hell in a Cell.

The Hell in a Cell is a 24-foot-high roofed cell (enclosed steel cage) structure surrounding the ring and ringside area. In a Hell in a Cell match, there are no disqualifications or countouts (also no escape). It’s also a good way to prevent outside interference like what occurred at Battleground.

The only way to win Hell in a Cell is by pinfall or submission inside the ring.

WWE fans voted HBK Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee for the Bryan/Orton confrontation. Shawn Michaels, who trained Bryan, is best buds with Triple H.

Bryan, 32, from Aberdeen, Wash., spent 10 years honing his skills and paying his dues on the indie circuit, including a strong run with multi-star matches in Ring of Honor, before being signed by WWE in 2009. It’s been a roller-coaster ride in WWE, but he is currently enjoying the upward climb and the posing challenges in the ring and out.

He recently got engaged to WWE diva Brie Bella of “Total Divas” fame. “Total Divas” is a reality (sort of) television show on the E! network, following the lives of several WWE divas.

Since Bryan is with Brie Bella, he’s occasionally part of the show.

“That’s been a little bit stranger than anything else because I never had any interest in reality television,” Bryan said. “It’s something that kind of fell into my lap because of who I’m with [Total Divas star Brie Bella]. I’m very fortunate, actually, because mostly they follow around Brie, and I just happen to be a bystander who occasionally gets filmed.”

Does “Total Divas” mean something to women’s wrestling?

“I hope it does,” Bryan said. “As of now, I don’t know where it’s at because the audiences are so different, but I would like to think it’s going to bring more female fans to WWE to watch the divas because the divas are really good at what they do. So I’m hoping that cross-section starts coming over. That would be great.”

What’s more nerve-wracking? Getting ready to hit the ring at WrestleMania or getting ready to give the ring when popping the question?

“Oh, I was way more nervous to pop the question,” Bryan chuckled, “way more nervous to pop the question. You would think it would be the opposite, in front of 70,000 people, going out there in your spandex, but absolutely not. Popping the question was way more nerve-wracking.”

To purchase engagement rings, Bryan and Brie Bella found a “great” place in New York City “to design the ring the way we wanted it.”

It’s a custom ring with a non-conflict diamond.

That means the ring is handcrafted from eco-friendly precious metals and set with conflict free diamonds. Those are diamonds which were not obtained in association with human rights abuses, child labor, violence or environmental degradation.

Bryan said: “It’s something very representative of what is important to Brie and I.”

Bryan and Brie Bella are earthy, organic, eco-friendly, non-violent people.

Well, they do get a little violent in the ring, but that’s their TV personas. Pro wrestling is not checkers.

And WrestleMania is not chess. It’s more like WWE’s Super Bowl.

During WrestleMania 28 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami Gardens, Bryan lost his World title to Sheamus in a matter of seconds.

“Obviously, you’re disappointed [losing like that],” Bryan said. “If you’re the World champion going into WrestleMania, you want to go out there and steal the show. You want to be what that WrestleMania is remembered for. Ironically, I may be a part of what that WrestleMania is remembered for, but not for the reasons that you’d want it to be. It’s not for the great match that you had. It’s for the 18-second loss.”

The turning point occurred the next night on the WWE Raw Supershow at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami

“Before the show, that day, I didn’t think anything of it,” Bryan recalls. “When we were pulling up to the [AmericanAirlines Arena], there were tons and tons of fans outside screaming, ‘Yes,’ when I was walking in. I was like, ‘Woe, that’s kind of cool.’ Then once the show started, and The Rock is in the ring cutting a promo, and the entire arena is yelling, ‘Yes,’ it was pretty surreal. That’s when I realized that night was going to be very special.”

Is that when “Yes” really took off?

“I think so,” Bryan said. “There have been smatterings of it before, but that Raw in Miami the night after WrestleMania [28], that’s when it really took hold. I think everything else cascaded off of that. People seeing that reaction of people being that enthusiastic.”

You never know how things will work out.

“If I had gone out there [at WrestleMania 28] and wrestled Sheamus, and we had a great match, and it was 20 minutes, and I lost, I might not be in the position that I’m in now, which is strange to think,” Bryan said. “Sometimes you think things happen for a reason, and even though in the moment, it was miserable losing like that, but looking back on it now, it was probably what was best for my career.”

‘Yes’ a Daniel Bryan original?

“The ‘Yes’ thing was all my idea,” he said. “It’s something that started because I was the World champion, and I was super happy about it and tried to be as obnoxious as possible.

“It turned out to be something very, very catchy.”

‘Fear the Beard?’

“Fear the Beard was not my idea,” Bryan said, “but I liked it.

“It’s amazing how the beard has become part of my persona, and I love the beard. It’s so nice to not have to shave. That’s actually why I started growing it.”

WrestleMania 28 and the following night’s Raw aren’t the only Miami (AmericanAirlines Arena) memories for Bryan.

“Lots of stuff has happened to me in Miami,” Bryan laughed. “The first NEXUS attack happened in Miami, and I got fired off that.”

WWE released Bryan because authority figures felt using a tie to choke ring announcer Justin Roberts crossed a line.

Pro wrestling isn’t tiddly winks.

Bryan was re-hired.

“It’s crazy because Miami is where it all started,” Bryan said, “and every time we go back, the fans have been incredible. So I’m really looking forward to coming back to Miami for Hell in a Cell.”

What does Hell in a Cell mean to Daniel Bryan?

“Hell in a Cell is one of the most brutal matches that you can do in WWE,” he said. “I’ve never been in one. So I’m going to go out there and do it once and probably only once [Bryan chuckles]. I don’t think most of the guys who’ve been in Hell in a Cell matches ever really want to go do it again. A lot of times the top guys end up doing multiple Hell in a Cell matches, but they’re [rough]. Every WWE superstar does want to do it once just to experience it.”

What would it be like for Daniel Bryan to face Triple H in Hell in a Cell?

“It would be awesome,” Bryan said. “I want to get my hands on Triple H just as much as I want to get my hands on Randy Orton and prove behind a shadow of a doubt that even though I’m not what they want as the face of the company that I belong where I’m at, that i belong at the top and that I’m as good as anybody else on the show.”

• Daniel Bryan will be getting his hands on Randy Orton and hopefully the WWE title in the main event of WWE’s Hell in a Cell pay-per-view on Sunday, Oct. 27 at the AmericanAirlines Arena in Miami.

HBK Shawn Michaels is the special guest referee.

John Cena will make his return, challenging Alberto Del Rio for the World title.

CM Punk faces Ryback with the maestro of the mouthpiece Paul Heyman.

WWE Hell in a Cell is the first pay-per-view at the AAA since WWE’s Survivor Series in November 2010.

Miami is the gateway to the Americas, and the AAA is a long-time host of WWE events including the first SmackDown of 2013, the WWE Hall of Fame ceremony during WrestleMania Week in 2012, the Raw after WrestleMania in 2012 and the Rock’s birthday on Raw in 2011.

Tickets are sale via TicketMaster outlets, online and by phone as well as at the AAA box office. Keep posted at http://www.wwe.com/events.

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