To say WWE superstar Daniel Bryan’s last few months were a roller-coaster ride would be an understatement.
The leader of the “Yes Movement” became WWE world heavyweight champion in the main event of WrestleMania XXX and married the love of his life Brie Bella days later. Just when things couldn’t get any better, they took a turn for the worst when Bryan gets news of his father unexpectedly passing away after his honeymoon.
The company stripped the champ of the title due to being unable to defend it because of injury. He went in for neck surgery. Even though he was on the shelf recouping, it didn’t stop the grappler from foiling a burglary attempt at his Phoenix home in July.
Through it all, the superstar appeared in good spirits at the “WWE 2K15” video game event in Los Angeles during WWE SummerSlam Weekend.
“It’s weird because I’m not a video game player,” he said with a smile on his face.
“I haven’t had a video game system since the Nintendo. Then, all of sudden, you see these new games, and they are so lifelike. I was playing the ‘WWE 2K15.’ I was Cesaro versus Goldust. I was like, ‘This is incredible. This is actually what Cesaro looks like.’ Randy Orton has this scar on his hand, and it’s in the video game. It’s incredible.”
The veteran recalled times when having your own toy or action figure was the benchmark for a superstar’s success. Now he says guys believe they really made it if they’re included in the video games.
Bryan, 33, says they were scheduling another surgery, but postponed it for more testing.
“That’s the frustrating part,” he said. “It’s been great because Brie has been such an integral part of the storylines the last couple of weeks. So that’s been fun. I actually don’t have much free time since I’m doing so much physical therapy.
“…It’s hard because I don’t have a timetable of when I’m coming back. Say if I get another surgery, it’s going to be another three months. Three months ago in WWE it was different than what it is right now, so it’s hard to tell [who I would be working against when I return].
The man known for his physical in-ring style and trademark beard is optimistic about his future. Yes! Yes! Yes!
“I don’t get too down,” he said. “This kind of issue has happened to a lot of people with nerve problems. The nervous system is so crazy and complex. The weirdest part is the lack of strength in my arm. So I do get mildly concerned that it won’t come back, but I’m pretty positive.”
Bryan enjoys watching the product as a fan. Among his favorite co-workers to see in action are Roman Reigns, Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose.
“I thought I was going to hate the breakup of The Shield,” Bryan said. “I was like, ‘These guys are so great together.’ At the same time Ambrose has been so good as this crazy lunatic coming out of nowhere. Rollins is always great. Reigns has really stepped up in his position. I think that’s been really fun. Brock [Lesnar] is also fun to watch. He just destroys people.”
The latest NXT signings of Kevin Steen, Prince (Fergal) Devitt and Kenta also gets the Aberdeen, Washington native excited for the future.
“I think it’s awesome,” Bryan said. “Not only is it great for those guys, but it’s great for everyone on the roster because then they get to wrestle those guys. I learned so much wrestling Kenta. That’s one of the reasons I got here. Now Kenta is in NXT.
“The guys who get to wrestle Kenta, for one, they are going to be very sore because he kicks very hard. Two, they are going to learn a lot. It’s the same thing for guys like Sami Zayn and Kevin Steen and Devitt. Those guys are going to do really well, but the people who wrestle them are going to learn a lot.”
Bryan isn’t 6-foot and doesn’t fit the mold of the typical WWE champion. However, he makes up for height and size with his technical ability and reputation as a workhorse. The underdog superstar with a signature catch phrase has set a positive example for those like him.
“While guys like Fergal, who is a smaller guy, may have not considered coming over here maybe five years ago,” Bryan said. “Now seeing my success, Rollins’ success, Ambrose’s success, it’s like all these guys who have been paying their dues for years are really starting to find their stride. It’s awesome.”• Follow Daniel Bryan on Twitter @WWEDanielBryan
• Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN