Athletes retiring from the sport that made them famous is nothing new. Across all the main sports that Americans watch on television with an eagle eye, it probably happens several times per year. But, lovers of wrestling were shocked when World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Daniel Bryan, only 34-years-old, officially announced his retirement due to his wrestling related injuries on Monday. The WWE paid tribute to his, all too short, career with a retrospective video. Take a look.
Well, for a company with a public persona that’s made up of dozens of tough guys and sketchy looking characters, they sure did put together a touching tribute. This video, which appeared on the WWE YouTube channel, really covers the highs of Daniel Bryan’s career the way a retrospective should.
Daniel Bryan, born Bryan Danielson, began his wrestling career in 1999 after graduating from high school. He won his first title by teaming with Spanky and taking the Texas Wrestling Academy (TWA) Tag Team Championship in March of 2000. While touring, he signed a development deal with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, later to become WWE) and was signed to one of their smaller leagues to hone his talents. After 18 months, he moved on to tour Japan from 2001 to 2004, under his American Dragon persona, which saw him wear a red, white and blue dragon mask.
During the next several years, Daniel Bryan would go on to become a founding father of Ring of Honor (ROH) in 2002 and work through the company off and on through 2009. That same year, he returned to the WWE, but as one of their featured performers, and went on to become one of the biggest talents in the field. With that organization alone, he won several awards, including the World Heavyweight Championship, WWE Tag Team Championship, the 26th Triple Crown Champion and three WWE World Heavyweight Championships.
As Seth Rollins says in the video, for Daniel Bryan “it was just about wrestling,” and his no-holds-barred style is what led to his physical condition worsening. In 2014 he had to have neck surgery after losing all strength in his right arm. He was then sidelined by WWE in spring of 2015, and in July he announced that his lack of wrestling appearances were due to concussion related injuries. Even though he’s currently received the go-ahead from several non-WWE doctors, the organization hasn’t relented on keeping him sidelined.
According to Forbes, Daniel Bryan continued to say, during his time off from WWE, that he intended to keep wrestling, even if it wasn’t for that company. So, it remains to be seen if Bryan will heed the word of the WWE in the coming months, or take the opinions of his other doctors to heart and find someone else to wrestle for. Only time will tell if his retirement is permanent or simply a retirement from WWE.