The last guy on the WWE roster that I think of as GQ is Daniel Bryan. Yet ironically enough, Bryan is featured online in a fascinating GQ interview in which he speaks on his WrestleMania frustrations, that awesome night in Miami, and the theft of his moniker.
I am and have been a big fan of Bryan for years. As a pro wrestling commentator on the independents, I always looked forward to calling Bryan’s matches whether it was in ROH or a local indy. Bryan himself was equally as impressive as his matches. For a guy so good and so much better than the rest of the pack, I always found Bryan to be a humble and genuinely nice guy.
On the RAW in Miami which saw the entire crowd chanting for him and his “Yes” catchphrase – “I thought the whole thing was unreal, that all these people were getting behind me. Or maybe they weren’t getting behind me. Maybe it’s just fun to chant “Yes!” But it was really cool. I came out and did a post-show [non-televised] dark match, and there was a really special moment where they were behind me 100%.”
You really have to love that comment. It is nice to see a wrestler or WWE superstar genuinely appreciate the love and admiration he receives from his fans. I can only imagine the chills he must have felt on this night.
On whether the fan reaction could work against him – “Well, for example, [this week] I wasn’t on Raw. There were loads of “Yes!” signs in the crowd, but I wasn’t on Raw. There’s always a lot of things that go into that; it was a hectic show. But yeah, there’s some stuff like that that happens.”
Bingo! I sent out a tweet during that RAW in Miami about how ironic it was that Bryan was the most over guy on the show (before Brock Lesnar appeared) and yet all the fans got was a brief glimpse of Bryan in front of the monitor. I know that these shows are planned and formatted in advance, but any smart booker would have seized the moment and sent Bryan out there. He could have been an instant star, yet for whatever reason Vince McMahon kept him away from the live audience (except a dark match).
On sharing his fan’s frustrations regarding his short WrestleMania 28 match – “Of course I do. I was World Heavyweight Champion for four months. I wanted to go out there and steal the show. I was trained by Shawn Michaels, and that’s what he’s notorious for. I’ve always had the mindset that my wrestling is as good as or better than anybody out there. I was really looking forward to going out there and showing everybody what I can do on the biggest stage of them all, and then I just wasn’t able to do it.”
There isn’t much to add to that one other than he was a lot more frustrated than you were. The only difference is that he got paid to be there while you wasted $55 to see that match.
On where the “Yes” chants came from – “It was really just, “How do I be as obnoxious as possible?” The “Yes!” thing came from a UFC fighter named Diego Sanchez. He’s a tremendous fighter, but he also has these little obnoxious aspects to his character. One thing that he used to do—he doesn’t really do it anymore—is that when he would come to the cage, he’d say “Yes! Yes! Yes!”—not the same way I do it, but as some sort of positive affirmation that he could win the fight. I thought, “I love this guy, but that’s so annoying!” And then when I became a bad guy, I started doing it, and it really worked out. Speaking of Diego Sanchez, he also did something ludicrous in his last fight: Brandishing a cross in front of him like he was warding off a vampire. If my character has to change at all, I might do that [laughs].”
Great to see Bryan acknowledging Diego Sanchez here instead of taking full credit for it. Any WWE and UFC crossover fan already knew this, but nice to see him acknowledge it publicly.
On CM Punk using the “Best in the World” slogan and whether Punk cleared it with Bryan – “No, he didn’t [laughs]. Literally, we haven’t talked about it at all.”
On whether it annoyed him – “No, not at all. Chris Jericho had done something similar after I had done it. The only thing that I find really funny is that the “Best in the World” font on the back of his T-shirt is almost identical to the “Best in the World” on the back of my Ring of Honor shirts. It’s just funny.”
Personally, I have always found this one to be a little bit dirty. I never liked anyone outright stealing someone’s gimmick, but in this case you are sharing a roster spot with the guy. Punk is a guy that gets a bit of a free ride for stealing a lot of stuff in my opinion. Taking it from a guy he used to work with in ROH, appears to have at least a casual friendship with, and is also now on the same roster seems a bit dirty to me. Then again if Bryan doesn’t have a problem with it, why should anyone else?
Yes! Read the entire interview at GQ.com.