BUT HE DID - A Reflection on the Retirement of Daniel Bryan - by @TheAwesomeVoice

Daniel Bryan addresses the RAW fans about his retirement (image courtesy of WWE.com)
Daniel Bryan officially retired from in-ring competition this week for medical reasons stemming from multiple concussions, but the tale of this undersized underdog will loom large in the hearts and minds of the WWE Universe for decades.

The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion made his announcement via Twitter (@WWEDanielBryan) on Monday and gave an impassioned 24-minute speech to his pseudo-hometown crowd of Seattle, WA on RAW.

WWE doctors continually refused to clear Bryan for an in-ring return even in the face of multiple clearances from doctors commissioned personally by Bryan, who publicly stated that he adamantly wished to return to the ring and would even do so on the independent circuit if he could not get cleared by WWE; leading to speculation that this retirement was part of a kayfabe storyline.

After a large amount of mainstream media coverage; speculation began to fade and the reality of Bryan’s retirement sank in for professional wrestling fans. Daniel Bryan will no longer be an actively-performing WWE Superstar.

 Bryan told ESPN that he even hid concussion-related seizures from WWE, and that even though he was diagnosed with over ten concussions in his career, the actual number is likely immeasurable and perhaps even a little frightening.

Daniel Bryan will be remembered by fans as the epitome of the underdog. He was not supposed to make it through the intense training requisite professional wrestlers go through; he was not supposed to be able to go toe-to-toe with the giants of this industry; he was not supposed to make it to the WWE; he was not supposed to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion; he was not supposed to capture our hearts and our imagination; but he did.

During his incredible journey, Daniel Bryan worked tirelessly to accomplish everything he wasn’t supposed to be able to, which is precisely what earned him the love and support of the fans. This fan support and love is also what gave Bryan the final push to hoisting his championship belts high above his head at WrestleMania with tens of thousands of people chanting “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

WWE seemingly never wanted to put Daniel Bryan in that position, until the fans thunderously booed any alternative the company gave them. Fellow WWE Superstar Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson may have made a career out of calling himself “The People’s Champion”, but it is Daniel Bryan that embodied that moniker.  
Unfortunately, some wrestlers are forced into retirement well before they are mentally ready and Bryan will clearly have a burning desire in his heart to wrestle. But this isn’t about Daniel Bryan’s heart. This is about his head.

Concussions, and their resulting complications, are far too serious to ignore or hide. If Daniel Bryan wishes to have a fulfilling life outside of wrestling, then retirement was not simply an option; it is the only option.

Daniel Bryan will be missed, but his story will live on forever in WWE folklore; a tale of perseverance and of the power of the WWE Universe to truly demand what they feel is right.

Daniel Bryan wasn’t supposed to change the game; he wasn’t supposed to give millions of fans hope that they can accomplish their largest dreams even in the face of seemingly insurmountable obstacles; but he did.

Daniel Bryan wasn’t supposed to become a hero; but he did.

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