On June 4th, 2012, Daniel Bryan did a candid interview with CT.com.
The piece refers to the former world champion as WWE’s easy-going, gardening-loving, vegan-dieting, wrestling marvel.
After reading the interview, I would say that sentence about sums it up.
When asked whether or not he wished he was more larger than life, Daniel Bryan replied,
“You always sometimes wish, ‘Oh, I wish I was a little more like the Rock.’ When you meet the Rock, you’re like, ‘Wow, this is such a dynamic person!’ But, really, I don’t. I like being low-key. That’s my thing.”
That is, indeed, his thing.
On what he would be good at if he wasn’t good at wrestling:
“If I weren’t good at wrestling, I don’t think there’s anything special about me really. It’s like, ‘Oh, he’s a nice guy.’ I would think people would say that…there’s nothing especially memorable about me if you were to meet me for the first time.”
These candid comments are ones that one can only make after one has made it. Somewhere Vince McMahon is reading these words and saying, "Aha! I knew I was right about him on my first impression!"
Seriously speaking, however, it is a testament to who Daniel Bryan is that he can be so relaxed about who he is and how he is seen and still continue to climb the ladder in the biggest wrestling organization in America.
There have been guys—Bret Hart comes to mind—that feel the need to defend and promote their legacy at every turn.
CM Punk is another guy who constantly is on the defensive and seems clued in to every criticism. I’m not knocking that because it’s exactly how I would be as well.
But the rarer superstar has to be the one who is out to enjoy life and will let his legacy be what it is. Which is the answer given when Daniel Bryan talks about his future goals in the wrestling industry.
“Well, for me, it’s all about enjoying my life. I don’t have a specific goal set like that necessarily. I just want to, at the end of my life, look back on it and be like, ‘Yeah, I enjoyed that,’ because as far as we know, we only get one life, and I want it to be good. I don’t want to waste it. I wrestle because I love to wrestle, so for me, [my goal is] to keep enjoying it. You see a lot of people lose their passion for it, and I don’t ever want that to happen.”
To be fair, the interviewer told him to exclude the answers "winning WWE Championships and main-eventing WrestleMania", but still there are so many guys who want to win a number of championships or be known in the league of some other guy or some other lofty goal that dominates the conversation.
I am struck by the comment, "I wrestle because I love to wrestle" because it speaks volumes to the success of Daniel Bryan.
He has had a good time doing whatever is placed in front of him, from his relationships with Miz and Michael Cole, to the various on-air pairings with WWE Divas, to bringing the catchphrase Yes! into wrestling.
There is a level of nonsensical, over-the-top, good heartedness that comes across on-screen.
Daniel Bryan is the unlikely star, that much is obvious. But what is rare and decent is how he remains to his own self and how he makes it work month after month.
There is one constant, however, if you read Daniel Bryan interviews, and that is his giving credit to William Regal.
In this interview, he calls Regal his mentor and says he is the only guy he talks to about his wrestling character.
Regal has mentioned many times his desire to challenge for the Heavyweight Title, and I was in Raleigh when Regal got one of the biggest and most sustained pops of the night (even getting a Regal chant after being eliminated from the battle royal).
I still hope one day to see a William Regal-Daniel Bryan title program.
It would be memorable, and it’s not like it could really hurt the ratings right now.
And it would be fun, which, if this interview teaches us anything, fun can be a motivating factor in what keeps a good wrestler, great.