CM Punk and More React to Daniel Bryan's Retirement

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2016

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - Daniel Bryan celebrates after winning the main event during Wrestlemania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans on Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE)
Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

Former WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan announced his retirement Monday night on Raw, which led to an outpouring of support from the world of professional wrestling and sports entertainment on social media.

Perhaps chief among them was UFC's CM Punk. The five-time WWE world champion hasn't placed much emphasis on wrestling since leaving the company in 2014, but he posted this tweet as a sign of respect to the leader of the Yes Movement:

Bryan and Punk battled each other in Ring of Honor years before making the move to WWE, and their friendly rivalry continued with a number of entertaining battles that the WWE Universe won't soon forget.

Bryan revealed in his retirement speech that multiple concussions over the course of his 16-year career and concerns about his health moving forward contributed to his decision to step away from the ring:

Arguably WWE's three most powerful figures, Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon and Triple H, all paid their respects.ย 

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All three of them had issues with Bryan within storylines, but they made it clear they had nothing but respect for the native of Aberdeen, Washington, in reality.

Vince thanked Bryan for all he accomplished during his six years as part of WWE's main roster:

Stephanie saw Bryan's rise to prominence firsthand as one of his biggest on-screen rivals, and she commended him for achieving what many believed he never could:

Triple H faced Bryan in one of the biggest matches of his career at WrestleMania 30. Bryan won that match and then went on to defeat both Randy Orton and Batista in the main event to win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.

The Game and Stephanie constantly called Bryan a "B+ player" during their feud, but Triple H revealed his true feelings Monday night:

John Cena was a big part of Bryan's elevation to the main-event level, as they locked horns in a classic encounter at SummerSlam 2013 that resulted in Bryan picking up a victory.

Cena doffed his cap to one of the all-time greats upon his retirement:

Hulk Hogan may very well be the most popular and recognizable performer professional wrestling has ever seen, and while he never got a chance to face Bryan, they combined for a memorable moment on SmackDown in 2014:

The Immortal One is on shaky ground with WWE currently, but he didn't hesitate to send his best wishes Bryan's direction:

While most of the biggest names in the business had something positive to say about Bryan, the most meaningful comments may have come directly from his family.

Reality showย Total Divasย often showcases Bryan clashing with sister-in-law Nikki Bella, but Nikki expressed her true feelings in a heartfelt Instagram post:

Just hours before she joined Bryan in the ring on his final night as a WWE Superstar, Brie Bella offered words of encouragement to her husband as well:

Few WWE Superstars have ever gained a following like Bryan's, which is a big reason why he became so beloved across the globe.

WWE and professional wrestling as a whole won't feel quite the same without Bryan's involvement, but the fact that he made such a positive impact on so many means that he left the business better than he found it.

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