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Daniel Bryan: 'I'm so everyone'
By TIM BAINES - Ottawa Sun


WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan. (WWE photo)

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Against all odds, Daniel Bryan has become a Yes Man -- one of WWE's most popular performers.

Need evidence? Just check out the noise when Bryan walks down to the ring at WWE's TV taping of Smackdown Tuesday night at Ottawa's Canadian Tire Centre.

In an athletic carnival that plays out as a soap opera, Bryan isn't among the magnificent specimens with the ripped bodies. He's 32 years old, 5-foot-8, 192 pounds. But he's a game-changer in the ring and he's got a very hot girlfriend, WWE Diva Brie Bella.

"I'm so everyone. People can get behind me," said Bryan, who will face Randy Orton in a non-TV WWE title match in Ottawa. "You've got superstars like The Rock and John Cena. They're larger than life. But you don't want everyone to be the superhero and you don't want everybody to be Everyman. I happen to be a good Everyman. When you see me in the ring with somebody like Ryback or Cena, I'm the natural underdog."

Bryan worked his way up, making the sacrifices that young wrestlers do.

"I didn't mind sleeping on dojo floors," he said. "I've been wrestling a long time. I've been put in a lot of situations that people would never do. I've slept in a car, I've made $50 a show. Working in big arenas, having shower water ... those are luxuries. It would be hard to go back to no showers and driving 300 miles in a van filled with seven guys. I didn't feel that it was hard at the time. It was fun.

"I can't explain how I got here. I've worked with a lot of guys who've worked as hard as I have. They're every bit as good. But for some reason they didn't get the same opportunity. Look at Kaval. To me, Low Ki is the type of wrestler who could draw a lot of money. What he does is so good. To me, he's better than me, but he didn't get the same opportunity."

The Yes chants really took Bryan's career to a new level.

"When I started doing it, it was to be annoying," said Bryan. "It's funny some people took a liking to it. It's easy for people to say. It's like Ryback's Feed Me More. There are hand motions and a couple of words."

Then if there was any thought of "Yes" going stale, Bryan started saying, "No." And it got even crazier.

"At Wrestlemania 28, after my loss to Sheamus in 18 seconds, it really exploded. It was surreal. I would get in people's faces. I'd say 'No,' they'd say 'Yes.' They'd be screaming."

Building a storyline around Bryan's "anger," WWE teamed him with Kane.

"Team Hell No was an incredible opportunity to be entertaining," said Bryan. "It was an opportunity to show a different personality in a borderline comedic role. I was so excited to team with (Kane). I remember watching him at Hell In a Cell when he debuted. I remember thinking, 'Wow, look at this guy.' One night, we attempted to hug for about 10 minutes. On paper, it sounds horrible. But the fans really enjoyed it."

Bryan finds himself in the spotlight, somewhat reluctantly.

"It's strange to be out and about and people recognize me," said Bryan. "Whoa, they talk to you -- 'you're a big deal.' I'm not a big deal. It's hard when they come up to you, 'Omigosh, you're Daniel Bryan.' It's overwhelming. The exception to that is kids. When they get excited about you, it's one of the coolest things on this planet.

"I didn't think this was my career path, that I would become a main-event guy in WWE. I like being anonymous. I never wanted to be famous. I never wanted to walk my dog and get recognized by somebody.

"When you see The Big Show, John Cena, Mark Henry or Khali, they attract attention. If I shave my beard when I retire, nobody will know who I am."

RELATED LINKS

  • Daniel Bryan bio and story archive