During a new interview, Daniel Bryan named his non-WWE dream opponents, before going on to call New Japan star Kazuchika Okada “one of the best wrestlers in the world.”
In a wide ranging conversation with Bleacher Report, Bryan touched on his desire to transition to a part-time schedule, fatherhood and who he would love to face before hanging up his boots.
The former WWE listed a whole raft of names that he would potentially love to work with, starting with Kazuchika Okada.
“Okada, from the time I got to WWE until now, he’s gone from someone you didn’t know much about to one of the best wrestlers in the world,” Bryan said. “I’ve actually wrestled Shingo, and he’s fantastic. I always loved him in Ring of Honor, and I wasn’t even 30 years old yet, but for whatever reason, I wrestled Seth Rollins in one of his first big singles matches in Ring of Honor, and it was really the story of the veteran versus the young up-and-comer. I’ve always loved doing that sort of thing and those kinds of matches.”
After naming MJF, Darby Allin and Jungle Boy as people he would like to face from AEW, Bryan continued to rattle off names, praising the current high standard of wrestling today.
“The problem is, guys are so good now and I like wrestling so much, so when you start naming names, then other names come up,” he said. “In Ring of Honor, there’s a guy named Jonathan Gresham. He’s fantastic. I’d love to wrestle Jonathan Gresham. There are all these great guys. When people say that, one thing I don’t like about that is that sometimes it minimizes how many guys in WWE I’d like to wrestle. I’ve never wrestled Matt Riddle one-on-one. I’ve never wrestled Ricochet one-on-one. I’ve wrestled Johnny Gargano one-on-one before I came to WWE, but it was mostly a comedy match where I got my pants pulled down and my butt was probably out for a full five minutes.
“A Kushida match, a Kyle O’Reilly match, there are so many great guys,” he continued. “William Regal’s son, Bailey Matthews, just debuted on NXT UK. I’d love to do a match with him. William Regal has helped me so much in my career. I don’t know, when you start talking about guys I want to wrestle, I get really fired up, so it’s hard to limit it to just a few.”
In recent months Bryan has been very open about his desire to reduce his schedule in the relatively near future. Something he says isn’t code for him wanting to retire, simply that he wants to spend more time at home with his young children.
“It’s not necessarily a decision to retire—it’s just a decision to stop being a full-time wrestler, and I don’t think that is going to change much, although maybe…”
“When I come home and the kids haven’t seen me in two-and-a-half days, I want them to see how excited I am to see them,” he said. “I want to come home with that energy for them. Our daughter is at that age where she has so much energy and all she wants to do is play and go to the playground. I come home and kiss my wife and play with our son for a little bit and give our daughter a big hug and tell her, ‘OK, sweet girl, let’s go play!’ I want to do that. As you get older, that energy gets harder and harder to come by. There’s not many things that can make me stop wrestling, but the one that made me really reconsider it was when my daughter said this: ‘Dada, please don’t go.’ And then all of a sudden, it’s like, ‘Oh, God!'”
Meanwhile, it has been reported that following his ‘match of the night’ performance at WWE Fastlane, Daniel Bryan is set to be added to the WrestleMania match between WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns and the Royal Rumble winner Edge.