Daniel Bryan has named the one match in particular that motivated him to return to the ring by proving to WWE that he was healthy!
Speaking to Bleacher Report, the 4-time WWE Champion discussed his surprising dream opponent in WWE, who he’d love to face around the wrestling world and how Roman Reigns has evolved since the two clashed at Fastlane 2015. One of the biggest topics covered, however, are his regrets from his temporary retirement between 2016 and 2018.
Bryan opened up about feeling incredibly frustrated at the time, causing him to have a bad attitude and ultimately hating having to show up to work.
“If they were not going to let me wrestle, I was for sure gone. I had gotten cleared by so many doctors at that point and felt very confident in my ability to wrestle. I’m very thankful that…the frustrating part—I don’t want to say the frustrating part. But the part I’m disappointed in myself about is that I had a bad attitude about it.
I don’t want to say I showed up to work with a bad attitude and was like, ‘Screw this place!’ As opposed to embracing it and really trying to do my best work, a lot of times I didn’t and just showed up to work. Even if I showed up to work with a smile on my face, I showed up in the back of my head thinking, ‘I just want to get home. I don’t want to be here.'”
The former ‘American Dragon’ specifically recalled how a match between Jon Moxley (the former Dean Ambrose) and AJ Styles “broke” him, driving him to prove to WWE that he was healthy enough to compete!
“It was really hard for me to watch other people do what I love up close and not be able to do it. The worst one was when I had to sit ringside for a Dean Ambrose vs. AJ Styles match and that was the one that broke me. AJ and I at that point hadn’t [fought]. He hadn’t come to WWE before I retired. Seeing those guys go out there, and they’re both great, I was like, ‘Man, I should be in there doing this with these guys.’
It really ate me up, and when I came home, I think Brie saw a different person as far as striving to prove. Because that was the thing: I had to prove that I was healthy as opposed to them trying to prove I shouldn’t be able to wrestle. Given the circumstances, that was the absolute right route they should have taken.”
Thankfully, Bryan was able to return to the ring in early 2018 and has since faced both Moxley and Styles in WWE, most recently competing against the latter on the January 29th 2021 edition of SmackDown.
Lately, the leader of ‘The Yes Movement’ has been embroiled in a feud with Roman Reigns over the Universal Championship and is set to face ‘The Tribal Chief’ for the title at Fastlane, with Reigns’ WrestleMania opponent Edge acting as Special Guest Enforcer.
Keep up-to-date with all the latest WWE news right here at Inside The Ropes.