In Cheap Pop, Three Man Booth Discuss Random Topics with a Slight Historical Bend
As you might already know (and if you’re finding out from us, we’re really sorry) Daniel Bryan has officially announced his retirement from wrestling. And whether you knew him and Bryan Danielson or Daniel Bryan, you definitely have a memory of something he’s done, either personally or professionally, to affect you and your wrestling fandom.
I was at my first Ring Of Honor show with some friends and we just finished watching Curry Man (Who I fell in love with) face Jay Lethal (Who I already liked from TNA) Coming up next after intermission was Bryan Danielson vs. Roderick Strong. Bryan I heard a lot about from fans on the Internet and magazines, so I was excited to see him.
Bryan and Strong took each other to the limit, and when they were done, all I could think was, “…That’s it?” It sounds ridiculous that over 10 years ago, I dismissed two of the best wrestlers in the world today, but I did! Maybe after the entertaining plus well/wrestled match between Curry Man and Jay Lethal, I wasn’t ready for the technical wrestling of Bryan and Strong. I was also 19 and not a very bright kid.
Fast forward to 2008, I get to see Bryan Danielson wrestle again and I’m still sour from seeing him a couple of years ago. I thought, “You know what? Let me give this guy another chance.” Unfortunately for Bryan, he faced Takeshi Morishima, a rotund Japanese wrestler that just beat the crap out of people. I LOVED Morishima. And I was going to cheer Morishima no matter who he faced.
Strike 2 for Bryan Danielson, and Strike 2 for me as well.
Fast forward to 2009, Bryan Danielson vs Nigel McGuinnes at the ECW Arena for the first ROH on HDNet taping. Once again, Bryan was up against someone I was a huge fan of and I wasn’t interested in seeing him. It wasn’t until Bryan didn’t come out to the Final Countdown (due to copyright reasons)!and the fans started singing it that I realized that Bryan wasn’t just a technical wrestler. He was this relatable wrestler/human being that everyone could just gravitate to and connect with. Everyone except me for some reason.
That all changed after the match, where he thanked the ROH fans for coming out to the taping, then led the crowd into singing his theme song, “The Final Countdown.” I love a good wrestler, but I’m also a sucker for personality and fan interaction (Which is why I’m such a hardcore Nailz fan). But in all seriousness, I saw how special Bryan was to the ROH fans and started to turn around on him.
I’m glad that I did because every time I saw Bryan after that, I was fortunate enough to be there for big moments. His groundswell of support for his post-WWE independent run, his 18 second loss to Sheamus at Wrestlemania 28, his Wrestlemania 29 resurgence (An underrated moment), the unyielding support for Bryan at Barclay’s Center, his triumph at Wrestlemania 30, his coronation the day after RAW, his emotional speech about Connor The Crusher Michalek and of course, his Intercontinental Title win at Wrestlemania 31.
People have a hard time admitting when they’re wrong, and when it comes to an initial impression of a wrestler, I’ve never been more wrong about Bryan Danielson. Thank You, Bryan. For the matches, the memories, and for not kicking Morishima’s head in.
You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression. My first impression of Daniel Bryan was when he was Bryan Danielson. I went to my first ROH show in Las Vegas (Survival of the Fittest 2007). It was my first time in Vegas, my first time sitting in the front row (you can watch me and my friends walk in to the arena on the DVD), and it was first time seeing Bryan Danielson, who was facing Nigel McGuinness. I mean, are you kidding?
But here’s what I remember: The person behind me spent the entire match saying, “I’m so sick of Bryan Danielson. I’ve seen it. Watch. Now he’s going to say, ‘I have ’til 5!” He narrated the entire match like it was a movie, except he was wrong half the time! He turned Bryan Danielson versus Nigel McGuinness from Citizen Kane into Gigli! And I held it against the wrestlers. It affected me so much that I turned down a chance to see Bryan Danielson versus Nigel McGuinness in their last match at the Hammerstein Ballroom! I KNOW!
Still, I knew of Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness. I followed their careers and was excited for their departures from Ring of Honor to the WWE and TNA respectively (not excited enough to attend, but still…). I’ve heard Danielson’s farewell promo and gotten chills. I was on team Daniel Bryan for his NXT debut. I still get chills from his Daniel Bryan / Bryan Danielson promo. And then there’s Wrestlemania 28. We were there. And the match I wanted to see the most was Daniel Bryan versus Sheamus. I cheered “YES! YES! YES!” as he made his entrance. And I screamed “NO! NO! NO!” from second 13 of that match until somewhere during Big Show versus Cody Rhodes. I’m still not entirely sure that match took place. I definitely know that Randy Orton versus Kane didn’t happen (Booth note: It Did! You were there! It’s on the Network!).
Thank You, Daniel Bryan, for giving me a second chance to be your fan. Thank you for letting me enjoy your matches live at Wrestlemania 29, various RAWs and live events. Thank you for letting me share in your title victories at Wrestlemania 30 and Wrestlemania 31.
The Third Man:
One of the things fans and wrestlers mention about Daniel Bryan is how he is one of the nicest wrestlers and human beings on the planet. You rarely hear a bad story about Daniel Bryan. One of my favorite stories was at an independent show in the Summer of 2010. I was standing in line with a group of a friends to meet Bryan Danielson. While I didn’t have much to say to him, my friend, Cupcake Dave (A name given to him due to his love of cupcakes and his plans to blog about it), was adamant about asking Bryan about a Vegan Cupcake place in Vegas. I thought it was a ridiculous question, but who am I to doubt Cupcake Dave?
As we met Bryan, we were quickly rushed off the line, leaving little time for interaction. My friend was not going to give up without getting that cupcake recommendation. Cupcake Dave selfishly interrupted the next person to ask Bryan about the location of this place.
Bryan, who was in the middle of a very busy autograph signing, stopped what he was doing, turned to CD and said, “Here’s what you do. You take a left at-” and gave Cupcake us turn by turn directions to this place. Cupcake Dave and I found the place while in Vegas and while the Cupcake Dave Experience never took off, it was the best Vegan Cupcake ever.
Thank You Bryan for being so relatable and down to earth. You are the best in the world in the ring, in life and in cupcake recommendations.