It was five months ago when Daniel Bryan said his goodbyes to the WWE Universe, but now, the leader of the “Yes!” Movement is making his return to WWE television. The former WWE World Heavyweight Champion will be joining Mauro Ranallo to host the Cruiserweight Classic this summer on WWE Network.
Ranallo brings a wealth of combat sports experience to the announcers’ table. In addition to serving as the voice of SmackDown, the Canadian has been one of the top play-by-play men in mixed martial arts, boxing and sports-entertainment.
Joining him as the color commentator is Bryan. As a Superstar who neared the 205 lbs. weight limit of the CWC throughout his career, Bryan made it his goal to defy those who deemed him too small to succeed on sports-entertainment’s biggest platform. The leader of the “Yes!” Movement did just that by capturing the hearts of the WWE Universe on his way to winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30.
Bryan also brings a unique perspective to the announcers’ table, just months removed from his retirement as an active in-ring competitor. Not only does he know what it takes to make it with the WWE Universe watching, but Bryan is a contemporary of several CWC competitors. During his illustrious 16-year career, he trained with and competed against the likes of Brian Kendrick, Zack Sabre Jr., TJ Perkins, Tommaso Ciampa and Johnny Gargano.
Don’t miss Daniel Bryan’s return to WWE television when the Cruiserweight Classic kicks off on Wednesday, July 13 at 9/8 C, only on WWE Network. And be sure to tune into WWE Network on Wednesday, July 6 at 9/8 C for Cruiserweight Classic: Bracketology, a special look at the 32-man, 10-week tournament.
TJR Thoughts: I think it’s a great decision. Bryan is still under a WWE deal and they need to find something for him to do. From what I understand, the Cruiserweight Classic is going to be filmed and shown in a different way than some of other WWE shows we are used to with more of a “sports feel” to it. One of the guys in the tournament, TJ Perkins, was on our TJRWrestling podcast a couple of months ago and he talked about how he has known Bryan for about 15 years since they trained together early in their careers. Bryan is likely familiar with most of the guys and if he isn’t, he’s likely done his research because he’s a huge wrestling fan. Bryan was also backstage at the recent NXT tapings, so they have had him get some practice in.
Ranallo is the best choice for a play by play guy because he’s the only announcer they have that actually calls the moves. He shows the right kind of enthusiasm while also having the knowledge base to do a really good job at something like this. Plus, Ranallo knows so much about the wrestling business. He’s likely familiar with the performers as well.
They start taping this Thursday, June 23 in Orlando at Full Sail University where NXT is taped. I’m looking forward to it.
By the way WWE.com, it was four months ago when Bryan retired. The date was February 8. It’s June 22. That’s four months and two weeks really.
The image above is from WWE.com.