On the most recent episode of The Steve Austin Show, Austin spoke with Wade Keller from the Pro Wrestling Torch about the surprise retirement of Daniel Bryan. He spoke in length about the emotional speech that Bryan delivered on Monday Night Raw from last week, and admitted that he shed a tear while watching it at home.
“Just a big shout out to a hell of a body of work that he leaves behind and I’m sure we’ll see him in the Hall of Fame, but it was a very emotional night and I dare say, I will say, I had a tear in my eye watching that kid say goodbye. Every time he went out there, the kid was knocking it out of the park, doing world class work. He could work any style of wrestling.”
Wade Keller then asked Austin what made Bryan such a special talent. Steve replied by talking about Daniel’s special connection with the fans and having excellent in ring ability.
“From what I’ve seen out of him, it’s just bad ass work. He tells a great story, sells his ass off, makes everything look good, goes through great sequences, great psychology, sells his ass off. He’s the real deal and I could see, just being in the shoes that I was in, I was never the chosen one, man. When I rolled into WWE or when Eric Bischoff fired me, I was kind of a good hand in the ring, a good mechanic with this long straggly blond hair and ‘this kid’s not going to be a star’. Finally, I get an opportunity in WWE, but when I showed up there, man, it was the land of giants. A lot of the big men were still there and I had to have that conversation with Vince, ‘hey man, if you take my personality from me, I can’t compete’. But then, finally, I got opportunities and I was able to get over through working the way I did. And so, Daniel worked at a faster pace than I did, that cruiserweight style, and, I mean, they tried to hold him down forever and the crowd organically just got behind this kid because they could see true talent. And I think the IWC had something to do with that because they were going to make their voices be heard that, ‘hey man, you weren’t giving this guy a chance or you don’t want him to succeed or you’re not booking him to be the guy, but this is the guy because we like what he’s doing.”
Stone Cold even went as far as to say that Daniel Bryan’s run reminded him of when Bret Hart made it as the top guy. Neither one of the were the top dog, and both didn’t possess the “look” that WWE officials wanted.
“Daniel Bryan’s run kind of reminds me to a similar degree, or just the way he presented himself almost in a vein, he was a smaller version of Bret Hart because Bret was never really going to be the chosen guy. All of a sudden, he got the opportunity and he was an understated guy, wasn’t over the top. I always liked Bret Hart’s promos. He felt he was a little weak in them. One of the greatest workers in the history of the business. And finally he got his time. He got his just due, and all of a sudden, that was the transition of the bigger guys the guys that could really work, and it opened the door for guys like Shawn Michaels and so Daniel Bryan, just his persistence, his determination, and the fact that he was consistent every single time he went out there, he delivered and it’s fine to see the big guys with the charisma going through their stuff because everybody wants to see the heavyweights clash, but also, people want to see bad ass wrestling and to me that’s what Daniel was all about. And he always had fire. He really learned how to work the crowd, that ‘yes’ chant going, and it turned into him getting a run as World Champion.”
Ski’s Take – Mr. Austin, Steve, I couldn’t have said it any better. It’s great and heartening to see a professional actually praising the IWC for once. Yes there are lots of nay-sayers in the IWC, the kind of “fan” that just want to bitch at every single decision in every single promotion, but for the most part the IWC aren’t like that. Yes they had a part in helping Bryan get to the top of the mountain, but if it wasn’t for Daniel’s amazing work rate and his down to earth likability factor, it would have been for naught.
I can also see his point about Bret Hart too. And classing Bryan in the same category as Bret, by the biggest star in the history of the business, that is a major compliment.
I’m not going to lie, I was sat at home at 3.45am UK time when the first tear rolled down my cheek during Daniel’s speech. I had followed the guy’s career from his early beginnings in Ring of Honor, to his tours of Japan, to his failed beginnings on NXT (the game show, not the fantastic promotion it is now), to his moment at WrestleMania 30. The tear was because I was never going to see him in the ring again. To maybe have match of the night’s, maybe match of the year’s against AJ Styles and especially Shinsuke Nakamura.
Then I stopped being selfish and imagined the future. The future where Bryan could be a trainer down in NXT every once in a while. Where he could pass on his wisdom he gained by toiling through the “indies” before making the big time. Where he can give the smaller, often overlooked guys and girls, the confidence needed to succeed in “The Land Of The Giants”. Hell, if Stone Cold has just given you a glowing recommendation, then surely the world is your oyster.