After a tumultuous last couple of years that found the WWE not wanting to clear Bryan over his numerous injuries, Daniel Bryan took to the ring to explain his situation. "Now it is time for me to address the giant elephant in the room," Bryan started. After jokes about shaving his beard, he went on to talk about the number of concussions he accumulated over his 16-year career. "It gets to a point where they tell you that you can't wrestle anymore, and for a long time, I fought that."
"A week and a half ago, I took a test that said that maybe my brain isn't OK as I thought it was," he continued. "I have a family to think about, and my wife and I want to start having kids soon," alluding to a concern that his wife, WWE Diva Brie Bella, has brought up numerous times on the E! reality show Total Divas.
Bryan then dropped the bomb all of his fans dreaded: "It is with a heavy heart and the utmost sadness that I officially announce my retirement." He went on to talk about gratitude, which he hashtagged in the tweet from earlier today, thinking back to the 16 years he spent as a professional wrestler.
For those who were wondering, Daniel Bryan mentioned that he trimmed his hair for Wigs for Kids, an organization that helps kids with cancer "to look themselves and live their lives." The Washington native also bigged up the Seahawks, which is interesting considering that Marshawn Lynch also recently announced his retirement. Choking back tears at times, Bryan also went on to talk about everything he loved, from working with superstars like Kane and William Regal to meeting kids like Connor "The Crusher" and being grateful for the love he's received from the fans.
He also mentioned how, two years ago, the crowd erupted with "DANIEL BRYAN" chants, and how it felt to have his dad (who passed away in April of 2014) see the WWE Universe reacting to him and his character, as well as being able to meet his wife Brie Bella.
"Tomorrow morning, I start a new life. A life where I am no longer a wrestler. But that is tomorrow, and that is not tonight. And by damn I have one more night to feel this energy, and to feel this crowd." That was immediately followed with a thunderous "YES!" chant (along with his wife Brie and the entire locker room coming to the ring), ending the chapter of a pro wrestler who may not have been seen as a true WWE superstar. It also put an interesting cap on this, as time will tell where Bryan goes. The WWE made sure to point out that he was retiring as an "in-ring performer," but there was also talk of Bryan possibly going into MMA at some point.
Who knows where Daniel Bryan will end up. What we do know is that he's taken us for a wild ride, and won the hearts of WWE fans the world over without being "the guy." #ThankYouDanielBryan