Daniel Bryan appeared on the ESPNews “Off The Top Rope” segment hosted by Jonathan Coachman on Tuesday. The following are the highlights of the interview.
-Coachman spoke about Bryan’s career being cut short by multiple concussions, then aired footage of Bryan’s retirement speech on Monday’s WWE Raw television show.
-Bryan, who was interviewed from a television studio, spoke about how he had to turn away from his family in the front row as he was giving his speech. He said he was afraid he would become too emotional.
-Bryan said he has ten suffered documented concussions. He said there’s no way to document all of them and that if you asked an NFL player how many they suffered it would be impossible to say. He said it’s also hard to define concussions, and thus it’s impossible to say how many he’s suffered.
-Coachman asked how he found out his career was over. Bryan said he took an EEG test in New York. He said he’s taken them before. He said it’s a newer test that also measures reflex testing as the EEG is being done. He said all of his other EEG testing, his brain MRIs, and his neuropsychological testing came out great. He said he was looking for something to support his claim that he could come back to wrestling. However, this test found that he had some slowing and a small subacute or chronic lesion in his temporoparietal region, which is an area of the brain that causes seizures. Bryan said he suffered post-concussion seizures “that I hid for a long time.” Bryan said there was no evidence that would explain why he had those seizures, but then they finally found some.
-Coachman asked what message he has for young athletes who want to play their sport in a safer way. Bryan said every sport is different, but they need to be cognizant of it. He said that if you get a concussion you need to report it. He said one of the worst things you can do is to suffer a concussion and return before your brain is fully healed.
-Coachman asked about the Yes! chant and whether he thought it would catch on the way it has. Bryan said no because he started it to be annoying. Bryan said he didn’t want people to do it when he started it, but it turned the other way and propelled his career forward.
-Bryan said the farewell ceremony with the McMahon family and the wrestlers onstage was surreal. He said the entire journey has been. He spoke about how he closed his eyes and was able to feel it. He said it was so touching to be supported by so many people and it’s been unbelievable.
-Coachman asked what it is about him that allowed him to get to the very top despite his small stature. Bryan said he doesn’t know. He said he doesn’t know how that connection with the audience happened. He said people have ideas, but he thinks it’s just a lot of guessing. He said he feels fortunate to have made that connection because it’s given him an incredible life and allowed him to have some incredible experiences.
-Coachman asked Bryan if he’s had a chance to figure out what’s next for him. Bryan said he’s had a lot of time to think about it and then laughed. He said the last real job he had was at a video store and tanning salon. He said he’s not sure, but he would like to do something to help people and help the world. He said he just spoke with his neurologist and he may do things to help with concussion awareness. He said one of the coolest things about working for WWE is taking part in the charity events. He said meeting Connor Michalek was a real inspiration to him. Bryan also spoke about the Connor’s Cure charity, and he said he would like to help with things like that. He said he worries that if you try to do too many things you don’t get anything done, so he’s trying to figure it out.
-Bryan was asked how he wants to be remembered. He said he doesn’t need anyone to remember him. He hopes that if people were at a show he was at that people will remember the experiences they had with the people that they love. He recalled seeing Ultimate Warrior pulling down Rick Rude’s pants at the first show he attended. He said it was the first male butt his sister ever saw and they have spoken about it for years. He said his dad brought it up until the day he died and chuckled every time. He said he wants people to remember the experiences they had with their friends and families when they come to WWE events.
-Coachman spoke afterward about how Bryan could easily say “Why me?” and instead he seems at peace with the situation. He called him an “all-time good guy.”
Powell’s POV: Man, that Daniel Bryan is such a prick! Sorry, I just wanted to be the only person ever to write those words. Of course Bryan came off really well in the interview. He always does. The interview provided a better understanding of why Bryan reached a point of acceptance that his in-ring career is over. Just for clarity, it would be nice if someone would ask him if there is any chance he would wrestle outside WWE given everything these tests have told him. There are some fans who are holding out hope rather selfishly, but I heard noting on Raw or in this interview that would suggest that’s something he is considering. This was easily the best of the Coachman segments that I’ve seen thus far. Most are usually pretty light natured, but this was more serious in tone and he asked some good questions.