Daniel Bryan’s return to in-ring competition is the biggest wrestling story of the year. For two long years, the former American Dragon has fought the odds to prove that he is healthy enough to return to action. This past Tuesday, he did just that. During an emotional promo that opened the SmackDown broadcast, Bryan was close to tears on several occasions. Not because he had finally been cleared to compete or due to the amazing reception he received from the live audience, but because of the love and support of his wife, Brie Bella.
In his heart-felt speech, Bryan constantly referred to the fact that he came so close to quitting, to giving up on his dream of returning to wrestling. At the lowest points in Daniel Bryan’s life, Brie was there to pick him up and to help him fight. She taught him that, “If you fight for your dreams, your dreams will fight for you.”
Recently, I wrote about how it’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish between a wrestler’s in ring character and their private life. The article mainly focused on the negative aspects and how a person’s real life decisions can tarnish the character they portray. One thing I failed to talk about is the positive impact this can have, too. The reason so many people love Daniel Bryan is because they see and relate to his real life struggles. They are invested in his return because they know the journey he has been on to make it a reality.
One thing we overlook, as stated by Bryan in his promo, is that Brie Bella is as much responsible for his wrestling return as the man himself. Brie has been his rock, the person who helped him get through the depression and to encourage him to continue the fight. Bryan talked about being grateful for what he had and we should all be grateful that he had Brie in his corner.
I can’t pretend to know everything Bryan and Brie have been through these past two years, but I do know about my own struggles. I know about the times I have doubted myself and wanted to give up on my own goals. I know that I wouldn’t be writing this article if it wasn’t for the support of my own partner and her unwavering belief in me. I know the inner power that love can bring.
This isn’t an exclusive feeling. It’s something that so many people can relate to. Whether it be our partners, families or close friends, we’ve all been through times where we’ve relied on others to help us get by. We understand Daniel Bryan’s human response to adversity. We admire the support his family have provided.
Brie Bella has not only given Daniel Bryan the strength to persevere over the course of the last 24 months, but she’s given him something to fight for. She’s brought the jaded wrestling community together in unison to scream, “YES!” Scrolling through twitter in the minutes following the official announcement were so heart warming. Such an incredible outpouring of emotions is rarely seen in wrestling. People were stunned, some in tears, others running around their living rooms. Brie Bella has given us back our hero.
The impact of a strong support network is something we, understandably, forget about in the weird world of wrestling. We see these ultra strong super heroes week in and week out and we fail to realise what they are putting themselves through for our entertainment. Daniel Bryan’s return is a timely reminder that the real people behind those larger than life characters are human. They, like everyone else, need help and thank god that Daniel Bryan had it.
Every week we see the female superstars of the WWE breaking down boundaries, creating history and ripping up the rule book. The Women’s Revolution is more than a marketing gimmick. Yet behind the scenes there is a quieter revolution, a small group of women who stand side by side with their partners and help them be all they can be. Ultimate Deletion, for example, was as much a creation of Reby Hardy as anybody else. “Woken” Matt may take the spotlight, but he knows how much his partner has helped shaped the vision.
We don’t know how much longer Daniel Bryan will have as a wrestler, but the fact that he even has one more match is a minor miracle. It’s a beacon of hope to anybody who has struggled and strived to achieve their dreams. We should be inspired by how much Daniel has fought for this opportunity, but let’s not forget the woman who has fought alongside him every step of the way.
Thank you, Brie. Thank you for supporting a man who means so much to us. Thank you for having the strength to carry Daniel Bryan through his depression when he needed you the most. Thank you for the tough love, for not letting Bryan quit when achieving his dream seemed impossible. Thank you for being a shining example of what a true partnership should be. Finally, thank you for giving Daniel Bryan back to us.