WWE’s Daniel Bryan: ‘I Want to Be at the Point Where (John) Cena Is At’

Daniel Bryan and AJ (WWE)

Has Daniel Bryan proved that he can make it to the top tier of WWE Superstars? Has he had several amazing matches with a wide variety of opponents? Has he created a catchphrase that millions are screaming at the top of their lungs?

Yes! Yes! Yes!

Will his wedding to WWE Diva AJ go off without a hitch during the 1000th episode of ‘WWE Monday Night Raw’?

That remains to be seen.

I spoke with the master of the Yes Lock in the days before his proposal at the 2012 San Diego Comic Con. While there we had a chance to discuss his unexpected rise to the top, his luck with the ladies, and his ridiculously positive catchphrase…

Gordon Holmes: Everybody has said you don’t have the right look or the right size or the right personality to make it as a WWE Superstar. And yet, here we are. How does it feel to stick those doubts in people’s faces?
Daniel Bryan: I’ve never thought about sticking it in people’s faces…
Holmes: I would.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah! But I don’t have that kind of personality. For me it’s always been about pursuing what I enjoy doing. And I’m actually a little surprised by my own success because I know I’m very good at what I do, I just doubted that the machine would get behind somebody like me. Because, they haven’t in the past. So, that’s my biggest surprise.

Holmes: I talked to Sheamus yesterday, and we discussed how nice it was that you guys got to follow Wrestlemania up with that great match at Extreme Rules. He went so far to say it was his personal best match of all time. That’s got to be a point of pride that your peer’s favorite matches is against you.
Bryan: Yeah, it’s a sense of pride, but Sheamus and I have always had good matches. And the reason why is because both of us have very physical styles. And we’re both not afraid to go in there and really hit each other. There’s some people who don’t want to wrestle me. But, everything I do is safe. And I’ve had fans at live events who’ve said, “Man, when you and Sheamus were out there, you were really hitting each other!” And they’re almost taken aback.
Holmes: My goodness, there’s violence in my wrestling.
Bryan: (Laughs) So yeah, I’ve always taken pride in the matches Sheamus and I have had.

Holmes: Now, it’s one thing to be a former WWE Champion. But, it’s quite another thing to have Mattel go to great lengths to properly sculpt an accurate beard for your action figure. Do you think they nailed it?
Bryan: Yeah. I was pretty stoked to have my first action figure in general. Because now guys want to be in the video game. I understand that, they’re video game people. I’m not. I’ve never been into video games. So, for me action figures are like, “Holy cow! I have my own action figure!” And now they have several of them! And some of them have my t-shirt? And they’re so correct with my gear and stuff. And now the beard? It’s pretty cool.
Holmes: Is it weird having a little you or do you still get a kick out of it?
Bryan: I get a kick out of it, like I’ll be in Target and I’ll see one of my figures and it makes me laugh that someone like me has an action figure. It makes me think less of other people who have action figures. I guess it’s not as hard as it looks.
Holmes: (Laughs) Yeah, I thought Batman was cool until…
Bryan: (Laughs) Right! Until I had my own, now I don’t think he’s so special.
Holmes: You’ve got to be hoping for a Daniel Bryan Brawlin’ Buddy plush doll.
Bryan: Oh yeah, I had the Macho King Randy Savage Wrestling Buddy. I’d love to have something like that. Those things are really cool to me. And an ice cream bar, too.
Holmes: But then what would be left for you? You’ve been a champion, after you have the buddy and the ice cream bar it’s got to be all downhill.
Bryan: I want to be at the point where (John) Cena is at. He hasn’t been WWE Champion in a while, but he’s still the main event of every pay per view. He’s the guy. He’s the first guy on the poster. He’s the guy people are paying to see. That’s what you’ve got to go for. I’ve always tried to be the absolute best.

Holmes: You’re in the midst of a huge storyline love triangle between yourself, AJ, and CM Punk. What’s that like for you? Because you’re more known for getting it done in the ring than during an episode of “Days of Our Lives.”
Bryan: It’s interesting because I’ve never been known for this, I was always known for just wrestling. So, it’s been fun for me to go out there and do it. And from all accounts, people are pretty happy with what I’ve done, from within the company. So, I feel like I’ve been doing it OK, you can always do it better and I’m always striving to do better because that’s always been a weakness for me. When I was in high school I’d stand up and give a book report and I’d be shaking. I’ve never been somebody who’s good at acting. But it’s fun to go out there and be a real jerk. (Laughs) And be a lying, conniving kind of person.
Holmes: From what I understand, AJ is into geek culture. Is she going to be upset that you’re at Comic Con and she isn’t?
Bryan: She’d be more jealous that Alicia Fox is here who doesn’t know about that stuff. Alicia Fox came dressed as a Ninja Turtle, she didn’t know which Ninja Turtle she was!
Holmes: What color was her mask?
Bryan: Red, so she was Raphael.
Holmes: This isn’t the first time you’ve been involved with Divas. I remember you were involved with the Bella Twins and Gail Kim. Is there some kinda ladies man swagger about you that we don’t know about?
Bryan: (Laughs) No, no, no. You know what I think it is? I think it’s that I’m such the antithesis of a ladies man that the writers think it’s funny. So, it constantly comes up.

Holmes: Now, it seems like what got you to the dance was your in-ring ability.
Bryan: Right.
Holmes: But with Raw and Smackdown these days, sometimes you only get three or four minutes to put on a match. Did that concern you that you weren’t going to get an opportunity to show what you can do?
Bryan: I was and I wasn’t. I always felt like I don’t need much time to showcase what I can do. And if I’m given any chance whatsoever I’ll go out and do a good job at it. So, maybe once every few months you can get a ten-minute match and you can really do something that nobody else can really do. And I’ve always believed that my wrestling could make me popular.

Holmes: I walked by your autograph signing earlier and was nearly deafened by a legion of fans screaming, “Yes!”
Bryan: I honestly was just doing it to be annoying and that’s all I ever thought. And what’ s interesting is it started to pick up before Wrestlemania. We had done a show in Seattle, and I’m from Washington state, but there were a bunch of “Yes” signs. And then at some of the live events there were people chanting “Yes” in pockets. And then the Monday Night Raw right after is where it really hit. After that they came out with the t-shirt. And I think it’s just fun to chant.
Holmes: You’re hearing it everywhere now. Even at non-wrestling sporting events. What was it like to come out in front of that huge crowd at Wrestlemania to that kind of support?
Bryan: I just thought it was really cool because I literally had zero to worry about. All I had to do was go out and just enjoy the moment. The most important thing was not to trip over my robe.
Holmes: And you did a fantastic job at that.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah, thank you. But that thing was right at my feet. I was terrified.

Holmes: A few weeks ago you and Punk were wrestling. He went for a spinning backfist and came up short. You followed it with a running knee to his chest. Was that an intentional tribute to our friends in the UFC?
Bryan: Listen, just because (Chael) Sonnen went for that spinning backfist and (Anderson) Silva hit him with that knee and then coincidentally, CM Punk who’s friends a friend of Sonnen just so happened to go for a spinning backfist and I followed it up with a knee? I learn from what I watch, right? So, I knew the best thing to follow up a missed backfist was a knee.
Holmes: That’s amazing that you could integrate that into your strategy so quickly after having just seen it.
Bryan: (Laughs) Yeah! Yeah! That’s why I have an action figure.
Holmes: Precisely. Screw Batman.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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