Latta’s Lariat #52: The Importance Of Daniel Bryan’s Return And Why It Means So Much To Us


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“If you fight for your dreams, your dreams will fight for you.” – Daniel Bryan

A lot of grown men dropped single tears at that moment.

By now you’ve all heard the news. You’ve celebrated on social media. You’ve taken shots at Twitter and Reddit Doctors who peddled slanted concern and superior expertise over neurologists who have been clearing Daniel Bryan left and right for the past 23 months. After what seemed to be an immovable stance from Dr. Joseph Maroon, Daniel Bryan has made a full recovery and was cleared by WWE to return to active competition, and I couldn’t be more thrilled. Bryan persisted when most wrestlers and people would have folded up like origami. The news instantly turned Twitter into the Daniel Bryan tribute and testimonial wall, and mainstream outlets like SI, Forbes, CBS, and ESPN were on the story in minutes. The love and excitement for Daniel Bryan exists on a level like no one else in wrestling.

Daniel Bryan was always the guy that the PEOPLE chose to be the next leader of WWE. Despite the WWE narrative, he was always the best. He was an underdog in stature only. The most organic superstar that WWE has had since Austin is about to come back for everything being injured the last 3 years took away from him. From a personal standpoint, he’s the reason I got into wrestling column writing in August of 2013. He was the author of the greatest storyline in and out of kayfabe I’ve ever seen in my life. When he rose to the top of WWE despite the company fighting against him for every reason we ever thought of…in storyline and out of it. I’m happy because this man was rewarded with a second act on his career when the only answer he heard was no. Honestly, that’s been the story of Daniel Bryan’s entire career, and if you can’t appreciate that your whole perspective is wack.

Despite what you may have read elsewhere that is designed to scare you or subtly oppose Daniel Bryan without you knowing it, Daniel Bryan is actually going to be the next Shawn Michaels. Shawn was 37 at the time of his return, and Bryan is 36. However, the landscape Bryan is walking into is set up even better for him to flourish in than the one Michaels returned to. While Shawn missed essentially most of the era he laid the foundation for, Daniel Bryan will be of instant value and ready to resume being a top star immediately because the only thing that has changed is the players. Shawn also didn’t really care about being the champion the second time around, but I feel like Bryan does. He doesn’t have to come back as a reformed person because he was always beloved in the first place. There is no issue of drugs, or steroids, just a king that is ready to fight for the throne that was stolen from him.

His connection with fans is mythical at this point. He will resume being the REAL top star in WWE, and his presence will make any arguments to the contrary look absurd. The elephant in the room is Roman Reigns and so I’ll say this. All the excuses made about fans not wanting to cheer faces are going to look really dumb the more Bryan gets things rolling. The almost non-negotiable WM 35 main event writes itself. Heel Roman Reigns defending the championship against 2019 Royal Rumble winner Daniel Bryan will align pro wrestling’s axis once again; with a guy, most fans can’t stand FOR REAL and a guy that is MORE than a wrestler to them.

Bryan’s career was taken from him just as it reached its zenith. We’re now going to get to cheer Bryan at his apex because by the looks of things, he’s going to fly around and be explosive the same way he always was. I had forgotten what a Daniel Bryan storyline felt like, and his interaction with Zayn and Owens last night instantly shot to the top of my Wrestlemania season stories. But before that was his speech.

Daniel Bryan may have topped his retirement speech with one of the most beautiful and inspirational speeches in the history of WWE in the opening of last night’s Smackdown. He talked about what his wife Brie Bella meant to his journey back, and the inspiration and direct encouragement she gave him. Which brings me back to the quote at the top. “Fight for your dreams until your dreams fight for you.” To quote a Twitter user I came across yesterday, “If you didn’t feel that, you’re a cop.” He just makes fans feel the way no other wrestler can right now. He thanked the fans for their unrelenting support. Not a what chant was heard anywhere in the building, and if someone had attempted to start it up, they may have gotten beaten up by other fans. He never announced where he would be making his return but the whole building pointed at the sign hanging in the corner of the arena. In a landscape where “You Deserve It” chants break out for supposed babyfaces while they are getting beat on, he’s bulletproof and wearing the Black Panther costume with advanced technology where we can’t see it.

Looking at his future prospects, Bryan has years of matches lined up that just appeared out of thin air.

  • Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles

  • Daniel Bryan vs Shinsuke Nakamura

  • Daniel Bryan vs The Miz

  • Daniel Bryan vs Roman Reigns

  • Daniel Bryan vs Samoa Joe

  • Daniel Bryan vs Brock Lesnar

  • Daniel Bryan vs Kevin Owens

  • Daniel Bryan vs Sami Zayn

  • Daniel Bryan vs Johnny Gargano

  • Daniel Bryan vs Andrade Cien Almas

  • Daniel Bryan vs THE WORLD FAM

I’ve argued with people I consider friends about Bryan’s return and I came to this conclusion. If Daniel Bryan isn’t living in fear, why should I? If WWE’s biggest deterrent in Dr. Maroon said it’s a go, after 24 MONTHS of specialists clearing Bryan, why should I be unhappy about this? Daniel Bryan returning feels like Michael Jordan coming back. It’s time for him to go 72-10 now. To quote Drake and Future…



I reached out to some friends about Bryan's return and they replied with the following. 

Simon Cotton of – It means Roman Reigns gets to steal momentum from another over babyface…again. But in all seriousness, it means the main event just got even more interesting.

Jamaal Kauterman – Operation occupy Smackdown is in effect.

Cam Loggins – Daniel Bryan’s return is the automatic Wrestlemania stealing moment. The fact the landscape has changed a lot since he stepped out of the ring, and nobody is worried if he has lost a step is reason alone that his push into the Smackdown main event picture should be done.

Howard Schilling – It means that one of my favorite wrestlers is back, someone that seems like the kind of guy that's just a good person inside the ring and out of it. It means I can enjoy watching WWE a little bit more

Cody Rowland – To me it means I get to see one of the best in the world wrestle, I wasn't watching wrestling during his first run with that amazing mania moment, I started watching about half a year before he had to retire (he wasn't wrestling at all in that time) and seeing him be forced to retire it broke my heart I teared up when he retired, and now, 2 years later, after seeing him so just depressed that he won't ever get to wrestle again in the WWE, to seeing him so rejuvenated and happy and excited to be there again it made me tear up, I am so excited for this run, I'm so excited to see Daniel Brian have so many dream matches we've all wanted to see!

Dan Falk – It's game-changing. Daniel Bryan truly brings something to Wrestlemania, and professional wrestling in general, that no other superstar can. His look, his passion, his love for the business. A guy who I've never seen put less than 100% into each and every one of his matches. It was his run in 2014 that brought me back to wrestling after a 10-year hiatus.

Jeff Duff – It lets him write his own ending to his wrestling story.

Duncan Emmens – Can’t wait to see all the dream matches. Gotta love D Bryan even on Smackdown. First night getting worked by Sami and Owens it's great for the business having him back so excited it seemed unreal landing then signature dropkicks. I’m souped up right now. YES YES YES!

Michael Grimes – Honestly, I wasn’t a big fan of the DB anything. I will admit he is a hell of a wrestler but his character was too happy and goofy for my liking. I do see where he is going to bring back some hope with the WWE though. Also, I’ve said this a million times, but I really think that a DB and Miz storyline would be one of the greatest ever told if done right. All the crap talking Miz did. All the personal stabs the Miz took at DB. This would be legendary because the Miz has stepped it up since DB left.


Rich Latta is a writer for & host of the One Nation Radio Podcast on  Check his New Japan work out there. He appears monthly on Chad Matthews' podcast The Doc Says after PPVs. GFX by @SirMikeFergus Give him a follow on Twitter, @RichLatta32 or drop him a comment below. If you like hip-hop, check out his music here. Look Him Up On Youtube As Well. 

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