I’ve avoided watching WWE since the main event at Fastlane was announced. I felt that the show has become so predictable, I could miss WWE programming all the way up to Wrestlemania and still have an idea of how things are going to end. But the announcement of Daniel Bryan’s retirement shocked wrestling fans all around the world and made Monday Night Raw a must watch for the night. While the show itself was entertaining and delivered a few decent matches and moments (Ziggler vs Owens and Dean Ambrose’s Scrappy-Doo moment with Brock), it was the build up to the return of Daniel Bryan that fueled the entire three hour running time.

Daniel Bryan wasn’t tall or well built. And he wasn’t the most handsome performer on the roster. He didn’t match WWE’s idea of what a champion should look like. But he is a likable, genuinely sincere person with incredible wrestling talent. And that was enough to get him over organically with fans. Daniel Bryan was able to effortlessly connect with people due to his natural personality. He comes off less like a WWE superstar, and more like one of us. He’s a wrestler fans could actually live through as they watched him make it to the top of the company despite it not having faith in him. He was a legitimate underdog on screen, and behind the scenes. So we cheered for him. And when the company ignored us, we cheered louder and louder until they finally had to to take notice.

But unfortunately, his time in the ring has come to an end due to the amount of concussions suffered throughout his career. Professional wrestling, despite being predetermined, is still very dangerous. There are usually some sort of health repercussions at the end of every wrestler’s career, and Bryan had put his body on the line for a decade before debuting in WWE. The damage eventually caught up with him just when he was at a level very few have reached in the recent years of WWE. But after having his dream taken away from him for health issues, Bryan was able to walk out of the building last night to a crowd reaction unlike anything any other superstar on the active roster has been able to receive.

Daniel Bryan said his goodbyes in the middle of the ring yesterday. He shared how much we, the fans, mean to him. He was able to get “That’s what she said” over with the crowd without even trying. He was able to bring real emotions out of all of us. And last, but not least, he even used some of the time dedicated to his retirement speech to plug a charity organization for children with cancer on his own free will. Daniel Bryan is legitimately a good person, and it showed in everything he did. Fans got behind him because he radiated with positive energy. But to quote one of my favorite movies, “The light that burns twice as bright burns half as long, and you have burned so very, very brightly.”

Thank you Daniel Bryan.