Today on my list of WWE’s Best of 2018, Daniel Bryan was finally medically cleared for in-ring competition after a two-year-long journey, and he returned to WWE with an emotional and impassioned speech meant to inspire us all.
Daniel Bryan has been a household name within the WWE for years, and he’s embodied the “ultimate underdog”, so to speak, the entire time. Bryan has been down, out, and more, and he’s come back from everything tenfold; his never-ending resilience has resonated with all of us in some way.
That’s why when he announced in 2016 that he’d be forced to retire from in-ring competition due to issues with concussions and even seizures, we were all devastated. There was not a dry eye in the house the night Bryan announced to us in-ring that he would have to formally retire, because we’d alway seen him triumph over adversities. To think there was one that he couldn’t… it simply couldn’t be true.
This year, however, was much different for Bryan. After seeing doctor after doctor, specialist after specialist, after two years outside of the ring, here came the moment we didn’t think we’d ever get to see.
Daniel Bryan returned to a SmackDown Live ring where he announced that he’d finally been cleared to wrestle again, and in an impassioned speech, he taught us one of the most valuable lessons we’d learned from WWE all year.
“Fight for your dreams, and your dreams will fight for you.”
For his entire WWE career, Daniel Bryan has been kind of the everyman of the WWE roster, mostly because there’s a lot of him we can see in ourselves. He was never the biggest guy in the room, nor the strongest, but his hard work and determination brought him everywhere he needed to go, even to the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
You’re always happy to see a performer battle back from an injury, but the return of Daniel Bryan was that much sweeter, because we wanted to see him battle back to in-ring competition again because of all those things that made him popular in the first place.
Daniel Bryan has become so relatable as a character that when he told us all to fight for our dreams, and that in return they would fight back for you, we believed him. We see so much of ourselves in him that his journeys become our journeys, and his messages resonate within us.
Bryan’s “Fight For Your Dreams” speech was one of the highlights of WWE this year because not only did it perfectly incapsulate Daniel Bryan’s story and his journey, but it was a message for all of us. Bryan showed us this year that if you work tirelessly for what you believe in, you will be rewarded.
It’s a message we’re told on television and in movies all the time, but this time, coming from a man who’s struggle we’ve seen play out literally before our eyes, for a good part, the message was a whole lot more powerful.