Trauma forces champion to retire


By Edwin Herrera, Staff Writer

On Feb. 8, arguably one of the greatest wrestlers decided to hang up his boots and retire. WWE wrestler Daniel Bryan made a decision most athletes would have difficulty doing — that is choosing health over a profession that you love.

In 2013, my friends told  me about Daniel Bryan, an awesome wrestler who got cheated out of the title after winning it just to lose it minutes later to Randy Orton. That alone made me tune in. The ring was full with previous world heavyweight champions and WWE champions for a unification ceremony, but I saw something I never thought I would see — the whole arena chanting “Daniel Bryan” over and over again all in sync.

This went on for five minutes, similar to when a football stadium chants for a player. At that point I knew that this goat-faced bearded guy was going change the direction of a whole company. And he did.

As months went on, tension kept on building and building from the fans in the arenas.

Everything came to a boiling point at the WWE Royal Rumble, an annual pay-per-view where the main event is a 30-man over the top rope last man standing match.

Bryan led a swarm of fans to the middle of the ring surrounding it from barricade to barricade. It was incredible how people got behind him demanding a title shot — and got it.

On the date of WrestleMania 30, Bryan had the most incredible performance in WWE history, defeating Triple H, the man who stood in his way, and then Batista and Randy Orton, the two biggest guys, to win the title. Many called it the miracle on Bourbon Street.

Unfortunately, that glory had to come to an end when Bryan suffered a major shoulder injury during his WrestleMania match. He eventually came back with momentum, but a concussion sidelined him for seven months with people questioning whether the company had enough of the “Yes!” movement. But that was not the case.

Bryan showed up on Raw in his home state of Washington to announce his retirement due to severe trauma to his brain from recurring concussions and seizure.

As soon as he stepped into the ring, the audience gave him shouts of praise across the Kingdome.

He struggled to get the words out of his condition. He admitted, through tears, how he loved wrestling more than anything in the world.

He repeated how grateful he was to do something with people who loved him as much as he loved his profession.

The courage for him to give up something he loved for his health is something to commend. The fans lost a great wrestler in the ring, but we gained the hope that this hero can grow in old age with no drug addictions or suicide attempts.

All I can feel about his retirement is gratitude — gratitude for making me want to tune in Monday nights to see a person sacrificing his body and health to put on a show of incredible athletic ability.