Recently, Hot 97's Peter Rosenberg sat down with former World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan and discussed a number of things. Topics included: his current run, his start, Shawn Michaels, Dean Malenko, his relationship with Vince and much more. Here are some of the highlights:
On what it's like being in his current position when many people doubted that it could happen: "It's great. It's one of those things that you never expect to happen. This has always been my dream as a kid -- to be at this level and to do this kind of stuff. I actually have aspirations of getting even higher. Getting to where Cena is, where regardless of whether he's in a title match or not, he's always the last match on the show.
"But, just five years ago, if you would have asked somebody if I could have been a superstar in WWE, they would have said, 'No, he's too pale, he's not charismatic enough. he's not this, he's not that, he's not whatever. He's a good wrestler, but that's not enough to make it in something like the WWE.' So, it's real nice."
On how he got his start as a professional wrestler: "No (I wasn't a backyard wrestler). [Laughs.] I've heard that. I want to say it's on my Wikipedia page, but the only reason -- like, I graduated in 1999 when people were just kind of learning to build websites. So, my buddy was taking a class where they built websites. So, we took pictures where we were these wrestlers. I was the Uno-Dos-Tres Chico and all these really stupid things. So, anyway, we put out the website for his class and all of a sudden, it's on Wikipedia.
"I went and got trained by Shawn Michaels. It's very important, we say in WWE, to get professionally trained if you're going to do this. Don't try this at home, it's very dangerous.
"So, yeah, I went and trained with the best. Shawn Michaels is awesome. I went and trained for a full year down there and then I went to train with William Regal in Memphis. I've trained all over the world with some of the best wrestlers.
"Actually, I was supposed to train with Dean Malenko because $500 is a lot of money for a kid who is 17, 18-years-old. So, I gave [Malenko] my $500 and all of a sudden, a week later the school closes. Then, I saw this advertisement on Monday Night Raw about Shawn Michaels opening up this school and I thought, 'Well, I hope he's there because if he's not, this is a waste of a lot of money.' [Laughs.]
"That $500 deposit, I gave it to them when I was a sophomore in high school. I just started working at McDonald's and I was 15. I wasn't even allowed to serve burgers, I was just mopping floors. ... Yeah [this was pre-vegan]. [Laughs.] I've only been vegan for 2 and a half years.
"But, I did tell that story to Dean Malenko -- that they took my $500 and they did not give it back and he does not care at all. [Laughs.]"
On what it was like training with Shawn Michaels: "Well, you didn't really talk to him at first because you're still a little awe-struck. We're all there early -- I think the first class started at 9 AM or something -- and were all there at like 8 o'clock. I'm nervous because I don't know anything about what this is going to entail. Shawn just strolled in, casually, 5 minutes before 9 and he was really laid back.
"You could see that he's kind of eying us up, kind of, 'what do I got here?' He's clearly not looking at me like, 'This guy's our superstar potential.' [Laughs.] But when you really start to know Shawn and relate to him, he's really fun. It's interesting looking back at it, because he would sort of let us take cracks at him a little bit.
"He wasn't necessarily (still a jerk) at this point, but he had his problems. He definitely had his problems. He had had back surgery or something maybe a year or two before and he was in a lot of pain."
On what wrestler he looked up to growing up: "My number one guy was Dean Malenko. You have no idea. Dean Malenko was my favorite. The Texas Cloverleaf -- I was just like, 'Oh, this guy is so cool!' Then, you meet him and he has the driest sense of humor ever. It was great. So, yeah. He was my man."
On his relationship with Vince McMahon: "You know what -- I'm the antithesis of everything that Vince thinks a superstar is. I don't eat meat, I'm wearing a wooden watch. [Laughs.] ... I think everybody should be wearing Tom's shoes because every time you buy a pair of Tom's shoes and he gives a free pair to a child who doesn't have shoes. It's a great story. But that's not Vince McMahon, it's not what he's into.
"Chris Jericho actually told me a great story about my first day on NXT. I actually wrestled Chris Jericho in my first match and Jericho came to the back and he said, 'This guy's good. We can use this guy.' And Vince just looked at him in disgust and said, 'Who's going to buy someone that doesn't even eat meat?'
On what the original plans were for his feud with Mark Henry: "To be honest, until Mark Henry got hurt, I was legitimately thinking I would be the first Money In The Bank winner to lose when he cashed in the brief case. [Laughs.] And it wasn't thinking that I couldn't do it. I know I've got the skill set to be popular with the WWE universe. But, I have a firm belief that Vince did not want someone like me with his titles.
"That was it. Legitimately, it was in Baltimore, Maryland for Tables, Ladders & Chairs for December and I was literally flown in to do a signing. The pay-per-view before it was Survivor Series. Big Show and Mark Henry did this awesome, superplex and there were some people there chanting Daniel Bryan -- I wasn't even there. They didn't even fly me in to the show.
"So, I just had a signing to do at a K-Mart in Baltimore and literally, just trying to find WiFi so I could answer a few e-mails. Then, Arn Anderson just pulled me aside and said, 'Hey. We need to talk to you.'"
A funny story involving Ryback and Cody Rhodes: "Ryback had a mental breakdown at Panera Bread. Panera Bread is my safe haven. I can go to Panera bread and get a Mediterranean veggie sandwich with no cheese, I can get a black bean soup. It is my heaven. Ryback goes in there and he literally just stood there for eight minutes.
"At one point, he literally just gave up and stormed over to me and Cody Rhodes and said, 'There's nothing I can eat here. Guys like you can eat here.' Implying guys that are less than 220 pounds, we can eat at Panera Bread but there's nothing for him. We were like, 'Calm down. They have steak stuff.'
"So, he goes up and he asks, 'Do you guys have chicken breast?' They have it but it's just called oven roasted chicken. The girl didn't know, she probably like 16-years-old. She says, 'No.' Then, he goes, 'Do you guys have salads?' And there's this huge thing, right there, that says 'Premium Salads' and there's a picture with a salad with steak on it."
On who needs a push and what wrestlers he'd like to see brought into WWE: "There's two people I'd like to see more of on WWE TV. Actually, there's loads. [Laughs.] I would have to say Tyson Kidd. Like I said, he's phenomenal. Also, a mention to Alex Riley.
"Alex Riley isn't the greatest technical wrestler or anything like that. But, he always gets a reaction when he comes out. He's so energetic in the ring. I don't know, I think he's really, really good and has a lot of potential.
"There are loads of guys that I think should be here, but one of the guys that I wish could be here but won't get the chance now is Nigel McGuinness. To me, he was every bit as good of a wrestler as I am but had more personality and more of the look that the WWE would like. He would have really connected well with the WWE universe and I just think it's kind of sad that he's not here."
You can check out the entire interview below.
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