As previously noted, current WWE SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan was interviewed by radio personality and pro wrestling enthusiast Peter Rosenberg. Among other things, Bryan talked about have a real life breakdown during the filming, being reluctant to retire from in-ring competition on WWE Monday Night RAW, not being big on promos or ring entrances in pro wrestling, and more.
According to Bryan, he had a real breakdown during filming Total Bellas. Moreover, Bryan expressed his gratitude to the show's producers and WWE for not airing how bad his mental condition got.
"Oh yeah, I did have a breakdown," Bryan said. "It was 100% legit and actually I'm very thankful to the production people and probably WWE had a big hand in this of they made it less than it was, right? So I was very thankful for that."
Bryan added, "they were doing that and I was having a breakdown and they did a good job of protecting me on the show, so I'm very thankful to Russell [Jay], who's one of the [executive] producers for that, to WWE. Like, everybody in their own lives has things that they don't want shown on TV, but they don't have cameras around them all the time. So this horrible time in my life, there were cameras around me nearly 24/7 and this enhances these feelings that you have."
Bryan explained that his mental breakdown was the result of a confluence of factors including being forced to retire from the squared circle by WWE and being apart from his wife, Brie, and other members of his inner circle.
"So here's the thing: it was multiple issues at once. It was being forced to retire, right, kind of against my will type thing, but also, you get forced into this. So ideally, in this situation, you would be surrounded by people you love and who love you. And I do love Brie's family and they love me, right? But this is a different environment. You're forced to relocate to this thing. And then, there [are] cameras around you 24/7. And then, my wife was on the road full time, so she would leave on Fridays and she would be gone Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, come home Wednesday. Wednesday/Thursday would be days spent entirely filming. And then, she'd leave again on Friday."
Bryan continued, "so I love Brie's family, but I'm not, like, the closest with them. They are not the people I would go to necessarily for comfort. Like, I want to be near my mom, and my sister, and my best friends, and that kind of stuff, so I was like, 'okay, I just need to go and spend a week in Washington to just be around and be in this, like, cocoon of people."
Apparently, Bryan got the support and time he needed for his mental well-being by leaving John Cena's compound while the show was still being shot.
"I never got that week, two weeks, a month, to just be, like, around my friends and family and to where I felt like I could say, 'help me through this,' right, 'and come out better on the other side.' Now, I ended up getting that because I left John's house while they were filming. I was literally like, 'I'm close to the edge and so I'm out of here.' I went to Phoenix [Arizona] first with our dog, I think. And then, I went to Washington for a month without Brie, right? Before she met me up there because she had things that she had to do and that sort of thing."
As Bryan was taking time to get himself better, he missed Brie's last match.
"It was bad enough that I did not get to go to the WrestleMania that was Brie's last match, right? And that is like a bad husband move!"
Apparently, WWE Chairman Vince McMahon called Bryan about retiring live on RAW though the former world champion was initially reluctant to call it a pro wrestling career at that point in time.
"I get the call from Vince McMahon on a Saturday and I retire on a Monday in Seattle, Washington. And I got a call on a Saturday from Vince McMahon and said, 'I would like you to retire Monday in Seattle. I just think it would be the best for you,' that sort of thing. At first, I said, 'I don't want to do it.' And then, I talked to Brie and called him back and I was like, 'hey, if I'm going to have to retire, my mom can be there, my friends can be there, there can be this support system around me.'"
Bryan noted, "I was very thankful that WWE gave me such a platform to retire on, but it was just a hard day."
Also of note, Bryan claimed that he was offered the CWC commentary gig, but he was "told" by WWE brass he had to be SmackDown GM.
"They asked me to do commentary for a thing that they did called the Cruiserweight Classic, which was on the WWE Network. And they asked me to do that, and I said, 'yeah, that sounds great!' It's only 10 episodes and I only have too go do it a couple of times, and I get to help this young, independent talent because they were all unsigned talent at the time. And I thought it was great, but then, they told me, 'you're coming back as the General Manager.' That wasn't a question. That's not an ask. And I was like, 'argh, I don't know if I want to do this.'"
With respect to pro wrestling entrances and promos, Bryan divulged that he was not a fan of The Rock.
"As a [pro] wrestling fan, I didn't like The Rock, right? Like, The Rock was a lot of people's favorite, and, like, Steve Austin, and that sort of thing because they would go out and cut these awesome, entertaining promos. And I can appreciate how good they were at it, [but] that wasn't my deal."
Bryan named Dean Malenko as his favorite pro wrestler when he was growing up.
"Dean Malenko was my favorite! And he was not a go out an cut this scathing interview guy."
Bryan elaborated, "he was the guy that was like, 'oh, look at that sweet drop toehold!' And it's like, that was my kind of thing. I was like, 'wow, look at all the variations of drop toeholds he has!' And to a casual person, that's not a thing."
Additionally, Bryan shared that he struggles with his current WWE role because he was never most passionate about entrances or promos.
"One of the hard things about what I do now is that the entrance is the best part. And then, I go out there and I talk. And, like, I've gotten better at this whole thing. I used to be someone who is very bad on the microphone. But now, I've developed into being more comfortable with it, finding myself with it, and that sort of thing. But it's still not my passion. I've learned how to do it because that's what my job required."
Check out the interview here. If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit Rosenberg Radio with an H/T to WrestlingINC for the transcription.
Source: Rosenberg Radio