On his Conversation With The Big Guy podcast, Ryback weighed in on Daniel Bryan being cleared to perform again. Bryan is scheduled to team with Shane McMahon in a tag match against Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens at WrestleMania 34 tonight. It will be his first match in nearly three years. Ryback said he was surprised Bryan was cleared by the WWE to perform again because he expected Bryan to leave the company when his contract expired. He commended Bryan for fighting for his dreams.
"I didn't think that was going to happen. I kind of thought he was done in WWE, and if his contract expired he was going to wrestle elsewhere. Based on how long this has been, in his mind he was well for a long time, but when I found out what he had to do as far as challenging Dr Joseph Maroon, which I am all for that because he didn't accept no. I think that is a great example for the world," Ryback said. "I think, when we don't like something that will turn around overnight, but if you work hard enough and you keep a positive mindset and you are grateful, keyword for that whole promo was 'grateful,' which I am really happy he said that. Good things can happen to good people and he is a prime example of that."
Ryback said he ran into Bryan last year and he could tell he was itching to get back into the ring. Bryan got physical with Owens and Zayn on SmackDown when he announced his return, and took some hard bumps in the segment. Ryback said he was surprised to see Bryan do so much, so quickly, but he was impressed with how Bryan hasn't lost a step.
"I remember when I saw him at Rusev's wedding last year, I don't know if he was GM then, but he was doing a TV role only, and I can just see like it was really tough for him, because to go to TV and be around other wrestlers, when you know you can do it but to be told that you can't do it, it was frustrating for him I'm sure, so as you saw on SmackDown, I thought he looked great. It doesn't look like he missed a beat. They could have probably eased him in a little, I thought a beatdown would have been more sufficient," Ryback said. "The YES! Kicks got more of a reaction than anything, and then seeing him do the running dropkicks in the corner, which he took some nasty falls again and he is in street clothes, but again, Daniel Bryan knows only one speed and that is what the people love about him. He is that underdog where he is going to scratch and claw. He is a gritty, old soul in the ring. He looked great. I thought that the powerbomb to the apron, it's like, well, I guess they are going to find out how good his brain is. I thought a powerbomb in the middle of the ring would have been more sufficient since it is a finish, but I am very happy for him. I think everybody is."
Ryback praised Bryan for being able to break through the proverbial glass ceiling smaller wrestlers face. Despite his stature, Bryan is one of the most popular superstars of his generation, something not many people could have foreseen. Ryback said he wishes the best for Bryan going forward in his career.
"I think he is one of the rare exceptions to the rule. Daniel has told me many years ago, this was when he was quite hot, but I remember when he was pretty hot, it was between 2012-2013 period. In his mind he didn't feel like a star like The Rock or people like that. I think based on his size. Daniel Bryan has this endearing quality about him, and it is a rare exception to the rule," Ryback said. "I think sometimes it is harder for smaller guys to gain mainstream appeal, but I think he has all that ability, and I think the people--they are the ones that tell you, I think WWE realizes now that he is a larger than life on-screen presence for them, and he is a good person. I don't know if Daniel ever thought he would be this big, or WWE thought he ever would, but based off of the feedback and the reception and the interaction that this has garnered, I think he is a big time star and I think everyone is pulling for him because he is such a good guy, it is really hard to hate him, It really is."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Conversation With The Big Guy with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Conversation With The Big Guy
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.