As previously noted, WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan was recently a guest on the Why Not Now? podcast with Amy Jo Martin. Among many other things, Bryan talked about his plant-based lifestyle, WWE not wanting to push him previously in his career, his professional motivation, and growing up poor.
According to Bryan, he is basically vegan, but doesn't like the term 'vegan' because strict vegans called out 'The Plant-Powered Superstar' for carrying leather-strapped WWE championships (though vegetarians are not supposed to wear animal products such as leather either).
"I'm vegetarian and I don't like using the term 'vegan' anymore." Bryan explained, "I'm mostly vegan, but I think the term 'vegan' turns off a lot of people too. And some people, very few, there's a part of the vegan community that are very judgmental. And so I was a strict vegan and I was the WWE World Heavyweight Champion and I was getting all this criticism because the championship belt that I would wear to the ring was made of leather and they were like, 'why are you wearing that belt? It's leather!' And it's like, 'well, I don't have control over that.' So yeah, and I also really like the term 'plant-based' more than anything else because more so than judging people or anything like that, for healthy lifestyles, the more plants you eat, the better and I just think the better for the planet too, so yeah, I prefer the term 'plant-based' or 'vegetarian' or whatnot."
During the interview, Bryan admitted that he still struggles with motivation even today. Bryan recalled having a difficult time trying to express himself when he was getting popular and WWE was not pushing him to the top of the card.
"Despite what it sounds like, I'm not very motivated, right?" Bryan reflected, "I'm very much somebody who just accepts things as they come for the most part. So in wrestling, I was getting very popular and the WWE still didn't want to push me to the top level because of my size. I'm a smaller guy. A normal person looks at me, when I'm coming down the ramp to the ring, a normal person doesn't gravitate to looking at me unlike a John Cena who is enormous or some of the bigger guys like a Hulk Hogan, or a Steve Austin, or The Rock, who as soon as they come down, it's like, 'wow! Look at that guy,' right? And that's what WWE typically wants in their top stars and I've never been very good at being like, 'hey, you guys should do more with me' or 'you guys should do this or do that with me'. I've never been someone who is motivated by that or pushes himself towards that, or pushes myself towards financial goals, or pushing myself towards anything other than what I love to do. And I'm constantly having to remind myself, like, 'hey, if you want to get to the next level where I want to be, you do have to do some pushing here.' And so yeah, that's a constant thing that I struggle with."
Bryan also discussed WWE administering personality tests to top WWE Superstars and 'The Yes Man' scored the lowest ambition numbers.
"WWE did this personality test with some of their more successful wrestlers to see, like, 'are there some common traits amongst these people that makes them successful, so when we are recruiting people we can look for these traits to make them more successful." Bryan remembered "and so, they ask you all these questions, yada, yada, yada. I got my test results back and the lady was just baffled. She was like, 'you have the lowest ambition score I have ever seen!' In percentiles, I was in the bottom one percentile for ambition. And she was like, 'how on Earth are you successful at this?' And I said, 'I don't know - I just really love to wrestle.' So yeah, I have to push myself sometimes to be more ambitious."
In Bryan's view, living in his car was actually a rewarding time in his life.
"I was living in Santa Monica [California] and sleeping on a dojo floor, like, on a mat." Bryan continued, "and interspersed between that, and sleeping in my car, and stuff. And so, this was for an extended period of time and people have said to me, 'wow, that must've been really tough.' It wasn't. I never thought of it as tough. It was actually a very fun period of my life and I never thought of it as, 'oh man, that sucks. I have to sleep on this dojo's floor or I have to sleep in my car,' or anything like that. It was a wonderful experience and those sorts of things never bothered me."
Bryan hypothesized that growing up poor helped him in life.
"I feel very fortunate that I grew up without very much money and my mom was a huge, huge inspiration." Bryan added, "she starts going to school, and working two jobs, and all this kind of stuff. And, at the time, we didn't have very much money, but it didn't matter because we felt loved, right? I never felt like, 'oh no, we don't have very much money!'" Bryan said, "she celebrated every little accomplishment. Do you know what I mean? And just made us feel really loved, so that material things were never the point, were never the things that made me feel like they made me happy."
Listen to the show here. If you use any of the quotations from this article, please credit Why Not Now? with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Why Not Now?