WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan recently spoke with USA Today’s “For The Win” Blog.
FTW: Were you taken aback at all by the intensely negative fan reaction to you not winning the Royal Rumble and headlining WrestleMania?
Bryan: I wasn’t really that surprised, I thought that a lot of fans wanted me to win the Royal Rumble… but it’s a great story, right? The guy who has never lost a title had to lose the title because of the neck surgery, comes back and he fights the guy who’s just this monster destroyer, a David versus Goliath story, and I think a lot of fans were excited by the prospect of that. And also by the prospect of a match of me versus Brock Lesnar, I feel like I do pretty good against big guys.
FTW: What does the Intercontinental title mean to you, and to the rest of the guys in the locker room? It’s got such a storied history of being one of the most important titles in the business, but it seems to have fallen in stature.
Bryan: To me it’s the one title that I haven’t won in the WWE. I’ve been the United States champion, I’ve been the World Heavyweight champion, I’ve been the WWE champion, I’ve been the tag team champion. The Intercontinental championship is the only one I haven’t won, and to me I have been disappointed that — when I was a kid, the Intercontinental championship matches were usually the matches I looked forward to the most. WrestleMania III everybody talks about Hulk Hogan slamming Andre the Giant, but when everybody remembers the great match, they’re remembering Ricky Steamboat versus Macho Man Randy Savage. Same thing with WrestleMania X, with Shawn Michaels and Razor Ramon in a ladder match.
So it’s one of those things where the Intercontinental title for a long time was so prestigious, but now for some reason it feels to me like it’s been devalued. One of the things I would really like to do is win the Intercontinental championship at WrestleMania and make it be not just what it was before, but make it better than that. Make it so the Intercontinental championship is something that can headline pay-per-views, can headline all the live events we do throughout the country. I’ve been disappointed with how the Intercontinental championship has been treated, but I’m hoping after WrestleMania it’s going to change.
FTW: Your wife (WWE diva Brie Bella) is going to face AJ Lee and Paige at WrestleMania in a tag match. How do you balance focusing on your own performance with also just being a normal husband and worrying about her match?
Bryan: Brie and I do this thing at the end of every night where we tell each other three things that made us happy each day. One of the things that makes me happiest each day is being able to watch Brie go out there and perform because she loves to do it, and she’s good at it. There was a big deal, #GiveDivasAChance, and hopefully they’re going to get a chance at WrestleMania this year. That’s every performer’s dream — not just the guys, but the girls too.
FTW: On the night before WrestleMania you’re going to induct Connor “The Crusher” Michalek into the WWE Hall of Fame. What kind of impact did Connor have on your life?
Bryan: What we do as entertainers, people see us as stars or you know sometimes people look up to us, but what we really do is just entertainment, right? For us, there are people who inspire us — and one of the people who inspires me is Connor. Despite all the pain and everything that he was going through, you never saw him really down, he was excited to be there…. He was just so happy and so fun to be around. When you were around Connor, he just lit people’s faces up. It’s a true honor for me to induct him into the Hall of Fame.