If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard the wrestling world making whimpering noises all week, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan was forced to retire due to medical reasons. Scary medical reasons. WWE posted video of Bryan’s final match as a performer in full — an “All Champions” match teaming Bryan with John Cena against Tyson Kidd and Cesaro from the April 16, 2015, edition of Smackdown — and if you haven’t seen it, it’s worth watching. If you have, watch it again.
What’s interesting about the match is that it’s sad because it’s Daniel Bryan’s last match in an incredible 16-year career as a pro wrestler, but it’s doubly sad because everyone in the match is on the disabled list. John Cena returned from hiatus at the end of 2015 only to find out he needed shoulder surgery that’d keep on him on the shelf for months. Cesaro also went down with a shoulder injury that looks to keep him out of the ring for half a year, and poor Tyson Kidd had spinal fusion surgery to repair a nearly-fatal injury and may never wrestle again. That’s all incredibly disheartening to think about, and that’s before you get into sad wrestling story stuff like, “Daniel Bryan never got a real WWE World Heavyweight or Intercontinental Championship run,” “John Cena’s United States title run didn’t end like it should’ve,” “Cesaro got hurt as soon as he started building some momentum” or “I wish Tyson Kidd was still around.”
Let’s hope at least some of these stories get happy endings.