Daniel Bryan was given the impossible task of inducting 8-year-old Connor “The Crusher” Michalek into the WWE Hall of Fame. He handled it with grace and poise, often fighting back tears for the sick child who once put him in the “Yes Lock.”
Connor Michalek died on April 25th, 2014 after a five-year battle with brain and spine cancer. A few weeks earlier, he watched his hero Daniel Bryan win the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. Following the match, the two shared an embrace. It was an emotional moment for both fans of wrestling and Daniel Bryan.
Bryan talked about seeing Connor at Wrestlemania through his eyes. It was touching, and it was heartbreaking:
“Everything I’ve done in front of you guys…it’s fiction. It’s not real. When you talk about inspiration, I’m talking about something real. And somebody who inspired me was Connor.
I wish you could you have seen Connor through my eyes at the end of Wrestlemania last year. Here I was in front of 70,000 people, confetti pouring down and I looked out and there was Connor, who despite being really sick had sat through this four hour show. He had to have been tired and there he was smiling and throwing his arms in the car. And he was in his dad’s arms. It gave me a sense of what was truly important.”
R.I.P. Connor Michalek. An 8-year-old boy who brought even the toughest men on the planet to tears. Here is his father, Steve Michalek accepting the induction on his behalf. Grab a tissue.