Watch this here.
Well, this was a hard one to watch. This was legitimately the final match in Bryan Danielson’s professional wrestling career.
I’m writing this post three days after Bryan announced that his career was over. As of this moment, I still have not been able to bring myself to watch his retirement ceremony. I am in complete denial of the fact that he will never get to wrestle again. He was a once-in-a-lifetime talent. He was producing state-of-the-art matches when he was nineteen years old and continued to up his game year after year until he firmly established himself as one of the greatest professional wrestlers of all time (and probably my pick for the number one spot).
Beyond that though, he was everything I wanted from a professional wrestler outside the ring. In an industry known from racism, sexism, homophobia, and just generally being a condescending and cruel culture, Bryan was the person who made you proud to be a fan. He raised the bar not only in the ring for the wrestlers but outside of it as well for fans. While no one may be perfect, Bryan truly seemed like one of the heroes you could count on to actually be a hero. I will forever be grateful to be a fan while he was performing.
With that in mind, this match was rather sad to watch. Bryan was two weeks removed from suffering what would end up being his final concussion caused by professional wrestling. As such, he sat on the apron for about 85% of the match. When he finally came in for the closing stretch, he worked about as gingerly as I have ever seen him. It genuinely seemed like every movement was carefully thought out to remove as much chance of risk as possible.
That is not a criticism in the slightest. It is more just sad to see Bryan being reduced to such a reserved state in what ended up being his final match. Too many other wrestlers had to suffer far worse and sadder final matches of course. Bryan was someone though who deserved to go out on a stage where he could prove one final time that he was one of the best any of us would ever get to see. It did not have to be a big stage like Wrestlemania or the Tokyo Dome. Any stage would do for Bryan. That was the point with Bryan. He proved he was one of the best ever on any given night in front of any crowd. There will likely never be anyone like him in the ring again.
Bryan won the match for his team by making Kidd tap out to the Yes! Lock. (***)