Daniel Bryan officially retired from WWE and professional wrestling on Monday night in front of his hometown fans of Seattle, Washington. Bryan announced on Twitter earlier in the day his plans to end his in-ring career, and he closed out “Monday Night Raw” with a retirement speech that lasted close to 20 minutes.
Bryan’s last match came in April, and WWE never cleared him to return after he suffered a concussion. Bryan explained that concussions throughout his career have forced him to call it quits.
Fans in attendance showered the 34-year-old with chants of “Yes!” and “Daniel Bryan” throughout the final segment. Before Bryan walked out of the ring, the entire roster, as well as Triple H, Stephanie McMahon and Vince McMahon, came out to applaud the former WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Despite standing at just 5’8 and weighing less than 200 pounds, Bryan was one of the most popular wrestlers in recent WWE history. The reactions Bryan drew from live crowds in 2013 and 2014 might have been the biggest since Stone Cold Steve Austin was at his peak in WWE’s Attitude Era. Bryan was so popular with the fans that WWE was forced to change its plans for WrestleMania 30, resulting in Bryan ending the show as WWE World Heavyweight Champion.
Bryan held every major title in WWE, last winning a belt at WrestleMania 31 when he was victorious in the Intercontinental Championship Ladder Match.