Daniel Bryan WWE
Daniel Bryan has held every possible championship in WWE. Getty

“Total Divas” star Nikki Bella penned a touching post to her brother-in-law, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan, after he announced his retirement via Twitter Monday. Nikki, whose sister Brie is married to the wrestler, thanked Bryan for making her a better athlete.

“Love you @bryanldanielson!” the wrestler and reality star wrote on Instagram Monday. “You are one of the smartest, funniest, strongest, most courageous and brave people I know! Tonight will be emotional for all of us as we watch one of the best wrestlers that ever stepped foot into that ring retire. Bryan you will leave such an impactful and inspiring legacy behind. Very big shoes to fill! Thank you for inspiring me and coaching me and helping me become a better me!” Her post was liked nearly 50,000 times by her 3.6 million followers.

Bryan, 34, hadn’t stepped into the ring since he suffered a concussion in April. Months later, he announced he would no longer wrestle in the WWE. The superstar promised he would explain himself on “Monday Night Raw.” WWE also issued an official statement about Bryan’s retirement: “WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan announced his retirement from in-ring competition today via Twitter. He will address his retirement further live tonight on WWE Raw on USA Network.”

On Twitter, where the superstar’s name was a top-trending topic Monday, some fans wondered if Bryan would be inducted into the WWE’s Hall of Fame. He won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship for the first time at SummerSlam 2013. The following year, he defeated Batista and Randy Orton in the main event of WrestleMania 30.

Since his injury, Bryan has struggled with being out of action. “My wife is a wrestler, so she is on the ring, and I am just sitting, it is difficult … when I am upset, when I am angry, wrestling was always there as an outlet.. I could go, drop and kick … you can call your mom and you can call your sister… but sometimes you just need a physical outlet … I don’t know how to cope with this situation,” he told The Statesman, a newspaper in India, in November 2015.

“Monday Night Raw” airs on USA every Monday at 8 p.m. EST.

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