Daniel Bryan spoke with GQ.com before Tuesday’s live SmackDown in Hampton, Virginia. Here are some highlights:
GQ: Monday was a special night. What were you thinking as the night went on and the chants just kept going?
Daniel Bryan: I thought the whole thing was unreal, that all these people were getting behind me. Or maybe they weren’t getting behind me. Maybe it’s just fun to chant “Yes!” But it was really cool. I came out and did a post-show [non-televised] dark match, and there was a really special moment where they were behind me 100%.
GQ: Do you have any ideas as to why it’s happening right now?
Daniel Bryan: Especially last week in Miami, I feel like part of it was a backlash against how short my match at Wrestlemania was. A lot of it is that people like to boo me, but they kind of like me. They don’t want bad things to happen to me, like an 18-second loss at Wrestlemania, especially the hardcore fans, which is mostly who comes for Wrestlemania. People come from all over the world. They travel to Wrestlemania, and a lot of those people know my story, how long it took me to get a Wrestlemania match. And then for my first one to be an 18-second loss, it actually generated a lot of anger.
GQ: Do you share that anger?
Daniel Bryan: Of course I do. I was World Heavyweight Champion for four months. I wanted to go out there and steal the show. I was trained by Shawn Michaels, and that’s what he’s notorious for. I’ve always had the mindset that my wrestling is as good as or better than anybody out there. I was really looking forward to going out there and showing everybody what I can do on the biggest stage of them all, and then I just wasn’t able to do it.
GQ: You’ve known CM Punk for a long time. On the indies, you used to call yourself “Best in the World,” and he’s adapted that as his catchphrase. Did he clear it with you beforehand?
Daniel Bryan: No, he didn’t [laughs]. Literally, we haven’t talked about it at all.
GQ: You’re not annoyed about it?
Daniel Bryan: No, not at all. Chris Jericho had done something similar after I had done it. The only thing that I find really funny is that the “Best in the World” font on the back of his T-shirt is almost identical to the “Best in the World” on the back of my Ring of Honor shirts. It’s just funny.
Bryan also revealed that he got the idea for the “YES!” chants from UFC fighter Diego Sanchez.