HBK Talks About Training Daniel Bryan, His Size Holding Him Back & More
On whether or not he saw Daniel Bryan having a future in WWE due to his size: “I always tried to be honest with him. I knew he was talented. And I knew he was going to face the same uphill battle that every guy his size does, myself included, and it was simply a matter of if he had the patience and the ability to adjust in areas where other people thought he needed to adjust — as far as personality, character, things of that nature.
“I saw him as a young man who had a very good blueprint for how he wanted to work out his career as far as the order in which he wanted to progress, which was learning his in-ring skills and honing them to a point where he felt very secure in his ability and could then build on that incredibly solid foundation. And he was always very open and excited. It certainly wasn’t very tough to get him to go to Japan the first time. When that opportunity came, he was still at our school. I knew he was one of the guys that we wanted to send and he was thrilled about it and he fell in love with it. I think that was one of his building blocks, certainly, in establishing the phenomenal in-ring ability that he has today.”
On his work prior to WWE in Japan and Ring Of Honor: “Well, I kept up a little bit with the things in Japan. I would get updates on him from guys I corresponded with, and then certainly when I came back to work in WWE on a full-time basis, I always heard things through the grapevine. Then, obviously, he came in on a number of occasions for tryouts. And through, again, other guys in the locker room, I always heard how he was progressing in Ring of Honor.
“But honestly, I was never really concerned about checking up on him. In my opinion, I knew it was only a matter of time. Every time he came in for a tryout, so to speak, I would ask him how it went and then I would sort of say, ’It’s really up to you whenever you want to leave what you’re doing and come here. And when you come here, it will still be an uphill battle.’ Not to imply in any way, shape or form that I called him years ago and I take any credit for anything, because I don’t.”
Check out the complete interview online at WWE.com.