For this edition of Who Gives A Flick, the Flickmeister has decided to dedicate this entire publication to a man who has brought us just as much entertainment and gratification as any movie star ever could. A man who deserves his own Hollywood Walk of Fame star for the endless hours of entertainment he has provided by doing everything we’ve been told to never try at home. Hollywood actors rarely are willing to actually risk their lives to entertain the masses, but this man, with suicide dives and flying head-butts, has put his health aside for us, the WWE Universe. So, for this edition of Who Gives A Flick, we will focus on Daniel Bryan, on the underdog, and on those who have come from nothing to achieve greatness. For those of us who were never deemed big enough, bold enough, smart enough, or just too B+ enough, get ready. Get ready, because it’s time to play the game! Even though I thought we beat that game already.
Every so often, a man comes along who unknowingly is set on a course to change history, to change the trajectory of the future and make his effects on the present felt around the world. Now, don’t get me wrong, we all understand Bryan’s line of business is a work, just like the movies, but there will always be a level of realism within wrestling. Wrestling may have a predetermined outcome, but with so much nonfiction muddled throughout, it becomes its own version of realism. WWE is pure realistic fiction, as someone like Daniel Bryan becomes a complete characterization of his ordinary self.
Daniel Bryan’s rise to the top was never scripted, the events that unfolded on Monday night during his retirement speech was certainly not predetermined or scripted. Sometimes art reflects life, and, more times than not, life reflects art. And that is exactly what happened during Bryan’s retirement. His life, his reality, became the most beautiful piece of art found on wrestling television in a long, long time.
One could argue that the majority of his matches were pure art, but witnessing raw emotion on live television will always be an equal. Daniel Bryan has had many moments in his career that were tear-worthy, like winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 30. But moments like that don’t carry the emotional punch without knowing the origin of his story. After sleeping in his car or on a cot in a backroom of his training gym, these moments of success are heightened. Especially after you consider that he cherished those moments for the most part. It just displays how much love this man had for wrestling, and anyone forced to give up something they love more than words is heartbreaking in its own right. But to occur to someone like Bryan, it will make his moments of success that much more special.
Daniel Bryan will go out on top, at the pinnacle of greatness, knowing that one day he will be honored as one the greatest. In all honesty, Bryan gave up his career to entertain us. And those of us that have a voice, no matter how small or how far reaching, owe it to him, to make sure we acknowledge just how grateful we all are. For however grateful he is of us, we are forever grateful for him, for risking his own life and health, to entertain us.
You can guess and hope there will be another Daniel Bryan. Could it be Sammy Zayn? Kevin Owens? Cesaro? Bayley? But it’s a blind man’s wish to hope there will ever be another. There will never be another Daniel Bryan, there never has and there never will be. It’s crushing to see someone who loves something so much forced to give it up, but it’s something all of us have done in our lives, and something all of us can relate to. The heartbreak on his face and in his voice while he made the announcement touched our soul, as we all wished he wouldn’t leave us. Daniel Bryan was an organic superstar, someone who didn’t care to be in the spotlight but was because it was where he deserved to be, where destiny placed him with or without his permission. It has a touch of Han Solo in Star Wars: The New Hope, an outsider who just wants to do what he does, who doesn’t want the fame and greatness, but is compelled to become a hero on a grand stage.
Because of his heart, he was loved and accepted by everyone around the world, and no one deserved it more. Very few people get to go out the way he did on Raw, and it was overwhelmingly satisfying being able to watch him soak in every last moment of our gratitude. The wrestling world will be changed forever, and while it may not happen immediately, Daniel Bryan has ushered in a new generation of sports entertainment. In time, he will be honored and remembered as someone who got wrestling back on track. He forced wrestling fans to acknowledge a great wrestler, and he forced wrestling to acknowledge a talent they didn’t feel was deserving.
This is my way of saying thank you, Daniel Bryan. My way of honoring all those underdogs who fought with everything they had, and then some, to rise above the rest. Perseverance, honor, and the heart of a champion define these people, but, most of all, the one thing they have that we share in common with them is gratitude. Just like Daniel Bryan said as he retired on Monday Night Raw, the same ideals he sees in us are the same we see in him. He acknowledged that if it wasn’t for the fans cheering and standing behind him, he would never have been able to achieve the level of greatness he did. But what he really should have acknowledged is that without a man like Daniel Bryan, without his risks, his hard work, his generosity and overwhelming heart, we, the fans, couldn’t be grateful for finally finding a true hero. A hero that isn’t impervious to pain, a hero that has lost everything at some point, a hero that has been pushed down time and time again, except this hero kept fighting, and kept fighting, to overcome every obstacle placed before him.
And that is exactly what Daniel Bryan is, not just a champion, not just a real man with a big heart, not just a generous and grateful human being. He is a hero. And now, with that theme in mind, the theme of heroes who are forced to rise above insurmountable odds is one of the greatest in flicks. No matter how great some of these flicks are, none shall ever compare to the real life risks, to the real life entertainment, provided to us by the man with the heart of gold, Daniel Bryan. Thank you, Daniel Bryan, for being the real life version of these heartwarming underdog tales. Flicks with heart, with passion, with a blind view of achieving your goals; these flicks display unlikely champions who found ways to become heroes and champions for the world to cheer.
Like most of these famous flicks, Daniel Bryan has become a great man in history. Like William Wallace he fought for everything he believed in, willing to risk his life to achieve his goals. He was a Little Giant in a giant’s squared circle, he brought the world together like only a Charlie Conway could do, rallying his troops behind him in a flying V formation to become a champion. Daniel Bryan was the Rudy of the wrestling world, if only Rudy successfully became the best player on the field. He was the Rocky of the sports world, but with a heart the size of the city he fought through. Daniel Bryan is the Cinderella Man, he is the titan we all will remember, and after starting out as a Bad News Bear or a Replacement, he found himself in a league of his own. But most of all, Daniel Bryan represents a new hope. A new hope to all wrestlers and people alike around the world, that through hard work and a never give up attitude, everyone can achieve their dreams. Daniel Bryan is the real John Cena.
If you want to share in the emotion, share in the struggle, heartbreak and heartfelt moments of success, so many films can define the emotion of a succeeding underdog. Those who rise from the ranks, who begin as an everyday man and rise to a champion above all others. Once the Flickmeister is done smearing his Monday night tears away and gets through the Daniel Bryan Collection on the WWE Network, these are the best flicks to indulge in. To struggle, to fight tooth and nail, and, ultimately, to define the word “Champion,” just as Daniel Bryan has. Some are funny, some are serious, some are nail biting dramas, and some are epic historical re-tellings, but all have the same thing in common, a common man has fought to become a champion.
BAD NEWS BEARS
DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY
HAPPY GILMORE / THE WATERBOY
THE MIGHTY DUCKS
A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN
STAR WARS: EPISODE IV – A NEW HOPE
Daniel Bryan has become a WWE Legend and watching a man willing to risk everything for what he loves, it’s what dreams are made of. No matter the risk, no matter the adversity, a true hero will always rise above, which is exactly what Daniel Bryan has achieved. I hope the rest of his life is filled with satisfied dreams, a happy family, and healthy children. Truly, the man deserves it, and after living out his dreams for 16 years, I hope his current heavy heart finds new loves in his life to fill the void wrestling has left.
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