Daniel Bryan, a three-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, announced his retirement from wrestling Monday night—first with a tweet, and then in person on WWE Monday Night Raw.
Due to medical reasons, effective immediately, I am announcing my retirement. Tonight on Raw, I'll have a chance to elaborate. #gratitude
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) February 8, 2016
In a heartfelt speech to a sold-out stadium in his hometown of Seattle, the 34-year-old wrestler explained he had suffered numerous concussions across his 16-year wrestling career. “Trust me, I don’t want to be doing this any more than you guys don’t want me to be doing this,” he said.
Bryan, the self-appointed King of Beards and man at the center of WWE’s Yes! Movement, was gracious and thankful in his speech. He thanked the WWE brass, his wife (and fellow WWE star) Brie Bella, and ultimately his fans, who had long supported the comparatively undersized (5’8″, 190) Bryant across his wrestling career.
“Tomorrow morning, I start a new life, a life where I am no longer a wrestler,” he said. “But that is tomorrow and not tonight, if I could get one last ‘Yes’ chant, I would really appreciate it.”