Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 1

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April 01, 2014

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Daniel Bryan NYC

N-Y-“sí”!, 10:06 a.m.

Two hundred miles north of Washington D.C.’s Verizon Center, where a Kendo stick-carrying Daniel Bryan lashed out at Triple H in Raw’s closing moments, New York City fans quite warmly welcome the “Yes!” Man as he emerges from a private car outside the Hard Rock Café with a broad smile. The beard is unmistakable upon sight, unlike the crisp suit made slightly more “Bryanized” by the shade of his shimmering maroon tie.

The synchronized “Yes!” chants drown out the late morning Manhattan traffic in Times Square and Bryan joins them for a brief, impromptu rally of sorts. The crowd’s continued vocalization serves as entrance music for Bryan as he steps inside for the official WrestleMania 30 Press Conference, streamed live on WWE Network a mere dozen blocks from the site of the original WrestleMania at Madison Square Garden.

Watch the entire WrestleMania Press Conference on WWE Network

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary

BEAT THE PRESS, 10:47 a.m.

Production staff members on headsets are in a scurry backstage while Daniel Bryan decompresses with his Bella bride-to-be, Brie. Minutes before the press event kicks off, the could-be WWE World Heavyweight Champion feels the self-imposed pressure of speaking in front of the NYC media at the Hard Rock Café.

Exclusive Bryan & Brie engagement pics

He ironed his suit until 4 a.m. because he is “pretty bad” at ironing, obsessing over creases and seams while tackling the anxiety of this public address.

“That stuff makes me more nervous than wrestling in front of 70,000 people,” Bryan reveals. “I am comfortable wrestling. I have fun wrestling. You put me in some spandex in front of a group of people, I’m 100 percent fine. You put me in a suit in a room of 50 press people and I get really nervous.”

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary

“YES!” CONFERENCE, 11:16 a.m.

Anxiety or not, you wouldn’t know it when Daniel Bryan takes the main stage at the WrestleMania Press Conference. He picks up on a theme of “dreams,” as first alluded to by – strangely – Triple H, who spoke immediately prior to Bryan. His dream becomes incredible reality this Sunday, and Bryan’s ripe with gratitude toward the WWE Universe who’ve supported him to this moment.

“I’m here because of the people,” he says to the live crowd. “They would not let their voices be denied.”

The speech is impassioned and there is much “Yes!”-ing, only to be eclipsed by an uncomfortable photo op (confrontation, really) with three men he’ll potentially kick, twist and propel himself toward through the ropes at high speeds this Sunday. Yet, he walks away from the stage with the relief of a well-delivered statement, critical of his previous press conference address in August.

“I felt like SummerSlam was a fail,” Bryan admits about his first-time press event speech months ago. “This, I feel I did very well. It’s always good to do something that puts you out of your comfort zone and you improve at it.”

See Bryan win the WWE Title at SummerSlam on WWE Network

Bryan’s next stop is New Orleans and his Road to WrestleMania is about to switch from turf to sky. He and his lady fair – as well as a number of other Superstars – travel just outside Manhattan to the airport for a 3:30 p.m. departure to NOLA. Somewhere, JBL exclaims, “Flying Goat!”

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary

MAKIN’ GROCERIES, 7:18 p.m.

Daniel Bryan has his priorities. Championships, relationships … nutrition. This is what delivers WWE’s “Yes!” Man to the familiar storefront of Whole Foods Market in Mid-City almost immediately after arriving in NOLA. He and Brie checked in to their hotel room, then split; Brie to an appearance, Bryan off to grocery shop – “makin’ groceries,” as local New Orleans jargon goes.

It’s a common ritual for Bryan, whose weekend road routine most usually resembles arriving at a city on a Friday, finding its nearest organic market and stocking up for several days of travel.

“Nutrient density is important to me,” he explains. “Our schedule is brutal. Trying to replenish all that is just vital. You can’t always trust stores to cook super healthy. I’d rather have a protein shake and fresh fruit and veggies than a crappy chicken salad from a fast food restaurant.”

He summarizes, “It’s nice to have nutrient-dense food, ready whenever you need it.”

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary

COMING DOWN THE AISLE, 7:38 p.m.

This is a different aisle than most WWE fans are used to seeing Daniel Bryan walk. He pushes a half-cart and carefully selects a serious amount of produce – carrots, 7 apples, greens, 7 bananas, multiple bottles of fresh juices – while fulfilling an unofficial shopping list for himself and his fiancée. He signs an autograph for a fellow shopper and WWE fan on top of a raspberry container sitting in his cart.

“I’ve been doing almost all the shopping,” Bryan says, explaining that his soon-to-be-spouse’s erratic schedule has increased since “Total Divas.”

“I’m not as good of a shopper as Brie,” he candidly admits. “I tend to overspend.”

Around May 2013, Bryan acquired a soy intolerance and abandoned veganism for health reasons, but he still enjoys a good vegan sweet treat. He raves about avocado-based mousse with carob chips. And he’s on the hunt for a specific peanut butter cookie for Brie, though ultimately settles for Uncle Eddie’s chocolate walnut flavor … which you can expect the couple will share.

“I have a very bad sweet tooth but I manage it … I manage it with these healthy treats,” he remarks, coyly.

Bryan pays his bill and heads back to the hotel to wait for Brie, as his first night in New Orleans quickly vanishes and WrestleMania Sunday takes one step closer.

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