Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 4

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April 04, 2014

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DAWN OF THE BEARD, 5:29 a.m.

The street lights are still bright at this hour when Daniel Bryan gets into a chilled limousine for the earliest scheduled appearance of his week. With little time to eat a formal breakfast, Bryan reminds the car of the fruitfulness of his initial Whole Foods mission.

“This is where a grocery store trip comes in handy,” Bryan states. “I had a protein shake, banana and vegetable juice.”

View more Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary Day 4 photos

The Beard shares the ride with Sheamus and The Shield’s Roman Reigns and Seth Rollins, all attendees at the morning’s international media event at the New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center – the same site as WrestleMania Axxess. They arrive along with the rest of a larger group that includes Big E, Natalya and Emma, then the Superstar squad is divided for interview conquering.

SOUNDING OFF, 7:18 a.m.

“Opie and Anthony” executive producer Sam Roberts – who you may have seen as a talking head on WWE Network’s “Countdown” – is one of Daniel Bryan’s first interviews for SiriusXM’s “The Sam Roberts Show.”

The recognizable host and WWE Universe member is seated at an emptied NXT booth on the floor at Axxess, many hours before the doors open for the second night of WWE fan festivities. Roberts raps with Bryan about his upcoming nuptials, John Cena’s resilience and more. It’s ordinarily difficult to see the expressions beneath Bryan’s beard, but there are plenty of wide smiles and laughter accompanying the quipping interviewer’s banter.

MARVELOUS MORNING, 7:56 a.m.

Months after getting a sweet sketch of his beard (only) at Marvel’s San Diego Comic-Con booth in July, WWE’s “Yes!” Man re-encounters the crew from Marvel.com on the Axxess floor. The site’s editorial staff offers up an important choice to Bryan: Rocket Raccoon mask or Captain America’s shield? The curious Superstar tests out the raccoon-face prop from “Guardians of the Galaxy” – the summer blockbuster which stars his potential WrestleMania opponent, Batista.

Watch footage of Daniel Bryan’s San Diego Comic-Con sketch

Based on an affinity for Marvel’s star-spangled hero (and perhaps influenced by The Animal’s connection to the alternative), The Beard chooses Cap’s signature shield, though this one fires pellets (as the cameraman is quickly reminded, lens-first).

CALL FROM MOM, 8:58 a.m.

Like a record scratch on the meet-and-greet music being made by the media on hand, Daniel Bryan’s on-camera interview is brought to a halt by a second buzz in his pocket. It’s The “Yes! Man’s mom.

The dual calls signal a potential emergency to Bryan, so he politely holds the Q&A at hand to connect with his mother, whom he’s expecting to arrive in New Orleans later in the evening. Fortunately, it’s just about a slight change in plans that may bring Bryan’s sister to The Big Easy a bit earlier than expected alongside the family’s matriarch.

He ends the call, “Yeah, I love you too.”

WrestleMania will be the first time since 2012 that Bryan’s had his mother present for a live WWE event in which he’s competing.

“My mom’s not the world’s greatest traveler,” Bryan later jokes, relieved to know all’s well.

“YES” FOR THE MASSES, 11:04 a.m.

Across the multiple media he’s encountered, Daniel Bryan’s been asked nearly every question imaginable in countless languages. He’s also been asked to recite lines from the “#SELFIE” song, rapidly rattle off excessively colorful DJ names for shout-outs and, of course, strike a “Yes!” or three. It’s actually 54 total uses of the word “yes” in chant by the time he’s through – culminating with a nine-time succession along with a gaggle of the morning’s media correspondents.

In any dialect, Bryan’s signature word and Movement have strength.

IRON WILL, 11:40 a.m.

The exhibits are unmanned at the moment at WrestleMania Axxess, giving Daniel Bryan free reign to explore. In a wide display lined with mannequins posed in vintage gear like The Heartbreak Kid’s chaps, The Beard rediscovers a memory from his past.

According to Bryan, the first pay-per-view he ever watched was WrestleMania XII on March 31, 1996. It’s an event in which a lingerie-swathed Goldust clashed with “Rowdy” Roddy Piper in a Backlot Brawl and Diesel fell to The Deadman. But more importantly, it housed the clash that countless current Superstars claim is their favorite ’Mania bout of all time: Bret Hart vs. Shawn Michaels in a 60-minute WWE Iron Man Match.

See the WWE Iron Man Match that made Daniel Bryan a WWE fan: Watch WrestleMania XII on WWE Network

A pupil of HBK, The “Yes!” Man has studied this and other classics over the course of his career, which he hopes to redefine at WrestleMania 30. The hour-long contest is inspiration for the contender who may end up in two all-important battles on The Grandest Stage of Them All.

He continues along the display to find images from WrestleMania X and others, recalling instances like The “Hit Man’s” WWE Championship-winning double-duty in 1994. Bryan believes that he, too, can – and will – go the distance.

9 Superstars who did double-duty at WrestleMania

“I’m very confident in my ability to compete in two matches in one night,” he asserts, describing the many single-night tournaments he’s experienced in the past. “That kind of accomplishment will make me worthy of all these cheers and the adulation.”

THE MIDDLE MAN, 12:49 p.m.

At the end of his explorations, The Beard can’t deny the heavy eyes glaring at him from overhead on a series of banners featuring WrestleMania 30’s finest gladiators. Positioned across from one another just as they will be on Sunday, a massive Triple H and Daniel Bryan linger atop a long Axxess hallway. The only thing bigger will be the clash itself.

Mid-’Mania week, the days continue to descend and from where he stands, just 48 hours lie between Daniel Bryan and The Game – the “Yes!” Movement and The Authority.

He marches out from under the symbolic shrouds and toward his exit.

FROM PRO TO BRO, 5:23 p.m. 

It’s awkward, at first, to see Daniel Bryan and The Miz seated almost intentionally far apart at a conference room table just prior to meeting the 10 winners of the WrestleMania Reading Challenge. The former NXT Pro and Rookie pair have a turbulent history, dating back to Bryan’s WWE debut in early 2010. Yet, Miz and Bryan actually keep it more than cordial and even chat about The “Yes!” Man’s upcoming marriage.

Recently wed to former Diva Maryse, Miz asks the right questions and shares somewhat of a “bro” moment with Daniel at the table. The Awesome One then switches gears to talk “shop,” specifically WrestleMania. The NXT connection raises an interesting truth about the competition’s first season.

“When I first heard about NXT, I thought, ‘I’m a ringer for this, right?’ It turned out that it wasn’t the case at all,” says Bryan, who finished with a record of 0-10 under Miz’s tutelage. “By the end, I was thinking the guys to look at as headline stars were Wade Barrett and David Otunga – those were the two guys ‘they’ really liked out of the group.

“At the end of NXT,” he adds, “I did not foresee me being the first one of us to main event WrestleMania.”

Watch NXT on WWE Network

A GOOD READ, 6:01 p.m. 

The unexpected bro-down ends as the Reading Challenge sweepstakes winners rally for their private Superstar signing in the room next door. The anxious young readers light up when both Daniel Bryan and The Miz make their entrances. One girl repeatedly squeaks, “ohmygodDanielBryan!” until he comes over to meet her.

“You want to inspire curiosity and inspire kids to be able to learn on their own,” Bryan says. “Anything you can do to get them to read as many things as possible, that’s just all the better. It’s a step forward.”

The winners line up for autographs and interrogation by Miz, who demands to know what book each youngster read to win the gift of his presence. Bryan turns the tables on The Awesome One moments later when Miz tries to start a “Yes!” chant.

Of course, Miz brushes off the exclusive crowd, but does acknowledge The Beard’s big match at WrestleMania, encouraging the kids’ cheers. Read between the lines of The Miz’s message and discover what may signify the support of the WWE locker room.

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MATTERS OF THE CHART, 7:15 p.m. 

The chat with Miz foreshadows an important discussion awaiting Daniel Bryan when he returns to his hotel room to find his fiancée … plus, Nikki and “Mama Bella.” Serving as the couple’s wedding party planner of sorts, Brie’s mom insists that the two – both with significant championship matches in two days – commit to their final seating chart for their approaching event.

Bryan shares some unfortunate news about an important relative being suddenly unable to attend, then grabs a seat on the sofa between Brie and his future mother-in-law. Mama Bella makes her case for the seating arrangements she prepared but advises the pair to review and adjust for their big day. Table 1 is slated to house guests from the WWE roster; table 2 will seat the cast of “Total Divas” (yep, Vinnie’s in).

There’s tons of chatter in the room with three Bella ladies and, much like he may be on Sunday night, Bryan finds himself outnumbered … and he feels just fine.

Catch up on all the "Total Divas" drama!

IS THAT A “YES!” MAGAZINE?, 7:27 p.m. 

Resting across from the trio on the couch is a short stack of mixed papers, a FedEx envelope, Bryan’s full WrestleMania Week itinerary and a publication … “YES!” Magazine. Yes. Correct. “YES!” Magazine.

“It's an unbelievable magazine,” Bryan emphatically declares, as he shows off the revolution issue. “It’s powerful ideas, practical actions; different ideas on how to change the world. And they’re actually based out of Seattle.”

“My favorite magazine is ‘YES!’ Magazine.”

Overwhelming irony aside, The Beard’s three-year readership of the publication isn’t the limit of his interests in eco-consciousness.

“I want to build an Earthship Home,” he adds, advocating their use of solar panels, rain water filtration and general reuse. “They build homes out of recycled material – used car tires and stuff like that. It’s a completely sustainable system, completely off-grid.

“I found out about that through ‘YES!’ Magazine.”

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