Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2


Daniel Bryan emerges from his hotel room equipped with his OKO water bottle (to reduce plastic waste) and classic black and white composition notebook – the only tools he needs for a late morning workout. On foot, The Beard heads a few blocks away to New Orleans Athletic Club, encountering drive-by fanfare from a woman who hollers from her car, “We love you, Daniel!”

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Not your standard Planet Fitness, “N.O.A.C.” (as embossed on its front door) has roots dating back to 1872 and interior walls accented by sepia images of athletic gentlemen from yesteryear. It’s a real workman-like exercise facility; quirky yet appropriate. Transitioning from uniquely patterned tile, hardwood floors creak heavy as Bryan steps in for some conditioning.

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2

IN THE CLUB, 11:41 a.m.

The first step for the former WWE Champion? Sign up. Daniel sits in a wooden chair in a registration room lined with fading photos of old-school strongmen and athletes. For enrollment purposes, he’s asked for full name, phone number and the standard info, then gets his picture snapped by an employee with a small webcam. He takes only one towel and heads off into the massive, multi-level gym with spiral staircases, ornate banisters and a swimming pool that looks like one found in a backyard beside a garden … but it’s inside.

Check out other Superstars' training regimens

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2

YES, MOVEMENT, 11:52 a.m.

Still ailing from his shoulder injury sustained at the merciless hands of  The Game a few weeks ago, Daniel Bryan is careful and cautious in his approach. His motions are slow during muscle stretches, his focus on strengthening all smaller muscles in the shoulder.

“I’ve been very fortunate [in my career], but a lot of my injuries have been shoulder-related,” Bryan explains, citing a second-degree separation in Texas in 2000 and a separated shoulder suffered in a 2-out-of-3 Falls Match against Colt Cabana in 2006.

In between Hindu pushups, Bryan pauses to provide more insight into his regimen.

“I’m focusing mostly on conditioning and technique,” he says. “I’m trying to go ultra-light and ultra-conservative with my training because the last thing you need is to set a personal best and tear out your shoulder. I do a lot of movement prep before I start and a lot of stretching when I’m done.”

Watch as The Beard occupies Raw!

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2


At WrestleMania, WWE’s “Yes!” Man comes eye-to-villainous-eye with The Game – a namesake earned over time for both ring dominance and physical prowess. Triple H is an opponent unlike any other Daniel Bryan’s ever faced, but the same can be said of the WWE COO about Bryan.

The Cerebral Assassin is as calculating as he is powerful and he’s adapted a new conditioning regimen to combat the in-ring style of The Beard. It’s a truth Bryan welcomes and, ironically, lauds.

“There were times when I thought, ‘OK, I need to get bigger because that’s what wrestling demands.’ So I was doing strength and size-based workouts,” Bryan explains. “But the idea of the lumbering big man doesn’t work anymore. Even if you look at Big Show, he’s dropping weight and adding mobility because that’s what it takes to exist in today’s wrestling era.”

He proclaims, “Wrestling is evolving. What worked 10 years ago doesn’t work now. The fans demand more because they’ve seen more – not only from guys like me. They’ve seen it from Cesaro … Seth Rollins … Big E.”

“All this is changing,” Bryan says.

The Game vs. The Beard at The Show of Shows

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2

THE REAL KICKER, 12:55 p.m.

After more than an hour of training, Bryan takes a pause in one of the many rooms of the New Orleans Athletic Club, this one overlooking the indoor swimming pool on the lower level. Within several substantial sips and gulps, The Beard finishes off a French vanilla protein shake with a raspberry-flavored electrolyte mix-in. The pounding of speed bags in the background is a prelude to Bryan’s next round of exercise.

He targets a punching bag but spares it fisticuffs in lieu of swift, daunting kicks. Bryan throws his leg forward and connects with precision, leaving sweat gleams and indents. Again. And again.

The blows are unsettlingly potent but it’s the change in his eyes that is most unnerving. Not to mention the likely thoughts and visions behind them.

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2

ROOM TO BREATHE, 1:29 p.m.

After a solid workout, Daniel Bryan walks through the French Quarter back to his hotel. A quick encounter with some excited WWE fans outside the entrance keeps his energy up as he heads back up to his room.

There, the drapes are drawn, spilling light onto half-unpacked suitcases, the Whole Foods bounty and various itineraries strewn about. Bryan’s first order of business is a quick call and catch-up with Brie, whose voice is only a light buzz between his questions in the otherwise quiet room.

Bryan pushes around the vitamins and WrestleMania swag on his desktop to find the hotel room service menu and discuss grub options. The choice falls between chicken fingers and a far more likely organic, farm-raised chicken breast with varieties of greens, from bib lettuce to arugula. The two quickly plan for the afternoon and evening ahead, plus the opportunity to spend ever-dwindling time together.

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2


Contemporary apartment buildings line Fulton Street, a narrow city block with a cluster of trendy restaurants and bars, including Rock-n-Sake Sushi. Outside a minivan cab pulls up and delivers Daniel Bryan and Brie Bella to their evening dinner destination. Brie glides out and instantly turns heads of passers-by, followed by Bryan who hops of out of the vehicle in his gray lace-up TOMS and plaid button-down, his signature non-ring gear.

The couple enters the restaurant, spies the menu and advances toward a table in the far back corner. Immersed in fairly loud pop music and dim lighting supported by neon jellyfish lamps overhead, Bryan later explains it’s “not [their] kind of scene” but the food – fresh fish and crisp salads – is good, with the Yelp reviews to support the claim.

Daniel Bryan WrestleMania Diary: Day 2

DATE NIGHT, 9:04 p.m.

Plate after plate of small dishes start descending upon “Braniel’s” table as the two get close for conversation and recaps of their respective days apart. They snap loose their chopsticks and dig in to a variety of shared specialties. Tuna tacos, cucumber salad, sushi rolls, gyoza, green tea and a PB&J roll for dessert (remember: sweet tooth) are all slowly enjoyed by the duo in between conversation and giggling, like any other couple at dinner. They pause only for a WWE fan who discovers them and asks for a quick pic. (Brie plays photographer, ironically.) To some, this interruption might be a faux pas, but “ The People’s Couple” are happy to oblige.

After finishing his food, “Daniel-san” scrolls through his iPhone while Brie leans in to take a look, a glow from the device illuminating what’s easily the most gorgeous face in the restaurant. The days ahead will be fast and furious, as they know. They’re content tonight because they’re together.


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