It's very still this Saturday morning in the hotel bedroom of a future husband and wife, both one day removed from two major championship matches at their profession's most magnificent event.The quiet scene sharply contrasts what Daniel Bryan is most known for: explosiveness, intensity. The drama of "Total Divas" is nowhere in sight. A bare-chested Bryan and his bath-robed Bella lay hushed, exchanging only short statements before Daniel departs.
After several moments, the two sit up and Brie reaches for the hairbrush on a nightstand littered with burned tea light candles. She brushes her fiancé's mane until the clock clicks close to Bryan's call time. It's time to go to work.
The "Yes!" Man's psyched for his VIP Axxess event, now four years after his very first Axxess in 2010. He ends up encountering NXT's Sami Zayn (in his first appearance of this kind) and the two talk their way up the ramp into the loading area of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. There's tremendous history between both stars who made their pre-WWE fame in Ring of Honor."Personally, [Bryan] represents to me what he represents to millions of people already," Zayn says, "which is an unconventional hero that has really defied the odds. He means as much to me -- as the one spearheading the Movement for the little guy -- as he does to every kid who sees himself in him.
"I'm still a kid who sees himself in him as well."
It's been 10 years since Bryan and Zayn first met in 2004, at a time when The Beard was just starting to grow. Bryan's opportunity at WrestleMania -- the dream stage for these warriors -- is a powerful symbol to his friend and fellow entertainer.
"Professionally, I've always looked up to [Bryan] and always tried to catch up with him," the tenacious NXT grappler concedes. "For him to break this barrier, he's paving the way for guys like myself."
He adds, "Daniel Bryan is smashing those boundaries and now, more than ever, anything's possible -- for me and countless people like me."
An anticipated "Yes!" chant serves as Daniel Bryan's entrance theme during his Axxess table arrival. Among the first jubilant members of the "Yes!" Movement he meets is young Hunter. Despite his name, he's actually not pulling for the "other guy" at WrestleMania. He's one of the biggest little supporters Daniel Bryan has.
"He's the best wrestler ever," Hunter says after his encounter with The Beard.
Danielle from Long Island, N.Y., got her nails done for The Show of Shows with fingertips supporting The Shield, AJ Lee and Daniel Bryan by way of a "YES" inscription on her thumb. There's also an 8-month-old baby girl in a Bryan goat top who can't help but lock her eyes on the Superstar's face up close.
"Signings are great," Bryan says. "It's an opportunity to meet the fans. We have great fans. They're pretty awesome. It's all about seeing the way that we touch people."
As the line progresses, the man who could soon be the new WWE World Heavyweight Champion signs posters, people, shirts, replica titles and even one-sheet programs from his past.
Trey Gonzalez from Oklahoma City totes a Texas Wrestling Alliance match card from 10 years ago yesterday that features Bryan as "The American Dragon" competing as a pupil in Shawn Michaels' Academy. The throwback surprises Bryan as he autographs the heavily creased paper.
Meanwhile, simultaneous to the signing, HBK stands in the main ring for a live Q&A at Axxess. He's asked about the 30th edition of WrestleMania and the match he's most looking forward to seeing -- a show-stealer. He names Bryan's bout with The Game.
The Beard settles into his vehicle from WrestleMania Axxess and uses the few minutes in transit to examine some unexpected gifts from WWE fans at the event, as well as unwrap some other presents.
He smiles when holding a handmade construction paper booklet with marker drawings of himself with purple hair. He's surprised by an early birthday card from another WWE Universe member, several weeks before the date on May 22.
Bryan is absolutely moved by a giftwrapped box that contains twin antibacterial towels for future hikes with his bride-to-be. It's a wedding present based on a comment Bryan recently made in an interview and the thoughtfulness overwhelms him, particularly when reading the message inscribed on the card.
"Your love is an inspiration," writes Bibo Reyes.
The gesture is an inspiration to Bryan.
The front row alone at the WWE Hall of Fame Ceremony seats Hulk Hogan, "Stone Cold" Steve Austin and John Cena. It's uncanny. Sharing that row is an individual whom many believe has the potential to be a star of similar proportion, Daniel Bryan.
Beside him, the "Braniel" families watch intently as Mr. T gets a "Yes!" chant for so profoundly expressing his love for his momma. Yet another chant begins during "the most anticipated speech in the history of sports-entertainment," delivered by The Ultimate Warrior.