Myself and Bryan are the same age and what many don't realise is I've been wrestling longer than him and was on the indies before he got signed. In WWE and FCW we got to work together and truly one of my fondest memories of Bryan was him and William Regal doing an Iron Man submission match that was entertaining from start to finish, I'll never forget that.
What can be said about Bryan that hasn't already? He's such a good guy and an amazing human being. It was awesome working with him in the Nexus, when we started the NXT shows not many people know that our so called scripted matches were actually called on the fly, our promos weren't scripted and all those silly competitions you saw were real. So you got to see a different side of Bryan, he was just good at wrestling and you could tell when he was asked to do that stuff it wasn't what he wanted to do. All he wanted to do was wrestle.
He was reserved, quiet and he didn't enjoy doing the NXT shows at all especially with Miz as his pro and he was wrestling way before he was, they eventually turned that into a storyline which was great for him. When we started the nexus deal on the main roster he came out of his shell and we were working against top guys and he was gaining attention, but he didn't fit the mould of WWE and they didn't give him a chance until the fans got behind him.
His rise was organic, WWE didn't want that to happen. When the fans got behind him and really rallied it gave the boys in the back hope, because a lot of guys were talented and deserved to get pushed but they never did. Bryan was humble, he didn't care that he didn't fit what WWE were looking for he just did his thing and every match he went out there and gave 100%. He didn't care about politics, he never cared about hanging out with the right people and he became friends with Kane because he is legitimately one of the smartest people in the business. There was no denying how good he was in the ring and nothing would stop him.
Eventually WWE and the creative had to get behind him, there was no denying it. It was awesome for the smaller guys, who love the business and worked the indies. The fans could relate to him, he wasn't a character he was himself, everyone from the most passionate smart fans to casual fans could relate to him. As John Cena has said he'd rather have people booing than there be dead silence in the crowd, at least they're reacting. That's what Bryan did if he was a heel or a face he would gain a response because people could relate and he knew how to project passion on his face which might have been his best trait was projecting emotion.
He's definitely got to go into the Hall of Fame. His whole life he was the underdog, nobody thought he could make it but he did and he's bowed out on top, made a lot of money, had a good run and his life is sorted. His matches at WrestleMania XXX were fantastic and his win was one of the most amazing moments.
He's had a fairytale in-ring career.