The news broke in a tweet Monday. Daniel Bryan confirmed it in Seattle on Monday night. Yes, he is officially retiring.
"Trust me, I don’t want to be doing this anymore than you guys don’t want me to be doing this," he said to a sold-out arena.
"It is with a heavy heart and utmost sadness that I announce my retirement. … Today, when I woke up this morning I felt nothing but gratitude because I have gotten to do the things I loved for 16 years."
Bryan said he started wrestling at 18 and had three concussions in his first five months. And he had many concussions on and off throughout his 16-year career.
Bryan spoke from the heart, saying said he loved wrestling in a way he never loved anything else. A week and a half ago, he took a test and he said the results came back and showed maybe his brain wasn’t as good as he thought it was.
"I love hitting the ropes and diving right here (he pointed outside the ring)," he said. "It made me feel like Superman and your guys’ reaction to it made me feel like Superman.
"I have gotten to meet the most amazing people … someone who looks like a monster but is the smartest man I know in Kane. … I have gotten to meet children who are stronger than I thought anyone can be, like Connor (Michalek, a child who died of cancer after Bryan became close with him)."
Bryan said he was grateful and no one owes him anything, not even WWE. He said wrestlers do this because they love to do it.
Bryan then thanked the crowd for getting behind someone 5-foot-8 and 190 pounds.
He added he was grateful because a little over two years ago the fans at the Seattle arena hijacked "Raw." That was an evening when the fans would not stop chanting "Dan-iel Bry-an" — the crowd started to chant after he said that — which caused a change in creative direction for the company.
He continued and became emotional as he spoke about his father being able to see it that evening. It proved to be the last time his father was able to see him wrestle.
"I am grateful because of wrestling I got to meet the most wonderful woman in the world," he said regarding his wife, Brie Bella.
He concluded by saying how great it was that he was able to share the night with friends, family and fans.
"Tomorrow morning, I start a new life, a life where I am no longer a wrestler," he said. "But that is tomorrow and not tonight, if I could get one last ‘Yes’ chant, I would really appreciate it."
The crowd erupted as "Raw" was about to go off the air.
His wife then came to the ring and hugged and kissed him.
The WWE Universe is as grateful to Daniel Bryan as he is to it and sports and pop culture.
"Raw" continued well beyond the usual overrun, which typically is five to seven minutes. Bryan spoke for at least 25 minutes.
WWE heavily promoted the announcement throughout the three-hour show.
Bryan came out to a tremendous ovation before his hometown fans in Seattle.
The chorus went on for minutes with chants going back and forth between, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" and "Dan-iel Bry-an."
Bryan opened his speech by saying he closed his eyes as the crowd roared and said it was the first time he was able to feel it because when you are performing in the ring, you have to keep your eyes open.
He said he cut his hair for an organization called Wigs for Kids, which makes wigs for children battling cancer and does not charge the families for the wigs.