WWE superstar Bryan plays game-show host at Memphis children’s hospital
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A whisker from Daniel Bryan’s beard fell to the floor of the "Room of Magic" inside Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital.
Hosting a trivia question game show that went live to all 12 floors of the hospital on Friday, the WWE superstar put a whisker on the line during one of the questions.
When the correct answer to the peculiar "Doctor Who" question came from a patient room, Bryan plucked it out and handed it to Memphis Grizzlies emcee and game show co-host Joey Thorsen, who lost possession of the long, but elusive eBay gold.
Bryan was in Memphis to promote WWE Fast Lane, the pay-per-view scheduled for Feb. 22 at FedExForum. "But more importantly I’m here visiting the children’s hospital," Bryan said. "It’s been a lot of fun."
Bryan is a three-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, one-time United States Champion and Tag Team Champion. He’ll fight Roman Reigns at Fast Lane for another shot at the Heavyweight Championship against Brock Lesnar at Wrestlemania.
Underneath the belts and the spandex he routinely poked fun at on Friday — saying everyone should come to Fast Lane as he would put on spandex and wrestle with other men wearing spandex — Bryan is the heart of the ‘E’ in World Wrestling Entertainment, with extra emphasis on a heart that is even bigger than his famous and positive Yes! Movement.
He radiates more than positivity, a genuine desire to make your day, nothing manufactured or forced. In a matter of seconds after meeting kids at Le Bonheur, he went from the WWE superstar they wanted to meet, to an everyday best friend. It’s a remarkable trait.
There is a tear-jerking video on YouTube of Bryan and Connor Michalek an 8-year-old with pediatric brain cancer who has since died. Bryan befriended him and after winning the Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania 2014, with the New Orleans crowd chanting "Yes! Yes! Yes!" all for Bryan. The wrestler went to Michalek front row seat, embraced the young boy and graciously shared the title moment.
"What we do is kind of selfish, right? We go around, we wrestle and that’s fun for us, right?" Bryan said. "But this is the stuff that we do that’s actually good that actually gets to help people that makes me feel encouraged that ‘Hey, what I’m doing is not 100 percent selfish.’ Seeing the kids, it just warms my heart."
"Legitimately, that is the best part of our job. It is by far the best, most important part of our job."
It’s a side of him he’s proud to show and it warms his mom’s heart, as well. Bryan said she works with underprivileged kids and as a rule, has always helped people.
"Her big disappointment in me becoming a wrestler was that, ‘Hey, I wish you were doing something to help people, or help the planet, help something,” he said. "That’s really what we should all be trying to do. Going into wrestling was a very selfish thing, right? This is our chance to be unselfish and this is really where my heart is, even after wrestling is done."
Bryan has overcome May neck surgery to climb right back up the WWE ladder, a second time as a 5-foot-10, 210-pounder. But he’s quick to dismiss his undersized rise to wrestling stardom or his return from a career-threatening injury as anything close to what kids at Le Bonheur and St. Jude are going through.
"My story has probably been a lot easier than what these kids have to deal with," Bryan said. "And that’s on a very legitimate level. They have to fight for a lot of things. They do have to fight an uphill battle. They just need to strength to keep going.
"I’m just probably the luckiest man on Earth."
It’s as much that attitude as it is his star status that had children wearing protective masks, unable to move too far from their treatments, itching to meet him. And he’s happy to help provide any strength he can, strength that has nothing to do with muscle.
He had this to say about his Seahawks losing in the Super Bowl, after not giving the final play to Marshawn Lynch.
"I do not curse very often and when it happened, I was like ‘OK, come on, come on, come on, come on … Mother grrrrr.’"
He’s funny — he said he gets mistaken for Leonardo DiCaprio on more than one occasion.