Yes: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania

Yes: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania

by Daniel Bryan, Craig Tello


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Yes: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania by Daniel Bryan, Craig Tello

The New York Times bestselling autobiography from WWE's Daniel Bryan, who has come out of retirement to get back in the ring.

One of WWE's most unlikely champions of all time and also one of its most popular, Bryan has proved to the world and to all of WWE that looks can be deceiving. Just ask anyone who's ever underestimated him . . . right before he went out and whipped the WWE universe into a frenzy.

This is Bryan's behind-the-scenes story told for the first time ever by the "YES!" Man himself—-from his beginnings as a child wanting to wrestle to his ten years circling the globe on the independent circuit and his remarkable climb to the upper ranks of WWE.

As the biggest week of his life unfolds, Aberdeen, Washington's bearded son reflects in full detail on his incredible path to the top and gives his take on the events that have shaped him. With his Bryan-ized blend of modesty and surprising candor, Daniel pulls no punches (or martial arts kicks) as he reveals his true thoughts on his evolution as a performer, his various roles in WWE versus the independent years, life on the road, at home, and much more.

And of course, get the untold story surrounding the "YES!" chant that evolved to full-fledged movement, skyrocketing his career. This book chronicles all the hard work, values, influences, unique life choices, and more, leading to his watershed week at WrestleMania 30. You won't want to miss it. Yes! We're sure about this.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250092397
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 07/26/2016
Pages: 336
Sales rank: 406,075
Product dimensions: 5.47(w) x 8.23(h) x 0.86(d)

About the Author

Daniel Bryan (aka Bryan Danielson) is a WWE Superstar, three-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, one-time World Heavyweight, Intercontinental and United States Champion, and 2013 Slammy Award—winning Superstar of the Year. Bryan is world renowned for his signature offensive style, a mix of Japanese and American moves, including the "YES!" Lock named after his popular, fan-driven "YES!" Movement. Bryan is married to WWE Diva and Total Divas star Brie Bella.

Craig Tello is the author of several WWE book titles and is's executive editor, celebrating ten years as a WWE employee in 2015. A past contributor to NPR, Marvel Entertainment, and more, he resides in Stamford, Connecticut, with his wife and new daughter.

Read an Excerpt


My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of Wrestlemania

By Daniel Bryan, Craig Tello

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2015 WWE
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4668-7662-0



TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2014 — 10:06 A.M.

This is a sight no one was supposed to see. Be it by fortune or the bureaucratic design of WWE brass, all signs suggested WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan would surface at WrestleMania 30 in a memorably competitive match yet in a far less marquee position than the main event bout for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. He'd have been a contender for show-stealer but not positioned to make history, just a midshow blip on the radar of fans around the world during the thirtieth edition of WWE's grandest event.

Instead, Bryan is emerging from a private car parked at the mouth of New York City's Hard Rock Cafe. He's about to make a grand entrance into not just this morning's press event but what will be the most significant week in his career.

That signature beard is unmistakable, though the crisp suit he's wearing — a rarity — feels only slightly "Bryanized" by the shade of his shimmering maroon tie. Cameras flash, and members of the press squeeze in tight to capture a modest, five-foot-eight former vegan who quite quickly stirs a supportive reaction from a notoriously opinionated Big Apple crowd.

"Yes! Yes! Yes!" A simple, direct, and infectious string of words serves as entrance music for Bryan as he crosses the red carpet and pauses beneath a telltale marquee beaming WRESTLEMANIA 30 in its LED glow. The synchronized "Yes!" chants drown out the late-morning Manhattan traffic in Times Square, and Bryan joins the throng for a brief, impromptu rally of sorts.

At this moment, Bryan stands a mere dozen blocks from the site of the inaugural WrestleMania, which emanated from world-famous Madison Square Garden almost three decades ago. Then, Vince McMahon's first major event was the symbolic underdog looking to sink its teeth into pop culture and create a worldwide phenomenon. It's fitting that Daniel Bryan's own fifteen-year journey to the main event of the "Show of Shows," WrestleMania, makes this all-important stop in the heart of New York City.

Bryan's forged his share of memories in this metropolis, yet this day is different. This is the beginning of a week even he perhaps never believed he'd live. On his Road to WrestleMania, this moment marks the final steps toward his ultimate destination: the WWE World Heavyweight Championship match at the biggest WrestleMania ever.

There's the ring within which he'll compete, and then there are the lingering visions of the ring he'll slide onto his fiancée's finger in eleven days. Bryan's experiencing the most significant moment in his professional career, but in his personal life, he's in the middle of wedding-day preparations with WWE Diva Brie Bella. A beloved couple in the eyes of adoring fans around the globe, "Braniel" is still negotiating table assignments for their nuptial celebration while readying themselves to compete at WWE's Show of Shows. There can be no more meaningful month — week, really — than this if you're Aberdeen, Washington's bearded son.

In Bryan's case, in mere days, thirty years of WrestleMania culminate simultaneously with a squared-circle Manifest Destiny, a "Yes!" Movement. On that day, a fairy tale unfolds for Daniel Bryan, and the so-called Face of WWE stands to become a bit more bewhiskered.

WWE recently asked many of their successful Superstars to take a personality inventory. In theory, these tests are able to assess personal qualities, such as sociability, prudence, and interpersonal sensitivity. The idea is that different professions require different personal characteristics, but these sorts of analytics had never been done with professional wrestlers. If WWE could find out the personality traits of their most successful Superstars, perhaps when they were recruiting, it would give them more information about the likelihood of a new signee being successful. I was one of the many people chosen to take the test.

The test involved reading many different statements and then indicating if the statement was true or false. For example, one statement would be: "I would want to be a professional race car driver." My answer: "False. I would not want to be a professional race car driver." Another example: "I rarely lose my temper." My answer: "True." Stuff like that. You respond to hundreds of those types of statements and voilà! Therein are your personality traits. In theory.

I actually enjoyed taking the test and was interested to hear the results. The next day I met with a woman to talk about them. Everything was done on a percentile basis, and as we went over the results, she became more and more baffled. In all the primary markers except one (learning approach, for which I was in the eighty-fourth percentile), I scored low. And I mean very low. For interpersonal sensitivity, I was in the bottom eleventh percentile. For the adjustment category, the bottom ninth percentile. Sociability, bottom third. But the one that really puzzled her was my score for ambition, which was the lowest she had ever seen in her history of administering this kind of testing and data. I was in the bottom one percentile.

She asked me how I had managed to be so successful given that I seem to have no drive, few social skills, and an inherent apathy toward most of the ideas our modern business culture seems to find so important.

"I have no idea," I said. "I just love to wrestle. The success has come mostly by luck."

My "lack of ambition" must have been a part of my personality even from my inception, because I stayed in the womb for over ten months. When my wife, Bri, heard the story, she said it explained me perfectly. She could just imagine me being completely satisfied sitting there with an umbilical cord for a feeding tube, being constantly fed and warm and never wanting to come out. When they finally induced my mother, one can imagine how painful it must have been. My mom, Betty, was a small woman, and when I, Bryan Lloyd Danielson, finally decided to come out on May 22, 1981, I was more than ten pounds. Looking back at the pictures today, I'm the fattest baby I've ever seen. More importantly, I seem to always be smiling. It doesn't take much to make me happy.

My mother has told me I was very quiet. I spent a lot of time on my own because I wasn't overly social, which is essentially the same as now. My father, Donald "Buddy" Danielson, remembered me being easygoing but also having a really stubborn side. My dad's most consistent example of this involved cookies, which could be my favorite food group. He always talked about this time I was reaching for a cookie and he told me no. I reached again and my dad slapped my hand, then again said no. I started crying but continued reaching for the cookie. Each time my dad would lightly slap my hand, and each time I would cry a little harder, relentlessly reaching for the cookie. Telling the story, he howled with laughter but never did say whether he eventually gave me the cookie.

As a young child, I had a tendency to follow my older sister, Billie Sue, around everywhere. Our relationship growing up is probably why, even today, she remains very nurturing and protective of me. Billie Sue was — and is — so much more social than I am. I just followed her around, happy as a clam, and listened to whatever she said. I picked up on whatever she did. For example, when I first learned to talk, I didn't have a stutter, but my sister did. As I spoke more and more, I started to stutter as well. Billie Sue grew out of her speech issue way before I grew out of mine, which probably wasn't until I was nearly twelve years old.



TUESDAY, APRIL 1, 2014 — 11:16 A.M.

Twelve hours and two hundred miles earlier, a kendo-stick-carrying Daniel Bryan appeared on WWE Monday Night Raw to ferociously batter one of the game's most successful stars: Triple H, his WrestleMania opponent and thirteen-time world champion. Engulfed by Manhattan bustle, Bryan now prepares to share a stage with his foil — plus the likes of Hulk Hogan, John Cena, and Batista — at the final press conference before sports-entertainment's annual spectacle.

WWE production staff members in headsets scurry through halls behind a stage at the Hard Rock Cafe while media start to fill seats for the official WrestleMania 30 press conference. In a quieter nook, Bryan decompresses with his Bella bride-to-be, Brie. Minutes before the live event kicks off, the could-be WWE World Heavyweight Champion feels the self-imposed pressure of speaking in front of the NYC media. According to Bryan, he pressed his suit in his hotel room until 4 A.M. because he is "pretty bad" at ironing, obsessing over creases and seams while tackling the anxiety of this public address.

"That stuff makes me more nervous than wrestling in front of seventy thousand people," Bryan reveals. "I am comfortable wrestling. I have fun wrestling. You put me in some spandex in front of a group of people, I'm a hundred percent fine. You put me in a suit in a room of fifty press people and I get really nervous."

Anxious or not, you wouldn't know it when Daniel Bryan hits the podium. He picks up on the theme of "dreams," first discussed by Triple H, who's already spoken immediately prior to his bearded rival. Bryan's dream becomes incredible reality at WrestleMania 30, and he is ripe with gratitude toward the WWE Universe — those who have supported him up to this moment.

"I'm here because of the people," he says to the crowd in attendance. "They would not let their voices be denied."

The speech is impassioned, and there is much "Yes!"-ing, only to be eclipsed by an uncomfortable photo op (confrontation, more so) with Triple H, Batista, and Randy Orton — the three men Bryan will potentially kick, twist, and propel himself toward through the ropes at high speeds days later. Photographers get the shot as Bryan and his fellow performers share a pose that definitively represents this year's 'Mania. He's the focus. It's his path warmed by the spotlights.

Bryan walks away from the platform with the relief of a well-delivered statement, although he's still shaking off the remnant feelings about his previous press conference address around WWE's second-biggest annual extravaganza.

"I felt like SummerSlam was a fail," Bryan admits about his first-time press event speech months before. "This, I feel I did very well. It's always good to do something that puts you out of your comfort zone and you improve at it."

Bryan's next stop is New Orleans, and his Road to WrestleMania is about to switch from turf to sky. He, his lady fair, and a bevy of fellow Superstars exit Midtown en route to La Guardia Airport for a 3:30 P.M. departure to "NOLA."

Checked in and comfortably waiting, the bearded Superstar sits with his suit jacket across his lap and Brie immediately beside him. The flight looks to be star-studded; a glance around the waiting space spies six WWE Divas, three 400-plus-pound giants (Big Show, Mark Henry, and the Great Khali), and even the man holding the prize Bryan's fought his entire life to wear: WWE World Heavyweight Champion Randy Orton. Suddenly the airline seating area resembles an arena locker room.

There's a unique mellow about the talent congregated outside the plane gate, following such an important event. It's a brief calm before the WrestleMania-week storm into which they're about to fly. The flight boards, and Bryan, his fiancée, and the other extraordinary passengers embark on their voyage to destiny. The next time they set foot on the ground, they'll have arrived at the home of the Show of Shows.

A good six months before I started my professional wrestling career, I was a senior sitting in an English class where we were all reading our essays aloud. The teacher, Dr. Carter, liked arranging our desks in a U-shape around the room, so we didn't have to go to the front of the class. Stand up, read your essay, immediately sit down — that was all we had to do. I was terrified.

Some people thrive when they're being looked at and feed off the energy from being put in the spotlight. Not me. I hated it. Ever since I was a kid I've been shy. Personality is an incredible, fascinating thing. We are all born with certain tendencies and predilections in terms of the sorts of things we enjoy. Some of it's nature, some of it's nurture, but it's one of life's many amazing mysteries. We are all unique.

Watching my sister's children grow up, I marvel at how different they both are and how they got that way. She and I are equally different. For one, I don't think she ever had a problem speaking in front of people. Even now, she seems to do it with the utmost ease. At my wedding rehearsal, I put her on the spot. Not because I wanted to, but mostly because I am pretty much clueless on how any sort of practical thing works, including weddings and all the surrounding mayhem. I learned a little late that, apparently, a family member of the bride and one of the groom are supposed to welcome the new person into the family with a speech and a gift. I had no idea!

So three minutes before she'd go up to do it, I told my sister she needed to make a speech welcoming my wonderful bride-to-be into our family. This was not only in front of about thirty people — most of whom she barely knew — but also in front of a reality-TV camera crew filming the whole shindig for E!'s Total Divas ... meaning it could be seen by well over a million people.

Billie Sue gave me kind of an exasperated look, asked my best man, Evan, for some advice, and then went on to speak. She did it with perfect poise and was funny, sweet, and, in her own way, elegant. Simply stated, she nailed it. Not only did she nail it, she was also aware of this gift-giving custom and gave my wife a clam-digging shovel to welcome her to our family. If roles were reversed, I probably would have thrown up, even after years of experience going out and doing interviews in front of strangers in, essentially, my underwear.

Before those years of experience, I was even worse. Sitting there in the U in senior English class, I was the fifth one in line to read my essay. I watched, one by one, as each person stood up, spoke — some better than others, but all of them decent — then sat down. Each time someone finished, the feeling of dread only got stronger.

It's not so hard, I kept telling myself. Just get through it. By the time Dr. Carter called my name, I was full of anxiety, moist with sweat, and, frankly, scared to death. I actually started off fine; I sped right through the first paragraph, sacrificing the maximum effect of my essay's message to wrap up quicker, which I thought was the way to go, given how I was feeling. Starting with paragraph two, I began to stutter, a problem I'd had since I was a small child. Becoming keenly aware of all the eyes looking at me, I read on, and the stuttering only got worse and worse. I paused, tried to start again, paused, tried to start again. By this point I was messing up ever other word — my sweat beading heavily from my forehead — and I was shaking. Finally I just stopped.

After a long pause, I looked to Dr. Carter and sheepishly explained that I didn't think I could continue. I couldn't do it. He allowed me to take my seat back in the comfort of the U, and, horrified, I sat down so the next student could take his turn. I never finished reading my essay, and I was the only one who didn't make it through. I was incredibly embarrassed.

I felt a similar unease years later when seven of my peers and I stood nervously on the WWE set as we were about to debut on the new television show WWE NXT. The eight of us were called "Rookies," though at that point I had been wrestling for ten years. None of us knew what to expect that night. We hadn't been told anything prior to standing there, ready to be seen on live WWE programming. About three minutes before showtime, a producer came in and told us one of the WWE Pros was going to come on set and speak. We were to react accordingly.

Another producer screamed out, "Going live in fifteen seconds!" Then, "Five, four ..." The final three numbers were counted down by the motion of his hand. Suddenly the camera was panning over us and music was playing throughout the arena. The Miz, who was my assigned Pro, walked onto the set. He eyed each of us up and down, turned to the camera with his back facing me, and said, "Daniel Bryan, come here." I stepped forward.

The Miz started talking, but I could barely focus on what he was saying. I heard the words "Internet darling" and "a star in the minor leagues" and could only assume he was talking about me. He asked me if I thought I was ready, and ironically enough, my first word in WWE was "Yes."


Excerpted from Yes! by Daniel Bryan, Craig Tello. Copyright © 2015 WWE. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


Title Page,
Copyright Notice,
Craig's Acknowledgments,
1. The Beginning,
2. "Yes!" Conference,
3. "Makin' Groceries",
4. Trained to Win,
5. The Real Kicker,
6. Rock-n-Sake Connection,
7. Work of Art,
8. The Punisher,
9. Bottle Royal,
10. "Carpet" Diem,
11. Early Beard Gets the Worm,
12. "Yes!" for the Masses,
13. From Pro to Bro,
14. Matters of the Chart,
15. Bed, Beard & Beyond,
16. Word of Honor,
17. Texas Throwback,
18. Tied Up at the Moment,
19. "Hell" of Fame,
20. Fame and Family,
21. The Heat Is On,
22. Time for Change,
23. Warriors,
24. The Movement Meets the Authority,
25. Healing Kiss,
26. Yes! He Did!,
27. The Journey Continues,
About the Authors,

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Yes!: My Improbable Journey to the Main Event of WrestleMania 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is a great read, you get a narrative in each chapter about events and happenings during Wrestlemania Week written by the co author and Daniel Bryan goes over his life from the beginning on discovering his love of wrestling to how he got into the business. Leading us through a journey of starting his career as a rookie wrestler and going through the diffefent events that shaped him personally and professionally culminating in main eventing Wrestlemania xxx challenging for the world heavyweight title and his wedding 5 days later.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The Answer is there are no Stairsb
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Part one is on the fault in our stars. You look down and discover you need to dress. What do you wear? A. Dress (search duh res one) B. T and shorts (search jean res one) C. Cute jeans and T (search what res one)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So inspiring
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago