• Yes!: My Improbable Journey To The Main Event Of WrestleMania (Wrestling On Earth Review)

    We all read the new Daniel Bryan book. Here are our thoughts.

    Wrestling On Earth perennial favorite Daniel Bryan wrote a book chronicling his life and career leading to his historic Wrestlemania XXX main event victory. The kind folks at St. Martin’s Press were kind enough to send @TimWelcomed, @JoeySplashwater and @TomBlargh copies for reviewing purposes.

    Considering there are three of us and already many other reviews out there, we decided to just answer some of the most significant questions giving each of our perspectives and feelings on the book.

    You can get the book now at your local book stores or just order it on Amazon. Alternatively, request it at your local library to spite Lance Storm.

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    1. What did you like most about the book?

    Tim:

    I love wrestlers telling stories that involve other wrestlers and there are plenty of those in this book. Bryan’s humble honesty sets a different tone to these kinds of stories than most wrestling books.

    Joey:

    As Daniel Bryan is my favorite wrestler of all time, I liked that he opened himself up and gave us an honest glimpse into his career and life. Just learning more about who he is, what’s important and how he looks at the world was the most fascinating thing about this book. In terms of purely the wrestling, he’s as honest as possible and gives his genuine feelings on things without being bitter or negative.

    Tom:

    Bryan’s general attitude towards the wrestling business and life in general won’t come as a surprise to anyone, but it’s still refreshing to see it articulated. He doesn’t have a vindictive bone in his body and he seems able to put any bitterness he had in perspective, so it never seems like he has an agenda to bury anyone – he’s just giving his own honest perspective on things.

    2. What did you like least about the book?

    Tim:

    The book would’ve been so much better without the co-author’s stuff. If I never see someone refer to Bryan as “The Yes! Man” it will be too soon. Outside of that I really don’t have any complaints outside of it left me wanting more fun little stories from Bryan.

    Joey:

    The beginning of each chapter with the co-author writing a journal about Bryan’s Wrestlemania 30 weekend activities was awful. It took you out of the moment and was completely pointless. I’d suggest reading the book by skipping the chapter openings.

    Tom:

    Aside from the DREADFUL chapter openings by his ghost writer, I really just wish it had been longer and featured even more stories. I think Foley’s first book still stands as the best example of that, where the best parts aren’t the recaps of the most famous moments, but all the in-between minutiae, the goofy moments that make being a wrestler seem like the most ridiculous, fun job imaginable. We got some of that here, but just more of it would have been fantastic.

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    3. What did you learn most about Bryan as a wrestler?

    Tim:

    I always knew Bryan cherished wrestling but how deep that goes with him is respectable and even then he know certain things are or should be more important. Wrestling is what keeps him going.

    Joey:

    I had an idea and assume it’s true for every wrestler but I never knew just how much of an artist’s mind Daniel Bryan has. When talking about his ideas or matches, you can tell how important artistic freedom and vision was to him, especially during his indie wrestling days. It’s why he didn’t feel as content in his early WWE days but also why he’s such a great performer despite being a laid back individual.

    Tom:

    That he’s his own worst critic – compared to most wrestling autobiographies, there’s very little ego on display. Foley, Hart, Jericho and Flair all tended to take a very rosy view of their past, whereas Bryan tends to pick apart his career and matches and always consider how he could have done things better.

    4. What did you learn most about Bryan as a person?

    Tim:

    I learned that even the usual calm-and-collected Daniel Bryan can lose his cool in extreme circumstances. He is quick to point out when those rare moments are and knows that he may not always be right. His passion can get the best of him especially in such a frustrating environment.

    Joey:

    Maybe that Bryan is everything I thought he was. Every athlete or person who acquires fame at some point in their life tends to develop an ego or entitlement on some level that shines through to change your view of them even if you like them. (I felt this way reading Bret Hart’s book.) The entire book paints Bryan as a pure soul with a unique outlook of the world and a rare brilliance in pro wrestling. Nothing changed my perception of him and if anything, I developed even more of a respect for him as a person.

    Tom:

    Man. I’m not sure! I’ve seen enough other interviews with him that I already had a decent grasp on how good a person he is, so like Joey, I’m just glad that it shines through here as well.

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    5. Favorite story from Bryan’s time before becoming a wrestler?

    Tim:

    When he was heading to his apartment for the first time before attending Shawn Michael’s school and having to deal with the city. He ended up trying to sleep in his car but was scared and confused by a crazy amount of people honking their damned car horns.

    Joey:

    One of the more funny stories is how Bryan got his high school diploma. In an attempt to make money for wrestling school, Bryan had to work two jobs at the age of 17/18 so he lied to his teachers about having a significant job to their town that would allow him to skip school and do his tests at home. Somehow he got away with the lie and forging of letters by his mother and a fictional boss. Only Daniel Bryan would skip school to work and get away with such a lie.

    Tom:

    Jeez, I don’t remember too much of that. I remember him talking about being disappointed about all the crappy early ’90s comic books he bought as a kid being worth nothing now, and brother, I know how that feels.

    6. Favorite story of Bryan’s wrestling career before WWE?

    Tim:

    There are so many things that come to mind for this one but there was something about the way he spoke of his first indie European tour that made it seem like a great time for him. He talked about how those shows gave him a chance to work on his character more than regular indie work and he just genuinely loved the traveling “family” feeling he got from it. There was something peaceful in the tone of this part of his story.

    Joey:

    Definitely when he talks about his infamous promo with Paul London at PWG. More specifically having to address the rumors he was high on marijuana based on his facial expressions and laughter in the video.

    Tom:

    Everything about his training at Shawn Michaels’ wrestling school was pretty great, especially the bit about Bryan witnessing Shawn’s mum scolding old HBK for getting in the ring with the trainees against doctor’s orders. However, nothing tops the story about Davey Richards being disgusted by Bryan, Eddie Edwards and Rocky Romero having a cookie-eating contest while on tour with NOAH – it’s just the perfect encapsulation of the two very different personalities of Davey and Bryan.

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    7. Favorite Bryan story in WWE?

    Tim:

    This is kind of a heavy moment in the book but something unexpected (and possibly just me finding weird things to laugh at) in this one story comes to mind. when Daniel Bryan hurt his shoulder in a Raw match with a Randy Orton and they stopped the match he was pissed and went backstage causing all kinds of hell because he wanted to finish the match. It was going to be a huge win for him.

    A group of people were trying to calm him down and were being helpful. Bryan says something along the lines of “these dumb motherfuckers are telling me to calm down.” One of the people trying to help him is Randy Orton who at that point exclaims “don’t call me a dumb motherfucker!” Something about the way I visualized that whole scene with Orton in my head cracked me up.

    Joey:

    Not necessarily my favorite but the most interesting thing is how he goes into detail about being miserable throughout his entire WWE career before being paired in a tag team with Kane. Who knew Kane provides happiness?! You assume everyone in WWE is happy about living their dream but this was an eye opener as just how frustrating and stressful a job it can be.

    Tom:

    The story about Regal putting Ezekiel Jackson in his place after he tried to bully Bryan as a “rookie” on the airplane is fantastic. Regal really comes across fantastically in the book as both a mentor and a man – hopefully he writes another book someday, his first doesn’t get nearly the credit it deserves as one of the better wrestling books.

    8. Was the book sad to you?

    Tim:

    The only sad part was the last page and that didn’t paint the whole book as sad or depressing to me. For the most part I found the book to be inspiring in a more realistic way.

    Joey:

    I know everyone thinks it is due to the ending but I didn’t get that feeling reading the book. It was tough reading the pain he felt realizing he missed spending time with his father but that’s how we all feel when we lose someone important to us. For the most part, I enjoyed the tone of the book and felt it was more optimistic of his fascinating story being told.

    Tom:

    Sad isn’t the word I’d use to describe it, but there’s certainly a melancholy edge. For all his success, it seems like Bryan doesn’t consider it as worth the sacrifices he had to make. That’s something that’ll stick with me for a while and has certainly changed my perspective of things as a fan – if a guy can achieve personal and financial success without having to work the draining WWE schedule, maybe that’s the better option?

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    9. Describe the book in 5 words or less.

    Tim:

    Laid back and real.

    Joey:

    Honest. One of a kind.

    Tom:

    Open and engaging but bittersweet.

    10. Do you recommend buying the book?

    Tim:

    It’s a nice book to have around. I have already thought about reading through it again. As a Daniel Bryan fan I think it’s a must-buy and as an overall wrestling fan I think you would be missing out on some fun stories and a different view of the wrestling world than you would get from most other wrestling books out there. Definitely buy it.

    Joey:

    Yes. A must read for Daniel Bryan and/or pro wrestling fans. Probably not the kind of book a non-fan would like but you’re reading Wrestling On Earth so yeah. Chris Jericho’s first book and Bret Hart’s book were “better” but this was my favorite wrestling related book.

    Tom:

    Sure, absolutely. I’ll be interested to see how it’s received by casual fans because so much of it deals with the independents, but it’s one of the most honest accounts of life as a wrestler, without the unpleasant streak that so many other wrestling books have.