Last month, yours truly and two other members of the Gonzogeek crew covered a little event in San Diego called Comic-Con 2012.
At this cavalcade of nerdery and geekery, I interviewed some people.
Actually, I interviewed a lot of people.
Which comes in handy with this whole regular interview series thing we've got going on here at Gonzogeek.
Up next in our series ... Daniel Bryan, current WWE wrestler and former world-traveling independent wrestler. In this interview, we talk about the "Yes!" phenomenon, his vegan lifestyle, his inadvertent maiming of T.J. Perkins and more.
GG: The whole “Yes!” thing just seems so organic. The fans have taken the ball and run with it, ever since WrestleMania. The first“Raw” after WrestleMania, you’re in the back, you’re hearing all the “Yes!” chants. What’s going through your mind?
DB: My first thought was, they’re doing “Yes!” when The Rock was out there for the opening segment of “Raw.” Right? And I thought, this guy… he’s gonna steal it. It’s all of a sudden gonna become The Rock’s thing. But no. He came to the back and he said, “Oh, you’re over, man!” I was like, oh, cool! He didn’t take it.
GG: You’re still a bad guy but the “Yes!” thing is so popular. It’s got you kind of walking a tightrope out there.
DB: At some times it’s getting easier, because fans enjoy chanting “Yes!” but they don’t necessarily need to chant “Yes!” at me. So, they can chant “No!” at me and say “Yes!” for CM Punk or “Yes!” for AJ or somebody else like that.
GG: You and Punk, you’ve gone from wrestling each other in bingo halls and high school gyms in Indiana for Ian Rotten to pay-per-views and all. It’s kind of crazy the rivalry between you two has gone all this way.
DB: We don’t actually ever really talk about it. But sometimes we’ll just make comments in passing, something along the lines of, if something bad happens, “Well, at least we’re not at Ian’s.” You know, “The ring might be dirty but we’re not going to find a piece of glass in our finger whenwe come to the back.” That sort of thing. We don’t really talk about, ‘Hey man, remember back in the day?’ We’ve never had that talk.
GG: Not quite that grizzled yet, then.
DB: Yeah. (Laughs)
GG: Who are some of the other wrestlers, whether they work for your company or not, that you like to watch? Do you watch a lot ofwrestling in your down time?
DB: Yeah, I actually love watching wrestling. I lovewatching MMA. I love watching a lot of that stuff. Tyson Kidd is actually one of my favorite guys to watch in WWE. He has incredible matches every time he goes out there. When I’m watching Japanese stuff, I love watching Yuji Nagata.I got to wrestle him when I was with New Japan, and probably maybe the best guy I’ve ever been in the ring with. He’s just incredible. There are guys I like watching. There’s a guy named T.J. Perkins who I always like watching on the independent scene. There’s a lot of guys out there that are really good.
GG: Are you still doing some of the MMA training with the Coutures in Vegas?
DB: No, I actually just moved to San Diego. I moved here to San Diego and there is actually some great places to train here. The problem is, I just have so little time. A couple weeks ago, I had been on the road, in 33 days I had been on the road for 30 of them. Those three days off included my move from Las Vegas to San Diego. So, it’s just been one of those things where this year’s been so busy for me. I’ve literally gone in and grappled a handful of times—which is sad for me, because that’s one of my passions. I love going in there and grappling and stuff. But I just wasn’t able to get a chance to do it very often.
GG: I got to interview Davey Richards recently. I’m from East Tennessee and he went up there and wrestled. Him and Ricky Morton in a tag match at the same time—
DB: OH MY GOSH!
GG: Yeah, it was kind of crazy. And, he talked about, he aspires to fight at some point. You ever think about taking a fight?
DB: No, not really. I actually have no interest in actual fighting. For me, grappling, kickboxing, all that stuff, it’s just fun for me. It’s like when dogs play. What they do is, they chase stuff, they run around and they wrestle around. They play fight, but they don’t ever want to hurt anybody. That’s how I am. I like punching and kicking but I don’t want to hit you as hard as I can. I don’t want to hurt anybody. I like grappling, I like putting you in a chokehold and feeling you tap out. OK, I win. But I don’t want to actually choke anybody out. I don’t want to break somebody’s arm. T.J.Perkins, when we first started grappling, I learned a heel hook from Ken Shamrock, of all people. And, I put him in a heel hook and I didn’t know how powerful they were or how quick the knee snaps. And I put T.J. in a heel hook,and he didn’t tap and so I thought I didn’t have it on right so I cranked it. Well then that snapped his knee., I have never felt worse in my entire life when you hurt somebody and that stops somebody from being able to make a living,whether they’re a wrestler or a construction worker or unless they’re sitting in an office or something, it’s going to hurt their chances of going out there and doing what they need to do. I’ver never been one who likes to hurt people. When I get heel hooks now and people don’t tap, I’m just like, OK, I know I could break his leg if I wanted to, and I just move on to something else.
GG: What is the secret to surviving all the travel all you guys do?
DB: For me, it’s just trying to find sleep where you can and also trying to find things you enjoy while you’re not doing anything. We’re on planes so much. We’re sitting in buildings so much. It’s just like the military. Hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait, hurry up and wait. You’ve got to find stuff that you enjoy doing while you’re waiting. For me, it’s reading. It’s getting into things like that. I’ve actually got really into investing. I might not be good at it, but like I like—
GG: That’s a change from your independent wrestling days. You don’t find a lot of independent wrestlers who say, “I just love investing”…
DB: Right, yeah. Just learning about it, right? Because I never had any, I never had to do it before.
GG: For independent wrestlers, would investing just be putting change in a jar? Like a jelly jar?
DB: (Laughs loudly) It’s just putting things in savings, you know? But right now, just to stray off topic a little bit, they’re putting all this money into the economy right now. Right? And inflation is bound to rise. Interest rates are less than 1 percent. So if you keep your money in a bank, you’re actually losing money. And so I thought, that’s not right. I don’t know, I’m trying to figure all that out.
GG: What is your biggest airport pet peeve? I asked Adam Pearce that. I interviewed him a few weeks ago.
DB: Dirty bathrooms. Dirty bathrooms are the worst.
GG: He said the price of food, and water, in airports.
DB: OK! So… I no longer buy water at airports, because I have got myself a filtering water bottle that I carry around with me everywhere. I actually got it at Whole Foods. At first, I didn’t think it worked and then I realized I had to suck it up through the filter. So I have to be like (makes slurping sound) to get it to go through the filter and into my mouth.
GG: I know you’re a vegan. Do you have like a comfort food, junk food thing that falls in that? Or are you just very healthy?
DB: I do have foods that I want and like and when I go home, I go to Whole Foods and get Uncle Eddie’s Vegan Cookies., If you ever go to Whole Foods and you find Uncle Eddie’s, even if you’re not vegan, try them. Because they’re delicious.
GG: They’re going to see this, and they’re going to send you like a gross for giving them a plug.
DB: I hope they do! I hope they do! Do you know what, Uncle Eddie’s, if you’re listening to this, I do not want any percentage of your profits. What I want is I want a free pass to eat as many Uncle Eddie’s cookies as I possibly can.
GG: In one sitting? (Bruce laughs hysterically)
DB: No, just every week send me a case of Uncle Eddie’s cookies. And if they do that, and all of a sudden Daniel Bryan gets fatter on TV every week, it’s going to be your all’s fault.
GG: You’re leaving on a wrestling trip. The one thing you must have—besides gear or your passport or something easy like that. If you forget it, you’re turning around to get it. You’re an hour down the road, you’re telling Ryback, I’ve got to turn around.
DB: And it’s THE Ryback. It’s not Ryback. It’s THE Ryback. I think for me it’s my food. It’s my vegan food. I have to bring stuff with me, because otherwise I’ll starve.
GG: What is Daniel Bryan’s Kryptonite?
DB: Oh my gosh … I don’t know. I would probably say that I spend 75 percent of my time on the road starving. So that would be it.
GG: So your Kryptonite is hunger.’
GG: The very last thing, the motto of our website is that everyone is a geek about something. What are you a geek about?
DB: So many things. I’m a reading geek. Like, I read at least a book a week.
GG: Books or Kindle?
DB: No, books. I’m a book geek. And it’s funny because I am very eco-sensitive? OK, I’m wearing Toms shoes, I have a wooden watch, I’ve got a hemp belt. I’m a little eco-sensitive, but even though it’s more eco-friendly to do it and have a Kindle, I just can’t. I love the feel of books. And, there’s some annoying things about the Kindle, too. You can’t read it when you’re taking off. So what are you supposed to do, buy a magazine? I don’t want to pay 8 dollars for "Newsweek" to tell me lies.