Early in the day, Daniel Bryan took to Twitter to announce his retirement and would elaborate on Raw. Before we'd get to all of that sadness though, we had to deal with an episode of Raw. Stephanie McMahon hosted a contract signing for the Fastlane main event. She gets quickly cut off by Dean Ambrose before Roman Reigns does the same. They want to get this thing signed, so Stephanie brings out Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman. She interrupts Heyman's signature opening line to boos. They all quickly sign and Dean just wants to fight, so he gets in Brock's face. BROCK SMASH! He not only tosses Ambrose but he throws the table into Reigns in hilarious fashion. Brock dominated and laid out Ambrose with the F5. Brock looked like a beast, Ambrose looked crazy and Reigns was kind of just there. Mostly fun stuff since it wasn't drawn out like most contract signings.
Sometimes, it's easy to over exaggerate on things. When I tell you that Dolph Ziggler wrestled Kevin Owens for the SEVENTH time in just under two months, I'm not doing that. None of the matches have ever been particularly interesting. It's not a rivalry because they have a bunch of matches. There needs to be more to it. Anyway, Ziggler won when he put his feet on the ropes for a pi so I guess this continues. We get told that the Usos will face the New Day in a Tables match later even though there is no real reason for it. I mean, the Dudleys/New Day feud didn't even get one. Backstage, the Dudleys talk to the Usos and somehow have the power to make it an eight man tag Tables match, so New Day has to find a partner. In a Smackdown rematch, Charlotte defeated Alicia Fox in a match that nobody really cared about. They did officially announce Charlotte vs. Brie for Fastlane for the Divas Championship though.
Dean Ambrose wants to get his hands on Brock Lesnar but has just been pacing all night. Anyway, we advanced to MizTV, which probably wasn't going to be anywhere near as good as last week's. Chris Jericho was the guest, and he came out to throw some really lame insults at Miz. He is just living that cool dad gimmick. AJ Styles showed up to save the segment. Miz attacked Jericho and AJ made the save. They worked together to dump him out before fighting among themselves. Jericho eventually walked away, but this ended up working and hyped the Styles/Jericho Smackdown match this week. Bray Wyatt beat Ryback in a decent, but rather meaningless match. It's like they started the Wyatt/Lesnar angle and forgot there was a February PPV to build, so they dropped it for now but I'm sure it'll pick up at Fastlane. The New Day got interviewed backstage, where they were shining up a table, and said that they haven't picked a partner just yet.
The random Titus O'Neil singles push looked it would continue as he faced Adam Rose. Rose surprised everyone by stealing a win. The Social Outcasts certainly seem to be booked in strange ways. After that match, Dean Ambrose came back out and egged on Brock Lesnar. He threw plenty of verbal jabs at the "Beast" including some male potency jokes. Brock showed up and completely kicked Dean's ass. As he went to leave though, Dean begged for more. Brock went back in but Roman Reigns showed up. This distraction led to Dean doing his best Undertaker impersonation and hit Brock in the dick. It's his kryptonite. Then the segment awkwardly ended there. Also, I love that Ambrose isn't afraid of Brock and that he's getting shine. However, it has made Reigns kind of the odd man out. Can I just have Brock vs. Dean at Mania since we know we're getting HHH vs. Reigns anyway?
With Sin Cara's recent return at a WWE live event, the Lucha Dragons were back together. They faced Rusev and Alberto Del Rio in a match that had next to no heat. For some reason, the fans just didn't really seem to care. Del Rio hit his finisher, that would be cool if it didn't make the guy taking it look like an idiot, on Kalisto to win. He should have pinned Sin Cara but whatever. We got more fun stuff from R-Truth and Goldust before moving on. Sasha Banks showed up, in some shorts that nearly stopped my heart. She was on commentary for Becky Lynch vs. Tamina. Naomi and her got into it, Becky made a save and it led to Tamina winning. Normally, I'm against Tamina beating Becky but there was a distraction and it should lead to Becky and Sasha beating Team BAD at Fastlane, which was also announced here.
New Day chose Mark Henry, who donned the unicorn horn and everything. They would lose. The Dudleys then attacked the Usos despite the win, turning heel. I would dive deeper into that but more important stuff was coming. Daniel Bryan came out to close Raw and give his retirement speech. Bryan said that he had been fighting it for a while but a recent test really showed him that his brain isn't as healthy as he thought and he wants to start a family. I won't recap the entire speech because I couldn't do it justice. You just need to see it. It's the most emotional and heart warming retirement speech I've ever heard. He talked about being grateful for everything and led the fans in a final "Yes" chant. Brie Bella came out to hug and kiss her husband to close the show. On the WWE Network, things continued with the entire roster coming to the stage to say goodbye and "Yes". Bryan hugged Vince on his way out, closing the book on an amazing career.
It's hard to give a real score for this show since it was more about Bryan than anything else. The episode of Raw leading up to the Bryan stuff was middle of the pack but moved things forward for Fastlane somewhat. This is a must see episode for the Daniel Bryan highlights throughout the show and his speech.
I've now had to watch two of my all time favorites, Edge and Bryan, hang it up earlier than they were supposed to. The first Ring of Honor show I ever attended live was Final Battle 2006. Bryan Danielson was the ROH World Champion and main evented against Homicide. He lost the title but I was hooked and he instantly became one of my all-time favorite wrestlers. I cheered for him louder than anyone at the ROH shows I attended. I watched him go to war with Austin Aries, Takeshi Morishima and many others. His final ROH match, against Nigel McGuinness, was in New York and I am grateful that I got to see it live. Watching him make it to the top of the WWE was one of the greatest feelings in the world. A guy that I picked and was drawn to from the first time I saw him made it. He made it when many people said he couldn't. Daniel Bryan embodies the notion that anything is possible. Daniel Bryan was and is everything that I love about pro wrestling.