It’s hard to imagine anything in pro wrestling (that doesn’t include Bayley, natch) producing quite as many tears as WWE Network’s Cruiserweight Classic (CWC).
Brian Kendrick’s journey to prove that, at 37 years old, he has what it takes for one more run in WWE, has been one of the better things about the CWC. It was probably the most “sports entertainment” angle in the whole series, as it used something other than in-ring action or the viewers’ experience with competitors’ prior work to create rooting interests within matches of which Kendrick was a part.
A key part of the overall story was color commentator Daniel Bryan openly supporting his good friend from the announce desk. It also added the layer of Bryan, recently forced into retirement due to injury, living his dreams one last time through the man he started out in the business with at Shawn Michael’s school in Texas back in 1999.
Tonight (Aug. 31), Kendrick’s run ended with a quarterfinal loss to Kota Ibushi. It was a great match, but we’ll let Vidence break that down for you in his recap.
What we’ll share with you here are the moments after Ibushi’s hand was raised and Kendrick bowed to him, when DB came to the ring to offer his friend a hug and all the emotion of what both men have been through this year came pouring out.
After his defeat, @WWEDanielBryan came to ringside to hug his friend @MrBrianKendrick. #CWC pic.twitter.com/modXOOKIFS— WWE CWC (@WWE_CWC) September 1, 2016
It continued backstage, when a visibly shaken Kendrick tries to hold it together to answer Andrea D’Marco’s questions, and is interrupted by Bryan. The SmackDown Live General Manager tells his friend how proud he is of him. Kendrick speaks of how Daniel’s retirement has been with him throughout the tournament.
It’s made all the more poignant because of the drama which unfolded between Bryan and The Miz over the last week, and the rumors that followed, reminded us of how hard retirement still is for the YES Man.
Thankfully, it looks like Kendrick’s run will continue on Raw. But we’ve learned DB’s not stepping back into a WWE ring, no matter how much he wishes he could.
Pro wrestling may not be “real”, but it can make you cry.