WWE -- World Wrestling Entertainment -- has helped me through my toughest days.
When I tell people I love professional wrestling, I usually get the same response from most of them.
“Oh, that fake stuff?” they'll say.
Whenever I do get a response like that, I can't help myself but enter what I like to call 'rant mode'.
“It's not fake,” I'll say. “It's scripted. Please learn the difference.”
Some of my closest friends who don't watch pro wrestling just use it as a way to chirp me, which is fine, because I like to have fun and I do the same, too.
I hate that word “fake.” The wrestlers put their lives on the line every single night whether it's a televised show or one that is not. There isn’t an off-season when it comes to pro wrestling.
Because of this, the wrestlers are away from their families all year. For what? Just so they can entertain fans and put smiles on their faces.
I know, because pro wrestling has done that for me on countless occasions.
I could be having a bad day, depressed or mad about something.
But when I walk into my room, close the door, and log in to the WWE Network and find a past pay-per-view event in the archives, I don't think about any of the garbage that is going on. I have flashback moments of how I felt when I watched it live.
I love hockey and watch it, too, lots of it, but because I work in the business, I feel as if I can't be a genuine fan. I have to be a professional observer.
When I know that there's a pay-per-view event coming up, it's hard to find me in a bad mood. My excitement level is usually so high that nothing gets to me.
Not only that, but I really feel that pro wrestling has made me a better storyteller because, for the most part, that's what it is.
The Royal Rumble is on Sunday.
I woke up at 5:45 a.m. Pacific time on Friday. The Vancouver Giants play host to the Medicine Hat Tigers tonight, so I do my usual routine. Through the entire process, I’m thinking “holy smokes, the Rumble is only two days away.”
Just the thought of that got me fired up to start the day.
But there's one particular reason I am more excited than usual.
Daniel Bryan is one of my favourite wrestlers. Every time his theme song starts and he walks on to the stage, he gets by far the loudest reaction since ‘Stone Cold’ Steve Austin.
It doesn't matter which city plays host to a WWE event, Bryan still garners the loudest of roars . . . roars that shake the building.
His last pay-per-view event was WrestleMania 31 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, Calif., on March 29. Bryan was in a ladder match with the Intercontinental championship on the line.
Prior to the pay-per-view, I talked to some of my friends who watch the product as well. They had their doubts that Bryan was going to win.
He was my prediction, though, and no one could convince me otherwise.
Guess what? I was right. i was happier than a child inside a candy store.
However, shortly after his championship victory, he wasn't appearing on any of the televised shows.
“That's weird,” I thought. “Did he suffer a legitimate injury again?”
Yes, Bryan has been known to have injury problems.
As much as I wanted to be wrong, I was right.
He had suffered another injury, which is believed to be of the upper-body variety.
It was made official when Bryan came out for a segment during Monday Night Raw on May 11.
“I had an MRI last week,” he told the fans. “(The doctors) don't know how long I will be out. They said maybe weeks, maybe months. They said I might not to able to wrestle again.”
He ended the promo by leaving the championship belt in the middle of the ring, officially announcing he was relinquishing it. Bryan hasn't appeared in a match since.
He appeared on the Aug. 10 edition of Monday Night Raw in Everett, which I attended. The only thing was, Bryan only cut a promo segment, likely because his hometown is Aberdeen, Wash.
During every televised show or pay-per-view event, I'm hoping he will make a surprise return. Months and months have gone by, and I've been disappointed every time.
I'm still waiting.
Reports have Bryan having been cleared by outside doctors, but the WWE’s medical staff has yet to do so. In fact, he has said so himself during media appearances.
I never understood why.
Then, I thought to myself: this all could be a smoke screen for something massive.
The WWE could be holding Bryan out until the Royal Rumble. When it comes time for the 30-man battle royal, Bryan will be one of the surprise entrants and win.
I may sound absolutely delusional given the history, but that's my hope.
If what I predict ends up happening, I will go absolutely crazy, probably to the point where I scare everyone around me.
But if he doesn't, all my hopes will be dead. I would think his WWE career might even be over.
Professional wrestling is so fake, right?
Yeah, try telling that to Bryan and see what he says.