I really enjoyed this book. I liked getting to learn more about Bryan. He talks about his life before wrestling, his time on the independents, his relationship with Brie Bella and what it was like for him to get to WWE. The book was written before he was forced to retire due to his injuries.
Yes! is really an expanded version of the WWE 24/7 article chronicling what his life was like in the week leading up to his match against Triple H for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30 in 2014. Each chapter starts with a black and white photo, a date and time, and a description by Craig Tello from WWE.com. After that, Bryan starts his story. I liked the format, but there is a lot of text per page. Craig’s parts are kind of cheesy since he tried to fit as many of Bryan’s nicknames in there as possible(Yes Man, Bearded Superstar, The Beard, etc). There’s also a photo of Bryan on the bottom of the pages that does the Yes! chant when you flip them. I thought that was really neat.
Bryan comes across as being a very humble guy from modest beginnings who just really loves wrestling. You can feel how passionate he is about it and how much he loves going out there and having a great match, no matter how many people are in the audience. The way he talks about his wife, Brie, is very sweet. I learned more about her through this book too.
There are some funny stories mixed in to break up the seriousness. The ones about traveling with Sheamus and Ted DiBiase are great. I laughed out loud while reading it on the bus.
I loved getting more insight into moments that I saw on TV, like his time in NXT and the Nexus invasion. I remember how excited I was when they asked him what he was going to do since he lost the NXT show and he said “Daniel Bryan might be done, but Bryan Danielson–God knows what’s going to happen to him.” I’ve been a fan of his since 2003 when I saw him in Ring of Honor, so it was very cool to me that he used his real name. That’s not something that wrestlers using a stage name really do. I figured he’d go back to ROH, but instead he ended up being part of the Nexus storyline on Raw. There were a few hiccup in his career after that, including being fired from WWE for few months, but he gained a loyal fan base. When he started using the Yes! chant, it blew up and became a huge thing. Fans of other sports started doing it at basketball games and fans still do it today when they like something that they see in the ring.
Going into the WrestleMania match, you can really feel how happy he was. He was about to win the top prize in WWE and he was getting married. Unfortunately, his happiness was short lived. His father passed away and then he had a series of concussions that would lead to his retirement. The last chapter of this book was so sad that I almost cried.
I rated this 4 out of 5 stars. The only reason I didn’t give it 5 stars was Craig’s use of the same phrases and nicknames over and over. I recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Daniel Bryan/Bryan Danielson, professional wrestling, biographies and feel good stories.