The former world champion had mixed feelings to say the least (Photo: WWE)
Seven years ago, the crowd was desperate to see the supremely talented underdog enter and win the historic match to book his ticket to WrestleMania 30.
The feeling was so strong that the crowd in Pittsburgh hijacked Randy Orton’s successful WWE World Heavyweight Title defence against John Cena with chants for Bryan, and this continued in the Rumble itself.
Mysterio coming out at number 30 – and thus ruling out any chance of Daniel making an appearance – resulted in a chorus of boos which turned to cheers when the fan favourite was eliminated, and things took another bitter turn when Batista himself won the bout.
Bryan – who would later be entered into that year’s WrestleMania main event and get his moment of glory – exclusively told Metro.co.uk: ‘So actually, I felt really bad for Rey. I was actually watching the match, I was sitting with my soon-to-be wife – we were engaged at the time.
The fan-favourite got booed out of the building (Photo: WWE)
‘We were sitting backstage waching the monitor and I could feel the temperature of the audience. I was like, “ooh!” I didn’t know exactly what was gonna happen in the Royal Rumble or anything like that.
‘And then when Rey came out and he got booed because he wasn’t me, I felt so bad because Rey is one of my heroes and he’s also one of the best wrestlers of all time, and one of those guys who still – despite having wrestled for as long as he has – still puts everything out there, constantly working hard and all of it.
‘That’s the last person you should boo! So, really there was this weird sort of, “Yeah this feels good that people want me, but I feel so bad for Rey!” ‘
On January 31, the former Planet’s Champion has a chance to right that wrong by entering this year’s Royal Rumble match and win the whole thing.
With world title reigns and an almost unrivalled body of work across a stellar career, it’s one of the only remaining honours he’s yet to achieve as an active star.
‘I’ve accomplished a lot in WWE and I’ve accomplished a lot in my career in general,’ he smiled.
‘That’s one of the things that I’ve never really been able to do, that’s one milestone I haven’t been able to accomplish.
‘To me, I’m always interested in trying to accomplish new things and new goals and that sort of thing. To me, winning the Royal Rumble would just be the cherry on top of my career.’
*See Daniel Bryan in the WWE Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 31 live on the WWE Network.
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