Daniel Bryan spoke with IGN.com about the YES! chants, his match with CM Punk at Over the Limit and his relationship with AJ, among other topics. He also revealed what Vince McMahon thought about the fact he's a vegan when he first heard about it. Here are highlights:
On the past six months of his career: "It's been crazy. It's been a lot of fun. I went from being a guy who was sparingly being used on television to being the World Heavyweight Champion and the focus of a lot of the storylines on Smackdown. And now I'm in a big match for the WWE Championship on a Pay-Per-View and it's unreal."
On his first World title feuds being against Big Show and Mark Henry: "No, I never thought that if I was going to be the champion in the WWE that those would be my first opponents. My first feuds. Especially because I also felt like I didn't match up very well with those guys. But then it seems to me that both of those feuds went very well. And I was thrilled to wrestle those guys because it forces me to go outside my usual box. You know, I could go out there and wrestle CM Punk and have a fantastic match, but that's along my normal line of thinking. Wrestling someone like Big Show requires a totally different style. And for me that was fun."
On his on-screen relationships with AJ Lee helping him move past a nerd persona: "Yeah, I do. But I think the origin of me and AJ was part of the whole nerd persona. The idea that we were both nerds. Because it started before I was the World Heavyweight Champion and they just started throwing these little thing at me and her backstage and we were supposed to be really awkward. So the idea still started with "Oh, he's a nerd." But now it's evolved into something that's way better."
On how the crowds reacted to Bryan being a Vegan, and what Vince McMahon thought about it: "No, I didn't know actually. And I do it for health reasons, you know. Not for entertainment reasons or anything else. So for me it wasn't even an issue of bringing it up on TV. Other than "Oh, that's an interesting fact about this guy." And the idea that you can tell people you're a vegan and get everyone to go "BOOOO!" is crazy. It's interesting because the first experience I had with that wasn't even with the crowd but it was with Vince himself. And Chris Jericho loves telling me this story about how he had gone back to Vince and said "This guy's good." It was after the first match I had on TV, and it was against Chris, and he told Vince I was good. "He can get the people behind him," he said. And Vince said [in Vince voice] "Yeah, but who doesn't eat steak?" He thought people wouldn't buy into a guy who didn't eat steak. And that's when I kind of realized that there are a lot of people out there who just think it's completely foreign for me to not eat animals."
On other wrestlers using his "YES" chants: "I don't mind it if it starts organically. Like if the crowd just started chanting it. It only bothers me when people start it up on purpose. For example, leading into the Extreme Rules Pay-Per-View, Sheamus would do promos and chant "YES!" And that's taking something that I created and trying to use it to get yourself cheered, or get in good with the fans. And I feel like that waters it down. Because the last thing you want something to do when it's hot is to get watered down."