It looks like one of the most popular champions in recent pro wrestling history is already planning his return from retirement.
It just won’t be with WWE, most likely.
On the most recent episode of Talking Smack, which is essentially WWE’s “post-game” show for SmackDown Live, Daniel Bryan made some interesting comments about his current retirement from in-ring competition with WWE. When confronted by the Miz about how Bryan can’t wrestle anymore, Bryan dropped this nugget:
“I can’t or [WWE] won’t let me? We’ll see in a year-and-a-half, and see what happens.”
Of course, the obvious: WWE programming is scripted and often the lines between reality and showmanship are blurred to make things seem edgy. WWE has had Bryan use the “They won’t let me wrestle” line before on Talking Smack, but the “year-in-a-half” part is much more interesting.
Bryan currently can’t wrestle in WWE, as their doctors won’t clear him due to his past issues with concussions. It’s rather common knowledge that Bryan’s WWE contract expires in 18 months, and many in the wrestling industry — including the Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer — speculate that Bryan will attempt to wrestle in another promotion upon the completion of his contract. Bryan, as a former four-time WWE World Heavyweight Champion, would be a massive draw on the open market, and it would be interesting to see how WWE would approach that since they are the ones keeping Bryan from wrestling right now.
Bryan, regarded as one of the best wrestlers in the world, has been with WWE since 2009. His career famously peaked in the Superdome at WrestleMania 30, where he beat Triple H, and then Randy Orton and Dave Bautista in a triple threat match for the WWE World Heavyweight Championship.
Bryan probably shouldn’t be wrestling again based on what we know about his health history. While Bryan has been reportedly cleared by outside doctors before, he has reportedly covered up seizures caused by concussions in the past. While he could probably get away with a toned-down style that would protect his head and neck, there are still dangers in pro wrestling that Bryan might be better off avoiding altogether.
It’s unfortunate, too, as Bryan truly is one of the most popular characters in wrestling, even while currently retired.