Former WWE Intercontinental and World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan has missed the better part of the last two years due to injury. First, it was a neck issue following his WWE Championship win at WrestleMania 30, which forced him to forfeit the title. Then, almost exactly one year later, Bryan suffered yet another injury that would eventually force him to relinquish yet another title — this time the Intercontinental Championship that he won at WrestleMania 31.
When it was initially reported that Daniel Bryan was injured yet again, most assumed that he was suffering from the same neck issues that forced him to miss the majority of 2014. However, that wasn’t the case, as it was eventually revealed that he had suffered a concussion, and that his in-ring career was in serious jeopardy.
During his professional wrestling career, which began long before he made it to WWE, Daniel Bryan has suffered numerous concussions, and because of that, he’s more susceptible to suffering concussions in the future.
Two doctors have examined Bryan since he’s been out of action. One of them, who works closely with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals, says that Bryan is good to go, and that WWE should allow him to return to action. However, the other doctor, Joseph Maroon, who is WWE’s head of medical, has said that Daniel Bryan should never be allowed to return to the ring due to the amount of concussions that he’s suffered throughout his career.
There have been plenty of theories thrown out there as to why WWE has held off Daniel Bryan’s in-ring career, and the most common one is that WWE, even though they know he’s healthy enough to return, is intentionally holding off his return because they don’t want his presence and popularity to ruin their WrestleMania plans for a third year in a row.
While there may be some validity to that theory, WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross, who at one time was the executive vice president of talent relations for WWE, which is the position that is currently being held by Paul Levesque, better known as Triple H, said on his podcast that he agrees with WWE’s decision to hold off Daniel Bryan’s return simply because their head of medical has advised the company to not allow the former WWE Champ to wrestle again.
“I have this theory, and I may be wrong, but I think with Joseph Maroon being the medical guru right now for WWE, if he says no, I have somewhat of a difficult time believing that WWE will say yes. It does become very litigious, and you can say all you want about, ‘oh, we’ll have him sign a hold harmless,’ but that means nothing. I’m telling you, from a guy who was, at one time, on the inner-circle, that if the chairman asked me, ‘I need a yes or no. Maroon says no, these other guys say yes, and JR, you’re in charge of talent, what do you say?’ I’m sorry, I would say no.”
Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer, was JR’s guest while discussing the Daniel Bryan situation, agreed with Ross, saying that WWE is in the middle of a concussion lawsuit which has gotten a fair amount of publicity, and allowing Daniel Bryan to return to the ring when their head of medical advised them not to would give the current concussion lawsuit more legs, while opening the company up for more lawsuits in the future, should Bryan end up with serious neurological issues when he gets older.
Whether it’s in WWE or not, Daniel Bryan is planning on wrestling again. In past interviews, Bryan has said that if WWE doesn’t allow him to wrestle, he’ll look elsewhere for that opportunity, which would obviously mean that he would leave WWE.
[Featured image via WWE]