After trying to get cleared to return to the ring for nearly a year, former WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan was convinced to call it quits this past February after a test revealed that had, in fact, received some brain damage as a result of multiple concussions throughout his pro wrestling career.
Following his retirement, Bryan made the decision to stay away from WWE for a while, as he was pulled from the WrestleMania 32 weekend events, and the show in Madison Square Garden, which was being promoted as “Daniel Bryan Appreciation Night.” His decision to stay away from wrestling was because it was too hard for him to be around it if he wasn’t being allowed to perform.
There’s no question that Daniel Bryan helped pave the way for guys like Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Samoa Joe, and Seth Rollins to get signed by the WWE. Another guy who helped pave the way is CM Punk, who is currently preparing for his UFC debut against the 2-0 Mickey Gall this September.
During his recent media tour where he was promoting UFC 203: Overeem vs. Miocic, Punk was asked about Daniel Bryan’s retirement, and the former WWE Champion turned UFC fighter said that “it sucks that Bryan can’t do what he wants to do.” He also added that he’s sure that Bryan will find something else to do with his life.
“Even if I hate a guy, I’d hate to see him get hurt but I love [Daniel Bryan] and it’s a bum way to go out. Living is more important than silly pro wrestling and I’m glad he’s alive. It sucks that he can’t do what he wants to do but he’ll find something else to do. The smart ones always do.”
Following Bryan’s retirement speech on February 8, Punk tweeted out the following photo of the two of them early in their pro wrestling careers.
— Coach (@CMPunk) February 9, 2016
— Diva Dirt (@divadirt) July 2, 2016
Daniel Bryan has been a huge supporter of CM Punk’s UFC. In fact, several months ago, Punk told Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting that Bryan was one of the first people who texted him after he announced that he had signed with the UFC back in December of 2014. So, the two men clearly have a great amount of respect for one another.
Up until recently, Daniel Bryan had stayed away from WWE. But, he was just at the WWE Performance Center, and he gave his thoughts on the upcoming cruiserweight tournament. He’s also working with some of the talent who will be involved in the tournament.
As for what else Bryan will be doing with WWE in the future, well, nobody really knows. Bryan has admitted that it’s still hard to be a part of WWE and not be in the ring. So, he may not be around all that much in the near future.
There are rumors that Daniel Bryan will headline the WWE Hall of Fame class next year in Orlando, Florida. Of course it’s way too early to start making predictions on who will go in, but many thought that WWE would put him in this year, and they didn’t.
When Edge was forced to retire due to a neck injury, WWE put him in the Hall of Fame the very next year. So, they may end up doing the same thing with Daniel Bryan. As for who will induct him, well, there are really only three choices: Shawn Michaels [his trainer], William Regal [his mentor], or Kane [his tag-team partner]. Brie Bella, who is Bryan’s wife, is also a candidate, but it probably won’t end up being her.
[Image via WWE]