Daniel Bryan has not wrestled a match since April of 2015, but only those who were in attendance in London were privy to it. Bryan teamed with John Cena to defeat Cesaro and Tyson Kidd in a dark match after a SmackDown taping, and he hasn’t wrestled since. Daniel, of course, was forced to retire just over 12 months ago because of a lesion on his brain and multiple concussions.
Bryan Danielson and the WWE still had a contract together, and the only way the company was going to allow him out of it was to let it run its course. The Daniel Bryan character had to return to television, and he did so by becoming the new general manager of SmackDown Live when the brand extension was reinitiated last July. Bryan remains as popular as ever with the fans despite it coming in a role he never wanted.
The blue brand has widely been considered the better product since the brand split with Daniel Bryan and Shane McMahon representing the authority figures on SmackDown. But supplementing that success has been the popularity of the program’s wrap-up show, Talking Smack. The shoot-style format of the WWE Network-exclusive show, hosted by Renee Young and Daniel Bryan each week, has provided for some memorable moments that are largely unscripted.
John Cena, Dean Ambrose, AJ Styles, Alexa Bliss, Dolph Ziggler, and Baron Corbin have all been elevated in some form due to their appearances on the show, but it’s been the interaction between Daniel Bryan and The Miz that has garnered the most attention since its debut. On more than one occasion, Miz and Bryan have pulled back the curtain on their roles in the wrestling business, to the point where it’s become the most compelling angle during some weeks.
Unfortunately, the interaction between Daniel Bryan and The Miz will never lead to an actual wrestling match, something many fans actually expected when their exchanges became more heated than what happened in the ring on RAW or SmackDown. It’s become clear that the WWE will never clear Bryan for a return to the ring, even though it is his true passion. Daniel and The Miz did dive a little deeper this past Tuesday, however.
During The Miz’s segment on Talking Smack, he made fun of Daniel Bryan for not being able to wrestle because of his head.
Bryan snapped back with the comment that people have been talking about ever since, saying, “I can’t or they won’t let me? We’ll see in a year and a half, we’ll see what happens.”
Bryan was alluding to the fact that his contract with WWE is set to expire in the fall of 2018, at which point he’ll be able to sign with any other company he wants.
During the most recent episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer made it clear that Daniel Bryan wants to continue wrestling, and he wants that company to be New Japan Pro Wrestling. It’s interesting to note that when Bryan was fired from WWE in 2010 (for pretending to strangle Justin Roberts with his tie), he was very close to signing with NJPW, but John Laurinaitis changed his mind and had him come back for the big WWE vs. Nexus angle at that year’s SummerSlam.
Aside from NJPW, Daniel Bryan also wants to work with CMLL, the lucha libre promotion based in Mexico City. Specifically, it’s been a goal of his to work on the CMLL Anniversary Show, which was first created in 1934 and is considered the longest-running annual show in professional wrestling. Daniel wants to work a hair vs. hair match if he’s able to wrestle there, which wouldn’t be until next September at the earliest.
Bryan will have to be cleared by whoever recruits him, though during an interview with ESPN last fall, Daniel did claim that he had been cleared by several independent concussion specialists. Daniel and his wife, Brie Bella, are expecting their first child at the end of April, so he’s in line for some time off following WrestleMania. The WWE doesn’t want him performing on other promotion’s television, but if they don’t clear him to wrestle by 2018, they may have no choice.
[Featured Image by WWE]