Daniel Bryan has had a good run with WWE and professional wrestling in general, but the time has come to bring it to a close.
Part of the reason has to do with the ongoing, nagging injuries that are causing his career to stumble. Shortly after capturing the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against overwhelming odds at Wrestlemania 30, he suffered an injury that would require surgery and keep him out of the spotlight for months.
When he returned at the 2015 Royal Rumble, he was unceremoniously eliminated in a bit of booking that single-handedly crippled Roman Reigns’ career and sent a message to fans that the WWE was done thinking of Daniel Bryan as a serious player.
What fans and analysts expected from the beginning — that Bryan was given the title due to the WWE caving to angry fans — became apparent when the company went with Reigns in Bryan’s one-on-one match with him at Fastlane.
The message that took shape was one that told fans, in no uncertain terms, that the company was done doing things to appease them and would instead be charting its own course.
Again, the Yes Movement rallied behind Bryan, and so the WWE sought to calm the backlash by putting the Intercontinental title on him at Wrestlemania 31.
This was a nice gesture, in spite of the fact that the match was first of the night and as far away from the main event as Vince McMahon could place it.
In the end, it was little encouragement for those wanting to see their guy back in the main event spotlight.
And now, a new report shows that the company is shielding Bryan from competition as additional health concerns — stemming from the ones that put him out of action for so long — have arisen.
Cageside Seats reports that WWE is “protecting him on house shows and that’s why he hasn’t wrestled on TV of late but there is a growing concern for his long term reliability.”
Reading that, and looking at the way Daniel Bryan has been booked since coming back, you can’t help but feel WWE is secretly at ease with this news.
Bryan is more over than any other superstar on the roster, but he’s not the superstar they want to carry the company, and he never will be.
He received the biggest push he will ever receive via an emotional Wrestlemania moment and a two-month title reign that ended with him being stripped of the belt due to injury.
It was a reign fans demanded and the McMahons didn’t want, and now Bryan’s injuries are giving the WWE all the ammo they need to kill the rest of Bryan’s career as a main eventer.
That’s why Daniel Bryan should retire. He had his big moment. He’s going out on top. Anything that comes after this will be downhill, starting with an IC title change as soon as the WWE can because they no longer trust in his ability to work without getting injured.
It’s an unfortunate end for Daniel, but one he should seriously consider.
What do you think, readers? Other than the money — which I’m sure WWE will always have a job for him backstage — what reason does Daniel Bryan have to stay as an in-ring competitor? Sound off in the comments section.