On Monday, Bryan Danielson, better known to WWE fans as Daniel Bryan, announced his retirement due to concussion issues. There were numerous reports surrounding the Daniel Bryan injury situation during his time away, some suggested that he would be returning to the ring, while others said that WWE’s head of medical, Dr. Joseph Maroon, was never going to clear him for an in-ring return.
During Bryan’s time away, he experienced a wide variety of emotions; some positive, some negative, and he talked about his mental process that led to his decision to retire from professional wrestling in his 25-minute speech on Monday’s RAW, which may have been the best segment in the history of professional wrestling.
Just two weeks prior to Bryan announcing his retirement, he was adamant about returning to the ring, and while WWE’s head of medical refused to clear him, he was cleared by several doctors who weren’t affiliated with WWE, including one who worked closely with the NFL’s Arizona Cardinals.
Bryan was also cleared by doctors at UCLA just a few days before the Royal Rumble pay-per-view last month, which led many to believe that he would be making his long-awaited return to the ring in the Royal Rumble match. WWE.com even named Bryan as one of several superstars who could make their in-ring return during the match.
Around that same time, Bryan took a series of tests in New York, which revealed that his brain may not be in as good of shape as the previous doctors said it was.
During an interview with Jonathan Coachman on ESPN’s SportsCenter following his retirement, Bryan said that the doctors in New York had discovered a small, subacute lesion in the temporoparietal region of his brain. Bryan also admitted to hiding the fact that he was having post-concussion seizures, which were being caused by the lesion in the temporoparietal region.
As previously noted, up until recently, Bryan was dead-set on returning to the ring. In fact, he was so dead-set on it that he asked WWE for his release several months ago because they refused to clear him for an in-ring return.
Apparently, Bryan was interested in wrestling for CMLL in Mexico, New Japan Pro Wrestling, and Ring of Honor, which is where he wrestled just before he signed with WWE.
WWE was unwilling to give Bryan his release, and they ended up offering him several non-wrestling related jobs within the company, including a commentating gig, and a coaching position at the WWE performance center, both of which he ended up turning down because he wanted to wrestle again.
Now that Daniel Bryan has officially retired, many are wondering what he’ll do next. During his SportsCenter appearance, Bryan mentioned that he wants to do something that will help people. He noted that he’s interested in doing stuff involving Connor’s Cure, as well as doing some concussion-awareness work.
But, what about headlining this year’s WWE Hall of Fame class?
Daniel Bryan, along with CM Punk, helped changed the way WWE looked at the “indie darlings,” and because of that, guys like Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn, Neville, and AJ Styles ended up getting signed.
Bryan aslo completely saved WrestleMania 30 in 2014, because if it weren’t for him, WWE would have had Batista vs. Randy Orton be the main-event of the show, which was something that the fans didn’t want to see at all.
If Bryan would have been able to stay healthy, and if WWE used him the correct way, he could have been a lot more popular than he was. But, even when he was seemingly the most popular wrestler in the company, WWE wasn’t planning on actually going with it. In fact, Bryan was supposed to be the one who fell victim to Brock Lesnar’s 16 German Suplexes at SummerSlam in 2014, but because of the neck injury he suffered just a few months prior, John Cena stepped in and got squashed instead.
Daniel Bryan was able to maintain, and even increase his popularity while WWE was doing everything they could to put a stop to his momentum. He was never supposed to reach the heights and have the success that he did in WWE, so the fact that he was able to overcome so much, and become one of the biggest stars the company has seen over the last decade is a true testament to how great he really is.
Should Daniel Bryan be inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame this year? The timing seems to make sense. Of course, it’ll be hard for him to give a better speech than he did on Monday’s RAW.
There is a belief that Sting, who was announced as the first inductee into this year’s class several weeks ago, will be the main attraction at this year’s Hall of Fame, and that may end up being the case.
So far, WWE hasn’t announced any other inductees — there have been rumors that JBL and the Fabulous Freebirds will be inducted this year, but that hasn’t been made official.
If WWE does decide to induct Bryan, then that’ll likely mean that someone who was originally scheduled to get inducted this year will be bumped.
Sure, WWE could wait another 10 years to induct Daniel Bryan into their Hall of Fame, but what’s the point in waiting that long? Bryan’s retirement was a huge story, and he’s obviously never going to wrestle again, so there’s no need to wait. Sure, he does seem a bit young to be going into the Hall of Fame, but again, there’s really no reason to not put him in this year.
As for who would induct him, well there’s a few people who could do that.
Bryan mentioned William Regal during his retirement speech, saying that Regal has been a good friend and mentor throughout his professional wrestling career. So, Regal could be the guy to induct Bryan.
Shawn Michaels, who trained Bryan, is another possibility. In fact, he may be the leading candidate for the job just because of his name-value.
Daniel Bryan’s wife, Brie Bella, is also someone who could end up inducting Bryan into the WWE Hall of Fame.
Kane is a dark-horse candidate, as he and Bryan had a pretty memorable and successful run as a tag-team.
WWE may hold off on inducting Bryan into the Hall of Fame this year due to the fact that Sting is already going in. But, who knows? Maybe they’ll be willing to have Sting and Daniel Bryan co-headline this year’s Hall of Fame.
[Featured image via WWE]