Former WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan was considered by most to be one of the best pro-wrestlers of all time. Well before he got to the WWE, people were calling him one of the best, but once he arrived in the company, he was able to prove it to the entire world. Adding in the “YES!” chant, he became a household name among wrestling fans and eventually a WWE legend who will go down in history with some of the greatest who ever stepped in a ring of any kind. Sadly, every wrestler must retire eventually, whether it is their decision to do so or not.
Bryan was in his mid-30’s and retirement from the ring was certainly not on his radar, but WWE felt it was necessary. Bryan would talk about it in an interview with The Kingston Whig-Standard while promoting this Sunday’s WWE SummerSlam. He talked about what he went through just to prove to the WWE that he could come back to wrestle, saying, “It’s hard because I was cleared by concussion specialists in Phoenix and cleared by concussion specialists at UCLA, like a team of doctors. And I kept trying to go to different places to try to get more and more people to clear me so that all of the evidence would be on my side.”
Finally, Daniel Bryan would go to do yet another test in New York that was said to be different from all the previous tests, which is where he found some horrible news.
“When I told them that I was taking this test in New York City, they said, ‘OK, well let us know the result.’ Well, the test hasn’t been peer reviewed, and I’m not saying it’s a bad test, all I’m saying is this is not something that they’re using the standard medical facilities. Alas, something showed up in the testing that WWE didn’t like. It showed a little something and then that becomes the automatic no and I’m just like ‘uhhh’….It’s this heart-wrenching thing. It’s tough because we all get just this one life, right? And when you find something that you love as much as I love wrestling and then they tell you that you can’t do it anymore, it becomes really, really tough. And then it becomes really, really tough when now you’re around it every week. It’s just seeing your friends be able to go out there and do it and then you still can’t do it. It’s one of those things. I guess I kind of accept it, but I have a certain amount of melancholy with it.”
It can be very difficult to handle for sure, especially for someone who loves the world of pro-wrestling as much as Daniel Bryan. If WWE allowed him, he would be wrestling right now regardless of what the doctors claimed. This is why it is a very good thing that he is under contract with WWE as the independent promoters and other organizations would surely let him wrestle.
It was rumored that Bryan had a deal in place once he got out of his WWE contract to work a full-time schedule with Ring of Honor, CMLL, and New Japan Pro-Wrestling. While this never happened because of WWE’s refusal to let him out of his contract, it is clear that Daniel Bryan would have wrestled if Daniel Bryan wanted to wrestle. At that time, he didn’t seem to care what anyone told him.
The retirement took a toll on him, and WWE was around him the entire time, which only made it tougher. Not only is Daniel Bryan a character on television, but Bryan Danielson, the man, is being used on E! Network’s Total Divas television show. This is what seemed to send Bryan over the edge when it came to retirement.
“I had to go out to Florida (to shoot Total Divas) and we’re in John Cena’s house for four weeks or whatever and there’s cameras just on you all the time. I just had this horrible mental breakdown. I needed to get away from all of that and just get out to be by some trees. It’s hard for me. I don’t do really well in cities, which is crazy given that we’re flying in and out of these major cities every week. Brie describes it as anxiety. And she would be accurate. I get this anxiety in cities and places like that. When you grow up in kind of a small town and when you grow up around a lot of green and trees and nature and that sort of thing, sometimes I think it’s a little mentally disconcerting to be around this concrete.”
It made total sense for Bryan to need some time away, especially when he is not really able to step away from pro-wrestling at all due to everything and everyone around him. The worst part is that he does not seem to be able to cope with his retirement. When asked if he has, he said, “It’s interesting because I guess the real answer is no, but it’s weird. I don’t necessarily agree that there’s something wrong with me, right. The whole issue with concussions is so subjective.”
While Daniel Bryan is one of the greatest of all time, by staying firm about not releasing him, WWE may have saved his life. If he was out on the independent scene right now, and there is a good shot he would be, he would go up against all sorts of opponents. Some would be experienced, and others would have no idea what they were doing in the ring. He may do everything right, but someone else could miss a move and slam him head first into the mat. They could be veterans and still mess up. You never truly know. This could happen in WWE too. The company did not want to risk Daniel suffering a severe brain injury. They want him around the company as a personality, and hopefully, he’ll settle well into this new role with WWE.
[Image via WWE]