Many wrestling fans want to see Daniel Bryan make a comeback to in-ring competition. And the man himself has made it clear on many occasions that he’d rather be back in the ring where he had once reigned as one of the industry’s most talented performers. And while new WWE rumors suggest that Bryan is playing a valuable role for the company as SmackDown General Manager, they also suggest that there’s still no chance of a return to the ring at any point in the future.
On the February 9, 2016 episode of Monday Night RAW, Daniel Bryan announced his retirement from professional wrestling on live television, one day after breaking the bad news on Twitter. He had cited medical reasons, specifically multiple concussions he had suffered while wrestling, and as he was just 34-years-old at the time of his retirement, many fans felt it was way too soon for Daniel to hang up his wrestling boots.
It’s also worth noting that Bryan had been cleared by multiple doctors to wrestle in July 2015, two months after dropping the Intercontinental Championship due to injuries. But with WWE’s own medical professionals refusing to give him the green light to wrestle again, he had tried to give his notice of resignation to the company in order to keep competing in the ring for other promotions. But, as Forbes reported in February, he wasn’t allowed to do so due to contractual reasons, instead forcing him to announce his retirement.
It was truly a sad day for wrestling fans all over when Daniel Bryan retired, but months after that announcement, he was named on-air General Manager of the SmackDown brand, and has since played major roles in SmackDown Live storylines since the July 2016 brand draft. These included a controversial worked-shoot interview with The Miz on Talking Smack, where both men accused each other of cowardice; Bryan due to his early retirement and Miz due to his “safe” style of wrestling.
Right now, WWE appears to be working Bryan into a feud with up-and-coming big man Baron Corbin, and the aforementioned friction with The Miz still takes up a big part of many SmackDown Live episodes. He’s also made some behind-the-scenes comments on social media about wanting to sign Cesaro to the SmackDown brand. In storyline, “D-Bry” as SmackDown GM has made for some compelling TV. But will it lead to a Daniel Bryan comeback?
According to a report from PWMania, Bryan has been a key part of SmackDown Live storylines because WWE feels that he “can help get a lot of guys over,” with current Intercontinental Champion The Miz and Baron Corbin cited as examples. As a no-nonsense babyface authority figure, Bryan has been established as an incorruptible general manager who doesn’t bend easily to rule-breaking heels like Miz and Corbin. And it’s that incorruptible character, combined with Daniel’s mic skills and intense performances, that had made it plausible at times for fans to expect him back in the ring, particularly against The Miz.
Unfortunately, none of that means Daniel Bryan is coming back as an active wrestler, PWMania added.
“WWE has no plans on having Bryan get physical in these feuds, and the company is firm about not having him return to in-ring competition.”
Assuming Bryan is aware of these expectations, it may be another disappointment for the currently retired wrestler and on-air authority figure. In an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Marcus Vandenberg in August, Bryan admitted that he finds it hard to cope with the fact that much as he would want to, WWE will not let him wrestle anymore.
“I was doing OK, right (after the retirement announcement). I was like, OK, this isn’t my jam anymore, I can’t do this. Until they had me sit out by ringside for a couple of matches and it’s just like, c’mon, I’m ready to go. That’s the hard part. Or when I go out to the arena and get such a great reaction. That’s when I want to wrestle.”
Be that as it may, few things, if any at all, will make the WWE Universe happier than seeing Daniel Bryan come back as an active competitor, even for a one-off match. But for the meantime, WWE is standing its ground, and fans will have to continue accepting Bryan’s outside-the-ring character as SmackDown GM, and all the interesting storylines related to this character.
[Featured Image by WWE]