Daniel Bryan hasn’t wrestled in a WWE ring since the April 16, 2015, edition of SmackDown, but his comments on last night’s edition of Talking Smack have the WWE Universe buzzing.
Bryan and The Miz have engaged in several verbal spats on the SmackDown Live post show, including this infamous exchange which prompted the YES! Man to walk off the set. The Miz continued his antics last night, accusing Bryan of giving John Cena preferential treatment — Bryan fired back by making fun of The Miz making made-for-television movies.
At that point, The Most Must-See WWE Superstar shed light on Bryan’s in-ring career being over because of his concussion issues (via IWNerd).
“You want to be a wrestler but you can’t because of your head,” The Miz said.
However, it was Bryan’s response that set off a social media firestorm.
“I can’t or they won’t let me? We’ll see in a year and a half and see what happens.”
As the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported last September, Bryan’s contract does not expire until 2018 (via Wrestling Inc). If Bryan’s comment about a year and a half is accurate, he would likely be free to wrestle for another federation in May or June 2018. The report noted that Bryan’s WWE contract was frozen during his over one-year hiatus from the ring as he tried to recover from concussions.
Bryan and his wife, former WWE Women’s Champion Brie Bella, are expecting their first child.
PASSION FOR WRESTLING
Tuesday’s comments are far from the first — and likely far from the last — time Bryan has teased an in-ring return, even if it’s not in the WWE. After over a year of inactivity, Bryan made several media appearances throughout 2015 and 2016 speaking candidly on his future.
“I told [WWE], regardless of them, if they won’t clear me… we’re independent contractors, in theory… and I will wrestle again,” Bryan said on Busted Open in 2015.
Bryan, 35, has said on multiple occasions that his personal doctors and several others have cleared him to wrestle. Speaking to ESPN’s Cheat Heat, Bryan explained that WWE held up his return and not the other way around.
“The whole problem with this process is getting cleared by the doctors. I’ve been cleared by one doctor in Phoenix, but the WWE doctor is hesitant to clear me. It’s a very complicated situation, that I guess they don’t really want me talking about.”
However, it’s WWE’s doctor that refused to clear the former WWE Champion after several evaluations.
“The WWE doctor Joe Maroon [is] amazing and highly respected in the concussion field, and if they send me to a third neurologist who’s also highly respected in the concussion field and they say literally no… well, then is it really smart to go against two doctors?” Bryan said to IGN. “I get all fired up… and then I’m like, maybe that’s not the best thing for me and my family going forward.”
Bryan has teased potentially working elsewhere, telling the New Paper in Singapore last year that these concussion issues “could be the end of my career in WWE, but I don’t think it will be the end of my career.”
Even during the aforementioned initial run-in with The Miz on Talking Smack, Bryan said he would return to the WWE, “if they let me.” Since becoming the SmackDown Live general manager, Bryan has been a focal point of the program but never involved to the point of an in-ring return. Despite saying he’s accepted retirement, Bryan’s dreams still involve him inside a wrestling ring.
“A part of my mind hasn’t accepted it. I wake up sometimes with dreams of wrestling,” Bryan said to The Daily World in June 2016. “This literally happened to me [the night before the speech]. I was in Las Vegas and I flew in. I woke up this morning from a dream where I was going to wrestle and I’m not. I have to remind myself at times.”
[Featured Image by WWE]