Update On Daniel Bryan Potentially Leaving WWE: If He's Wrestling Again, It Might Not Be In WWE

He may be making the most of his role as SmackDown Live General Manager, but it's easy to see that he would much rather be wrestling more than anything else in the world. There's been a lot of talk about Daniel Bryan leaving WWE in 2018, once his contract expires, and since he has been very open in recent interviews about wanting to wrestle again, the latest word from behind the scenes suggests that WWE remains determined to make sure that doesn't happen, out of concern for the 36-year-old retired wrestler's health.

Earlier in the week, Bryan sat down with Sports Illustrated to talk about several topics, including the possibility of an in-ring return. Last year, Bryan had made the difficult decision to retire as an active wrestler after WWE's doctors refused to clear him to return from a concussion-related absence. This was despite outside doctors all declaring was Daniel cleared to compete in the ring after months on the sidelines.

Given the numerous times he's expressed a burning desire to continue wrestling, it's no surprise that many fans fear Daniel Bryan will be leaving WWE when his contract is up. But as far as Bryan's reasons for bringing up a wrestling comeback again are concerned, the latest word from the Wrestling Observer's Dave Meltzer (via WrestlingNews.co) suggests that Bryan may be feeling confident about the results of tests he had in April to determine whether he can potentially return to the ring. And while there's no word on the actual test results, Meltzer did confirm that Bryan's WWE contract expires "a little over a year" from now.

Since the 2016 brand split, Daniel Bryan has been utilized by WWE in an authority figure role as 'SmackDown Live' General Manager. [Image by WWE]

According to WrestleZone, which also cited Meltzer's comments from the Wednesday episode of Wrestling Observer Radio, the chances of Daniel Bryan leaving WWE are good if he is indeed planning to wrestle again. He added that the one person most adamant against Bryan returning to wrestling is WWE Medical Director and Pittsburgh Steelers team neurosurgeon Joseph Maroon. And while WWE Chairman Vince McMahon may or may not personally approve of a wrestling comeback for Bryan, Meltzer noted that McMahon isn't the type to go against what his top doctor has advised.

"I don't see Vince going against Maroon. As long as Maroon is there, I don't see Maroon changing his tune on this. It's possible he will, but I don't think so, and if he doesn't I don't see Vince…for Vince to go against the advice of his lead doctor, that would be disastrous, potentially."
As WrestlingNews.co further observed, Daniel Bryan hasn't exactly talked about leaving WWE, but he has shown some interest in competing for other promotions if he makes a wrestling return. These include Mexico's CMLL, as well as New Japan Pro Wrestling, which Meltzer cited as the most likely destination for Daniel if he chooses not to re-sign with WWE in 2018. And while it's likely WWE could try to keep Bryan by offering a big contract to the SmackDown Live GM, WrestlingNews opined that Bryan has been saving his earnings wisely, and he isn't in the wrestling business for the money anyway.
"On the independent scene, if you factor in merchandise, he could probably make more than he would in WWE while working a lighter schedule. The Young Bucks, for example, are making a ton of money on bookings and merchandise."
Also worth noting is the fact that Daniel Bryan (real name Bryan Danielson) has become a first-time father, as he and his wife Brie Bella welcomed their first daughter, Birdie Joe Danielson, on May 9. Working a lighter independent schedule may also allow him more time at home, although it may all depend on where he decides to wrestle, should he not re-sign with WWE next year.

Do you think Daniel Bryan should leave WWE and pursue his goal to return to wrestling? Or should he listen to the advice of WWE's doctors and remain in his current non-wrestling role?

[Featured Image by WWE]