Oft-injured WWE superstar Daniel Bryan is scheduled to visit Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, next week and meet with Dr. Joseph Maroon about his future with the company, sources have confirmed to PWInsider.
Bryan, 34, has been out of action for nearly one year as he's battled with neck and concussion issues. However, with Bryan scheduled to meet with Dr. Maroon -- the doctor in charge of WWE's Wellness Policy -- the WWE and Bryan could be "working towards some form of resolution on the issue," per PWInsider's report.
Since Bryan vacated his WWE Intercontinental Championship shortly after Wrestlemania 31 last year, his future with WWE has been shrouded in uncertainty. It's also led to several tidbits of speculation suggesting that Bryan could leave WWE when his contract expires and wrestle elsewhere.
"I think it could be the end of my career in WWE, but I don't think it will be the end of my career. I could find another passion, but it would just be sad because this is what I have been most passionate about since I was five."There has been a horde of conflicting reports on Bryan's health since he was forced into an extended absence from the ring. As far back as late June, Bryan claimed that he's medically ready to return to the ring and could do so at any time.
Speaking to ESPN's Cheat Heat, Bryan explained that it's the WWE that is holding 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."In recent years, the WWE has instituted a strict protocol on how it handles its superstars when they're concussed. It's even reportedly hindered some talents' positions in the company. For instance, weeks after winning the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in 2013, Dolph Ziggler suffered a brain-shaking concussion that cost him over a month of action.
In his first match back, Ziggler dropped the title and has not returned to the main event scene since. He suffered a second concussion 10 months later.
While the ordeal has been a frustrating one for Bryan, he explained to IGN this past October that he understands WWE is trying to protect him from suffering further damage to his brain.
"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? I get all fired up... and then I'm like, maybe that's not the best thing for me and my family going forward."A rumor from last week suggested that WWE was preparing to release Bryan from his WWE contract this week. However, the WWE responded to those rumors quickly, claiming that the company had no intentions on releasing its resident "YES! man."
If WWE does simply let Bryan's contract expire without utilizing him in a wrestling role, fans shouldn't be surprised if he ends up signing with another organization, whether it be TNA, GFW, ROH, etc.
But as PWInsider writes, we're only getting closer to a definitive answer on Bryan's WWE future.
[Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE]