WWE News: Major Star Set To Make Return On This Week’s ‘Friday Night SmackDown’ After Long Absence

On its official website, WWE confirmed Thursday that Daniel Bryan will be making his first appearance after an extended hiatus on this week’s episode of Friday Night SmackDown.

“Will Daniel Bryan be back on the blue brand this week? Yes! Yes! Yes!” read the company’s news release, which stressed that the former world champion’s on-air return will mark his debut at WWE’s virtual fan experience, the ThunderDome.

The release also hinted that Bryan might be cutting a promo to celebrate his return to television.

As reported in September by Comic Book, Bryan wrestled his last match on the June 12 edition of SmackDown, where he lost to AJ Styles in the finals for the Intercontinental Championship tournament. He also appeared on the following week’s episode through a Zoom video conference, according to a separate report from Heel by Nature. Following these appearances, he started his in-ring hiatus, helping out behind the scenes as part of the blue brand’s creative team but not traveling to Orlando for televised appearances.

The above reports also cited the Wrestling Observer Newsletter, which noted that Bryan stepped away from WWE programming so he could take care of his wife Brie Bella, who was expecting the couple’s second child at that time. With Bella publicly expressing her concerns about her husband taking part in the company’s tapings amid the COVID-19 pandemic, he reportedly “chose to play it safe” and stay home with his family.

“I have to say, my husband is still working and he’s in Orlando right now and granted he’s working, he has a job but it makes me really nervous. My husband has an autoimmune disease. He also fought asthma really bad when he was young. He was always sick when he was a kid and I’ll admit, I lost sleep last night,” Bella admitted on an episode of The Bellas Podcast earlier this year, as quoted by Heel by Nature.

Although Bryan was not the only big name in WWE to go on an extended break due to concerns related to the health crisis, the promotion’s move from its Performance Center to the considerably larger Amway Center was cited as a reason why some of these wrestlers decided to make their return. In recent weeks, Roman Reigns and Sami Zayn ended their respective hiatuses, and have since gone on to win titles, with the former winning the Universal Championship at Payback and the latter becoming a two-time Intercontinental titleholder at Clash of Champions.

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