The professional wrestling world and WWE are whole again. Daniel Bryan has been cleared to compete in a wrestling ring.
As Des Bieler of the Washington Post wrote…
Bryan, 36, had announced his retirement in February 2016, pointing to a history of concussions and one particularly concerning test that caused him to think about his life outside the ring. However, the WWE announced Tuesday that Bryan was cleared by a team of well-known concussion specialists, including Robert Cantu, Javier Cardenas and Jeffrey Kutcher, as well as its own medical director.
To roars of “Yes!” at American Airlines Center in Dallas, Bryan strode to the ring Tuesday to open “SmackDown Live.” He confirmed that he would be wrestling again, and emotionally thanked his wife, WWE star Brie Bella, for supporting him during his recovery and encouraging him to “fight for your dreams.”
Bryan’s news was the highlight of Tuesday’s SmackDown Live show, where the G]general manager of the blue brand announced that YES! he would at some point compete in a WWE wrestling ring. He even hinted at being part of WrestleMania 34 in New Orleans in less than a month.
As we all thought, those words became prophetic when he was attacked at the end of the show by Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn. Speculation would lead me to think that a tag team match between the two evil geniuses and Bryan and presumably Shane McMahon is set to happen.
There are times when I really dislike the fact this business is so predictable.
“Saying goodbye to the ring was one of the hardest moments of my life,” Bryan said on Twitter earlier Tuesday. “But thanks to the amazing people supporting me, I was able to keep fighting for my dream.”
Bryan’s return is good for the business and WWE. He’s arguably one of the most popular performers of the past 20 years. He is one of the best workers in WWE. And his underdog persona fits in nicely with the company’s star-studded roster. His return also gives the company more booking options, with programs that had not been possible if not this fortunate news.
While WWE’s Universe is excited about Bryan’s return, I’m not sure how wrestlers will react to the news given that it could ruffle feathers. Where does the company place him on its ladder? Who does he jump over to earn a title opportunity?
Will WWE Immediately thrust him into the main event picture? What happens to somebody like Bobby Roode or Jinder Mahal or Dolph Ziggler? We all would like to see Bryan in a match with AJ Styles or Shinsuke Nakamura. But the pecking order is now skewed. While a program with Owens and Zayn works now, what happens afterward?
It’s very possible that what is very good news for the wrestling business becomes a nightmare with packaging and making an entire locker room happy. WWE has had this issue before with Randy Orton and John Cena being less than willing to put new talent over. Brian’s ability to work with everybody is a positive. Booking him properly could be a real issue.
And when all is said and done, I’m sure Vince McMahon is going to watch every single match like a worried mother – that one of his prized performers could re-injure himself with one unlucky fall.
Daniel Bryan’s return may be what’s best for business right now, but after WrestleMania 34, when the smoke all clears, I’ll be interested to see how WWE plans to use its newest and hottest commodity.