Daniel Bryan has been pretty forthright about his struggles transitioning from being an active wrestler to a personality on wrestling shows.
In a recent interview with Ontario’s Brockville Recorder & Times, the current SmackDown Live General Manager went a little deeper than just discussing how the hardest part of his current job is watching others wrestle.
Yes, he talks about that, and how much fun he’s having calling the Cruiserweight Classic with Mauro Ranallo. But he also provides a more in-depth look into what lead to his retirement speech on Raw this past February... and you don’t have to read too far between the lines to see it’s a decision which still weighs on his mind.
And maybe isn’t as final as many fans hope or believe.
The former WWE champ talks about a “mental breakdown” he experienced this Spring after making the announcement, something he also partially blames on John Cena’s house rules (it occurred during the filming of E!’s new reality show Total Bellas) and not being comfortable when he’s living in cities.
But the really telling quotes are when he’s offering caveats about the final test which lead to his telling his wife, Brie, his employers at WWE and the fans he was done:
I was cleared by concussions specialists in Phoenix and cleared by concussion specialists at UCLA, like a team of doctors. And I kept trying to go to different places to try to get more and more people to clear me so that all of the evidence would be on my side.
I was completely honest with the WWE about all of it and the idea of, “Hey, if I get a bad test result, I let you know.”
When I told them that I was taking this test in New York City, they said, “OK, well let us know the result.” Well, the test hasn't been peer reviewed, and I'm not saying it's a bad test, all I'm saying is this is not something that they're using the standard medical facilities.
It showed a little something and then that becomes the automatic no and I'm just like “uhhh.”
Which sounds a lot like he was willing to give this new, unproven test a shot in order to be cleared, but he won’t hesitate to point out its flaws now that it didn’t produce the result for which he’d hoped.
But this answer to being asked if he’s come to terms with the end of his career is more transparent:
It's interesting because I guess the real answer is no, but it's weird.
I don't necessarily agree that there's something wrong with me, right? The whole issue with concussions is so subjective.
Now, none of this means DB is going to run out and work for an indie the second his WWE contract expires. He’s a smart man surrounded by people who care about him. It’s totally understandable he’s still processing the revelation his dream job may no longer be an option for him, when he’d planned on wrestling for at least another ten or so years.
But, reading these quotes, it also wouldn’t be a shock if in a year or so we start hearing rumors about him seeking out new tests in an effort to get cleared.
Check out the whole interview - which also includes why Bryan told Steve Austin he didn’t think he could switch up his style the way Stone Cold did after his neck injury - and see what you think.