Today's Rumor Roundup brought the report that one reason for Daniel Bryan not being as prominently featured in this year's WrestleMania as he was in last year's is because WWE is playing it safe with his injured (and repaired non-surgically) neck.
In an interview published yesterday in SFWeekly, Bryan himself spoke about how his recovery has been going throughout his return to the ring, and if that's effected his booking.
The three time WWE World champ was forthright in discussing how he feels, and specifically how a bump he took in a match with Luke Harper where landing on his neck resulted in some numbness in his arm:
I actually feel real good. The only time I've had any setbacks was that match against Luke Harper. That was the only time I had some stuff going down my arm. Mentally when I came back I thought, 'I'm not going to do any of this stuff. I need to wrestle an easier style.'
The biggest obstacle to toning down that style, however, is Daniel Bryan and the mentality he's had since early on in his training:
But the problem is I love doing this. I get excited when I'm in there.
Shawn Michaels trained me when he had what was supposedly a career-ending back injury. So we were training in a boxing ring and he was teaching us how to take a back body drop, which is one of the bigger back bumps. I was training with Brian Kendrick, who came into the WWE around the same time as me, and we were taking back body drops and were doing them OK.
Shawn tells us 'Guys like us, we need to get higher.' And he keeps saying we need to get higher and higher and explaining 'you do this and this to get higher.' You know, telling us the techniques to get higher.
So we keep trying but it's not good enough. Then he goes 'No, no, no! Like this!' and he storms the ring and takes this huge back body drop. Like, he hit the ceiling. We were all like 'Whoa! That was awesome.' But he could barely walk the next day.
So sometimes you know what you should and shouldn't do, but when you love what you do it's hard to always do what you should.
So what's his approach to getting into the ring with six other men and a bunch of ladders tomorrow night (Sunday, March 29, 2015) in Santa Clara?
...no hesitation to participate. Do I get a little nervous when I think about it? Yes.
Coming back I didn't know how strong my neck was. I can do all the tests. I can go in to the performance center in Orlando and take a couple bumps, my neck holds up. Then a match at the performance center, my neck holds up. OK, now let's see a live event - it held up. You just keep going into deeper water testing how much it will hold up.
I got suplexed on my head [in the Luke Harper match] and my neck held up.
So now I'm in this ladder match. Will it hold up? I think so. Am I nervous? Yes, but every time you're in a ladder match you get nervous. But it's important to not hesitate because that's when you really get hurt. Everyone else in the match is going to go full bore. So I have to too. If I hesitate or worry I will get hurt then that actually increases my chances of getting hurt.
Especially when we've just recently seen the worst possible outcome from something going the slightest bit wrong with the Perro Aguayo, Jr. tragedy, it's difficult to not be worried for Bryan. At the same time, as is the case with all contact sports, the discussion comes down to the fact that the participants know the risks and proceed anyway because of thier love of the sport/art.
Should Bryan rein himself in for his long-term health? Should WWE? Is that what WWE's doing by not having him in a more prominent spot on the WrestleMania card?
What do you think, Cagesiders?