Despite Daniel Bryan forfeiting his WWE Intercontinental Championship on Monday Night Raw earlier this week, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what exact health problems have caused Bryan's extended absence from in-ring competition.
What we do know is that Daniel Bryan was pulled from action midway through WWE's tour of Europe four weeks ago as a precautionary measure, because he was "banged up".
Bryan's title vacation speech on Raw was equally as vague, claiming that he had an MRI done last week and that his doctors don't know how long he will be out for or even if he will ever be able to wrestle again. It's unknown whether his promo was scripted to be intentionally melodramatic or if it was a straight from the hip shoot, because neither WWE nor Daniel Bryan are publicly revealing the nature of his injury that is supposed to be career threatening.
WWE has remained suspiciously tightlipped on the matter, whilst the only additional comment that Daniel Bryan has made since his Monday Night Raw appearance is that he's currently undergoing physical therapy and is working as hard as he possibly can to try to get back in the ring.
In typical read between the lines fashion, Dave Meltzer, in his latest subscriber only Wrestling Observer Newsletter, claimed that WWE is being secretive about Daniel Bryan's injury for a reason, but he couldn't say anything specific about why they are being so reticent to disclose more information about this subject at this stage:
"[Daniel Bryan] didn’t say much, even to the extent of not saying what the injury was and another company source has said that they have to remain intentionally vague on exactly what it is, but said they couldn’t understand why they waited so long to vacate the title. The situation was not going to have a quick turnaround and they’ve known that much. Obviously there is a reason they are keeping the actual injury under wraps and that nothing was more specific past he’s banged up."
It's worth noting that Meltzer did raise the idea that although Bryan's "physical therapy would seem to indicate an injury more than a concussion", both could be possible.
Moreover, there was indeed a report on Apr. 16th by Bryan Alvarez that Daniel Bryan had suffered a concussion on the March 31st Smackdown tapings in a match with Sheamus and that this head injury was what ultimately led to him being pulled from WWE's European tour, but this was quickly denied by WWE, although no-one has explained why Alvarez's sources thought this in the first place if the story was completely false.
This may be wholly unrelated of course, but WWE is facing so called concussion lawsuits from half a dozen ex-wrestlers and the widow of Nelson Frazier Jr. (aka King Mabel, Viscera and Big Daddy V). Publicly WWE lawyer Jerry McDevitt is aggressively asserting that these claims are entirely baseless and without merit, but privately there has to be at least some degree of concern about the possibility that these cases go to trial in front of a jury and the uncertainty that yields. If Dave Meltzer is to be believed, then the fear of giving their legal opponents more ammunition is what led to Seth Rollins' Curb Stomp finisher being unofficially banned and why we won't see its return until the concussion lawsuits are gone or are no longer a threat to WWE.
Thus, the last thing WWE needs in the present climate are more stories about wrestlers going on lengthy foreign tours while still recovering from a serious concussion like CM Punk claimed in his infamous tell-all podcast with Colt Cabana last November.
However, given that the concussion lawsuits against WWE include more generic arguments about mistreating their wrestlers for their own benefit, and encouraging them to continue to wrestle despite long term health risks and irreversible bodily damage, I can see why the company may feel the need to be evasive about the body of one of their top stars breaking down so badly that his career is in jeopardy, even if concussions weren't directly involved in his physical decline.
Whatever the reason for WWE's secrecy about Daniel Bryan's injury, it surely can't be taken as a positive sign about his long term future, that's for sure.