Oh, the mixed messages!
Okay, not really. Publicly and through the rumor mill, WWE’s stance on Daniel Bryan’s career has been clear: SmackDown’s General Manager is retired as a wrestler due to issues related to concussions he suffered while performing in the ring.
Bryan, on the other hand, has been equally clear that he hopes to wrestle again. He believes there is conflicting evidence regarding injuries to his brain which make it unsafe for him to do so, and that recent treatments he’s been undergoing are healing whatever damage does exists.
Possibly because DB and his wife Brie Bella seem so convinced that it’s safe for Bryan to get back to doing the job he loves, fans and industry observers have been more open to and enthusiastic about his return. And since Vince McMahon’s company has been acknowledging his desire more and more, we’ve been starting to see signs that comeback could happen in a WWE ring.
But that might be wishful thinking.
In an interview with Peter Rosenberg recorded yesterday (Dec. 19), Bryan reiterates where things stand between himself and the company on his status. At least according to The Beard, WWE isn’t budging yet:
“We’re still at the ‘No, you’re not wrestling again’ part of that conversation, BUT... I have presented them with my case, which is a lot of testing and all that kind of stuff which shows, ‘hey, I’m fine’.
And so, uh, it’s interesting. It’s an interesting situation. But that has also caused a little rift between me and the commissioner, Shane McMahon, who is Vince McMahon’s son, because there’s like, I don’t know, there’s all this stuff going on. We work together really well, but we also have some beef.”
What’s interesting to me is how he pivots the discussion into his on-screen angle with Shane (Rosenberg and especially his radio co-host Ebro Darden return to the topic of concussions and grill Daniel on it quite a bit later on in their interview, but there’s not much which hasn’t been covered and revealed elsewhere).
Is he just deflecting, or could whether or not he gets cleared actually become a part of kayfabe?
Wait - I’m just doing some wishful* thinking again, aren’t I?
* To clarify, personally, my wish is not simply that he be cleared, but for Bryan to be able to safely do what he loves.