“Following more than two years of extensive evaluations, four-time World Champion Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition by leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts, including Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher.
Bryan underwent a full review of his medical history and received comprehensive neurological and physical evaluations independent of WWE. He was cleared by each doctor as well as WWE’s Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Maroon.
After enjoying numerous championship runs, battling in legendary rivalries as both a singles and tag team competitor and sparking the epic “Yes!” Movement, Bryan was forced to make an emotional decision to retire from competition in February 2016. Later that year, he became the SmackDown LIVE General Manager, where he has continued to be an active part of the blue brand.”
With an emotional in-ring speech on Raw back in February, 2016, Daniel Bryan retired from in-ring performing due to evidence of brain trauma found during medical testing after he was pulled from the road the previous summer. On a media tour that followed, Bryan and his wife Brie Bella talked about the impact concussions had on his health, including seizures he hid from WWE medical staff.
Shortly after, however, there were signs the former WWE World champion wasn’t completely ready to accept life away from the ring. He was pulled from some scheduled live appearances, and his issues dealing with the transition were eventually covered on the E! reality series Total Bellas. An on-screen role as SmackDown’s General Manager suited him, but in interviews Bryan never indicated he was completely okay with never wrestling again.
He began to frequently tease the possibility of returning to the ring, even if it was for another company after his WWE contract expired, and last year shared that he was getting clearance to wrestle again from non-WWE doctors as he was undergoing hyperbaric chamber treatments.
In the past few weeks, as Bryan was off television and an angle on SmackDown seemed to be moving toward his getting involved in a match with Shane McMahon, Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn, rumors started to pop up for the first time that getting clearance from WWE to wrestle for them was possible.
Let it sink in Cagesiders, as there will surely be more to follow... starting on SmackDown tonight (Mar. 20) from Dallas.