WWE SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan had to retire from active competition with WWE around two years ago. Bryan had to do it because WWE felt uncomfortable with the level of concussions he sustained over his career. Dr. Joseph Maroon, WWE's main medical council on clearing talent, did not clear Bryan and has yet to do it.
Bryan has since fought the decision, by going to every doctor the company sent him to. He's seen some of the finest brain specialists in the United States. They have done a round of tests, over the span of the last few years, resulting in one conclusion almost unanimously. That's that Daniel Bryan should be able to wrestle for WWE once again. This being concluded by most every single doctor Bryan has seen is telling.
WWE has not allowed Daniel to do it despite the medical opinion, and has stood by the decision of Maroon as their reasoning. Keep in mind, Maroon is on the WWE payroll. So he's likely to not clear anyone WWE feels should not be cleared. This is not crazy, but mere fact considering these major specialists with years more experience on the brain over Maroon have cleared Bryan.
The question is, why has Bryan not been cleared to wrestle again if all these specialists say he should? It's political at the end of the day. WWE has been facing a concussion lawsuit that affected them greatly on the things they could do. They banned the curb stomp even, as they were hit with this lawsuit and would have to ban the move to prevent anything to be used against them. WWE now does not have to worry about this lawsuit.
Curb Stomp Came Back, So Shouldn't Daniel Bryan?
It was the signal of WWE not caring about the concussion lawsuit anymore, because they did not have to. The curb stomp was never a move they worried about kids doing, nor was it dangerous the way Rollins performed it. It's actually quite safe, considering it's nothing more than a front bump at best. It just looks painful, which is why it's so cool visually.
Daniel Bryan has been cleared by multiple specialists and it's likely he was held out of action by WWE simply due to this. No longer battling this lawsuit, especially the lawyer who brought it against them....what is there to worry about? Are injuries overrated overall by WWE though?
When it comes to Paige, she has a legitimate neck injury to worry about that no doctor would clear her to wrestle with at this point. WWE is smart to hold her back. Daniel Bryan has a healthy brain from all scans and with so many docs saying he's good....WWE risks a lot here. There's an apparent problem that the company has to ultimately think about.
They're Going To Lose Bryan If He Doesn't Wrestle, So Why Not Let Him?
If you're the WWE, you know with the way the world of pro-wrestling is going....Bryan could ignite a fire and a lot of eyeballs will follow him to whatever company he ends up at. It is likely he wrestles for Ring of Honor, but could also be seen in New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Clearly fans are going to pay attention to that move, and WWE casuals would consider watching where he's at. It isn't as if they won't care to see him wrestle again.
It is also apparent that Bryan will no longer be seen on WWE programming after WrestleMania 34 if he is not able to wrestle by then. He said in a recent interview that if WWE does not let him wrestle by then, he'll be done with them by the show and sit out the remainder of his contract. Due to being "retired" and under a talent deal by WWE, they cannot freeze his contract. Therefore, he could sit out until September with no issue at all.
In fact, they may be forced to release him early to prevent paying him more. Why go through all of this?
The Way WWE Can Shock And Surprise In Bringing Him Back
On top of this, there have been rumors floating around regarding Bryan returning in the Rumble to work a limited role. Though this likely means he has to wrestle, it would be a slow use of him doing it. Winning it has been discussed according to The Wrestling Observer, but the winner is still up in the air. We're likely being given a red herring by WWE to keep the eyes off the true winner.
Though no one would truly believe or expect WWE to give Daniel Bryan the win here. Isn't this ultimately the best reason to do it? Fans would be given a treat at WrestleMania as well as we would likely get Daniel Bryan vs AJ Styles for the WWE Championship. It could be worthy of the main event. While Shinsuke Nakamura winning has been the rumor for months now, and he's still the likely winner still, what if it is Bryan?
Nakamura could come into it to make it a triple threat. Or we could easily see a one on one. Would either of these options be hated by WWE fans? It's unlikely, and a lot more eyeballs are put on the championship match as a result. Plus, WWE would be able to bring Bryan back to the ring again. This would ultimately lead to him re-signing to stay away from other companies he would bring major attention to upon his WWE departure. WWE must clear him now, however.