While plenty of fans are fantasy booking the WWE in 2016 with Daniel Bryan, the reality may be much different. The WWE and Daniel Bryan are at a serious crossroads and the future does not look good.
Daniel Bryan has been out with an injury now since post-WrestleMania, leaving plenty of fans wondering what the heck is going on. While there have been a lot of fuzzy signals sent to the WWE Universe, the company has never truly addressed the situation to its audience, leaving fans speculating upon a return. Unfortunately that return may never come in a WWE ring.
Bryan’s rise to the top in the WWE was nothing short of remarkable. Bryan’s story was a mere fluke if you are a WWE employee while Bryan’s fans would call it destiny. Regardless, Bryan fought all obstacles and became one of the biggest sensations of the new era a couple of years ago, disrupting all of the company’s plans for the WWE title and WrestleMania. Quite frankly I am convinced that this whole era of 50/50 booking is a reaction to Bryan and the WWE’s way to ensure that nobody falls through their cracks and gets over that they don’t want to get over.
As remarkable as Bryan’s rise to the top at WrestleMania 30, his career following that historic moment in New Orleans may be even more remarkable. Once Bryan reached that peak, he suffered an injury which killed his title reign and his momentum. Bryan made a comeback several months later, again grabbing that momentum back at WrestleMania only to once again succumb to injury. It was almost as if Bryan’s destiny was to headline WrestleMania and the book was supposed to end there.
Bryan has been out for months after suffering what is still a mysterious injury after WrestleMania. Most have reported that Bryan suffered a concussion, yet the company has never confirmed that. What most fans don’t know is that Bryan is fighting hard to get back into the ring, yet the company has remained consistent that he stay on the side lines, a mandate which could stick forever.
The details which were covered a few weeks ago by Dave Meltzer in the Wrestling Observer Newsletter are that Bryan was not cleared by Dr. Joseph Maroon. Dr. Maroon is a highly respected expert in the concussion field and concluded that Bryan should not return to the ring. That was the kiss of death to Daniel Bryan’s WWE career.
“The WWE doctor, Joe Maroon (is) amazing and highly respected in the concussion field, and if they send me to a third neurologist who’s also highly respected in the concussion field and they say literally no, well, then, is it really smart to go against two doctors? I get all fired up, and then I’m like, maybe that’s not the best thing for me and my family going forward.”
The story doesn’t end there. Bryan went and saw an independent specialist for a second opinion who cleared him to return to the ring.
“One neurologist who specializes in concussions, who was the neurologist for the Super Bowl last year, cleared me with no limitations,” said Danielson in an IGN.com interview while promoting the WWE’s new video game. “All my testing came back excellent. But the WWE’s medical doctor (Maroon) is skeptical, because of my history of concussions and that sort of thing. So they will not clear me. So now, we have two doctors, one saying no, one saying yes. They’re going to send me to a third doctor at some point in the near future and that doctor will decide my fate.”
The story gets even stranger. Bryan told people that he and the company agreed to send him to another specialist for a third opinion. What is strange about that is the findings have been kept mum to this point. Nobody from Bryan to anyone in the company has spoken about what those findings were.
Bryan wants to continue but the reality is that in this day and age, especially with a movie out on concussions, the WWE would be crazy to let him compete in the ring. Regardless of outside opinions, when someone as respected as Dr. Maroon won’t clear him, that closes the deal for the WWE. No matter how many waivers Bryan signed, the WWE would be opening themselves up to a giant lawsuit should Bryan or his family bring a case against the company down the line should Bryan suffer any kind of lasting brain damage.
It’s easy to criticize the company if you want to see Bryan back in the ring. Yet this is not any kind of conspiracy to keep Bryan out while Roman Reigns moves towards WrestleMania. This is a company that just can’t put a guy in the ring when one of the leading concussion specialists is on record saying he should never wrestle again. It’s not the news you want to hear, but you have to empathize with them in this case.
It gets tricky as Bryan is under contract with the company for a while, yet has said that if the company won’t let him wrestle he wants to leave and start wrestling elsewhere. Does the company hold him to his deal or they let him go, knowing he’ll be a game changer anywhere he goes?
It’s quite a dilemma and I can’t imagine that this story is going to end well one way or the other.