The injury epidemic in WWE has put the company on red alert as they head to a WrestleMania where they’re trying to pack 100,000 people into Dallas’ Jerry World. They need a marquee match that they’ve been unable to provide due to the fact that their top guys keep getting knocked out due to fluke injuries. WWE needed someone like Daniel Bryan to return for WrestleMania. Imagine Daniel Bryan coming back to RAW on Monday night to deliver his retirement speech, the lights going out and Undertaker coming out saying they should both have one more match at ‘Mania. Boom. WWE has a main-event.
Instead of letting Bryan have one more match, WWE did everything it could to keep him out of the ring for the better part of the last two years, until he relented and finally retired. According to Dave Meltzer, WWE put a hold on Bryan’s contract, keeping him away from wrestling for the better part of the last two years. The contract hold even stopped him from putting his notice in so he would go and risk his life for a different company. WWE did all of this to keep Bryan out of the ring despite the fact he’d been cleared by multiple doctors. The company’s concern over CTE, Bryan’s livelihood and his overall health (and, let’s not be naive — bad publicity) forced them to stay as diligent as possible to ensure that Bryan didn’t further endanger himself. In the end — after more extensive brain scans — Bryan was forced to retire.
As sad as Bryan’s retirement is — his career cut short at the height of his popularity — we can take solace in the fact that he has a chance, now, to live a full life. And a life that’s much healthier than if he were allowed to take any more bumps. The decision to make Daniel Bryan stay away from wrestling effectively saved his life.