We’ve known since even before he announced his retirement that there’s nothing in the world Daniel Bryan wants to do more than wrestle again. He’s been on record for some time as saying it’s the only thing he is ever interested in doing. He’s also made it fairly transparent that his current role as Smackdown Live general manager is just a way of playing out the string of his current WWE contract, and intimated that when his deal is up next year, he’ll be in the wind if WWE still won’t clear him to wrestle.
Bryan even demonstrated on Total Bellas that he was working on developing an all-new in-ring style that minimized the bumps and risks he would take. And it looked pretty damn awesome, even if it did bring to mind Beast from the X-Men.
Anyway, Bryan told Sports Illustrated pretty much what he’s been telling the Miz on Talking Smack: he’s preparing for a return to the ring, and he’s going to do everything in his power to make that happen.
“I’m working on [an in-ring return]. Wrestling is more of a creative outlet, and especially for somebody like me, I view it as my creative outlet. Not all WWE superstars and not all wrestlers view it that way, but that’s how I view it and that’s one of the ways my mind works creatively.
“I always think of it in terms of music. You’re not always going to be a huge rock star in music, but musicians can play until the day they die. With sports, it’s different. You can’t always do it until the very end, and that’s a hard reality of sports. The blessings wrestling has given me have allowed me to find some new passions, but it’s really hard when you’ve got that first love and nothing really replaces it.”
There’s going to be a whole lot of collar-tugging to go around if Bryan does in fact leave WWE next year to go wrestle for New Japan, or Ring of Honor, or anywhere else, but no one is ever going to accuse him of not having thought this whole thing through. That whole “musicians can play until the day they die” sure sounds ominous and adamant both in context and out of context, but if nothing else, Bryan definitely has a solid support system between his wife and the rest of his extended wrestling family. One assumes there will be a zero-tolerance policy from Brie and the rest of his loved ones should injury befall him again.