The year was 2014. The city was New Orleans. The WrestleMania was XXX. The main event was the greatest underdog story WWE had told in decades. That was the night Daniel Bryan defeated three men in one night (including two in a the triple threat for the WWE and World Heavyweight Championships), unarguably the biggest peak of his career as a professional wrestler.
Since then, Bryan’s had a rocky few years, filled with serious injuries and attempted comebacks, followed by retiring from in-ring competition in February 2016. Ever since then, though, Bryan has talked about returning to the ring one day, whether it be for WWE or for another professional wrestling promotion.
Well now, the year is 2018. The city is New Orleans. The WrestleMania is 34. And, according to a new interview with United Arab Emirates media outlet the National, there is a chance Daniel Bryan may step back in the ring next month.
When asked by the interviewer whether he would be physically involved in the presumed culmination of the Shane McMahon/Sami Zayn/Kevin Owens storyline (which is leading to a match of some sort at Mania), Bryan had this to say:
“As of this moment, as of today, I am not cleared by WWE […] I have done everything in my power. Everything they have asked me to and I have gone above and beyond as far as ‘Okay, what doctors do you need me to see. Send me to any doctor you want, any doctor that you want and let’s get their feedback on what is going on with me’. So far every doctor has cleared me that they have sent me to and so there is a chance.”
Bryan went on to say that he used to believe the percentage of WWE ever clearing him for in-ring competition was “low,” but that with all of the testing he has undergone in recent year, it has gotten “a little higher.” Given that in November, Bryan set that bar at only 20 percent, and as recently as January, Bryan was saying he never expected to wrestle with WWE again, this is a big deal. He continues:
“With how everything is, there is one way to go if I don’t get cleared [storyline-wise] and then there is another way to go if I am cleared. I am hoping to be cleared but I don’t know which way it goes.”
Given that there are only three episodes of Smackdown Live left before WrestleMania 34, if Bryan is somehow cleared for in-ring action, expect an announcement to that effect this Tuesday. In the meantime, keep your fingers crossed that Bryan’s as healthy as he says he is. Who knows? Maybe those dream matches against AJ Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura and the entirety of the Bullet Club still have a chance of happening.