WWE announced earlier today that Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to the ring. It was a moment pretty much every wrestling fan has been waiting for since Bryan’s retirement a little over two years ago. Since then, we’ve seen Bryan support a demonic libertarian mayoral campaign, accuse AJ Styles of being a flat earther, and serve as General Manager of Smackdown Live, but none of these things have been nearly as entertaining as watching him wrestle.
Before he was cleared, there was widespread speculation over when Bryan would return and whether or not it would be for WWE. Now that he’s back, the more relevant question is who will fight him first? Judging from the twitter reactions, everyone except the Miz wants to. To a certain extent I think a lot of us were thinking “NOW SHINSUKE NOW,” but Nakamura should probably finish his already-ongoing dream match feud before he gets into it with the goat.
Bryan only promised to come out and talk on Smackdown today, leading everyone to hope he would pull a Kurt Angle and book himself into a WrestleMania match.
Smackdown opened with a video montage of Bryan’s biggest career moments, his still tearjerking retirement speech, and the news and response to the news he was cleared. Then Bryan entered the arena to resounding “YES” chants, looking happier and more alive than we’ve seen him on WWE TV in a long time.
Bryan finally cut off the “DANIEL BRYAN” chants to talk about what happened to Shane McMahon last week… but the perpetrators conveniently were not at the arena yet, so he had time to make a sincere speech about dealing with his retirement, his subsequent anger and depression (which created some of the realest moments on Total Divas/Bellas,) and how he learned to be grateful. He thanked the fans and his wife, Brie Bella, who encouraged him to keep fighting, to keep seeing specialists, and to keep pursuing his dreams even when they seemed impossible and he wanted to quit. “If you fight for your dreams, your dreams will fight for you,” Brie told him.
Bryan said he checked with specialists for two entire months in order to get WWE to clear him. He then thanked the WWE and their doctors, who he says looked at him as a person first, rather than marketable wrestler.
After thanking the fans again, Bryan said he does not known when or where he will get back in a WWE ring. This prompted “WRESTLEMANIA” chants, and the Smackdown GM tearfully looking at the WM sign. Was that the best Sign Point Moment of all time, even though it didn’t include any pointing? I think it’s a contender.