Current WWE SmackDown Live General Manager Daniel Bryan recently spoke with radio personality and pro wrestling enthusiast Peter Rosenberg about Bryan's present medical status, his frustrations over being cleared by various healthcare professionals and still not being allowed to return to a WWE ring, the support of his wife, Brie, and whether his in-ring return is inevitable.
According to Bryan, he is still not cleared to wrestle by WWE, supposedly on account of WWE's position that Bryan has had too many concussions.
"Oh, so I've had too many concussions [according to WWE]."
Bryan said, "they have outright said, 'no, you're wrestling again.' Yeah, yeah, yeah. We're still at the 'no you're not wrestling again' part of that conversation. But I have presented them with my case, which is a lot of testing and that kind of stuff that shows, 'hey, I'm fine.' And so, it's interesting."
Apparently, Bryan was cleared by the specialists at UCLA who WWE sent him to see; however, WWE is still not clearing the former world champion.
"I've worked with some of the best people in the country. I've been cleared by specialists at UCLA that I did not choose, right? WWE sent them to me because they're the best. A whole team of people who work with concussions on a daily basis and they said to me, 'you are fine to wrestle.' And we're also at this stage where all my brain EEGs, my MRIs, my neuropsychological tests [have been positive]."
In Bryan's view, in his current role, he can only do the stuff he does not like in pro wrestling such as traveling and cutting promos.
"I love [professional] wrestling, but I don't love all of it, right? The hard part of wrestling is the travel and going here and there and being away from your family. The part that I love is being in the ring and wrestling. Yeah, being in there and doing it. So now, I've got the job that's the part of wrestling that I don't like."
Bryan continued, "I am very appreciative of WWE giving me this something to do, but I think some people still think, 'oh, you're in wrestling still and you're getting a pay check - you should be happy.'"
Also during the interview, Bryan shared that Brie is very supportive of him wrestling again.
"So Brie, and you'd think that this would be the opposite, she's fully supportive of me wrestling again and one of the reasons why is she has been in some of these doctors meetings with the doctors that cleared me."
Bryan admitted that he did not inform WWE about experiencing post-concussion seizures until years after his final seizure.
"I also had post-concussion seizures and I had hidden that. And WWE is not wrong in this. One of the things that was bad about what I had done myself is that I hid things from the doctors, so if your doctors can't trust you, this is another thing about high school kids and college kids and all that kind of stuff if they get concussions, if you start hiding things from your doctors because you're afraid of what will happen to you, that is not good for you in the long run and that breeds this situation of mistrust."
Bryan explained, "I didn't tell WWE [about the seizures] until my last concussion in 2015 and I hadn't had a seizure since 2012, but I never told them that I had any seizures."
Interestingly, Bryan noted that Brie saw him have a seizure firsthand when they first started dating and he begged her to keep it secret.
"Brie was there for one of them and it was when we had first started dating, like, we had just started dating, and we were in the hotel room and I had a concussion that night and we were in bed and I started having the seizure, and Brie was there for that and she saw it. And then, like, you have to understand that we were in this really weird situation where it's like we had only been dating for, like, two months and she wasn't even my girlfriend yet. We were just kind of seeing each other. And I begged her, I said, 'please don't tell anyone about this.' She didn't tell anybody. She has a twin sister - she didn't even tell her twin sister that like, 'hey, Bryan has this thing.'"
Bryan explained that when he was initially forced to retire, he accepted that he would not be able to perform in the squared circle any longer and it was not until he was around WWE again as SmackDown GM that his desire to wrestle again grew.
"I'm somebody that if they found something wrong with my brain, I don't want to wrestle because I'm okay with not wrestling. The hard part for me is having all these specialists that told me I'm cleared to wrestle and then I am not able to wrestle. That's the hard part, right, because it's still this passion. It was interesting because when I retired, I made peace with it, right?"
Bryan continued, "for a while, I was like, 'okay, it's going to be okay. Whatever.' But then, it gets to a point where you're like, 'wait a minute, not only can I do this, but I feel like [sighs] it almost feels like I'm doing a disservice to me and a disservice to other people who are going to be in my situation."
Bryan claimed that he has not been cleared by WWE because the company is trying to protect him and itself, though he wondered how many current WWE performers would be able perform as well as he has with respect to concussion testing.
"If you look at some of the people who perform now, and so, this is one of my things too. And so I also need to say this because it comes across as 'argh, WWE!', but that is not the case at all. WWE is trying to protect me, right? And they're also trying to protect their company, but I don't know how many people on the roster, just in total, if you had them do all the brain testing that I've done that their tests would be as good as mine."
Finally, Bryan divulged that he will not continue on in his role as SmackDown GM if he is not cleared to return to the ring by the time his current WWE deal expires. In such a turn of events, 'The World's Toughest Vegan' will seek out greener pastures for an in-ring return.
"If I get a bad test somewhere along the line, I won't wrestle. But I also, will probably, when my contract is up, I'd probably, if I'm still General Manager at that point, I'd probably step away from that part of it because just being around it, I love it a little too much and I need to transition. I need to get this focused because I'm very good at focusing on one thing, right? But then, I need to switch that laser focus to something else like saving the starving polar bears. So yeah, assuming everything continues as it has been going, when my [WWE] contract is up I would wrestle elsewhere if WWE would not clear me."
Check out this interview here. If you use any of the quotes from this article, please credit Rosenberg Radio with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Rosenberg Radio