Daniel Bryan's return to performing in the ring was the culmination of a lot of hard work and perseverance. But it also came from a sense of dissatisfaction that Bryan experienced while he was the general manager of SmackDown Live. On a recent episode of Talk Is Jericho, Bryan spoke to Chris Jericho about how he became fed up with his GM position and pushed for a return to the ring.
Bryan's entire adult life has revolved around professional wrestling, and he's always excelled at in-ring performance. It's no secret that his least favorite part of the business is the backstage promo work, and as SmackDown GM that was basically the only thing he could do. Bryan said he grew to hate the job, and he eventually put his foot down and decided to make a comeback.
"Then they brought me back as GM, and I still have to do a bunch of traveling with that. I have to sit around for a bunch of matches It hurt and it also was like, 'What am I doing?' This is the part of me where I'm like, 'What a sissy I am!' Lots of people go to their jobs that they don't like and make way less money than me being the GM of SmackDown, but I could not get out of this mental state where I hate being here," Bryan said. "I really disliked going to work every week, and there would be times where I would fly in and get the script to the show, I would try to get as many people as I could to get in the shoot so I can leave that night and just get out of there. That was when I really started to say that I wouldn't accept this anymore, I'm going to come back."
Bryan explained that he had to have a face-to-face meeting with Vince McMahon to explain to him how he would handle a return to the ring. Bryan, who has a well-documented history of concussions, told McMahon he would agree to receive medical attention after every match which is the opposite of what he used to do. He admitted that sometimes he would suffer a concussion and try to walk it off instead of seeing a doctor.
"I had a conversation with Vince McMahon. He was pushing the hard questions about what would happen if I would get another concussion? I had answers for him and laid it out. I would have different concussion protocols than everyone else, and one of my pitches to him is that this happens in every sport, when guys get a concussion and a trainer goes over to him and they are asked if they are okay, and the guy would say that he is fine. They would ask if he has a concussion, and the guy would say no, he's fine. Myself included would say that. So, stop that because that has been an issue with me before. In the past, when I would have a concussion I would just walk it off," Bryan said. "My proposal would be that after every match I have to go to the trainer's room and they have to do their checks, and if I don't do it maybe I get a fine, or something like that. After every match now I get checked. Not even thanking my opponents, after WrestleMania, I walked to Gorilla. No thank you's to anybody, just walked straight to the Doctor's and then I get checked. They do basic neurological stuff, and we are revising that as we go because it is new to them too."
McMahon told Bryan to explain his proposal to WWE's head doctor Joseph Maroon. Bryan said he appreciates Maroon being willing to revisit his decision to clear him or not. Bryan was cleared to return to the ring in March and wrestled his first match since 2015 at WrestleMania 34 in April. He said he's back to a full-time schedule.
"He told me to type it up and put it in an email to Doctor Maroon and say this. I give Doctor Maroon a lot of credit because it is hard to reverse your decision regarding clearing me. I have a lot of respect for him because he said, okay, my opinion might not be right for this. He sent me to three Neurologists that he thought were the best Neurologists. He could have easily sent me to Neurologists that backed his opinion. He sent me to people that had the latest, up to date research on concussion," he said. "He wanted to get to the right answer. I have a lot of respect to him for that. If I get hurt, it goes to Doctor Maroon because he is the Head of Medical in WWE. That was the beginning of the process. He said that if we do clear you, what is your schedule going to look like? Turns out, we haven't talked about the schedule much because they pretty much have thrown me in live events, so now, I am on that full European tour, so it's back to the full-time stuff."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Talk Is Jericho with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Talk Is Jericho
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.