Daniel Bryan was recently a guest on the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast and he discussed fatherhood, his desire to return to wrestling and more.
Bryan said being a father makes him feel more mentally prepared for an in-ring return. He said he wants to set a good example for his child that you should do whatever it takes to be able to do what you love.
"It is a different thing now, which is weird," Bryan said. "You see your baby, and you want them to have--not everything that they want, but to be able to pursue a dream and that sort of thing, and just this idea of like, okay, I feel that I can still wrestle, and all the tests say that I can still wrestle, but they are not allowing me to wrestle so what kind of example is that setting? Somebody is telling you that you can't do something that you love but you still want to do it, so it's kind of like, well perhaps I should just listen to them because it's easy, and a steady paycheck, but you know I have a baby and all that kind of stuff. It is kind of the opposite thing of saying, hey, don't let someone stop you from pursuing your dream and do what you love.
Bryan said he also expects a lighter workload than when he was performing in his prime. He said he doesn't want to spend too much time away from home, so he would work a schedule that's most conducive to him meeting his obligations to his family.
"Also, the idea now is not to be someone who had done 227 matches as I had done in 2013, which is probably why I needed neck surgery in 2014. I have no ambition ever to do that many wrestling matches in a year. I would be more than comfortable doing 50-100 matches a year. I enjoy wrestling, so it would be interesting to see the amount of number of matches that would satisfy me artistically as far as a creative outlet versus I don't want to spend a lot of time away from home," Bryan said. "It is a weird conundrum, which is why I believe that Jerry Lawler had the best career ever because he spent all those years in Memphis, and that Memphis territory was relatively small as far as size wise. They did an incredible number of viewers on television, but a lot of those drives were like two hours from his house. You can wrestle like 150-200 days a year and still be in your bed most nights, every night. He had the greatest career ever. Out in Washington, there is this Independent company called DEFY, but they only run shows like once every couple months, maybe once a month; but I was thinking to myself, man, if we can only turn that into a small territory where I can still work two shows a month and go out there in my spandex battle jammies and do my thing."
Bryan said his preference is to make his in-ring return in the WWE, but he's fully aware that the chances of the company medically clearing him are slim. His desire to wrestle outweighs his desire to wrestling in the WWE, so if he's not cleared he would find another way to make his comeback. He said he's doing everything in his power to make sure that when he returns, he'll be safe.
"To be 100%, my first preference is to be cleared by WWE. The other stuff is if WWE doesn't clear me. I like to give things in percentages, so I think there is an 85% chance that I would wrestle again. I think the percentage of me wrestling in the WWE again is in the lower end of 20% just because there is a lot of stuff. Not even health stuff, but more corporate stuff because they have to be careful," he said. "They are a billion dollar company that employs a lot of people and if something were to happen, not to say that it would, but if it would, it would be a liability issue. A lot of blame gets put on these people and it shouldn't be, so I believe it would be in the lower percentile that WWE clears me to wrestle for them, and don't think for a second that Vince McMahon is holding me back because I have had conversations with higher up people in WWE and they would love nothing more but for me to wrestle. They are good people, but they just have to look out for all these people.
"I'm out there in the fringes of doing concussion testing stuff. I am out there doing Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment for post concussions; it's not like I went to this one weirdo guy telling me to do it. I am working with the Joe Namath Institute in Florida," he continued. "They are doing this type of testing with the FDA [Food and Drug Administration], and also a Center that is doing it for recovered Vets in Phoenix. There are people out there everywhere doing this testing of Hyperbaric Oxygen treatment and doing more and more tests because what they are finding is positive results. What I am doing is going out there in the fringe testing that isn't necessarily FDA approved, and if there is something that shows a red flag, my number one priority as we mentioned earlier is my baby and my wife, and my family. I love wrestling, but I don't love it more than having a quality life until I am 70 years old. I am also very open about there is a chance---I've had every test and they have all literally been fantastic, better with people with no concussion history."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit the Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Source: Sam Roberts Wrestling Podcast
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.