Not long ago, Daniel Bryan's return to WWE's ring was impossible. However the 36-year old knew he was healthy and had a plan ready once his WWE contract expired.
On a recent episode of Talk is Jericho, Bryan divulged his potential strategy.
“I wanted to go to New Japan, Ring of Honor and CMLL. I’ve done a little bit in Mexico, but I always wanted to do – even though there’s no money there, like in comparison, I wanted to do like mask and hair matches and all that kind of stuff," he said.
Despite being on WWE's injured reserve, Bryan routinely dropped clues about his wrestling future, even going as far as teasing a match with Cody Rhodes in Ring of Honor. Turns out, that was more than just fun on Twitter, as Bryan may have been maneuvering to become an adversary of the global popular Bullet Club.
"so Bullet Club is very hot, but they need somebody to go against… something that would draw money and interest and bring independent wrestling to another level, I thought – that’s it. And then you [Jericho] came in and just did it [both laugh]… so that’s what I was thinking, a long-term thing. We could do that for a couple years," explained Bryan.
As Bryan mentioned, it was Chris Jericho who filled that void when he played the maniacal villain to Kenny Omega's hero at Wrestle Kingdom 12 this January. However, we can't help but imagine all of the juicy hypotheticals Bryan's departure from WWE could have given us.
However, now that Bryan is back to regularly competing in WWE, all of this is moot. While it's fun to guess how WWE will book his return, it's just nice to have Daniel Bryan back.
"Saying goodbye to the ring was one of the hardest moments of my life. But thanks to the amazing people supporting me, I was able to keep fighting for my dream. This moment feels surreal and I'm glad to be able to talk to you all at the beginning of #SDLive tonight," he wrote on Twitter upon gaining medical clearance.1comments
Despite Bryan asserting his health, WWE appeared reluctant to allow him to wrestle again. However, after letting their doctors put Bryan through stringent testing, they finally relented.
Following more than two years of extensive evaluations, four-time World Champion Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition by leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts, including Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher.
Bryan underwent a full review of his medical history and received comprehensive neurological and physical evaluations independent of WWE. He was cleared by each doctor as well as WWE’s Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Maroon.