On February 8, 2016, Daniel Bryan announced his retirement, and we all thought that we’d never see one of the most popular and inspiring wrestlers perform in the ring ever again.
And then, on Tuesday, the WWE announced that company doctors have cleared him to return to in-ring competition.
Suddenly, the March 20 edition of Smackdown Live has become the most highly-anticipated episode of WWE television in quite a while.
Bryan had repeatedly said in interviews that his own doctors had cleared him to return to the ring, independent physicians specializing in head and neck injuries said that they would clear him to compete. His last hurdle, which seemed like one that might never be cleared, was getting approved by the WWE’s own doctors to return to the ring.
While the WWE has never publicly said why they previously wouldn’t clear Bryan, the speculation was that after years of media scrutiny over the way that the company handles treatment of injured performers, they didn’t want to risk a permanent and/or debilitating injury or worse happening as a result of a performance in one of their rings, possibly on TV.
Bryan had also previously been open about the fact that his contract as an outside the ring performer expired in September of this year, leading to speculation that he would wait until it expired to return to action outside of the company.
But now, all of that speculation has been put to rest. And with Wrestlemania less than three weeks away, we’ll have to watch tonight to find out if he can still be part of the WWE’s plans for their biggest show of the year.