Daniel Bryan Returns to WWE: 6 Dream Matchups We'd Like to See
Even though Daniel Bryan announced his retirement from WWE due to concussion-related injuries on Feb. 8, 2016, he never gave up on returning to the ring.
The leader of the Yes! Movement was not taking no for an answer. He underwent full review of medical history and received comprehensive neurological and physical evaluations outside of WWE. Now, after more than two years of extensive evaluations, the 36-year-old has been medically cleared to continue his career as an active competitor.
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.
— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) March 20, 2018
Byran didn't waste any time getting back into the fray; he was right in the thick of the action on Tuesday's SmackDown Live.
— WWE (@WWE) March 21, 2018
This unexpected turn of events came after leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts, including Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher gave the green light. The final step was approval of Dr. Joseph Maroon, WWE’s medical director. Having someone return to a sport or sports entertainment after being told their competitive days are over is unheard of, yet here we are.
Bryan has remained a fixture on SmackDown Live as the general manager under the onscreen commissioner Shane McMahon. With WrestleMania 34 around the corner, it’s a perfect time for the former multi-time champion to lace up the boots once again. The landscape has no doubt changed in WWE since Bryan has been out of the squared circle. Many new faces have entered the company and others stepped up into featured spots.
With Bryan ready for action, dream matches only thought to come to fruition in WWE video games can potentially happen in reality. Whether it's a past opponent or a first-time ever, knowing how good the beloved superstar is, he could make a battle with a broomstick a must-see event.
Here are six big Daniel Bryan matchups that are on our wish list:
Given the history between The Miz and Daniel Bryan, this is a natural must-see match. From Miz trying to bully Bryan as his “mentor” on NXT to a heated war of words on Talking Smack, these two have a long history to build upon.
The Intercontinental champion has grown exponentially in the past few years, meaning a match with Bryan would be better than had it been a few years ago. Throw in Bryan’s wife Brie Bella and Miz’s better half Maryse, and you have a real pressure-cooker boiling over.
It didn’t take long for Shinsuke Nakamura to let it be known he wants to face Bryan. The 2018 Royal Rumble’s style would compliment nicely with Bryan and his explosive offense. The fans would be divided forced to choose between the “King of Strong Style” and Bryan, but the atmosphere would surely be electric.
Daniel Bryan and AJ Styles are cut from the same cloth, working their way to WWE and the main event thanks to sheer perseverance. They have earned the fans respect and adulation over the years with their respective underdog stories. The fans would be divided here but Styles has proven to be a good heel if WWE decided to go in that direction. The two have met in Ring of Honor before, so the stage is set for a full circle type of situation.
Kurt Angle is on a comeback of his own to WWE in the last year. He returned to the company after more than a decade for an induction into the Hall of Fame, became a general manager on Raw and has made sporadic tag team match appearances.
Imagine the story told if both have their in-ring comebacks as far as one-on-one against each other. Two of the best technical wrestlers around would be a match of the year candidate in the making.
This likelihood of Shawn Michaels coming out of retirement is minimal. Then again, we thought the same thing about Daniel Bryan wrestling in WWE again. Considering how instrumental the “Heartbreak Kid” was in Bryan’s career, it’s a great teacher-versus-student story that can resonate. These days, Michaels is a coach at NXT, so he isn’t too far removed from the business. Yes, the WWE Hall of Famer seems happy and content. However, if Bryan’s comeback tells us anything, it’s that anything is possible.
Daniel Bryan and Johnny Gargano wrestled on the independents during a different point in their lives. Numerous comparisons have been made between Bryan and what fans are seeing with Gargano on NXT. Much like Bryan, Gargano has the innate ability to strike an emotional cord with the audience. The two workhorses wouldn’t disappoint, going the distance to give the audience a classic. After the eventual callup of Gargano, this would be a match that could help take him to the next level.