There is one question many fans have been asking for months now regarding the status of Daniel Bryan; when is he coming back? Bryan has been out for a number of months now through injury and while he feels he is ready to go and has been cleared by an independent medical professional, WWE appear to be reluctant to clear him to compete in the ring. What the reason for that delay is at the moment is anyone's guess but for every week that Bryan is off television he knows he is losing momentum and the risk of him being lost in the shuffle of talent only increases. I hoped he would return at Night of Champions, as being the mystery partner of Dean Ambrose and Roman Reigns would have been perfect but the role ultimately went to a returning Chris Jericho. So why is it WWE just won't clear Bryan? I had a think about it and came up with a few theories I'd like to share.
One of the biggest factors has to be the concern about the risk of reoccurrence of the injury. Injuries can shorted the career of any superstar, no matter whether they are Daniel Bryan's age or Sting's age. When injuries happen they can have underlying consequences for the injured party and with Bryan having previously been out with nerve damage and shoulder issues in 2014, WWE will not want to risk rushing him back as that appears to be what happened last time leading to these latest issues in 2015. The current problems Bryan has are being linked to concussions, something that has caused the retirement from the ring of top names like Hall of Famer Bret Hart, who claimed Bryan's career in the ring could be over and although it hasn't ever been officially announced, it has caused Christian to step away from the ring too.
Trauma to the head is something being taken more seriously by sports all around the world as of late, with sports governing bodies being asked to do more with athletes who suffer any kind of head injury. Concussions are becoming not only a more recognised problem but more and more people are being diagnosed with them daily and it is a frightening condition to suffer from that we are still learning about every day. WWE are currently working with Chris Nowinski and the Concussion Legacy Foundation (formerly Sports Legacy Institute) to research the effects of brain trauma's and concussions, and with this work they will not want to put the long term health of one of their top performers at risk just because he is missing television time. With that there would also be plenty of negative attention from the media, and it could damage the companies reputation and relationship with the Concussion Legacy Foundation if WWE were to put Bryan into a situation that could cause the early demise of his career.
But that work isn't the only factor that could be contributing to the companies reluctance. This could also be a situation where WWE are trying to save face during the current on-going lawsuit filed against them by former star Billy Jack Haynes in October 2014, in which he accuses WWE of "egregious mistreatment of its wrestlers for its own benefit, as well as its concealment and denial of medical research and evidence concerning traumatic brain injuries suffered by WWE wrestlers." Other past superstars including Vito Lograsso and Adam Mercer have also filed suits against WWE in January 2015 under the same lawyer as Haynes. While WWE are in the middle of dealing with this I'm sure the last thing they will want to do is put themselves in a position where they are open to being accused of exploiting Bryan and returning him to action without officially being happy with his medical clearance.
And I find myself wondering if there is perhaps a deeper issue we are not aware of? After all, we only have Bryan's word and an independent doctors what he truly is ok. Deep down I feel like there must be more to why WWE won't clear him to return to action. Have they picked up on something hat Bryan isn't aware of? Or is there something the parties know and do not wish to reveal? Is there even something specific being picked up on the IMPACT test that Bryan is having trouble passing to the companies satisfaction? There are so many what if's in this story and with no real clear cut answer from either party as to what is keeping Bryan out the speculation will only continue to increase the longer he is out of action.
It would be a complete shame for this to be the end of Daniel Bryan's in ring career. You can tell from the effort he gives in the ring that Bryan always gives 100% and he loves what he does. But the health of a performer like Bryan automatically comes first and in this type of situation the best thing to do for all concerned is to make sure all parties are 100% happy before a decision is made on a return. With concussions on the rise across all area's of sport and life, and a focus from lawsuits on WWE the company now has to be more careful than ever before making a decision that could alter the life of one of it's employees. Until both Bryan and WWE are happy for him to return to in ring action I'm afraid we will all have to sit back and be patient. After all, I'd rather see Bryan come back at his best and have a longer career than rush back and have to suffer an early retirement and the problems that follow on from it in later life.
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