WWE recently offered Daniel Bryan a lucrative contract extension that would pay him the downside guarantee of a main event wrestler even though he wouldn't be wrestling. Bryan declined. This was by far WWE's most aggressive attempt to retain Bryan and when Bryan refused, Vince McMahon made the decision that Bryan needs to turn heel. All decisions with Bryan now are being made with the assumption that retaining him will be impossible and that he will definitely be leaving to go wrestle elsewhere when his contract expires.
NJPW would be the company outside of WWE able to offer him the most money and a heel turn wouldn't hurt his marketability there at all, but WWE's biggest fear is that Impact Wrestling would come up with the money to sign him and be able to use his popularity to seek an upgrade in their TV deal. Thus far Impact has had no luck finding a better deal than Pop and while Pop has made it clear that they will not budge on offering a license fee, they're not opposed to a short term deal that would allow Impact to look elsewhere.
Pop is willing to continue to air the show as long as it doesn't cost them anything, even if Impact isn't willing to sign a lengthy extension. WWE is hoping to hamper Bryan's popularity and marketability because the flexibility of Impact's arrangement with Pop would put them in a position to be able to switch networks on short notice if they can use Bryan's star power to secure a paid deal elsewhere.
Zack Reacts: I know that WWE is looking out for themselves and Daniel Bryan by not letting him wrestle. They think they're protecting him from harm, and themselves legally, but I can't understand why they won't let him just wrestle. If they really are looking out for his health wouldn't it be better to let him wrestle in WWE where they can control the situation by restricting his move set and having the best doctors available? It seems like plain stubbornness to me. I can't fathom letting one of your biggest draws go. They need to strike a deal to with Bryan to let him wrestle rather than let him go elsewhere.