Daniel Bryan Announces Retirement, And It Seems Real and Not Fake

Ryan Glasspiegel

Daniel Bryan, who saw his improbable ascent to WWE champion almost cut short by injury before he could defend the belt, and sustained a head injury shortly after his return, has announced his retirement on Twitter

Because it’s WWE, anything like this will and should be looked at with at least granular skepticism. If it is part of the story, it successfully pulls at our emotions for seven hours in the lead-up to Raw, only to flip the script. However, this unfortunately feels like a real announcement as opposed to a work.

Behind the scenes, Bryan has had a battle with WWE’s medical staff, hoping for them to clear him. He’s reportedly been cleared by other doctors. This weekend, Cageside Seats summarized a report from the legendary Dave Meltzer that the wrestler had sought his release from WWE, only to not have it granted. Presuming that story is accurate—and there is no reason to doubt that’s the case—it’s understandable that the timing of this announcement from Daniel Bryan would come today.

This almost certainly isn’t the last we’ll see of Daniel Bryan in the broader sense, and perhaps one day down the road he will be able to gain medical clearance from WWE for a return to the ring. But if he is 1,000% done, it’s been a helluva run.