Those within All Elite Wrestling reportedly don't expect Daniel Bryan to leave WWE despite the reported expiration of his contract.
According to Fightful Select (h/t Felix Upton of Ringside News), sources within AEW have said they "fully expect Bryan to remain with WWE." Fightful Select added that one AEW source said definitively they heard Bryan is re-signing with WWE.
Fightful Select (h/t WrestlingInc.com's Marc Middleton) reported earlier this week that Bryan's WWE contract expired following his loss to Roman Reigns in a Universal Championship match on SmackDown last week.
The stipulation for the match was that Bryan would have to leave SmackDown if he lost. After winning the bout, Reigns took Bryan out with a conchairto, which suggests he will be taking some time off regardless of his contract status.
The wording of the match stipulation is such that Bryan could return on Raw or NXT in the future while remaining true to his word and staying off the blue brand.
Once Fightful Select reported that Bryan's WWE contract was up, there was predictably speculation within the wrestling world that the 39-year-old veteran could sign elsewhere. AEW emerged as the most-talked-about option given that it has become the No. 2 wrestling promotion in the United States.
AEW could be attractive to Bryan if he wants to try something new and face fresh talent, but he is deeply rooted in WWE.
Aside from a brief stint on the independent scene in 2010, Bryan has been under contract with WWE since 2009, while his wife Brie Bella signed with the company even earlier than that.
Bryan has been one of the biggest stars in the company for much of his tenure, is a five-time world champion and competed in the main event of WrestleMania 37 last month, facing Reigns and Edge in a Triple Threat.
It stands to reason that WWE will give Bryan what he wants within reason in order to get him to stay. One thing that may appeal to Bryan is working a lighter schedule so he can spend more time with his wife and two children.
On top of that, WWE could offer Bryan the chance to work with new and exciting talent should it allow him to have a stint in NXT, where the possibility for dream matches against the likes of Finn Balor, Johnny Gargano, Tommaso Ciampa, Kyle O'Reilly, Walter, Pete Dunne, Kushida, Karrion Kross and others exist.
Any wrestling company would undoubtedly love to have Bryan on its roster, but based on the intel coming out of AEW, rival promotions may be hard-pressed to pry him away from WWE.
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