SmackDown Live general manager Daniel Bryan said in an interview Thursday he is working on getting medically cleared for an in-ring return.
Bryan hasn't wrestled since 2015 due to concussion issues, which included seizures brought on by concussions.
Despite that, Bryan discussed the process of a potential comeback and where WWE may stand on the subject in an interview with Mike Ashmore of the Trentonian:
"I'm trying to get cleared as we speak. All my tests have come back fantastic, better than people who have never had any concussion-type stuff. But it's a weird thing. We're in a weird situation politically with the climate around concussions; right now, it's very difficult. WWE would love to have me back, but is that the smart thing for me as a business to bring me back? If I was to come back, and they let me back, would they get a lot of flak for it? They have a ton of stockholders that they're responsible for. It's more than just, 'Is he healthy to do it?'"
Bryan gave his official retirement speech on Feb. 8, 2016, later citing that a "small, subacute lesion" was found in the temporoparietal region of his brain.
In recent months, however, Bryan has been outspoken about his desire to return to wrestling as an in-ring performer.
Appearing on E&C's Pod of Awesomeness with former WWE Superstars Edge and Christian in August (h/t William Windsor of WrestlingInc.com), Bryan said the lesion diagnosis was made only because his reflexes are closer to that of an average person rather than a professional athlete.
As part of the interview with Ashmore, Bryan suggested the overwhelming majority of doctors he has consulted with believe he should be cleared:
"There's more than that to the whole situation. All the concussion doctors think that I'm healthy enough to do it, and that I should be able to do it—well, I don't want to say all of them, I'm sure there's somebody out there who doesn't think that—but there's a lot more than goes into it than just that. That's the unfortunate situation with giant corporations and big business in the United States."
Bryan is in a difficult position with WWE because he remains under contract with the company, which has prevented him from potentially returning to the ring for another promotion.
WWE has been the subject of a concussion lawsuit in recent years, which has furthered the need for it to take a cautious approach with regard to head injuries.
Bryan is currently in an on-screen role as SmackDown general manager, but he has not gotten involved physically.
The 36-year-old developed into one of the most popular Superstars in WWE history, and his WWE World Heavyweight Championship win at WrestleMania 30 remains among the biggest feel-good moments in wrestling.
An in-ring return by Bryan would undoubtedly be huge business for WWE, but the leader of the Yes Movement may have to wait until his contract expires before he can make a comeback in the business.
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