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Daniel Bryan Cleared to Return to WWE After over 2 Years Off with Concussions

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistMarch 20, 2018

IMAGE DISTRIBUTED FOR WWE - Daniel Bryan celebrates after winning the main event during Wrestlemania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans on Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE)
Jonathan Bachman/Associated Press

WWE announced Tuesday that SmackDown Live general manager Daniel Bryan has officially been cleared to return to in-ring competition.

According to WWE.com, several prominent neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts cleared Bryan more than two years after he was forced to retire due to concussions.

Among them are Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Javier Cardenas and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher as well as WWE Medical Director Dr. Joseph Maroon.

Bryan gave his thoughts on his return via Twitter:

Daniel Bryan @WWEDanielBryan

Saying goodbye to the ring was one of the hardest moments of my life. But thanks to the amazing people supporting me, I was able to keep fighting for my dream. This moment feels surreal and I'm glad to be able to talk to you all at the beginning of #SDLive tonight.

In February 2016, Bryan gave an emotional retirement speech on Raw and later explained that he was told there was a lesion on his brain.

Bryan also revealed that he had suffered seizures brought on by concussions.

In recent weeks and months, however, Bryan has openly talked about getting cleared by independent neurologists and having the ambition to return to the ring.

Last week, in an interview with The National (h/t Joshua Gagnon of WrestlingInc.com), the 36-year-old veteran said his chances of getting cleared were increasing, and that there were WrestleMania plans in place provided he received clearance:

"As of this moment, as of today, I am not cleared by WWE. I have done everything in my power. Everything they have asked me to and I have gone above and beyond as far as 'Okay, what doctors do you need me to see? Send me to any doctor you want, any doctor that you want and let's get their feedback on what is going on with me.' So far every doctor has cleared me that they have sent me to and so there is a chance. I used to think that the percentage of the WWE ever clearing me was low. I think with the stuff that I have done it has gone a little higher but I don't know how much higher. With how everything is there is one way to go if I don't get cleared [storyline wise] and then there is another way to go if I am cleared. I am hoping to be cleared but I don't know which way it goes."

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With the former WWE World Heavyweight champion finally having WWE's blessing to return to the ring, there is already speculation that he could take part in WrestleMania 34 next month.

Although Bryan won't face Shinsuke Nakamura since the King of Strong Style is set to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship, Nakamura tweeted the following regarding Bryan's impending return:

Shinsuke Nakamura @ShinsukeN

This is great news. No one needs to wish anymore. They can see it with their eyes. #NakamuravsBryan

Bryan has been involved in a feud with SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon in recent months over Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens. On the heels of Zayn and Owens viciously attacking McMahon next week, it seems possible that Bryan will be Shane-O-Mac's tag team partner on the Grandest Stage of Them All.

Since Bryan hasn't competed in a match since 2015, he figures to garner a huge reaction when his return takes place.

If it occurs at WrestleMania 34, the pop will be even bigger since New Orleans was the site of his greatest achievement at WrestleMania 30.

Listen to Ring Rust Radio for all of the hot wrestling topics. Catch the latest episode in the player below (warning: some language NSFW).

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