Is Daniel Bryan’s WWE Career Over?


Facing another career crippling injury, Daniel Bryan has announced his relinquishment of the Intercontinental Championship. The announcement left fans wondering if Daniel Bryan will ever return to the top.

Just over a year ago, Daniel Bryan had the WWE Universe eating from the palm of his hand. The suspenseful intensity of his entrance music coupled with the impossibly simple “yes” chant, brought stadiums to their feet in full support of their hero. I still get goosebumps remembering the image of Bryan atop the steel cage, celebrating his match against Bray Wyatt.

But on last night’s episode of Monday Night Raw, Daniel Bryan took to the ring to announce the severity of his most recent injury. Reluctantly, he was forced to surrender the Intercontinental Championship. Holding back emotions, Bryan’s speech made clear the unknown duration of his absence.

WWE fans looked on as their bearded superstar replicated an oddly familiar speech.

Shortly after his victory at WrestleMania XXX last year, Bryan sustained an injury leaving him to break bad news to his followers. It barely seemed possible that the man who proved his credibility to the Authority was beat by his own body. After months of recovery and much fan anticipation, Bryan made his return at this year’s Royal Rumble.

But Daniel Bryan wasn’t crowned victor that night. Not even close.

The reality was that life after Bryan does exist and the WWE had to move on. Despite disapproving fans witnessing their once over superstar become one of the eliminated, Reigns was announced champion. But Bryan moved forward and secured a spot at Wrestlemania XXI just a few months later where he was celebrated as the new Intercontinental Champion.

Until last night.

Almost exactly 1 year after his initial injury, Bryan is reliving a nightmare many superstars dream they’ll never experience. The reason for their concern isn’t because they’re bodies can’t recover from injury and return better, faster or stronger. The concern stems from the palpable reality that they’ll be forgotten. Addicted to the rush of the crowd, WWE superstars are performers. The pop of the crowd will always dictate the success of a wrestler.

With his latest departure from the ring, it’s unclear how Bryan will remain a presence within WWE. Joining the panel on the newest season of Tough Enough airing next month, speculation alludes to him working in developmental. Assuming that won’t be a lifelong career move for Bryan, the inevitable return will present itself.

Even more concerning than his resignation will be the reaction from both WWE and WWE fans to his next return. As an injury prone athlete, it’s unlikely WWE will have continued confidence of Bryan sustaining a championship title. Even all the “yes” chants in the world aren’t deafening enough to control the hand of creative and will ultimately fade quietly into the distance.

With new talent training every day and making debuts onto the main roster, fans are choosing new favorites. Ultimately, a fan wants to cheer for a person they can watch perform on consistent basis. Being able to cheer them week after week is what keeps people interested in the story lines. Unless Bryan is periodically brought back to events, fans won’t be reminded of the man they love to support. Because it’s not possible to write-in inactive wrestlers for long periods, the likelihood is slim.

The unpredictably tragic nature of professional wrestling have inspired some to fight and pushed others to fall. With everything against him and the evolution of WWE, Daniel Bryan might be remembered as the man who couldn’t stay over.

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