What if Daniel Bryan’s Retirement is a Swerve?


Looking at the slim possibility of Daniel Bryan’s retirement being a work.

The wrestling community has reacted with expected sadness over the news that Daniel Bryan would be retiring from pro wrestling. He hasn’t wrestled since last April and months of trying to get cleared by doctors hasn’t moved him any closer. And while it makes sense for fans and superstars to mourn the end of Bryan’s career, has anyone stopped to think that maybe, just maybe, the whole thing is a work? Admit it, you thought about it.

Visions of Mark Henry’s epic retirement swerve against John Cena a couple of years ago have to be passing through a lot of minds today. Maybe I’m biased since Henry is one of my five favorite wrestlers ever, but the way he played the audience like a fiddle was a thing of pure beauty. I was in tears for one reason at the beginning, and then in tears for a whole other reason just minutes later.  What would happen if Bryan appeared on tonight’s Raw and did something similar? How would fans react?

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To show just how obsessive and, well, fanatic, Bryan’s fans are about him, just look at the reaction to the shaving of his beard days ago.  It was met with intense melancholy at the loss of his goat-like appearance, partially because it seemed like evidence of his future retirement. But what if WWE was smart, knowing exactly how fans feel about the facial hair? To shave it, then have Bryan angrily decide not to retire on TV would make him instantly the company’s top heel at a time when they need heels in the worst way.

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Would there be a backlash? Of course, and WWE would eat it up with a spoon bigger than Vince McMahon’s grapefruits. But you have to admit the whole thing seems very well orchestrated. Bryan hits Twitter to announce his retirement, and that he’ll be on Raw to elaborate? Well, that’s kind of deflating, isn’t it? Why not just say, “I’ve got a major announcement for tonight’s Raw”, which happens to be held in his home state of Washington? In this case, you’re supposed to bury the lead, but Bryan and WWE put it on Front Street for everyone to see.

Do we really care what Bryan’s reasons are for retiring? We already know those, even casual fans know about his concussion issues at this point. Why announce it on Twitter mere hours before doing it again on TV? Doesn’t make sense, and smells kind of fishy. With the WWE already on the Road to WrestleMania, it makes more sense for them to set up something huge, possibly game-changing, and a heel return of Daniel Bryan would definitely shake things up.

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Reports have begun to surface that Bryan’s retirement is real, noting that WWE has a Twitter hashtag ready for it. That’s about as flimsy a reason to trust Vince McMahon as one could possibly think of. But if Bryan pulls a fast one on the WWE audience tonight, remember where you heard it first.