Daniel Bryan Retiring is for the Best


Daniel Bryan’s retirement came as shocking and sad news to wrestling fans.  However, with what is known about the long-term negative effects of concussions, it is for the best.

Daniel Bryan announced his retirement on Monday with tons of speculation if it was real, a work, or forced by WWE doctors.  Monday night on Raw, Bryan set the record straight.  He had multiple tests that showed he was ok to compete though in the past week or two another test showed that his brain may not be 100% and that for his health and the sake of his family that he needed to retire.

While many wrestling fans are disappointed this is the best thing that could have happened to Daniel Bryan, the WWE, and even the fans.  The effects of concussions have been studied intensely the past few years.  WWE has reduced the number of head shots in order to mitigate the risks of concussions with the performers.  While that is also not a popular decision, especially with older fans, it also is the right decision.

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The number of cases and studies of the effects of CTE has been well documented and has grown over the past 10 years.  Sports such as football and even baseball have changed their rules to increase the safety of players.  Both sports don’t allow players to return until cleared by doctors.  There have also been a number of tragic cases where the effects of concussions have been cited as a possible cause.

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In baseball, former Cincinnati Red, Ryan Freel, committed suicide in 2012, suffered 9-10 concussions during his playing career.  According to ESPN, Freel had suffered from CTE.  As a Reds fan, I watched Ryan Freel play and he was a huge fan favorite due to his reckless abandon of playing hard but also not afraid to run into walls to make a play.  In the world of professional wrestling, no case is more evident of the tragic role that CTE can play than with Chris Benoit.   Benoit ended his life in a much worse way, with the murder of his wife and child before killing himself.  But also tests done on his brain after he died (h/t ABC News) showed he suffered from CTE and had the brain of an 85-year-old Alzheimer’s patient.

As fans, we love seeing the high impact moves that athletes perform in entertaining us, whether it’s a hard hit in an NFL game, a home plate collision in baseball or an insane spot in a professional wrestling match. However, with the science available today, we also must understand that the leagues and organizations such as WWE, TNA, Roh, and others must continue to do more to protect the players.  Not only for the good of the sport but because it’s the right thing to do.

I am definitely saddened to see Daniel Bryan retire from the ring.  He was a talent that told the perfect professional wrestling story.  A small guy that beat all stereotypes and backstage politics (real or imaginary) to become one of the most over performers in the past 5 years.  As a fan, it is disappointing that we will no longer see Daniel Bryan lead the crowd in the Yes! chant.  It is also disappointing that a match between him and AJ Styles will never happen.

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However, as Daniel Bryan said in the ring last night, he has other people to think of from his wife Brie to his mother and other family members, especially since they are planning on having children of their own.  Also as a fan, this should be looked as a good thing.  By stopping his in-ring career now, he can avoid further damage to his brain.  That hopefully means that he can be involved in WWE or other programming in different roles and will hopefully be able to be around as a legend for a long time.