Bryan Danielson has discussed his retirement from wrestling in 2016 and the more complex reasons he was forced to step away from the ring in WWE.
In 2016 after a long and storied career Bryan Danielson – then known as Daniel Bryan in WWE – was forced to walk away from competing in the ring due to injuries. In an emotional address in his home state of Washington, Bryan told the world the reason he had to retire was due to all of the concussions he had amassed in his years in the ring.
Speaking to wdel.com, the former WWE Champion reveals that the truth is a lot more complicated than that and had more to do with how honest he had been about his injury history:
“I legitimately thought I was healthy and still think that I’m healthy. One of the reasons I was forced to retire was not because of the concussions, but because I lied about that. You have to understand, from WWE’s point of view, I had been wrestling for them for six years but then all of a sudden, they opened this Pandora’s box about ‘lying about his medical history and now we can’t trust him.’ A lot of that was building the trust back, but they were also legitimately looking after my health. I was going to see doctor after doctor and doing everything that I could to improve brain function to show, above and beyond, that my brain was healthy.”
“It’s also my love of wrestling. It felt like I wasn’t really to be done yet, I still needed to come back. I also think there’s a lot left on concussion research to be done, and when you’re seeing the top doctors in the country and they’re all clearing you to do what you love to do, I think you should be able to do that.”
Danielson did make his comeback in WWE after being cleared to return to the ring in 2018. His first match back came at WrestleMania 34 where he teamed with Shane McMahon to defeat Sami Zayn and Kevin Owens.
Now firmly a part of All Elite Wrestling after making his stunning debut for the company at the end of the All Out pay-per-view, Danielson says that he takes every precaution now to keep his body in top condition however, the flights to and from shows take their toll:
“I think your body adapts to so many things. We were actually just talking about this in the locker room, someone said every fall hurts now. I was like, really? I think it really depends on the crowd. When you wrestle in front of a rabid crowd, nothing hurts. I do extensive warm-ups before I go out, and then every night when I get back to my hotel room after a show, I’m foam-rolling, I’m stretching, and making sure my body is in a healthy position to recover.”
“I think for me, one of the hardest things is being on long plane trips. When you get to be 40 and you just wrestled a 30-minute match with Kenny Omega, no matter how much stretching you did, the next day, if you’re on a 6-hour plane trip, you’re going to hobble getting off the plane. Realistically, I hadn’t wrestled in 5-months, I wrestled Kenny Omega for 30 minutes and did a 6-hour plane trip the next day, and I felt pretty good. There are a lot of physical demands, but if you keep up with your body and maintain your body, it’s manageable.”
Bryan Danielson is set to compete on the special Saturday Night Dynamite on October 16th when he faces former NXT Tag Team Champion Bobby Fish.