Bryan Danielson has recalled the moment Vince McMahon told him he wasn’t going to get medically cleared by WWE and needed to retire.
At WrestleMania XXX Bryan Danielson, known as Daniel Bryan at the time, was crowned World Heavyweight Champion in the culmination of one of the best feel-good stories in recent memory.
The underdog was never supposed to succeed and yet somehow found a way to triumph on the ‘Grandest Stage of Them All.’
However, just two months later he was out of action with a serious neck injury and stripped of the World Championship. This started an injury hit period for the star who ended up being pulled from a European tour in April 2015.
Although initially described as a “precaution” it was later revealed that Bryan was removed due to concussion related issues. As the months passed, despite the former champion’s best efforts it became clear that WWE wouldn’t clear him to return. As a result, in Seattle, Washington, on February 8th 2016, he announced that he was retiring.
“It was weird because Vince McMahon called me on Saturday, I gave the speech on the Monday, and he called me on Saturday and said We’re not going to clear you. I’d like you to announce your retirement on Monday. People at that point, it is getting close to WrestleMania, people are wanting me to come back, I’m wanting to come back, let’s just get everything out of the way, don’t give hope that Daniel Bryan could be back, all that kind of stuff. What better place to do it than Seattle, you know, that sort of thing. I’m like I gotta think about it.
I talked to Brie [and said] They’re not going to let me wrestle, I may as well do it in front of my friends and my family in the building where my dad last saw me wrestle, which is very emotional for me. So yeah, it was a very hard day.”
After two years of tests and pushing to get cleared, Danielson was given the green light to get back in the ring in March 2018. The star remained with WWE until May 2021 when he allowed his contract to expire.
Danielson then made his way to AEW, debuting at All Out in September. The American Dragon has recently returned to action after a spell on the side-lines due to more concussion issues.
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