Now that CM Punk is officially All Elite, the rumour mill’s attention has turned to another former WWE Champion, Daniel Bryan.
Bryan left WWE on April 30th after his contract expired on the same night he was defeated by Roman Reigns on SmackDown. The stipulation for the match was that if Bryan lost he would be banished from SmackDown. As it transpired, he was gone from WWE in a matter of hours.
While it was reported that WWE were initially “pushing hard” to re-sign the star, Daniel Bryan hasn’t signed a new deal with the company.
On July 21st it was reported that Bryan had signed a contract with AEW. The report noted that Bryan wanted an easier schedule, the ability to work in Japan and creative input with his character. The news came after it was revealed that Bryan was not part of WWE’s upcoming merchandising plans.
At this the trail went relatively quiet as CM Punk’s return to wrestling and arrival in AEW dominated headlines. However, speculation went into overdrive following the August 25th edition of Dynamite, as Punk himself teased Bryan’s arrival in the company. This was followed by a new report suggesting that Bryan Danielson could be coming to AEW quicker than first thought.
It was believed that Bryan would make his debut at AEW’s first ever stadium show at Arthur Ashe Stadium on September 22nd.
Appearing on Wrestling Observer Radio, Tony Khan has now addressed the mounting speculation. Not that the AEW president was giving much away.
“I can’t answer that question. I can’t. I mean, it’s fair for you to ask that question. But yeah, anything I could address on the observer today? But, um, but it’s fair enough for you to ask it. But he’s one of the all time greats.”
After a highly acclaimed run in ROH, Bryan Danielson signed with WWE in the summer of 2009. The star was quickly renamed Daniel Bryan and appeared on NXT, joining The Nexus. During one memorable segment where the group invaded RAW in 2010, Bryan was seen choking Justin Roberts with his tie. As a result, Bryan was fired from the company.
Despite this Bryan wouldn’t be gone for long, returning to WWE at SummerSlam. In the years that followed Bryan won just about every honour available, including multiple World Championship’s.
The man formerly known as The American Dragon was forced to retire in 2016 as a result of issues related to a number of concussions suffered in the ring. After a stint as SmackDown General Manager, Bryan was cleared to return to the ring in early 2018.