On Monday, four-time WWE world champion Daniel Bryan announced via Twitter that he would be retiring from wrestling, effective immediately.
Due to medical reasons, effective immediately, I am announcing my retirement. Tonight on Raw, I'll have a chance to elaborate. #gratitude— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) February 8, 2016
Bryan will appear on Monday night's RAW to address WWE fans. This is, unfortunately, far too similar to the last time he was on RAW, which was on May 11 of last year, when he spoke to the crowd and surrendered his WWE Intercontinental Championship.
Bryan has been out of action since April 14, when he was removed from a tour due to concussion concerns. In the meantime, he has been appearing on the reality show Total Divas and doing press all over the world for WWE. During his press tours to promote the WWE 2K16 video game, Bryan often stated that he had been cleared by two separate doctors: the neurologist for the Arizona Cardinals and the concussion specialists at UCLA.
During those same series of press appearances, Bryan often stated that he is determined to wrestle again, even if he has to leave WWE in order to do so. That statement even made the air on Total Divas during the past year in a series of conversations with his wife, Brie Bella.
Complicating Bryan's desire are a pair of reports that have come out since January. Prior to the Royal Rumble, Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter reported that Bryan's WWE contract has been frozen due to inactivity.
In other words, since Bryan is not wrestling or working in an official capacity for the company, the time served on his contract is not progressing (although he is continuing to earn his guaranteed money as per the contract).The same situation happened with Rey Mysterio, who was out of action with an injury for a year. Instead of his contract being up at the stated time, it was automatically extended for that year he was out of action. Mysterio and WWE eventually came to an agreement that allowed him to leave the company.
The second report, which popped up on Sunday, was that Bryan actually gave his notice to WWE at some point, but WWE declined his notice, as is their right per the contract that he signed. Naturally, it's in WWE's best interest to keep Bryan under contract, as he is one of the best-known and most popular professional wrestlers in the entire world. Having him leave to wrestle for any other promotion would simply be bad business.
Bryan has reportedly been offered non-wrestling positions within the company multiple times over the past year, but to this point, has turned them down.
Bryan is a WWE grand slam champion and former Ring of Honor world champion. He was the Wrestling Observer's Most Outstanding Wrestler of the Decade from 2000-2009 and won Most Outstanding Wrestler every year from 2006 to 2010.