Some of you might have heard about this already, but, yesterday, the wrestling world was suddenly awoken from its Wednesday slumber by the rather unbelievable sounding news that WWE was preparing to release Daniel Bryan. Origins of that news was a mail, send by a self-proclaimed WWE HR employee (who remained anonymous of course) to well-known wrestling author Scott Keith. In the mail, this so-called WWE employee claimed he had heard of release papers being readied for Daniel Bryan. Below you can read the mail in question:
Can’t believe I’m doing this – I’m writing from a throwaway account but please keep my details private anyway. Although feel free to paste the whole e-mail or delete it. Sorry just a bit frazzled.
Okay so I’ve been debating all weekend whether to send this e-mail or not. I’ll be honest – one major reason I’m doing this is because when it all comes out I want to silently smile and say “Yep, I called it”. Not out loud or anything but just privately to myself.
This is going to be hard to believe and you probably get a lot of nutjobs writing every day – but I work in WWE HR. I’m not high up the totem pole by any means though.
So on Friday one of my co-workers had to process a release – and that release was for Daniel Bryan.
Monday, January 18th is the date that is listed for when the deal is processed. Not sure exactly why – my coworker was very quiet about the whole thing other than letting a few people know.
And to be honest she didn’t let me know – I’m not in her inner circle. I just overheard her telling someone else and she was in shock.
Not sure why it’s a week away or anything like that as our usual releases are dated that very day. She seemed shocked by it all. Anyway that’s all I know. Going to click send before I chicken out now.
Keith published the mail and the ball got rolling as most other news sites relayed the “info”. Some sites (such as your own favorite wrestling site… That’s us in case you were wondering) chose to wait it out because the whole thing did sound a bit fishy. And that turned out to be the right attitude as the whole story was quickly exposed as an hoax. It was later revealed by a Reddit user that the author of that hoax was a blogger by the name of Scotsman who has a long-standing feud with Scott Keith (Check out the first letter of each of the mail’s paragraphs and you will have… SCOTSMAN).
WWE didn’t react much to all of this beyond a short and to the point “there is no truth whatsoever in the rumors concerning WWE and Daniel Bryan”. Bryan himself didn’t even bother responding. And that, as they say, was the end of that.
Now made-up stories and hoaxes are part of the nature of the beast when it comes to wrestling (or any form of entertainment for that matter), so I’ll not waste any more time on this one. But I thought it interesting to take a closer look at the current WWE/Daniel Bryan relationship, since I myself had some fun speculating about a possible Bryan departure (to NJPW more specifically) in the past.
Speculations are, of course, fun, but let me make something clear from the start. Daniel Bryan has several years left on his WWE contract (Bryan himself reportedly stated he had about 3 years left on his contract and that was in June 2015) so he isn’t going anywhere for the time being. And even when Bryan’s contract expire, there is every chance that he will sign a new one. Remember, this isn’t like the Nakamura situation (who stated several times in 2015 that he was looking for something bigger and different°. Bryan has never expressed any desire to leave WWE, on the contrary. The only point of contention Bryan has with WWE is his medical status.
The story is well known by now, Bryan’s doctors have cleared him to return to action but WWE’s head-doctor, Dr Joseph Maroon, is currently declining to allow Bryan to return to action. the fact Bryan suffered a concussion is the main reason for that delay. Now quite a few conspiracy theories have been spawned in recent months, most of them claiming Vince McMahon himself didn’t WANT Bryan to return to action (ostensibly to allow Reigns to become the top babyface without interference from the YES!-movement). But let’s look at the facts here. Given WWE’s current situation, and the injuries of several of their top stars, does anyone really believe McMahon wouldn’t welcome the return of one of his most popular and recognizable stars? Don’t you think WWE would love to have Bryan available for RR or WM? Course they would. Besides if WWE were to clear Bryan and Bryan would end up injuring himself a couple of weeks later, what would we then all write about? Exactly, we would point fingers at WWE for being completely wrong in clearing DB.
So the only way my speculations about a Bryan trip to NJPW would ever come true is if WWE makes it clear to Bryan he will never wrestle in a WWE ring again (which has never been said by WWE) or if Bryan becomes convinced that WWE will never clear him (which is not the case right now). Then, and only then, would it become interesting to know how many months or years Bryan has left on his contract because once that’s done, the NJPW option all of a sudden becomes more than just speculation. But as you can see, a lot of things have to happen before that.
Bryan himself has been at the base of some of those speculations, of course, by claiming he still wanted to wrestle and if that wasn’t possible in a WWE ring, then it would have to be somewhere else. But I doubt anyone in WWE is really worried about that statement, as it’s completely normal for Bryan, given his current situation to prod and probe every once in a while, since he clearly hasn’t gotten that wrestling bug out of his system yet. And let’s face it, if Bryan were to say: “Oh I’m completely happy with my current situation” we would all probably start to question his resolve to ever wrestling again.
It’s always possible Bryan tries to force the issue at some point, of course, or do a CM PUNK and leaves while slamming the door, but I deem this rather unlikely to happen as it would undoubtedly start a legal war that would be to no-ones advantage, least of all Bryan’s.
As you can see, the LEAST likely thing to EVER happen is WWE releasing Bryan from his contract (and therefore from his WWE obligations) as they well know Bryan would then be on the first plane to Tokyo before anyone has the chance to say “New Japan Pro Wrestling”.
Vince McMahon might be many things, but he’s no fool.
Tags: Daniel Bryan, VInce McMahon