There is smoke to the rumors about Daniel Bryan leaving WWE.
Per the report, his contract had either expired or was set to expire some last week and he was officially no longer under contract after his match with Roman Reigns. After the match, he was written out of storylines when Reigns attacked him with a steel chair. Per the stipulation, he is now “banished” from SmackDown.
Bryan was asked about his contract status last week during an interview with TVLine. He did not give a date on when his deal was expiring but he indicated that it wasn’t in September as many have speculated and his neck is “just wrecked” and he is now looking at reducing his schedule.
Bryan told TVLine, “It’s funny that people gravitate towards the date “September,” and I think it’s because that’s when my last contract ended, but it doesn’t end in September.”
He continued, “I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like… I had a tag team match on SmackDown last Friday, and it was a lot of fun, but my neck was just wrecked. I’m going to be 40 in May and my daughter likes to get on my shoulders to pick leaves from a Japanese maple in front of our house [and he couldn’t this time due to the pain]. You get to that point where it’s like, how long can I do this full-time and still be able to do those kinds of things with my daughter? What’s the right balance between part-time and that sort of thing? It may be that it’s just every once in a while when the urge strikes, or maybe like a schedule where it’s like eight months on, these months off.”
“One of the coolest things about wrestling, and just be being an independent contractor in general, is that you can say, “Well, I really only want to do this amount of work.” What that amount of work is, I have no idea yet. I still have to figure it out. But I also need to be respectful of the people who are relying on me to go to work. I have to give them an answer sooner rather than later. I’m trying to figure that out, trying to be responsible as an employee of somebody who’s taken care of our family very well. But then also, trying to take the time to figure it out.”
Bryan has expressed a desire to work in other promotions but this news does not mean that he won’t sign a new deal with WWE and it’s possible that he already has agreed to a new deal or he is on a handshake agreement to temporarily work without a contract.
Obviously, promotions like AEW and Impact Wrestling would jump at the chance to sign him if he’s interested. At this point, it’s anyone’s guess what he will do next. Bryan being “banished” from SmackDown leaves the door open for him to return on Raw or NXT if he opts to stay with WWE.