Former WWE star Bryan Danielson, whose ring name was Daniel Bryan, has opened up on the real reason he retired from the company in 2016.
The top grappler, 40, now with All Elite Wrestling (AEW), gave an emotional announcement five years ago that he was stepping away from the ring due to a series of concussions.
While he suffered with several head injuries, the 40-year-old revealed that did not tell the whole story behind his retirement.
Speaking to Wdel.com, Danielson said: “I legitimately thought I was healthy and still think that I’m healthy. One of the reasons I was forced to retire was not because of the concussions, but because I lied about that.
"You have to understand, from WWE’s point of view, I had been wrestling for them for six years but then all of a sudden, they opened this Pandora’s box about ‘lying about his medical history and now we can’t trust him.’ A lot of that was building the trust back, but they were also legitimately looking after my health."
He added: "I was going to see doctor after doctor and doing everything that I could to improve brain function to show, above and beyond, that my brain was healthy.
“It’s also my love of wrestling. It felt like I wasn’t really to be done yet, I still needed to come back.
“I also think there’s a lot left on concussion research to be done, and when you’re seeing the top doctors in the country and they’re all clearing you to do what you love to do, I think you should be able to do that."
He took on a non-wrestling role for WWE as the on-screen general manager of SmackDown, but then he was unexpectedly cleared to return to action in 2018, to the delight of everyone in the wrestling world.
However, the leader of the ‘Yes’ movement’s contract expired with WWE in May 2021 and he went on to sign with AEW, making his highly-anticipated debut last month.
In Bryan’s first match with the company, he and Kenny Omega fought to a time limit draw in a superb non-title match at AEW Grand Slam.
This was the first match with Bryan to be rated with 5-stars by popular wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer.
Just last month, the former WWE champion published a piece in The Players’ Tribune in which he thanked Vince McMahon and his mega corporation, as well as his adoring fans.
He wrote: “I loved my time in WWE. Needless to say, it changed my life. I met my wife, had unbelievable experiences and made great friends. Some of you, I may see again…. and I hope that I do.
“But these last two years have taught us not to take that for granted. So I just wanted to tell you all how much you’ve meant to me. I’m grateful that you allowed me into your lives, and that you came into mine. I’ll cherish these memories forever."
The father-of-two added: “Thank you to the WWE fans. You pushed my career to new heights — heights that I never would have reached for, on my own.
“Thank you for moments that I will never forget…. moments where I can just close my eyes and feel the goosebumps all over again.”
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