WWE announced Tuesday afternoon that former world champion and current “SmackDown Live” general manager Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring action. The WWE superstar was forced to retire in February 2016 because of a history of head injuries, but the fan-favorite is now eligible for a match at WrestleMania 34 in less than three weeks.
“Following more than two years of extensive evaluations, four-time World Champion Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition by leading neurosurgeons, neurologists and concussion experts, including Dr. Robert Cantu, Dr. Javier Cárdenas and Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher,” WWE said in a statement.
“Bryan underwent a full review of his medical history and received comprehensive neurological and physical evaluations independent of WWE. He was cleared by each doctor as well as WWE’s Medical Director, Dr. Joseph Maroon.”
Bryan hasn’t yet been officially added to the WrestleMania 34 card, though that feels to be a formality at this point. He was one of the most popular wrestlers in WWE history when he won the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30, and it’s hard to believe he won’t be featured prominently in a match when the event returns to New Orleans on April 8.
There already seems to be a clear path for Bryan to get a match at WrestleMania, and he could be added to the card as soon as Tuesday night.
For the last few months, Bryan has been involved in a storyline with Kevin Owens, Sami Zayn and “SmackDown Live” commissioner Shane McMahon. Owens and Zayn attacked Shane to conclude last week’s episode of “SmackDown Live,” opening the door for Bryan to tag with McMahon against the two heels at WrestleMania 34.
There are certainly several feuds that WWE could plan for Bryan over the course of the next several months. He could become the first challenger in line to face the winner of the WWE Championship match between AJ Styles and Shinsuke Nakamura. A program between Bryan and The Miz, who’ve had their issues over the last year and a half, could culminate with a match at either SummerSlam or WrestleMania 35.
Before Bryan has another singles match, look for him to team up with Shane in the same building that saw him reach the pinnacle of WWE four years ago.