Daniel Bryan hasn’t been an active wrestler in the WWE since early 2015. He has been on the shelf since WWE’s doctor (Dr. Joseph Maroon) has medically disqualified him due to concussions. He has fought back with dozens of other doctors clearing him to wrestle, but WWE fears an NFL-level concussion lawsuit, is being cautious when dealing with concussions.
Bryan has been a character on WWE television the last 18 months or so, but he’s just a power figure as the Smackdown Live! General Manager. He is just marking time until his contract ends this September, since he has no guarantee he will wrestle for them again.
Bryan has been vocal about his future in pro wrestling. He said he will wrestle again, but it is up to the WWE if it will be for them. He has recently said that if he isn’t wrestling by this year’s Wrestlemania, then he will wait out his contract and wrestle in the indies. WWE has a huge decision to make, do they risk losing Daniel Bryan and having him pop the indie wrestling scene, or do they choose to be risky and allow him to wrestle in WWE again?
Knowing all of that information, there was an interesting betting note for the 2018 Royal Rumble. Bryan’s betting odds went from 66 to 1, which is at the cusp of the ridiculous (where CM Punk and other legends sit), and now sits at 9 to 1, odds greater than some legit contenders to win the Rumble.
What does this mean?
It means that either the oddsmakers have some inside information or a few dummies put down some big money on him, so they are covering their asses. I’m thinking it is the latter.
It would surprise me if the WWE clears him, it really would. It would be a huge story and would open up some great future matches with him against guys like Shinsuke Nakamura, A.J. Styles and Kevin Owens, who weren’t with the company back when he was an active wrestler.
Did someone on the inside feed some bad info to oddsmakers? This is very likely since this would drive up interest in the Rumble. They are risking a letting down the fans if he’s not in the Rumble, but WWE has made some dumb decisions in the past at the fans’ expense.
Not only do I think he will not win the Royal Rumble, but I highly doubt he will even appear in it. I would LOVE to see him wrestle again, but this could all be smoke and mirrors. Nothing on their end even hints at it and people love to leak out information to the dirt sheets. It’s almost impossible to pull off a legit surprise in pro wrestling. It has only happened once in the last five years (Shane McMahon’s return appearance).
Save your money and just buy the WWE Network. The Rumble is always fun and now that there is a women’s Royal Rumble match on top of the men’s, it’s a can’t miss show.
Bobby Roberts (otherwise known as Sweetbob) is the creator of ‘America’s White Boy’ and contributor at Project Shanks. His writing has been featured on ESPN’s ‘SportsNation’, Sports Illustrated’s Hot Clicks, Guyspeed, and various other sites. You can follow him on Twitter at @Sweetbob.