While calling back to the night he retired in February 2016, Daniel Bryan opened SmackDown tonight by speaking about the road he’s taken to being cleared by WWE.
Bryan and Shane McMahon’s storyline with Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn was mostly left for later in the show, with Bryan saying Owens and Zayn hadn’t arrived to the building yet. Bryan started off by mentioning how he focused on being grateful when he was depressed or angry after his retirement, but Brie Bella told him that he needed to fight for his dreams.
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Bryan said WWE has looked over his case, and every doctor he’s seen over the last two months has told him that he’s cleared. He thanked the company and their doctors for looking at him as a person first, the fans for supporting him the entire time, and his wife for everything she’s done for him.
He said he didn’t know when his return match would be, which caused the crowd to chant “WrestleMania.” He then came back out in the main event segment to address Owens and Zayn, “fired” them for their attack on Shane last week, and, despite fighting back, was laid out with a Helluva Kick and an apron powerbomb.
Shane continued the storyline in a tweet after the show: “On a night that should have been one of @WWEDanielBryan’s finest…Sami & KO proved they are vile, spineless cowards. Neither of them belong in @WWE and #SDLive…I just hope this didn’t set back Daniel’s in-ring return even further.”
Though it has yet to be officially announced, Bryan teaming with Shane against Owens & Zayn has been the plan for WrestleMania 34. If that does become official, Bryan will be returning at the Superdome — which hosted the biggest moment of his career at WrestleMania 30 in 2014.
WWE’s YouTube clip of Bryan’s speech from tonight is available to watch below:
And here’s another clip that includes some of what was left out of the YouTube video: