Over the past week, the WWE announced that Daniel Bryan had been medically cleared to return to the ring as an active wrestler. According to WWE.com, “following more than two years of extensive evaluations, four-time World Champion Daniel Bryan has been medically cleared to return to in-ring competition… Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher”. However, the company needs to develop a storyline where they have an explanation as to why he stopped wrestling for them in case the concussions come back; or if he decided to leave the company in five months after his contract expires.
As a result, the Tuesday after WrestleMania, the new authority figure for Smackdown Live should set up a meeting with Daniel Bryan. During this meeting, the authority figure informs Daniel that he can’t be given an opportunity to compete for the title immediately. This is because I am scared to put you in a high profile matches such as championship bouts knowing that one strike could bring back the concussion symptoms. If that happened, your long-term health would be in danger, and I would lose the trust of the fans because the show didn’t deliver what was promised. The false advertisement would hurt the long-term earning potential of Smackdown Live because fans will be hesitant to buy tickets out of fear of being lied to again. Furthermore, putting you in a high profile match will anger the rest of the roster because they’ve been working hard for the past year to get in position to be in a title match.
Therefore, I have a proposal for you Daniel, why don’t you earn a title bout by trying to beat every male superstar on the roster. The plan will allow me to gauge how you stack up against the rest of the roster and whether your head is healthy enough to handle the WWE wrestling schedule. After a couple of seconds to think about the proposal, Daniel Bryan accepts the offer because he rather earn a championship opportunity than it being handed to him. The following week, Bryan beats Tye Dillinger in a very competitive bout where he shows a significant amount of ring rust. Over the next 2-3 months, he continues to defeats the jobbers of Smackdown Live and slowly starts to shake off the ring rust. At SummerSlam, Daniel Bryan faces his first real test as he squares off against Bobby Roode, in the match Bobby is the first opponent to target the head successfully. As a result of this, Bryan begins to have problems with his equilibrium which leads to him losing the bout. After the match, the authority figure orders the doctor to evaluate Daniel for a concussion, and it is determined he is okay.
Even though Daniel Bryan didn’t suffer a concussion, the authority figure warns him that he wouldn’t be booked in bouts if that continued to happen. As a result of this, he requests to have the next few weeks off to prepare for a rematch against Roode at the next network. This is because he decides to incorporate some mixed martial arts wrestling into his style in an attempt to reduce the number of hits to the head. Due to this, Bryan spends his time off drilling single and double leg takedowns against several college wrestlers in Washington. During the rematch, Daniel stuns Bobby by immediately going for a takedown which Roode doesn’t know how to defend. After the takedown, Daniel Bryan pursues several submission holds that prevent Bobby from mounting any offense. The style pays dividends right away because he wins the contest without taking much damage.
Throughout the next two months, superstars have trouble stopping Daniel Bryan’s style because they aren’t used to defending takedowns. As a result, he can go on a prolonged winning streak without a massive amount of damage. The winning streak leads him into a match against a man who has a history of competing in MMA bouts, Shinsuke Nakamura. Due to this, Daniel knows his style isn’t going to work against him because Nakamura has been taught how to stop takedowns. Therefore, he decides to bring back his old technique to try to overcome the obstacle that is Shinsuke Nakamura. The match could go in one of two directions if Bryan chooses to leave the company Nakamura can give him a kayfabe concussion which renders him medically unfit to compete in the WWE. On the other hand, if he stays, they can have a close match to set up a series of matches. Daniel should lose the first match of the series because he is afraid to go full speed out of fear of being injured. After the match, Bryan concludes that he must go full pace to win the series. The next four bouts go back and forth with Daniel Bryan winning the last contest and the series. The authority informs Daniel Bryan that he has passed all the tests and will get a title bout at WrestleMania 35.
In conclusion, a climb the mountain type storyline would give WWE a simple explanation as to why Daniel Bryan stopped wrestling for them in case the injury resurfaced, or he leaves. Furthermore, the company can use the storyline to explain why he is in random contest with superstars.