Like most everyone this past Monday (or, at least, so said Jason Moltov on NAIpod), when I heard that Daniel Bryan was making a major announcement on RAW, I assumed his career was over. We hadn’t heard anything in such a long time that I just figured he was done. While the intro of Edge’s own retirement speech made me skeptical, I still presumed the worst, and rejoiced along with the rest of the world (well, technically 3 or 4 days later – it’s been a weird week) to hear he’s making his in-ring return at the Royal Rumble.
But let’s not get hasty.
As much as I would like to see DB win the Rumble, stomp down the Road To Wrestlemania, win the title again and put the entire last 12 months behind us, I don’t think that’s set in stone.
You can’t make guarantees with neck surgery.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve spent far too much time in a hospital this week, but I wanted to know a little more about Bryan’s specific surgery, so I spent some time sitting under Google’s learning tree.
Daniel Bryan had cervical foraminotomy – basically what that means is they widened an opening at the top of the spinal column to relieve pressure on his nerves. If you take a few moments and read about this surgery, it seems fairly mundane. The procedure is pretty self-explanatory, recovery is relatively quick and things usually go quite well.
But those are mostly the people who don’t get dropped on their head for a living.
Plus, we’re mainly talking about nerves and nerve damage here, and you don’t mess with that. My dad injured his back over 20 years ago at work, and the major issue he still suffers from is nerve damage. There are times where he can’t make a fist with his right hand, and other times where his entire lower half starts to tingle, as if from hips to toes have fallen asleep. My dad, the strongest man I’ve ever known, continued working for years after, but has never quite been comfortable since. And again, he’s not taking backdrops, DDT’s or doing suicide dives.
Now, before you get all fussy with me, I do know (or, at least, I truly hope) that WWE would never let Daniel Bryan anywhere near a wrestling ring unless he was as close to 100% as possible. So it’s not like I think he’s going to enter the ring at the Rumble, take one chop to the chest and immediately go back on the DL. But let’s think of it from Vince and WWE’s point of view.
In the latter half of 2013 and early 2014, the entire company was built around Daniel “David” Bryan conquering myriad Goliaths on his way to his Wrestlemania moment(s), so much so that when he got hurt, the entire company seemed to go into a tailspin trying to figure out how to deal with his absence.
Now he’s back, but he’s in his mid-30’s and he’s recovering from spinal surgery. Another injury likely means many more months of recovery, or even more probable is the end of Bryan’s in-ring career.
Is this who you’re going to build around?
So, my dear NAI-bors, I will join you in hoping 2015 is the year of the Goat / Dragon / Bryan, much like 2014 was supposed to be. But I advise cautious optimism instead of full-fledged fanatic frenzy.
I’m not sure WWE is ready to go all-in on the Yes Movement once again, and I don’t blame them at all.