Daniel Bryan has not been on WWE TV since the April 30 episode of Friday night SmackDown, and it was confirmed days later that his WWE contract had officially expired. While these initial reports indicated that WWE was working hard to get him to sign a new deal, there has been no confirmation that he would return to promotion. Bodyslam.net released a new report that he has signed a contract with All Elite Wrestling. Neither Bryan nor AEW has officially confirmed the report from now on.
“In an update on the future of Bryan Danielson (aka Daniel Bryan), a source I spoke to told me that he is ‘locked in’ and 100% has already signed a contract with AEW,” Haynes wrote. “In addition, I was told that Danielson wanted to work fewer dates for comparable money, he wanted the ability to be able to work in Japan and wanted creative input for his character that he got.”
The report came out only a day later PWInsider‘s Mike Johnson released a report that WWE has not listed Bryan for any license or merchandise plans for 2021-22.
The idea that Bryan has the freedom to work for multiple campaigns is consistent with his previous comments. He told fans during a meet-and-greet before WrestleMania 37 that he was hoping to get a deal where he could fight for other campaigns while still under the WWE banner. He then elaborated in an interview with Bar stool‘s Robbie Fox and said he would like WWE to allow many of his wrestlers that kind of freedom.
“I brought [the idea] up to a lot of people, “Bryan said. I do not think [a hair vs. hair match in Mexico] would happen. I also believe that now, more than ever, is a time when people are open to new ideas. I think I have made some progress. If any of that actually happens, who knows. I do not think people really understand how great WWE Superstars are because we do not necessarily put on a pure wrestling product, but we do have a sports entertainment product.
“If you suddenly saw Cesaro in New Japan, people would be like, ‘This guy is the greatest.’ If you place Otis in New Japan, people will be like, ‘Holy cow, this guy is amazing.’ “Like Vader from the ’90s type of mood. It’s just another presentation,” he continued. “I think it would be a cool and unique contribution in wrestling, as far as giving back. I also think it would be good for WWE and wrestling in general for them to go and learn elsewhere. I would not be the artist that I am today if I had not fought in Japan or the UK where it was all comedy.All these things add to your depth and when it’s time to place yourself in a top position you can do a number of things. “