The status of Daniel Bryan with WWE is in the air following a report that his most recent contract with the promotion has expired.
Fightful Select’s Sean Ross Sapp reports that Bryan’s deal either expired or was set to expire after the match with Roman Reigns on Friday Night SmackDown. The match stipulation was that if Bryan lost, he would be banished from SmackDown.
A source with knowledge of the situation confirmed this to POST Wrestling.
The Fightful report cautioned that this news doesn’t mean Bryan is leaving WWE, hasn’t signed a new deal, or won’t work without a contract.
Bryan has openly spoken about his desire to negotiate a deal with WWE that would allow him to work in other places rather than be exclusive. He provided a hint during an interview last week with TV Line stating that people assumed his contract runs until September but clarified it doesn’t end then. Bryan stated in the interview:
I’m going to be 40 in May and my daughter likes to get on my shoulders to pick leaves from a Japanese maple in front of our house [and he couldn’t this time due to the pain]. You get to that point where it’s like, how long can I do this full-time and still be able to do those kinds of things with my daughter? What’s the right balance between part-time and that sort of thing? It may be that it’s just every once in a while when the urge strikes, or maybe like a schedule where it’s like eight months on, these months off.
After announcing his retirement in February 2016, Bryan was cleared two years later and returned at WrestleMania 34 while undergoing regular post-match tests after each match when he returned. He became WWE Champion in November 2018 and held the title until the following year’s WrestleMania losing to Kofi Kingston at MetLife Stadium.
Over the past year, Bryan has been incorporated into the creative process for SmackDown and headlined the second night of WrestleMania 37 with Roman Reigns and Edge for the Universal Championship.