WWE superstar Daniel Bryan looked uncharacteristically put together when he showed up on “Raw” on Monday. His unruly hair was slicked back in a tight bun and his beard looked slightly less gnarly than usual. There was just one thing that seemed off — his eyes looked red, almost teary. Bryan, who hasn’t wrestled since May because of various injuries, including one that required neck surgery, looked like a man about to say farewell to the ring for good.

The crowd hushed when he started speaking, touching on real-life subjects including the death of his dad, his marriage to fellow pro wrestler Brie Bella and, of course, his passion for pro wrestling. And just when the live audience was ready to accept him as a retired great, Bryan announced the opposite — that he would return to the ring to enter the much-anticipated Royal Rumble event. The crowd, as it should, lost its mind.

Of course, those watching at home probably knew Bryan didn’t appear live in Washington, D.C., to announce his retirement, because apparently on the live broadcast, that’s all announcers JBL, Michael Cole and Jerry “The King” Lawler were gabbing about. And anyone familiar with WWE tactics knows, whatever those three predict, usually the exact opposite happens.

And so it is. Bryan is officially back (almost), as he readies to enter one of the most highly anticipated matches of the year, the Royal Rumble, which will take place on Jan. 25 in Philadelphia and feature 40 men fighting simultaneously for top billing at WrestleMania.

Will Bryan win? It’s a possibility, especially considering the winner will likely face current WWE title holder Brock Lesnar. Fans have already seen perennial winner John Cena fight and lose to the former UFC champion, so for sports entertainment value, it seems only fitting to slot a new opponent to face Lesnar. We’ll see.

In the meantime, the pro wrestling community is welcoming his return.