Bryan’s fight to reignite his in-ring career isn’t over yet, though. The star, who last wrestled in the WWE ring on April 14, said ultimately a third doctor will be brought in to give him a final answer.
“They’re going to send me to a third doctor at some point in the near future and that doctor will decide my fate,” he told IGN.
Bryan, whose real name is Bryan Danielson, did not elaborate on how near in the future that third doctor will be brought in or if it will be an independent physician or another WWE doctor.
WWE had not returned The Washington Post’s requests for comment by press time.
Bryan has suffered an unfortunate string of injuries in the past two years. In 2014, just months after claiming the WWE World Heavyweight Championship at WrestleMania 30 in New Orleans, Bryan suffered a neck injury that required surgery. When it was clear his recovery was going to take longer than planned, WWE stripped him of the belt as part of a story line after just 64 days.
Bryan returned to WWE programming in late November, where entered a story line that would lead to his in-ring return in early 2015 when he became a contender for the Intercontinental Championship. Bryan’s April concussion, however, prematurely ended that run and in May he ceded that belt, as well.
Whether WWE allows him back or not, Bryan told IGN he might continue wrestling anyway, although possibly in a totally different style.
“I’ve gotten this sudden fascination with the lore of lucha,” he said, referring to the masked wrestling style of Mexico.
Bryan did not mention any promotions specifically, but it’s possible he could follow in the footsteps of former WWE stars Alberto del Rio, now known as Alberto El Patron, and John Morrison, now known as Johnny Mundo, and join Lucha Underground, a recently created Los Angeles-based promotion that’s developed a cult following in the past year.
But Bryan doesn’t plan on making any rash decisions, especially now that he has a family. He’s married to fellow WWE star Brie Bella, who has made it clear on several occasions that she and Bryan are trying for a baby. Bryan said if a third neurologist advises him never to wrestle again, he may have to think about a career change.
“[I]s it really smart to go against two doctors?” he asked. “I get all fired up … and then I’m like, maybe that’s not the best thing for me and my family going forward.”