Former WWE Champion Daniel Bryan Announces Retirement

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The American Dragon is hanging up his tights.  WWE Superstar Daniel Bryan announced his retirement on Twitter today, after nearly a full year on the sidelines due to concussion related symptoms.  Bryan suffered the concussion during a six way match in Europe last April shortly after winning the Intercontinental Championship and has not appeared in a ring (in a wrestling capacity) since.

Bryan, real name Bryan Danielson, rose to fame as a founding father of the independent Ring of Honor promotion, before transitioning to the WWE in 2010. Bryan won the United States Championship, World Heavyweight Championship, and Tag Team Championship before becoming the “face” of the WWE in a yearlong storyline in which Bryan overcame the machinations of the McMahons (who viewed him as a “B+ player because of his diminutive size and looks) to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania XXX. Shortly after winning the WWE Championship, he suffered a serious neck injury and had to vacate the belt. After returning in January 2015, he won the Intercontinental Championship at WrestleMania 31.

Best known for his long beard and hair, Bryan was considered one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. Fans embraced Bryan as an underdog and his popular “Yes!” chants are often used during non-sporting events around the world. Bryan is married to fellow WWE wrestler Brie Bella and their relationship is heavily featured on the E! reality show Total Divas.

Bryan’s retirement ends nearly a yearlong standoff with the WWE over his wrestling future. WWE doctors allegedly refused to medically clear him because of his concussion history and the WWE has reportedly offered him several non-wrestling jobs within the company. It’s unclear whether Bryan will move on from the WWE or stay on as an announcer, coach or manager.

Bryan will address the WWE Universe tonight at RAW, which is taking place in his hometown of Seattle, Washington.