Daniel Bryan has not appeared 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 those initial reports did state WWE was hard at work trying to get him to sign a new deal, there has been no confirmation that he would be returning to the promotion., However, on Wednesday night Cassidy Haynes of Bodyslam.net released a new report stating he has signed a contract with All Elite Wrestling. Neither Bryan nor AEW have officially confirmed the report as of now.
"In an update as to the future of Bryan Danielson (fka Daniel Bryan), a source I have spoken to has told me that he is 'locked in' and has 100% already signed a contract with AEW," Haynes wrote. "In addition, I was told that Danielson was wanting to work less dates for comparable money, he wanted the ability to be able to work in Japan, and wanted to have creative input on his character, which he got."
The report came out just one day after PWInsider's Mike Johnson released a report stating WWE does not have Bryan listed for any licensing or merchandise plans for 2021-22.
The idea of Bryan having the freedom to work for multiple promotions does match up with his previous comments. He told fans during a meet-and-greet prior to WrestleMania 37 that he was hoping to have a deal where he could wrestle for other promotions while still under the WWE banner. He then elaborated in an interview with Barstool's Robbie Fox, saying he wished WWE allowed many of its wrestlers that kind of freedom.
"I brought [the idea] up to a lot of people," Bryan said. "I don't think [a hair vs. hair match in Mexico] would happen. I also think that now, more than ever, it a time when people are open to new ideas. I think I have made some headway. Whether any of it actually happens, who knows. I don't think people truly understand how great a lot of WWE Superstars are because we don't necessarily put on a pure wrestling product, we put on a sports entertainment product.
"If all of a sudden you saw Cesaro in New Japan, people would be like, 'This guy is the greatest.' If you put Otis in New Japan, people would be like, 'Holy cow, this guy is amazing.' Like, Vader from the 90s type vibe. It's just a different presentation," he continued. "I think it would be a cool and unique contribution in wrestling, as far as giving back. I also think it'd be good for WWE and wrestling in general for them to go and learn at other places. I wouldn't be the performer that I am today if I hadn't wrestled in Japan or the UK, where it was all comedy. All of those things add to your depth and when it's time to put you in a top position, you can do a number of things."