Bryan Danielson's forced retirement from professional wrestling in February 2016 was at least partially because he had lied to WWE about his medical history.
The 40-year-old has admitted as much in a new interview with WDEL.com. When asked about battling to get back to the ring so tirelessly, which was finally confirmed in March 2018, Danielson said the following, revealing that his dishonesty led to an erosion in WWE's trust in him:-
"I legitimately thought I was healthy, and still think that I'm healthy. One of the reasons I was forced to retiree was not because of the concussions, but because I lied about that. You have to understand from WWE's point of view, I had been wrestling for them for six years, but then all of a sudden they opened this Pandora's box about lying about his medical history, and now we can't trust him. A lot of that was building the trust back, but they were also legitimately looking after my health. Going to see doctor after doctor, and doing everything that I could to improve brain function to show above and beyond that my brain was healthy."
Utilised primarily as SmackDown General Manager during his time away from the ring, Danielson's period of inactivity saw him seek clearance from multiple medical professionals outwith WWE, as he touches on above.
Bryan revealed shortly after his retirement that he had suffered ten documented concussions in his career, leading to post-concussion seizures, though he was eventually deemed ready to return after much deliberation, analysis, and evaluation from medical experts.
Danielson continued, unpacking why he fought so hard to come back:-
"It's also my love of wrestling. It felt like I wasn't really to be done yet. I still needed to come back. I also think there's a lot left on concussion research to be done, and when you're seeing the top doctors in the country and they're all clearing you to do what you love to do, I think you should be able to do that."
The former WWE Champion worked as a consistent weekly performer for Vince McMahon's promotion until May 2021, when his contract expired after losing a career vs. title match to Universal Champion Roman Reigns on SmackDown. Four months on the sidelines followed, with Danielson's wrestling future the subject of much speculation, until he debuted for AEW at All Out 2021 on 5 September.