Daniel Bryan’s WWE contract reportedly expired last week, or was set to expire last week.
As we’ve noted, Bryan lost the big Career vs. Title match to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns on Friday’s SmackDown and per the stipulation, he is now banned from the blue brand. Bryan was quickly moved to the WWE Alumni roster after the show.
In an update, Fightful Select reports that multiple sources in and outside of WWE have indicated that Bryan’s WWE contract either expired last week, or was set to expire last week following the loss to Reigns. High level sources noted that they had heard of the contract expiring, but that Bryan had not spoken openly about his contract status, at least that they were aware of.
There’s also been no talk of any particular farewells backstage at SmackDown as if Bryan wasn’t going to be around moving forward, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that these farewells didn’t happen privately.
It should be noted that this does not mean Bryan is leaving WWE, or hasn’t re-signed since last week, or that he won’t work for WWE without being under contract. Bryan has reportedly been vocal about doing some unconventional work with WWE, and for WWE, as he has talked about in recent interviews. The only thing that can be confirmed at this point is that multiple people within WWE had heard that Bryan’s deal was expiring.
Bryan has talked about his WWE future and possibly transitioning into a part-time talent for a few months now in media interviews. He spoke with TV Line right before the match with Reigns and responded to reports that said his WWE contract was expiring later this year.
“It’s funny that people gravitate towards the date ‘September,’ and I think it’s because that’s when my last contract ended, but it doesn’t end in September,” Bryan revealed. “I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like.”
Bryan continued in that interview and talked about his future.
“I had a tag team match on SmackDown (recently) and it was a lot of fun,” he said. “But my neck was just wrecked. I’m going to be 40 in May and my daughter likes to get on my shoulders to pick leaves from a Japanese maple in front of our house. You get to that point where it’s like, how long can I do this full-time and still be able to do those kinds of things with my daughter? What’s the right balance between part-time and that sort of thing? It may be that it’s just every once in a while when the urge strikes, or maybe like a schedule where it’s like eight months on, these months off.
“One of the coolest things about wrestling, and just be being an independent contractor in general, is that you can say, ‘Well, I really only want to do this amount of work.’ What that amount of work is, I have no idea yet. I still have to figure it out. But I also need to be respectful of the people who are relying on me to go to work. I have to give them an answer sooner rather than later. I’m trying to figure that out, trying to be responsible as an employee of somebody who’s taken care of our family very well. But then also, trying to take the time to figure it out.”
Stay tuned for more on Bryan’s WWE status. He has not made any public comments since last Friday’s loss to Reigns.