On his return: “The day I announced I was coming back for the Royal Rumble is actually the day I got cleared to wrestle,” he said. “I started healing in November, as far as thinking, ‘Wait a second. Things are starting to turn around for the better.’ It was that December episode of Raw I went on to say I was finally able to be cleared by WWE where they said, ‘You’re ready to go.’”
Bryan does remember a period where he had doubts about his future.
On if he had doubt that he would return: “I just had to get into this mental frame of mind and not thinking about the negative. When you are sitting at home and all you do is physical therapy and all this stuff and nothing seems to be getting better, it’s very frustrating. If you get into that deep hole of thinking you are never going to come back. That’s a hard mental place to escape from. I dealt with that for a little bit, but then I realized I couldn’t have this type of negativity. If I was going to get better, I had to be positive that I can come back and come back better than ever.”
Rather than save Bryan’s squared circle comeback a surprise, WWE decided to announce it ahead of time. The 33-year-old likes how everything is panning out.
On coming back on SmackDown rather than the Royal Rumble PPV: “I actually requested for my return to be on this particular night,” Bryan said. “I wanted it to be in the main event of SmackDown when it moved. There is nobody better for me to wrestle in this type of situation than Kane. He is the one who put me out of action. He is the one I’m coming for retribution against. It should be a pretty awesome match and an awesome show and a pretty awesome way to get people to watch on Thursday nights.”
The longtime WWE show will always conjure up memorable moments for Bryan. At the top of the list is a favorite episode from 2011.