When Roman Reigns pinned Daniel Bryan on last Friday’s SmackDown, the stipulation of the bout stated that Bryan was therefore banished from WWE’s blue brand.
It has now been reported that the reason for the timing of this stipulation is that Bryan’s WWE contract has expired and he is now a free agent.
This status is being reported by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful Select who has spoken to sources within and outside of WWE to confirm this status. It was originally reported that Bryan’s contract expired in September this year. However, Bryan himself refuted this timeline in an interview last week with TV Line. He said:
“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. [Note: Bryan was tight-lipped about when his contract actually runs out.] I’m still trying to figure out what that looks like… I had a tag team match on SmackDown last Friday, and it was a lot of fun, but my neck was just wrecked”
Bryan signed a new WWE contract in 2018 around the time he returned to active in-ring action at WrestleMania 34. He has spoken on a number of occasions about his hope for the coming years in WWE including wrestling sporadically for other promotions and winding down his activity as a wrestler to spend more time with his family.
A few days after the loss to Roman Reigns, Bryan’s profile was moved to the alumni section on WWE.com. It was assumed this was a kayfabe move but this news puts that in a different light.