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Daniel Bryan to announce his retirement on RAW tonight

Daniel Bryan

For wrestling fans, the saga of Daniel Bryan’s health in recent years with WWE has been, in a word, tragic. A month after he finally won the WWE title at Wrestlemania 30 to culminate an incredible fan-fueled and improbable run, he had to undergo neck surgery that saw him stripped of the title and on the shelf for nearly a year.

After winning the Intercontinental title at Wrestlemania 31, he had to relinquish the belt weeks later due to concussion-related issues. Since that time, it’s been a constant drumbeat of “Will he come back? When will he come back? He’s coming back...right?” questions.

With NXT on fire, AJ Styles now becoming a force in WWE, and Nakamura on the way, the thought of Bryan getting in that mix was oh-so-tantalizing for those of us wanting to see one of the very best in the ring ply his trade with his peers once again.

But on Monday, the wrestling world got confirmation of the bad news we had all felt might be coming as Bryan Lloyd Danielson tweeted that on the February 8th edition of RAW, he will officially retire, leaving behind the life of an active wrestler that he's lived for 17 years.

Due to medical reasons, effective immediately, I am announcing my retirement. Tonight on Raw, I'll have a chance to elaborate. #gratitude

— Daniel Bryan (@WWEDanielBryan) February 8, 2016

The 34-year-old Danielson accomplished nearly everything you could ever want to in the world of pro wrestling, competing in Japan, being part of the founding class of Ring of Honor, working with nearly every major independent talent out there, and eventually signing with WWE in August 2009. A memorable run on NXT with the Miz eventually led to bigger and better things, save a ridiculous firing due to him choking out ring announcer Justin Roberts with a tie in a June 2010 RAW-closing angle.

He eventually returned and made an impact, regardless of how WWE tried to position him. He is the company’s 26th Triple Crown champion, and the company’s 15th Grand Slam champion. He did lose his World title to Sheamus in just 18 seconds at Wrestlemania 28 in a head scratcher, but he started the “Yes Movement”, had a memorable partnership and feud with Kane, had plenty of incredible matches, and found a place in the hearts of those who had never heard of him before he came to WWE while cementing himself with those that knew how special he was all along.

Tonight on RAW, Danielson bids farewell to the dream of returning to the squared circle and we'll all be along for the gut-wrenching explanation as to why.

Say it ain't so, Bryan. Say it ain't so.

Dave Meltzer and Bryan Alvarez discuss more on this story on this Breaking News Wrestling Observer Live.