"A week and a half ago, I took a test that said that maybe my brain isn't as ok as I thought it was, said Daniel Bryan in February 2016, announcing his retirement from pro wrestling. "I have a family to think about, and my wife and I want to start having kids soon."
A year and a half later, Bryan had settled into a life outside of the WWE ring. He and his wife, Brie Bella, also a retired wrestler, became the parents of a beautiful baby daughter. Bryan even took a desk job as general manager of WWE Smackdown Live, coming to terms with the fact that during his sixteen year career, he had suffered so many concussions that one more blow to the head could cause permanent damage.
But after a cordial business visit to see his WWE Monday Night Raw counterpart, general manager Kurt Angle, Bryan found himself locked in a dark room where he was viciously assaulted by Glenn Jacobs, a libertarian man running for mayor of Knox County, Tennessee.
It's unclear why Jacobs chose to brutally attack Bryan, choke-slamming him through a table even though WWE doctors have been very clear about Bryan not engaging in any physical contact that could result in a concussion. Maybe Jacobs' libertarian values don't jibe with Bryan's vegan hippie lifestyle. Perhaps Bryan is a supporter of high taxes and big government. Last night's attack left us with no answers, sadly. Only questions.
The senseless violence of the attack was made all the more shocking by the fact that Bryan and Jacobs used to be part of a tag team, back when both were in-ring competitors, rather than backstage officials and Republican political candidates. Bryan even recently stumped for Jacobs at the Hunter Valley Farm Pavilion, trying to help his former friend unite voters on both sides of the aisle and secure an electoral victory.
Jacobs clearly feels that there are no consequences for his actions, as he narrowly escaped being guilty of murder after Braun Strowman, a man who Jacobs forced into a garbage truck before turning on the compactor at WWE TLC, returned last night after surviving in the back of the truck for 8 days. Maybe he is taking a cue from Republican President Donald Trump, himself an accomplished pro wrestler and WWE Hall of Famer, who famously said, "I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters."
As Trump faces down an investigation into his campaign's possible collusion with the Russian government, Jacobs will face voters in the Knox County mayoral race, first in the primary in may, and then in the general election in August. Bryan was taken to a medical facility to undergo testing, his future uncertain. How many more enemies will Jacobs destroy before then? Tune in next week to Monday Night Raw to find out.