Daniel Bryan is perhaps the biggest WWE star at the moment, but fans may have to do without the high-flying star for quite some time after a surprise neck injury and subsequent surgery.
Bryan was scheduled to have neck surgery on Thursday, the results of a chronic injury. The WWE World Heavyweight Champion promised fans that he would return, addressing the neck injury during Monday’s episode of Raw.
“Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, Kane – they seemed to be thrilled by the prospect, and to them it seems like my career is pretty much done,” Bryan said, tying the injury to his in-ring rivalry. “There’s a chance that it could be — but it won’t be. Now, when will I come back? I have no idea. But I think all of you know the answer to this question — will I come back? Yes! Yes! Yes!”
Insides have said the WWE expects Daniel Bryan to return by the Payback PPV, but some experts believe the type of neck injury he suffered may keep him out much longer, with some comparing it to the nagging neck issues that kept Peyton Manning out for an entire NFL season.
If Bryan does return within a few weeks, it is unlikely that WWE would strip him of his title. F4WOnline, via Marc Middleton of Wrestling Inc, reported:
“There was talk backstage at last night’s RAW that WWE World Heavyweight Champion Daniel Bryan won’t be out of action but for 1 or 2 months. The feeling was that WWE likely won’t strip him of the title if he’s out just 1 or 2 months.”
But if the neck surgery keeps Daniel Bryan from returning for more than a few months, some believe that the WWE could vacate the World Heavyweight Championship Title to make way for a new champion.
That would likely be a worst-case scenario, however. Daniel Bryan is arguably the biggest superstar in the WWE at the moment, and replacing him would be seen as backtracking and likely not go over well with fans.