Despite being recently pulled from WWE's European tour due to injury, WWE has continued to advertise Daniel Bryan for tonight's WWE Extreme Rules PPV in Chicago. Bryan has been scheduled for week's to defend his WWE Intercontinental Title, which he won in a ladder match at WrestleMania 31 against Bad News Barrett at Extreme Rules.
The question has been, why has WWE continued to advertise the match knowing that Daniel Bryan is physically unable to perform? Bryan has not wrestled in a couple of weeks now, yet the official WWE website has continued to advertise Daniel Bryan vs. Bad News Barrett for tonight, both on the regular WWE site and on the official Extreme Rules website.
Today, the day of the show, it appears changes are starting to be made by WWE. On the schedule portion of WWE where the Extreme Rules show is listed, Daniel Bryan's name has now been removed from the show's listing, according to a report from PWInsider. However, Bryan's name still appears advertised on the Extreme Rules sub-section of the WWE website.
A recent report by Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer Newsletter noted that he has been told Bryan is expected out of action by WWE personnel for up to five weeks. If this is indeed the case, there is virtually no scenario where Bryan will be wrestling tonight, and WWE has been aware of this for several weeks now. Continuing to advertise a star wrestler such as Bryan performing on a show that they know he will not be wrestling on is a questionable decision, for sure.
All kinds of possible options are out there should Bryan indeed miss five weeks of action. PWInsider's Mike Johnson has suggested that the Bryan/Barrett match could still happen, though it would likely involve a very quick title switch in order to get the belt off of Bryan without him having to risk his health. Johnson suggested that Barrett would then be ordered to put the belt on the line immediately, with Neville considered the strongest candidate to immediately challenge (and possibly win) the Intercontinental belt.
Another interesting name out there would be NXT's Finn Balor. Balor has been reported to be set to debut with the main roster at any moment now. What better way for Balor to make his debut than to win the WWE Intercontinental strap in his first match on the main roster? If Bryan is out of action for a long period, this would certainly be an exciting way to switch directions moving forward.
UPDATED: April 26, 2015 6:30 p.m. CT
WWE have now officially ruled Daniel Bryan out of the Extreme Rules show via a statement on WWE.com.
WWE.com has learned that Daniel Bryan is medically unable to compete tonight at WWE Extreme Rules. Therefore, there will be no Intercontinental Championship defense.[Image via YouTube]
How will this breaking news affect the Intercontinental Championship picture? Stay with WWE.com all night long for updates as this story develops.
Meanwhile, WWE.com has also learned that Bad News Barrett, Daniel Bryan's original opponent, will now face Neville in the WWE Extreme Rules Kickoff at 7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, available for free on WWE.com, the WWE App, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Pheed and the award-winning WWE Network.