With Daniel Bryan having been written off WWE’s Crown Jewel pay-per-view on Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live, details have emerged regarding the supposed reasons why he chose to withdraw from the event, which takes place on Friday in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
In this week’s Wrestling Observer Newsletter, Dave Meltzer wrote that Bryan had long planned to pull out of Crown Jewel, well before Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s disappearance and death. As cited by Fightful, Meltzer reported that the 37-year-old SmackDown Live superstar backed out in protest against Saudi Arabia’s treatment of homosexuals and because the country’s officials allegedly prevented Sami Zayn from competing in the Greatest Royal Rumble in April because of his Syrian ancestry.
Separately, Wrestling Inc. also cited Meltzer’s report on the Wrestling Observer, explaining that Daniel Bryan “knew very little about Saudi Arabia” until he appeared at the Greatest Royal Rumble, where he lasted for more than an hour before being the second-to-the-last man eliminated from the event’s titular 50-man battle royal. It was there where he saw the “mistreatment and propaganda,” according to Fightful, and decided he wouldn’t go back to Saudi Arabia if WWE held another event there.
As Bryan’s match against The Miz at last month’s Super Show-Down pay-per-view in Australia was a number one contender’s match for the WWE Championship, Meltzer noted that he wasn’t sure whether Bryan was aware his title match against AJ Styles would be held in Saudi Arabia, or if he went through with WWE’s creative plans because a win over The Miz would allow him to end their feud “conclusively.” In any case, Meltzer stressed that Bryan purportedly wanted to lose against The Miz at Super Show-Down.
An earlier report from the Inquisitr detailed another part of Dave Meltzer’s update on the Daniel Bryan/Crown Jewel situation, as the Wrestling Observer founder and editor also wrote about WWE’s alternative plans for Bryan’s match versus Styles for the latter’s WWE Championship. Meltzer wrote that WWE was planning to tape the match in advance and insert it into the Crown Jewel broadcast on the WWE Network but, eventually decided against it due to the potential media backlash that could result from misrepresenting the taped match as part of the live entertainment.
According to ComicBook, Crown Jewel is scheduled to air on the WWE Network on Friday at 7 p.m. Saudi Arabia time/12 p.m. ET. Aside from the updated WWE Championship match, which now features Styles defending his title against Samoa Joe, the event will also feature the eight-man WWE World Cup, a tag team match between D-Generation X and the Brothers of Destruction, and a match between Braun Strowman and Brock Lesnar for the vacant WWE Universal Championship.