As many of you know by now, AJ Styles will be defending the WWE Championship against Samoa Joe at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. Most people assumed that Daniel Bryan pulled out of WWE Crown Jewel after learning about the murder of Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi.
It turns out that Bryan had decided a while back. Bryan did the first show in Saudi Arabia in April with little knowledge of what it was about and he did not know that it would be full of propaganda putting over the Saudi government.
Bryan felt that he could not go back and it wasn’t so much about women being banned from wrestling. It had more to do with learning about the way homosexuals are treated and also because Sami Zayn was not allowed on the show, which is something Bryan considered to be racism.
Bryan asked to lose to The Miz at the Super Show-Down event in Australia. That is the match that determined the number 1 contender for AJ Styles’ WWE Championship. It is not clear if he made that request because he knew that he would need to wrestle in Saudi Arabia or because he felt that it wasn’t time yet to get a conclusive win in his feud with The Miz. The only thing known is that his decision was made before news broke about Khashoggi’s murder.
News about Bryan’s status leaked last week but no one in WWE would confirm anything because Bryan and Vince McMahon agreed to keep it a secret from everyone. People in the company knew about the rumor but they would not confirm or deny it. WrestlingNews.co reached out to WWE for a statement last week and we never got a response. The top people in WWE heard the rumors but they weren’t given answers when they inquired about them and the creative team continued with things as usual as if the Bryan/Styles match was still on.
For what it’s worth, the finish on SmackDown Live was the finish they were going to do at Crown Jewel so it looks like that was going to be the end to the Styles/Bryan feud.