According to a report by PWInsider, Daniel Bryan will not be traveling to Saudi Arabia this week to take part in a previously scheduled WWE Championship match.
In something first reported by Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports, it was noted last week that Bryan was reportedly refusing to work the event, along with John Cena.
WWE confirmed during RAW last night that John Cena was officially pulled from Crown Jewel this Friday and replaced by Bobby Lashley in the World Cup tournament.
Bryan was scheduled to challenge AJ Styles for the WWE Championship this Friday at Crown Jewel, a match he earned after a win over The Miz at Super Show-Down.
WWE started making “alternative plans” as early as last week, according to the report today by PWInsider, when Bryan made it clear to WWE officials he wouldn’t be traveling to the event. While not confirmed, this was likely in response to the disappearance and later confirmed death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
As reported on last Thursday, WWE announced during the company’s Q3 2018 financial results that they would be going forward with Crown Jewel after facing a “very difficult decision.” HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” again profiled WWE this week and criticized the company for continuing on with the event, including a parody hype video.
It isn’t known this morning how WWE plans to handle the situation involving Bryan and Styles involving the scheduled WWE Championship match tonight on Smackdown Live. The company was still promoting the match during Sunday’s Evolution PPV, although at the time Cena was still advertised for the World Cup and then pulled the night night on RAW. Rusev has already been speculated as a potential opponent for Styles this Friday, although plans could always change in how they decide to approach things for tonight.