WWE is not planning to have Daniel Bryan enter the Royal Rumble on Sunday, January 28th, according to a report from Cageside Seats. Bryan, who retired from in-ring competition in 2016 due to concussions, has frequently threatened to get back in the ring, inside WWE or out. Bryan insists that multiple experts have cleared him for competition, but WWE’s doctors, skittish about the prospects of Bryan permanently injuring himself in the WWE ring, refuse to clear him. Bryan has been serving in an on-screen role as General Manager of SmackDown Live.
With the Royal Rumble one week away, WWE reportedly has no plans to have Bryan enter the match, but that hasn’t stopped people from betting money on him to win, at one point making Bryan the third favorite wrestler to win the match. But people placing money on Bryan to win the Royal Rumble are working themselves into a shoot, brother. Furthermore, they’re creating an unfortunate situation for WWE, because any Royal Rumble that fans expect Bryan to be in and that Bryan doesn’t win has historically resulted in tremendous boos for the eventual winner, which has previously scuttled the comeback of Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista and contributed to years worth of fan hatred for Roman Reigns.
Though Bryan isn’t expected to return at the Royal Rumble, that doesn’t mean he’ll never wrestle in WWE again. All storytelling logic seems to suggest that WWE is building toward a WrestleMania match between Bryan and SmackDown Live commissioner Shane McMahon, as the two have been at odds in their decisions while running the weekly show. WWE could agree to allow Bryan to wrestle occasional matches as a special attraction in an attempt to prevent him from signing with a competing wrestling company when his WWE contract is up.
However, to have Bryan enter the Royal Rumble without any intention of having him win the match, which WWE surely is not planning, would be a huge mistake that causes fans to turn on the match. It would be a colossally stupid choice with no benefit for anyone that would piss off fans and negatively affect the careers of WWE’s current superstars. WWE would never make such a bone-headed decision against their own interes… oh crap, he is gonna be in the Royal Rumble, isn’t he?
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