Samoa Joe will now face AJ Styles after Daniel Bryan refused to participate.
Daniel Bryan will not be part of WWE’s controversial Crown Jewel show in Saudi Arabia.
PWInsider’s Mike Johnson reported Tuesday morning that Bryan would not travel to Saudi Arabia and Bryan’s scheduled WWE Championship match against AJ Styles, slated to take place at Crown Jewel, was instead held on Tuesday night’s episode of SmackDown. After the match Samoa Joe attacked Styles in the ring, setting up an angle where he would replace Bryan as Styles’s opponent in Saudi Arabia.
Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports reported last week that Bryan and John Cena were refusing to participate in the show. Cena was written out of the show Monday night on Raw, being replaced by Bobby Lashley in the eight-man World Cup tournament.
Johnson reports that WWE initially planned to have Bryan and Styles wrestle at the WWE Performance Center in Florida, tape the match and air it during Crown Jewel, though those plans were scrapped. WWE also eschewed taping the Bryan-Styles match on Tuesday in Atlanta and airing it during the Saudi show.
In the wake of the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, WWE has faced significant backlash for its decision to move forward with the show, which is part of a 10-year agreement between the promotion and the Saudi government. WWE announced last week that it would hold the show as planned due to its “contractual obligations.”