It appears that a neck injury will cut Daniel Bryan's reign as WWE World Heavyweight Champion short. A new report on Monday claims that Bryan has been downgraded and will be unable to compete at Money in the Bank later this month. Per the storyline/legitimate plan, if Bryan is not medically cleared to compete [in a Stretcher Match against Kane] at the pay-per-view, a new champion will be crowned in the Money in the Bank ladder match.
The news comes just two months after Bryan overcame the odds at Wrestlemania XXX, where in storyline, he beat Triple H and went over in a triple threat match with Randy Orton and Batista to become the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Shortly after going over at Wrestlemania and taking his rightful place as a top WWE superstar, Bryan married Brie Bella on April 11, 2014. Since then, it's been nothing but bad news for the creator of the Yes Movement.
On April 21, 2014 WWE announced that Daniel Bryan's father died unexpectedly and he was given time off. An injury angle was done to write him off television with the diagnosis of "a cervical cord neurapraxia" being more legitimate than anyone at the time realized.
Bryan went on to retain the WWE World Heavyweight Championship in a match against Kane at Extreme Rules. The company followed up with an angle on Raw where he and Brie Bella were "running scared" from Kane, an angle that WWE Hall of Famer Mick Foley likened to the booking of Zack Ryder.
On May 12, 2014 it was learned that Bryan indeed had a legitimate neck injury and would need time off.
Daniel Bryan had successful surgery on May 15, 2014 where Dr. Joesph Maroon performed a cervical foraminotomy to decompress the nerve root. A surgery we provided more details on at this link. The future of the WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been in question ever since, with Bryan being pulled from the post-Wrestlemania 30 European tour as a result of the injury.
WWE went stroyline-heavy in their explanation for Daniel Bryan's absence, continuing to bill Bryan as the proverbial underdog. The decision regarding the title was strung out with the aforementioned storyline/legitimate plan for the Money in the Bank pay-per-view put into motion.
Ultimately, the decision comes down what is best for Daniel Bryan's health. I heard Bryan was under a tremendous amount of pressure to come back, however, this latest report suggests it's simply not possible. The current WWE World Heavyweight Champion is in the process of regaining strength in his arm after the cervical foraminotomy was performed last month. No one knows how long it will take for his strength to come back, which is why WWE hadn't given out hope of leaving the title on him.
The best case scenario will be for a legitimate opponent for Bryan to arise out of the Money in the Bank ladder match, only to bill a "unification bout" between the interim champion (the winner at the pay-per-view) and Daniel Bryan at SummerSlam (Editor's note: If I'm booking, it's against Seth Rollins.). How that plays out will determine how Bryan's recovery goes and how WWE creatives plans to handle the situation.
Expect the company to address the situation on this week's episode of Raw as Bryan is advertised to appear live from Knoxville, TN. We'll have complete coverage here at WrestlingNewsWorld.com.