That’s one way to handle the elephant in the room.
The WWE addressed their issue with Daniel Bryan head on in the opening the segment of this week’s episode of SmackDown. Reports from earlier in the day stated that Bryan would not be traveling to Saudi Arabia on Friday.
The show kicked off with AJ Style coming to the ring and calling out Bryan.
Champion and challenger quickly went nose to nose and looked like neither man wanted to wait until Friday at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia. Before the two men could come to blows, SmackDown Commissioner Shane McMahon came out to put his two cents in.
McMahon proclaimed if the two men couldn’t wait they should fight right here, right now at the Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. The Commissioner called for a referee to come down and the match began just like that.
In one of the first exchanges of the mach it appeared that Bryan tweaked his knee during a suicide dive attempt on Styles. For the rest of the match, the WWE Champion would work over the left knee of the challenger.
The match as a whole was everything you could expect from a Bryan versus Styles inside a pro wrestling ring. Both men brought their A-game and it included some nasty, stiff spots throughout the 20 minute bout.
This match should have been the main event of a WrestleMania but fans got it as the opening contest of a SmackDown in October.
In the back half of the match, Bryan threatened Styles with multiple submission attempts. Transitioning from a tight armbar into a YES Lock, Bryan looked moments away from getting Styles to tap.
The champ wiggled out and hit a Styles Clash before rolling into right into a Calf Crusher on the injured knee of Bryan. Stuck in the middle of the ring, Bryan tapped out.
Post-match, Samoa Joe came out of the crowd and choked out both Styles and Bryan. The segment ended with the WWE not making any clear decision on if AJ Styles or Daniel Bryan would still be competing this Friday at Crown Jewel in Saudi Arabia.
Get complete SmackDown results and coverage here.