Cutting down three-plus hours of WWE programming to one for an NBC special about WrestleMania 30 can’t be easy. But this year, the decision about what to cut and what to keep in this sixth annual showing of the condensed package got even harder. To show Daniel Bryan or not to show Daniel Bryan, that was the question. The WWE went with the latter.
A little background: Daniel Bryan stole the show when WrestleMania 30 first aired live from New Orleans on April 6. The consummate underdog, Bryan had to go through the much bigger Triple H, Randy Orton and Batista (aka, Dave Bautista, star of “Guardians of the Galaxy”) to win the highest WWE title of them all, the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. Bryan won that night over the course of two matches and took home the belt. He also took up a whole lot of screen time.
So why the Bryan-less edit?
Bryan’s championship reign was triumphant but short. In May, Bryan underwent surgery on his neck and has been recovering ever since. In the meantime, he was forced to give up the championship, and the latest rumors project that Bryan will likely not be able to return until 2015. (He could be back for the Royal Rumble in January, according to F4WOnline.)
TribLive.com‘s Just LaBar writes the edit makes total sense in light of Bryan’s long absence from the ring:
“The NBC special isn’t for the hardcore WWE fans who already paid WWE to see it. The special is to draw in new viewers or viewers once lost. It makes no sense to showcase a guy who they might get interested in, but then turn on Monday Night RAW and can’t see.”
Certainly, that sounds logical, but that didn’t stop emotional WWE fans from piping up about Bryan’s absence on social media on Sunday.
— D-Rock (@DOlsonUC05) August 3, 2014
— MB Anthony (@thembanthony) August 4, 2014
— Matt Johnson (@VivaMattyVegas) August 3, 2014
Bryan, meanwhile, has not publicly commented on what he thinks of his snub, but presumably he probably understands it’s nothing personal, but just what’s best for business.