It took Daniel Bryan nearly eight months to secure the WWE World Heavyweight Championship. After just one title defense, Bryan has been forced out of action.
On the latest edition of “Monday Night Raw,” Bryan announced that he would be taking time off to undergo neck surgery. He didn’t give a timetable for his return, and wwe.com would not give any further information on his injury.
While WWE is using the injury in Bryan’s storyline against The Authority, his surgery is legitimate. He’ll undergo a procedure on his neck this Thursday.
News of Bryan’s injury broke shortly before “Raw” went on the air. SEScoops.com first reported that the champ would be out for “several weeks” because of a “minimally invasive procedure.”
It’s unknown when Bryan will return, and more information will likely be available, following his surgery. He didn’t drop the title, and might only miss one or two pay-per-views. The next PPV, Payback, is set for June 1. Money in the Bank is scheduled for June 29.
If Bryan is forced to miss more than a month or two, WWE could make him drop the belts. Most recently, Edge was forced to drop the World Heavyweight Title after WrestleMania XXVII, when a neck injury ended his career. In 2009, Batista had to give up his world title, following an injury.
The injury could change WWE’s plans for Payback. Bryan was expected to defend the WWE World Heavyweight Championship against Kane. The last time the WWE title wasn’t defended at a PPV was TLC 2012. CM Punk found himself in a similar situation, having to undergo surgery before the event. His championship match with Ryback was moved to an episode of “Raw,” three weeks after the PPV.
Bryan has, for the most part, remained injury-free during his WWE tenure. He suffered a concussion in January, but was able to compete at the Royal Rumble two weeks later.