NBC will be airing a special WrestleMania program on Sunday, Aug. 3 at 7 p.m. ET, covering several moments and matches from the 30th edition of the PPV spectacular. It’s interesting to note that neither Daniel Bryan‘s opening-match triumph over Triple H nor his WWE World Heavyweight Championship victory made the cut (Wrestling Observer Newsletter).
Instead, the program will focus on the in-ring segment with The Rock, Hulk Hogan and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, John Cena vs. Bray Wyatt and the Undertaker‘s streak-ending loss to Brock Lesnar.
It’s still unclear why the decision was made to ignore Bryan’s performance on the show, but it’s not a good sign any way you slice it. While it’s true that Bryan is currently shelved with a neck injury and there’s no timetable for his return, why overlook one of the greatest underdog stories the company has ever told?
You could make the argument that Bryan’s injury forced their hand. The NBC special is meant to promote and market WWE‘s product, and Bryan isn’t actively participating on WWE programming. For this reason, those in control might believe it’s a waste of air-time to promote his accomplishments.
In many ways, Bryan has already been passed by. It’s obvious that Roman Reigns has been chosen to eventually replace Cena as the company’s top star, and Bryan may not figure into their future plans at all. In fact, Bryan was never meant to win the title at WrestleMania until unforeseen circumstances changed the equation. Even after winning the belt in one of the best main events in WrestleMania history, Bryan was never booked like a top guy.
Whether the decision is best for business or not, many fans will feel insulted by the omission. Bryan’s quest for the title was the main selling point for WrestleMania, and leaving his career-defining moment off the NBC special comes across like a slap in the face.