WWE Considered an "Empty Arena" Match Between Daniel Bryan & AJ Styles

— When Daniel Bryan told Vince McMahon he wasn’t going to do Crown Jewel, both of them agreed to keep that news a secret from everyone, however, it ended up being reported on the internet only a week later. According to the Observer, everyone in the back knew about the rumor but nobody could confirm or deny. Even people in prominent backstage roles knew about Bryan’s situation but were not given any details and so the creative team continued the Bryan vs. AJ Styles narrative on TV as if the match was happening.

— After it was confirmed that Crown Jewel would be happening yet Bryan would not be going, alternative plans were discussed. One of them would have seen Styles vs. Bryan at a technology center near the WWE Performance enter in any empty arena match. The match at one point was going to be taped ahead of time and simply inserted into the show. Another option was to film it live as the ring at the technology center can be filmed in a way to make it seem like they are in whatever building/venue is desired – similar to a green screen.

— The belief was that going with either of these was likely to lead to even more controversy because fans would not appreciate trying to be fooled with the fake audience. Furthermore, an empty arena match would have been difficult to pull off considering most matches rely on crowd reaction and it would also have led to a story with the media.

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