The most intriguing aspect to the Extreme Rules card tonight from an insider perspective is whether Daniel Bryan will defend his WWE Intercontinental Championship against Bad News Barrett as advertised and if he is not healthy enough to compete, what will WWE do instead?
For those of you who haven't been following this bizarre story, Daniel Bryan was pulled from the remainder of WWE's European tour on Apr. 15th as a precautionary measure, shortly after Dave Meltzer reported that Bryan was "not doing well" and had been wrestling hurt on the tour, which explained why he had been booked in tag team matches where his partners worked the vast majority of the match for him.
There has been no official updates since that time, other than editing their official WWE.com Bryan vs. Barrett match preview to include the sentence:
"Bryan is undergoing diagnostic testing to see if he can defend his title at Extreme Rules."
This is also the line WWE has taken on their TV programming this week.
WWE is yet to reveal what is exactly wrong with Bryan. All Dave Meltzer has been told is that he is "banged up" and that he is expected to be out of action for several weeks, which would mean he won't be performing tonight and may even miss WWE Payback on May 17th too, as was reported in this week's Wrestling Observer Newsletter:
"We were told that Bryan was injured on 3/31 in his match with Sheamus at the Smackdown tapings in Fresno. Bryan was banged up and also bloodied up, and there was criticism of Sheamus in the match. PW Insider reported the injury taking place on 4/9 in Dublin, although that may have aggravated problems since the vague injury, the term "banged up" being used, was the term we were told after the Sheamus match and when the tour started....
There were reports from talent that he suffered a concussion, which the company denied, although nothing has been said about what his injuries were or how long he'll be out of action. The belief is that it will be a few more weeks. One company source gave the time frame as five weeks, but officially the company had not stated anything regarding even whether he would be wrestling on Sunday or not.
One person who knew basically intimated that is was being kept a closely guarded secret and that banged up would be a nice, accurate but purposely vague way to put it."
If WWE knows full well that Daniel Bryan won't be cleared to wrestle until after Extreme Rules, then clearly WWE has misled the public by pretending that there is still a chance that the match might take place. If WWE were genuinely uncertain about his health condition and it was touch and go whether he would ever be able to compete tonight, then they've handled the situation very well. We'll probably won't ever know for sure, but if Bryan doesn't come back soon, then that would lend support to the former hypothesis over the latter suggestion.