In a surprising twist, Erick Rowan returned to WWE at the 2019 Royal Rumble to help Daniel Bryan defeat AJ Styles and retain his WWE Championship.
In a match that was methodical, technical and uniquely Daniel Bryan versus AJ Styles, things quickly changed when a former member of the Bludgeon Brothers and Wyatt Family returned to WWE, this time to side with Bryan and cheat to keep his belt.
The highly anticipated bout between Styles and Bryan wasn't the high-paced match that some might have expected. Still, it was a punishing demonstration of two very gifted performers showcasing the strengths of their craft. They were going toe to toe and inflicting punishment. Thus, when Rowan appeared, the contest took a strange and unexpected turn.
Waiting for his opportunity to strike, a chokeslam by Rowan to Styles was all it took give Bryan the advantage and ultimately easy pin. Rowan then climbed into the ring, raised the hand of the champion and the two left the ringside area together.
What This Means
There are a few things to take from this. First, the Bludgeon Brothers appear to be no more. One of the most dominant tag teams in WWE, Rowan showed no signs of that character coming out in a plaid shirt and sans Luke Harper. Second, Rowan appears to be the new bodyguard or first member of a team that Bryan might be putting together.
On Tuesday's edition of SmackDown Live, it seems fairly evident Bryan will address the WWE Universe offering some sort of explanation to the new alliance. Styles may have something to say about it, but Rowan is a force meant to help Bryan keep on hold on his prize.
The Rowan development seems to indicate Bryan will be keeping his title for some time.