Daniel Bryan’s sudden announcement Monday that he requires neck surgery shocked the wrestling world, because it means he will be forced to vacate his trademark beard.
If the surgery forces Bryan out of WWE competition for more than one month, he will have no choice but to forfeit the facial scruff, which has become one of the most coveted prizes in pro wrestling.
Bryan skyrocketed to fame in recent years, thanks partly to his scrappy determination and wrestling prowess, but more predominantly because fans worldwide “Respect the beard.”
Neck surgery will require the fan-friendly follicles to be shaved, and fellow wrestlers will quickly vie to fill Bryan’s vacant “spot” as keeper of wrestling’s most popular facial hair.
It is widely believed that WWE will launch an elimination tournament in order to crown a new beard-holder.
Bo Dallas has insisted he will win the tournament — thus repackaging the popular catch-phrase as “Bolieve in the Beard” — but many fans doubt it will happen, since Dallas barely looks old or manly enough to grow facial hair.
Bryan has decided to keep a moustache because Brie Bella affectionately calls it “the Dazzler.”