Daniel Bryan, a.k.a. Bryan Danielson, has reportedly signed with AEW. It was noted that Bryan wanted creative input into his character, and the plan was to have him debut on the September 22nd episode of Dynamite, titled “Grand Slam”, that will take place at Arthur Ashe stadium.
On the latest edition of Wrestling Observer Radio, Dave Meltzer reported that the biggest factor in Bryan likely signing with AEW is the company’s relationship with NJPW. Meltzer noted that he doesn’t know if Bryan is officially signed, but everything so far indicates that the deal is done. Last night’s episode of Dynamite: Fyter Fest night tw saw Lance Archer win the IWGP U.S. Championship in a match against Jon Moxley. Archer is set to defend the title next week against NJPW star Hikuleo.
Bryan has been open to wrestling for other companies for quite some time. When he was with WWE, Bryan was vocal about wanting to wrestle people outside of the company like ROH Pure Champion Jonathan Gresham and AEW star Jungle Boy.
WWE were in talks with NJPW earlier this spring with WWE President Nick Khan looking to create a working relationship between the two companies. Bryan was a topic of conversation in the talks, which would have allowed Bryan to wrestle for NJPW while under WWE contract. However, there does not appear to be any updates to those discussions as AEW has been continuing to work with NJPW.
Bryan was last seen on WWE Smackdown in April, losing a match to WWE Universal Champion Roman Reigns. He was banned from SmackDown due to the stipulation of the match, and his WWE contract expired days later.
Stay tuned for updates.