Bryan Danielson recently spoke with Chris Mueller of Bleacher Report to promote his AEW in-ring debut against AEW World Champion Kenny Omega. The non-title bout will air on Wednesday’s Grand Slam edition of AEW Dynamite from New York City. Danielson talked about the differences between the WWE and AEW locker rooms, noting that AEW runs on a very open-source system, with a more upbeat feeling in the locker room.
Danielson also talked about the politics and the struggle in WWE, and commented on how almost everyone in AEW has access to President & General Manager Tony Khan.
“It’s hard for me to say honestly, it’s weird because WWE itself has changed so much in the time that I’ve been there,” Danielson said. “People go in, and I think this happens in every company regardless, and push for ideas that will make them look good. And so everybody does that. So I think more of the politics, the struggle in WWE is that the system is so big that it’s hard to get access to the people you need to get access to, to get anything to change.
“One of the wonderful things about AEW is that almost everybody has access to Tony [Khan]. He’s very friendly and very approachable. It’s not just me, it’s people lower on the card who will go up and talk to Tony. It’s a very open-source system. And as the company gets bigger, that might actually not be functional. One thing I will say is that I feel like the locker room is more upbeat at AEW.”
He continued, “I think most of the talent feels like they’re a part of something. They feel like they’re not only just a part of this company, but they’re also a part of an industry-type change. They feel like they’re a part of the wrestling business changing, and I think that that’s really cool. And I also think it’s interesting because there are a lot more younger people in the AEW’s locker room.”
It was noted that one of the biggest changes for Danielson when he moved to AEW was all of the new, young faces he’d never met before. Danielson commented on how he seeks advice from some of the younger talents who understands what is cool these days, better than he does. He named Dante Martin and Hook as two wrestlers he enjoys talking to.
“I’ve only been there a couple of weeks, but I love chatting with Dante Martin and Hook,” Danielson said. “And I keep asking them if I look cool or not because I’m 40 and I’m not cool. And it’s just different. I’ve never met a lot of the people in AEW. I’ve known some for years from the indies before, but the other guys I’ve never met before.
“So there’s this fun mix of younger people. You’ve got the real veterans like Big Show [Paul Wight], Mark Henry and Christian. And then you have people like MJF, who would never normally pile on Big Show, but it feels like if I start giving Big Show a bit of crap, and he feels like ‘OK, I can maybe make a joke here.’ And I think that’s a fun dynamic. And I also think that’s the best dynamic for learning as a wrestler who has been in this for over 20 years, now for 21 years.”