Bryan Danielson vs. AEW World Champion Kenny Omega will happen tonight on AEW Dynamite Grand Slam live from Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York City.
Prior to his first match with AEW, Bryan Danielson joined ESPN SportsNation to discuss tonight’s show. The 40-year-old has main evented WrestleMania twice with WWE, has wrestled all over the world for several companies and is also a five time WWE Champion, but detailed why this match feels like “the biggest match” of his career.
“I just woke up this morning super excited and grateful,” Danielson said. “My entire journey has led me here. In a lot of ways this feels like the biggest match of my career and just the time, setting, person I’m going to be in the ring going against. These ideas I have, I really want these next three years that I’m going to be in AEW, I really want it to be the climax of my career. The best version of Bryan Danielson possible. I’m putting a lot of pressure on myself, some people might say it’s putting a lot of stress on myself but there’s good stress and bad stress. I’m pretty pumped.”
Bryan decided to leave WWE after spending a decade with the company to head to AEW. The former WWE Champion wrote a column in the Players’ Tribune where he thanked the WWE for his time with the company ahead of his match tonight against Kenny Omega. Danielson was also asked if it was a tough decision for him to make between re-signing with WWE or leaving for AEW, and highlighted why he ultimately left the WWE.
“For me, it was actually a really difficult decision but at the end of the day, there were just so many new people that I wanted to wrestle with,” Danielson noted. “In WWE I had wrestled so many of the same people a lot of times and I loved wrestling those guys. I could wrestle Cesaro a million times and be very satisfied with my life.
“There were all these young talents that are awesome in AEW but then there’s the veteran guys like Kenny Omega who’s really turned into one of, if not the best wrestler in the world in the last five years. There’s all these people that I went, oh, I can’t stop wrestling without wrestling these guys. I think AEW as a company is so exciting from a modernization of wrestling standpoint that it’s been a really fun product to follow.”
CM Punk also recently signed with AEW and made his debut at the All Out pay-per-view earlier this month. Given their friendship over the years, Danielson surprisingly said he had almost no communication with Punk before signing with AEW. Danielson also spoke about what it would mean to him to work with Punk in the future.
“We’ve had next to zero communication,” Danielson said. “As a lot of my friends know, I’m a horrible communicator. I didn’t know about the [CM] Punk stuff until it happened right, but it seemed very fitting. I actually wrote in my book that came out in 2015 that I was sad because I always thought there would be this big WrestleMania moment I would have with CM Punk.
“It just felt inevitable, it felt like destiny that this would happen. Our journeys were so similar, we both traveled through such difficult roads to get to where we are and it just seemed like magic. I wrote in my book that it makes me sad that that will most likely never happen, and then now here we are in 2021 and it’s a real possibility. I had heard him say in an interview recently that I hadn’t even thought of but it’s not just me against CM Punk, it’s teaming with CM Punk. He had said something about maybe me and him against The Young Bucks and I was like oh my God, that would be awesome.”
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit ESPN SportsNation with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.