On a recent episode of Rasslin’ with Brandon Walker, Bryan Danielson was on where he discussed many topics like not doing the “Yes” chant anymore. Danielson also talked about joining AEW along with CM Punk and noted the key aspect to that.
“One of the things that I think has really helped AEW, because you have to understand, me and Punk coming is a product of them already being great,” Danielson pointed out. “If it was something that was bush league, Punk wouldn’t have gone. I wouldn’t have left WWE.
“They already had momentum that made both of us, made Punk, who was done with wrestling, mentally done with wrestling. But they created a product that was enticing enough to get him to come back to wrestling. They created a product that was enticing enough for me to decide, and I love WWE, I loved working there, that made me decide to go.
“They’ve also created a product that’s getting old wrestling fans, who have stopped watching, back to watching wrestling, and they’ve also created a product where people, who have never seen wrestling, younger people are now watching wrestling and being like, ‘Whoa, this is cool!’ The first time I saw Darby Allin hop off his skateboard and give an RKO to [Chris] Jericho or something, and I was with WWE at the time. I thought that’s the coolest kid I’ve ever seen!”
Walker named off a list of the top and up-and-coming young talent in AEW. Danielson responded to that noted what that means for AEW’s future.
“It’s interesting because one of the things that’s been very difficult in WWE for the last several years is creating new stars, and AEW came in with a handful of stars that hadn’t been known on a nationwide thing,” Danielson said. “The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega weren’t really known nationwide.
“They had a lot of fans, but they hadn’t been on national TV, but you had Jericho. You had [Jon] Moxley. You had a handful of guys that maybe people knew, but it’s the ability to go out there, and create these new stars and create people that they’re excited about, and so I have no doubts about AEW’s future as far as that’s concerned.”
Danielson then talked about working with the younger talent in AEW. He explained why he is also learning from them as much they are learning from him.
“One of the things that just really excites me and I think you can probably tell my passion for wrestling, but I think the learning goes both ways,” Danielson pointed out. “They will learn from me, and they will learn from CM Punk, but I will also learn from them because you have to keep in mind that as somebody who’s 40 years old and has been in wrestling for 21 years, I have certain ways of thinking about things, and the wrestling business and the entire world is not the same as it was in 1999. ‘Hey, Dante Martin,’ who’s 20 years old, ‘what do you love about wrestling? What does your generation love about wrestling,’ because it’s different. They have a different approach to it than I did. When I fell in love with the Ultimate Warrior, it was completely different. I’m also interested from that perspective, as far as growing as a human and growing as a performer, learning from the younger guys as well.”
Danielson also praised AEW for creating consistent stories. He noted that the environment they have feels believable.
“One of the things that I think AEW also has done a great job of is creating consistent stories, and so one of the things is creating an environment that feels believable,” Danielson explained. “In AEW, to get a title match, you have to work your way up the rankings. Nobody, no matter how big or how small, comes in and gets a title match right off the bat.
“I think that is consistent within the AEW storytelling universe, and that’s what makes it so appealing and then it also opens it up to people not knowing what’s going to happen within that match. What are the ramifications of the match. The matches themselves have ramification. If I win, do I get a title match? You get to see all the different layers of story telling, but also, it creates an environment where fans can go back to it, and they can rely on it. They know that this is consistent.”
Punk made his pro wrestling return at Rampage, and in his promo, he talked about how he left wrestling when he left ROH and joined WWE, and he expressed his desire to help out and work with the younger AEW talent. Danielson explained how Punk’s promo forced him to change his direction in AEW.
“Honestly, I don’t feel competitive with anybody but myself, but one of the things that I did do is my approach has changed based on what CM Punk has done,” Danielson revealed. “For example, in my mind, I was thinking when you saw, and so many people watched it, Punk’s debut on Rampage, it was crazy, and it was such an incredible moment, but when I watched the interview, I was like, whoa, those are similar feelings to what I have.
“We can’t be the same character. As far as, we can’t be the same person who’s like, ‘Hey, I just want to come in here and help out the young guys.’ I had to change my vision of what I am. I’m not here to help out the young guys. I’m not here to to be a mentor or anything like this. I’m here to kick people’s freakin heads in.
“He’s here to see if he can still be the best in the world. No, I’m the opposite. I know I’m the best. I’m here to see if they’re as good as I am. Kenny Omega, and The Young Bucks and all those guys, they call themselves The Elite? Are they elite, or should AEW really stand for ‘All Entitled Wrestling’? There’s all those sorts of things. That was actually very helpful for me because I saw Punk’s thing, and it was great, but in my mind, I was like, I can’t be that. It gave me a roadmap.”
Walker later read a list of potential dream matches. On that list was Daniel Garcia, Zack Sabre Jr., Josh Alexander and Fred Yehi. Danielson responded on potentially wrestling those guys on the list, and he explained why he wants a match with Sabre Jr. in particular.
“I would like to wrestle all of them,” Danielson said. “I think the one that’s most likely to happen the soonest is the Daniel Garcia match because he’s in AEW. I also think that’s one of those matches where he could learn a lot from me and I could learn a lot from him because he’s so young. That’s a match that I’m really looking forward to.
“Although, so, one of the things that I want outside of AEW, I want to do this in England because he’s English, I want to wrestle Zack Sabre Jr. in England. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter by Dave Meltzer, after I was forced to retire, he renamed the best technical wrestler, the Bryan Danielson award because I had won it so many years in a row.
“Now, Zack Sabre Jr. has won seven years in a row. Some of those years, I was in forced retirement, but even since I’ve come back, he’s still winning the best technical wrestler. That’s named after me! I’m number two in my own award! I’m not even the best Bryan Danielson! Somehow is Zack Sabre Jr., if that’s his real name, is winning the Bryan Danielson award, so that’s something I’d really look forward to.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Rasslin’ with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.