In a new interview with Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald, AEW star Bryan Danielson commented on what it means to return to Miami for Rampage and Dynamite this weekend. He looked back on some standout moments of his career that happened in Miami, even if those moments didn’t seem like positive experiences at first.
“I mean, it’s super exciting. I don’t know if you know but I’ve had some pretty cool experiences in Miami that are big, kind of landmarks in my career, both of which were negatives that turned into a positive. So when WrestleMania was in Miami, that’s when I was the World Heavyweight Champion and lost to Sheamus in 18 seconds,” Bryan said, laughing. “And that sounds like something that would be pretty bad but it really turned my career around as far as the fans rejected the idea, got super behind me, you know? That sort of thing.
“And a similar thing happened because I’m pretty sure Miami was where the original Nexus attack was too. And then I got fired for that and brought back in the main event of SummerSlam, so yeah, I’ve had a couple interesting moments in Miami for sure.”
The night after that WrestleMania, during an episode of RAW, The Rock was interrupted by fans chanting for Danielson (then Daniel Bryan) as he cut a promo in the ring. But instead of turning the catchphrase of “Yes!” into something of his own, Rocky approached Bryan in the back and congratulated him on being over with fans.
“It was a pretty cool moment, you know what I mean? And it was interesting because I wasn’t on RAW that night, as far as I was just on the dark match,” he explained. “There was a funny moment where The Rock was out there doing a promo, and all of a sudden, everyone stars chanting ‘Yes!’ and ‘Daniel Bryan!’ And so I said, ‘Oh no, for sure’ – because The Rock is so quick-witted, right? I was like, ‘For sure he’s just going to turn it around and it’s going to be his thing. I’m not even going to have it,’ you know? And then he came back and he said like, ‘Hey man, you’re super over out there.’ And I was like, ‘Oh man, that was really nice.’ He could have easily turned it around into a Rock thing but he didn’t and that was very kind of him.”
For the foreseeable future, Bryan has left WWE behind to wrestle in a new home – AEW. He explained that a major reason in his decision to sign with this new company was their effort to push the younger talent to the top of the card.
“That’s one of the reasons, one of the check boxes in favor of me going to AEW. Because it was a really hard decision, you know? My contract was up, I had a great offer from WWE, and I had a great offer from AEW. So yeah, one of the things was all the incredible, young talent that AEW is actually getting behind as a company, and also the fanbases are supporting them too,” he said. “The biggest stars in the company were/are people that haven’t been exposed to any great extent on national TV before AEW. You see it with the women too, like Britt Baker, so that’s exciting. I love working and wrestling younger talent not just ’cause – you know, it’s not just like, ‘Oh, I want to help this younger talent.’ It’s not that either; I want them to push me. When I was 22 or 24 like some of these guys are, like, I went hard. I remember facing Kamala when I was like 25 or 26 and he was like 50, and I mean, I didn’t take it easy on him, you know? I want to be in there with the young guys who just want to go.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Jim Varsallone with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.