AEW star Bryan Danielson made an appearance on Gresh and Keefe, hosted by Andy Gresh and Rich Keefe, on WEEI. Danielson made his AEW debut at All Out in Sep., and he opened up about what about AEW made him want to sign.
“Well, so one of the things is just the excitement of doing something new,” Danielson stated. “I think we all get to those places where you’re like, ‘Okay, I’ve been doing this job for a while, and I really like it, but I kind of want to just try something else and do something a little different.’ That was part of the reason. Another reason is that AEW really focuses on the wrestling.
“You get more wrestling in two hours of AEW, I think, than you get in five hours of WWE TV, and I’m somebody who’s always liked the wrestling more than I like the in-ring interviews and all that kind of stuff. There’s some other stuff too. There’s a litany of reasons, but there are reasons to go the other way too. I think that’s one of the things that is a really positive thing about when I talk about AEW is that I loved working in WWE, and I still decided to leave and I think it’s because what AEW’s got going on is really exciting.”
Danielson was forced to retire in the mid 2010s due to multiple head injuries. Danielson discussed where he might be if he never came back, and what life was like when he was retired.
“It was really hard because I think I would still be retired if WWE didn’t have me come back and be the general manager because I really love wrestling, and I didn’t want to have to retire,” Danielson admitted. “I was kind of forced to retire, and so then, they brought me in as a general manager. I was just around it every single week, and I think I would have just gone off and started my own little organic farm or something like that.
“I would have been like, ‘Okay, I had a great time wrestling, but now I’ve transitioned into this other part of my life.’ Well being around it but not being able to actually do the thing that I love was really, really hard, and then I just started doing all these different medical treatments that are a little bit out there, a little bit wild. A couple years later, I ended up getting cleared to wrestle. My passion for wrestling is so deep that you put me around it too long and I’m just gonna want to get in there.”
When Danielson made his comeback in WWE, he had to take many concussion tests after his matches to make sure he could continue to wrestle. Danielson discussed the benefit that AEW provides to his in-ring style.
“I’m a little more judicious, but realistically, the big thing that has changed, and this is just kind of a choice when I re-signed my last WWE contract, and then when I came to AEW too, one of the benefits of AEW is that I need to be doing less matches because I like to go hard,” Danielson noted. “If you tell me, ‘Hey, go a little bit lighter today when you’re wrestling.’ It’s easy to say, but in practice, it doesn’t work like that.
“I don’t care if there’s 20,000 people out there, like there were at Arthur Ashe Stadium, and I don’t care if there’s 85 people out there, which I’ve wrestled in front of many crowds under 100 people. Those people all still pay their money to come see the show, and you want to give them a great show. It’s hard for somebody like me to pull back, and so really, it’s about doing less number of matches per year, and focusing on the quality of each of those matches and making sure that I give the live crowd every time I go out there something that they’re happy that they paid their money to see.”
If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Gresh and Keefe with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.