In an appearance promoting the Sportskeeda Wrestling Awards, AEW manager Arn Anderson was asked to name the best wrestler of 2021.
Anderson praised several guys, including WWE’s Roman Reigns and AEW’s Kenny Omega, but ultimately like Renee Paquette named Bryan Danielson, another AEW talent, as the best wrestler of last year.
“I like everybody in that category,” Anderson admitted. “I’m glad Roman finally got to be Roman. I wasn’t around Kenny Omega enough previously, you know? I was never anywhere that he was to be able to judge him. But I see his creativity and I see how having wrestled around the world and probably a thousand different companies, you know, what he brings to the table. Punk coming back was huge for the company, but I’ve got to go with Bryan Danielson.
“He was said to be too small, too vanilla, too this, too that, to all the naysayers years ago and I knew watching him perform all he had to have was a chance. And man, just when he wrestled the champion (Hangman Page) here just a few weeks back, and they wrestled for an hour. You know how many people in the world can do that? Maybe five guys. And keeping it interesting and keeping it intense. You keep the story up there, keep the physically up there. So this year, he gets my vote.”
As for the comeback of 2021, there was no question in Arn Anderson’s mind that it was CM Punk. Anderson even went as far to say that one couldn’t script a return better than Punk’s wrestling return at AEW Rampage: The First Dance at the United Center in Chicago, Illinois.
“No question, CM Punk,” Anderson said. “Chicago, Illinois. If you were going to write a Hollywood script, you couldn’t write it any better than that. That’s his hometown. He has always been a huge, huge, huge draw there and the mood was set and it was one of those moments that I was very, very honored to be have been in the building. I felt it first hand.”
Arn Anderson was also asked to rank CM Punk’s pop from the Chicago crowd during his return. Anderson, who has been part of historical moments such as Ric Flair’s return to WCW in September of 1998, said the reaction from the fans for Punk’s return was right at the top.
“I would say it’s up there at the top,” Anderson said. “I don’t know if anything, and I say this because there’s been bigger audiences, honestly. WrestleMania, you know, I’m one of those guys, okay I’ll say it. I’ll take credit for Spinebustering The Undertaker. To me, that was the biggest I had ever felt because I was in the ring and got to feel it from a talent perspective.
“But sitting in the back, and looking through the curtain, and watching everybody in that building in Chicago, however many that was, that night every single one of them was on the same page. It was ‘CM Punk. CM Punk. CM Punk.’ And that’s what I go by. There wasn’t 15 people over here sitting down and 10 people over here with a snarl on their face. Everybody was smiling, everybody was on their feet, and it was a moment in time.”
To quote this article, please credit Sportskeeda and provide an h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription
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