Bryan Danielson was a guest on a recent episode of The Ringer Wrestling Podcast. During the conversation, he discussed lessons he learned from Vince McMahon and the differences between WWE and AEW.

Danielson left WWE last year after spending over a decade working for McMahon’s company. Despite leaving, Danielson has not muttered a negative word about his former employer. Regarding Vince McMahon, Danielson still has “respect” for him because of lessons he learned during his time in WWE.

“I try to be very conscious of things because of my respect of Vince and things that he would want me to say and things he wouldn’t want me to say, right?” Danielson said. “Like, you know, I think one of the things that, I don’t know. The ability, one of the things he first taught me, actually, and this was before I was ever close with him, is the ability to use silence, right, and to not, to not say something if you don’t have an answer. Right, right.

“So it’s like if somebody asks you a question, ‘oh, maybe we could do,’ you know and you put out your, not even your best answer, you could just say, ‘hm. Let me think about it’. Or, you pause, sometimes when you talk to him and you ask him. He’ll sit there and not say a word for 30, 30 seconds or longer, which feels the longest time in history, right?

“But he’s not going to give you a bad answer. He’s not going to, he’s not going to give you an off-the-cuff answer. And the ability to sit and wait and be patient enough for ‘hm’ and then even if you don’t come up with it, you get, ‘okay, I’ll think about that’. I think that was, that was one of the earliest lessons that I learned from him.”

While AEW and WWE are the top two wrestling organizations in the country, there still are fundamental differences. WWE is known for being sports entertainment and has distanced itself from the “pro wrestling” title. However, AEW has embraced the term “pro wrestling” since its inception.

Danielson (who has worked for both WWE and now AEW) also commented on the differences between the companies.

“I just think they {AEW} embrace the idea of being professional wrestling is the, is the real difference. And WWE is, is trying to be more generalized entertainment,” Danielson said. Try to get it as, try to get it like, the masses involved in, ‘how do we get the masses involved in whatever this is?’ Right, to this thing. It’s weird. Sometimes I would get the sense that they, people wouldn’t, they don’t want to be professional wrestling.

“They would like to be something else entirely, you know, that’s kind of the switch away from, pro wrestling is this other thing, this dirty thing, this low rent thing, and what we do is something completely different, whereas AEW embraces the history of professional wrestling.”

With the aforementioned differences between AEW and Vince McMahon’s WWE, the presentations are going to be different. AEW has shown more of a willingness to feature blood regularly. WWE, on the other end, tends to shy away from presenting a “violent” product. For Danielson, there’s nothing like that “unique” feeling.

“When I was the ‘Planet’s Champion,’ I had this, my writer was Robert and he and I worked together so well, right? Like, right? Like he, yeah, yeah, yeah,” Bryan Danielson said. “And so, so, he and I worked together so well and he would present me with a, like, ‘hey, this is kind of what the promo is,’ and then I’d be like, ‘well, what if he did this?’ Then he’d say, ‘and well, what if we do this?’ And we bounced ideas off each other really, really well. So I find when you work really well with somebody in collaboration, to me, that’s a lot of fun.”

“So, but, going back to the idea of ‘violent’ and that kind of being a banned word, so I think, one of the things I’ve enjoyed is embracing more of the pro wrestling aspects that WWE doesn’t want to put that on their programming. You know, and they don’t want it for different reasons. For example, the bleeding, right? So I don’t want to be somebody who bleeds every match, right, but there’s, there’s this unique sensation of wrestling in front of, whether, even if it’s in front of because I’ve bled in front of like, 300 people.

“In front of a crowd of people where they’re all like, very invested in a story or whatever it is and blood is flowing down your face and it adds to the, the intensity of the storytelling of it. But there’s also, it’s just a unique feeling.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Ringer Wrestling Podcast and provide a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription

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