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Bryan Danielson is #ALLELITE (Maybe!) - A PWMusings' Roundtable.

It has been reported that Bryan Danielson may have already signed a contract with All Elite Wrestling. This was originally reported by Cassidy Haynes of and has since been rereported by Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp with the rationale being that Sapp did know Haynes to have sources in AEW and did not believe that Haynes would report this if he wasn't confident that it was true.

Read on for the opinions of no fewer than 6 very giddy Pro Wrestling Musings writers!

Ryan Gorneault

What do you make of this news/rumour?

I don’t like to be a party-pooper, but as goes with anything wrestling-related, we don’t *really* know if these rumours and reports are true until they’re happening right in front of us on our television screens. So, until Bryan Danielson shows up on AEW programming, I’ll sit back and let people decide for themselves whether these rumours are to be believed or not.

How big would this be for AEW?

Now, if the former American Dragon IS in fact signed to AEW, then it’s safe to say that they picked up their best signing to date. To me, he’s easily one of the best wrestlers of all time purely for his ability to elevate his fellow competitors. Yes, he’s better than Kenny Omega (that thumb war from PWG DOESN’T COUNT). Regardless of who goes over, just about anybody who steps into the ring with him will look like a better wrestler by the time the match is over. While the AEW is pretty darn great as a whole, the locker room could definitely benefit from someone like Danielson, who operates on such a different plane of existence within wrestling even at his worst.

Where do you think Bryan Danielson slots into AEW?

He could pretty much take on any role he would want, besides the underdog character that he perfected from 2013 into 2014. Sure, there are are a few wrestlers for the underdog character to be effective. If he does end up in AEW, I think I would want him to have a bit of edge. No, I don’t want him to get “smash a dude face-first into the ring post multiple times and crack his head open like he did to Nigel McGuinness” aggressive, but I wouldn’t mind him channelling the asshole-tendencies that often made many of his Ring Of Honor matches so compelling.

Is the former Daniel Bryan making the right decision? What do you hope to see from Bryan Danielson in AEW and beyond?

I don’t know whether AEW is the best choice for him to take, but I know him joining the company seemingly reopens a lot of doors for him. We know he wants to wrestle in Mexico (specifically at Arena Mexico) and the new reports say he wants to work for New Japan Pro Wrestling. A CMLL run sounds intriguing and a NJPW run scares the crap out of me, but nevertheless, him signing to AEW seems like the best way for these things to happen while still signed to a major United States wrestling company. At this point, I just hope he stays healthy for himself, his wife, and his kids.

Craig William

What do you make of this news/rumour?

The use of the word rumour is important, but I can’t see somebody like Daniel Bryan/Brian Danielson not being fascinated by the idea of working out with the WWE with the current wrestling landscape. He said after Wrestlemania that he didn’t feel anything, that it was odd. This is significant. This is a man that ‘fought for his dreams’, a man that campaigned for years to get back in the ring. He’s not too old, his body can still go. I want to believe it, and I kind of already do!

How big would this be for AEW?

This would be huge. The most under-valued signing in the history of AEW is Kenny Omega. People forget that it wasn’t a given that Omega would be part of AEW. He was a part of All In and may have had more to do with it than presented at the time, however he was presented as a booked guy. He was similarly peripheral as Cody and The Bucks signed their contracts and as Hangman and The Bucks revealed their next project on BTE.

We didn’t know if Omega would stay with New Japan, he was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion after all, or join the rest of The Elite. His signing was a cementation that AEW could touch the heights of in-ring wrestling that the US was lacking. However now there is the possibility of suggesting that Omega hasn’t done this enough. That in order to be able to hit his highest notes he needs the in-ring foil to match his talent. Andrade may be this but Brian Danielson? That’s another level.

With Brian Danielson, you get one of the best in-ring workers of all time but also, a creative talent on the level of Omega. That’s not even to mention that Danielson’s star power is that of wrestlers like Omega, Cody and Moxley. This would be yet another paradigm shift.

Where do you think Bryan Danielson slots into AEW?

As I covered in the previous question, right at the top. This isn’t Christian Cage, an aging but talented former-WWE talent that you need to handle sensibly to avoid undermining your burgeoning young talent. This is a Wrestlemania headliner, a man that wouldn’t be out of place in the ring with Kazuchika Okada and a man that has shown himself to be a creative genius with characterisation inside and outside the ring.

Is the former Daniel Bryan making the right decision?

Only he is the person that can really answer this. But in my opinion? Yes. The WWE seems like a miserable place to work. Yes, there are great people there but the draw backs in terms of embarrassing segments, unambitious in-ring wrestling and all the political and hierarchical stressors involved sound beyond tedious and quite frankly insidious.

AEW on the other hand, has good things said about it by many different voices, including legends stating it’s the best place they’ve worked. Reportedly, Danielson will be working less dates than he did in WWE but for comparable money with the ability to work dates for New Japan too. That sounds utopian.

What do you hope to see from Bryan Danielson in AEW and beyond?

I want matches with Omega, Darby, Okada, Tanahashi, ZSJ and Cody. Just as a start! I think you can easily put the AEW World title on him as his sheer talent blocks out any nonsense about reliance on WWE stars. Surely, he’ll get stuck in backstage and anything he’ll do in Japan will be mesmerising.

Fingers crossed!

Gareth Ford-Elliott

What do you make of this news/rumour?

I'm fairly confident in trusting this news. In the past when rumours have spread about CM Punk, for example, it hasn't been backed up by good sources. So, it wasn't surprising when it didn't happen. Usually when this stuff has the credibility this has behind it, you can start getting excited.

How big would this be for AEW?

Huge. It can’t be understated quite how big it would be. Bryan is not only one of the biggest names, but one of the most adored wrestling stars of the last 20 years. He appeals to the lapsed and the hardcore wrestling fan. If anyone isn’t interested in Bryan in AEW, then AEW likely has no chance of ever appealing to that person, and that isn’t hyperbole.

Where do you think Bryan Danielson slots into AEW?

Bryan wants a lighter schedule, perhaps making him AEW's first proper part-timer. This needn’t have negative connotations. Bryan being part-time allows him to return and be a big moment, giving buzz to AEW, again and again.

I think we’ll see Bryan mostly having big PPV and TV dream matches whilst helping to establish younger talent. This is what he wanted to do in WWE, so I assume it’s the same here.

For my money, Bryan’s title reigns are always some of my favourites, so I am hoping he one day he does get there at least once more. But short term, at least, get excited for Bryan taking on the likes of Kenny Omega and Jungle Boy rather than chasing titles.

Is the former Daniel Bryan making the right decision?

Whatever Bryan does is the right decision. He knows his body best and he knows where his passion lies. AEW with the option to wrestle elsewhere is perfect for me as a fan and, I assume, for him also.

What do you hope to see from Bryan Danielson in AEW and beyond?

In AEW I’d like to see Bryan start off with Jungle Boy. He will have to beat JB at first, but in time I’d like to see Bryan put him over. From there, move onto the Kenny Omega dream match. I’d like to see Bryan face Hangman Page also, whether that’s for the title or not. There’s a lot of story potential in all of those match-ups.

I’d also love to see another Bryan heel run, potentially turning on Jungle Boy where he can get his win back, but this is at least a year down the line.

In New Japan, Bryan vs Kazuchika Okada is the ultimate dream there and ideally would be saved for a bigger stage. Zack Sabre Jr. also simply has to happen at some point. If Bryan feels his body is up to it, a G1 CLIMAX would be the perfect place.

Ultimately, Bryan can just become a dream match factory. He’s reached the top, in terms of gold, various times so I’m less invested in that journey right now. I just want to see him have fun and do the run that solidifies his name in that "GOAT” conversation, as if his name isn’t already safely in that discussion.

I just want to end with names for dream matches that a match graphic alone would make me pop my tits off:

AEW: Darby Allin, Cody Rhodes, Dax Harwood, Orange Cassidy, Pac, Rey Fenix, Ricky Starks, Sammy Guevara, Wardlow, MJF, Malakai Black and, hopefully, CM Punk.

NJPW: Kota Ibushi, Minoru Suzuki, Hiromu Takahashi, Sanada, Kenta, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jay White, Shingo Takagi and Tomohiro Ishii. Joe Cabana What do you make of this news/rumour? The reports coming from people inside the WWE should be enough to convince anyone at this point, WWE are looking to bring their big stars back on TV now that the crowds are returning, yet Bryan is out of creative discussions and hasn’t been mentioned for months, he’s out of the video game and also completely out of the merchandise plans for 2021/22. “Make of that what you will”? I certainly will. How big would this be for AEW? There is no doubt in my mind that this would be the biggest get in AEW history, and they have a history of some pretty big gets already in their short time here on earth. Bryan appeals to the children, the mother, the father, the more casual viewer and to the most hardcore of fans. Bell to bell one of the greatest to ever step foot in the squared circle, on the mic he’s one of the most captivating and believable acts in the modern era. He’s everything in one package. And then some. Where do you think Bryan Danielson slots into AEW? I agree that it’s not likely he will be there every week, certainly not wrestling. At first, I see him building to and wrestling the biggest matchups possible in AEW. When he’s got the money matches down, Bryan will no doubt be the guy to work with the Jungle Boy’s of the roster, whether he beats them or not is irrelevant. Spending a quarter in the ring with him would be invaluable for a Jungle Boy, Lee Johnson, Dante Martin or whoever it will be.

Is the former Daniel Bryan making the right decision? Whatever he discussed with and came to a conclusion to, with his wife, his father-in-law and the rest of his family, is the right decision. What I think is probably largely irrelevant to him, but I would guess that the way he looks at it is that AEW is fresh, almost everyone on the roster is a new challenge for him, the schedule being up to him, and the creative freedom to be himself with no chains on him was probably too good to pass up. I can only imagine Tony Khan made one hell of a speech, and knowing what I know about Tony’s contract negotiations from people on the roster, it was probably a very long speech. What do you hope to see from Bryan Danielson in AEW and beyond?

What wouldn’t I hope to see? Of course, wins and losses matter in AEW so no one starts ahead of anyone, I would love to see him work his way through the roster in a similar way to what Christian Cage has been doing. He should absolutely be built up to the mega matches that are possible there, meaning he has to beat his opponents, and he should. Like I said earlier, the experience from being in the ring with Bryan is invaluable in itself, and in a year or two you can really make someone with Bryan Danielson. Obviously, I’d want to see him in New Japan, I think it’s very clear that is a goal of his as well. WWE and Nick Khan tried to get an exclusive deal with NJPW in an effort to keep Bryan away from AEW, so it’s a safe bet that when the COVID-situation in Japan allows for it, we will also be seeing him in Tokyo.

Anthony Bennett

What do you make of this news/rumour?

At the start I was pretty sure it was a lie, I looked at the normal sources Like Fightful to get confirmation. This was only because I hadn’t heard of the person who broke the news. However, after a lot of other listening to him on The Distraction Podcast say he wouldn't put out this news if he wasn’t 100% sure because it would ruin his credibility, I’m now 100% sure this is happening.

How big would this be for AEW?

I don’t think ratings wise it will be a big deal, however for the young wrestlers this will give them one of the best to learn from and ad we have seen Bryan is very selfless and will put others over. So, I think his presence will be felt more with the training rather than ratings.

Where do you think Bryan Danielson slots into AEW?

AEW is a great fit, it’s a product that has a lot of different styles, so I think he will get to face people from different backgrounds who all fight a different way. I want to see him vs Angelico so much. That said I love submission and counter wrestling, so this is my jam.

Is the former Daniel Bryan making the right decision?

This is an interesting one for me. While I like Bryan and I honestly think he is a top-level wrestler and Wrestling mind, I do worry that AEW is becoming too stacked. They have signed a lot of big names recently and while growing the brand is good, I think this might be a bit too much to fast especially in the CM Punk rumours are true. I don’t know where he will go on the card and worry that other people like Jungle Boy might be pushed down because of it.

What do you hope to see from Bryan Danielson in AEW and beyond?

I honestly don’t know, I guess the dream match tour, but honestly, I want to see him elevate some lower card wrestlers and bring them up with him. Surround himself with a young stable and lift them would be the best use of him.

Dan Humphrey

What do you make of this news/rumour?

After many years of WWE promising so much and delivering so little, and with even my beloved New Japan going through a fairly disastrous couple of years, I have become a very pessimistic wrestling fan. Yet even I have to accept that there is so much smoke that it looks increasingly likely that there is a very real Bryan Danielson to AEW fire. The key for me has been the nods and winks from the likes of the Bucks and Kenny Omega over the course of the week and you would hope that they wouldn’t be pouring petrol on this rumour if it wasn’t rooted in truth. So gosh darn it I believe!

How big would this be for AEW?

I think it would be massive. In the short term I think AEW will see a ratings bump both with people hoping that each Dynamite might be the one that he debuts, and also after that debut when it hits the news. I don’t think it’s the sort of signing that launches AEW into the 2,000,000 viewers territory, but I certainly think it could raise their figures and also help keep those figures stable.

Perhaps more importantly though, signing Danielson is a real sign that the wrestling landscape has shifted. This is a guy who, reluctantly as it might have been, headlined Wrestlemania only three months ago. Not even the most myopic of Vince-fans can therefore argue that he was on the WWE scrap heap. There’s also very little doubt that the Fed will have thrown all sorts of money at Bryan, so again nobody can argue he’s doing it for the money. He’s doing it because it’s a better all-round offer, and that really does put us in a genuinely competitive situation. Vince and his old white man brigade will try and no-sell this, but they will know this is a significant sign of where the industry is going.

Where do you think Bryan Danielson slots into AEW?

It’ll be very interesting to see how he fits in to an increasingly crowded AEW scene. Danielson doesn’t strike me as the sort of guy who comes in and demands to be in the title picture immediately, and broadly that’s not how AEW book their debuting stars anyway. But there is so much talent in the AEW roster that he could fit in almost anywhere on the card and he will make it work.

In terms of individuals I’d love to see him face in AEW, basically just look at the entire roster and seeing them wrestle Danielson would be fascinating. We all want the big matches with the likes of Omega, MJF and some sort of interaction with the Bucks, but I’d equally love to see him against a Will Hobbs, or a Wheeler Yuta and I think everyone who works with him will come out the other side as a better wrestler.

Is the former Daniel Bryan making the right decision?

Ultimately only Bryan Danielson knows what’s right for Bryan Danielson, but with the way things are moving in the industry it’s hard to see why anyone would choose WWE over AEW right now.

Money doesn’t appear to be an issue as AEW can match WWE. Creatively AEW is to WWE as War and Peace is to Clifford the Big Red Dog, and I also can’t think of many people better to walk through the ‘Forbidden Door’ than Bryan Danielson. In terms of making the most of his obscene amount of talent, it’s a no-brainer to choose AEW.

What do you hope to see from Bryan Danielson in AEW and beyond?

I would love to see Danielson move the needle in terms of viewing figures because his ability both as a technical wrestler and as a storyteller deserve that recognition. But even if that doesn’t transpire, I’ll just be happy to see him being able to do his own thing. As I said earlier there’s almost an unlimited number of matches I’d happily see him be involved in with AEW, and I would also love to see him given some back-stage sway in terms of training and advising the up and comers.

Beyond AEW? The options in New Japan are mouth-watering. Ishii? Naito? Ibushi? Jay White? Hiroshi Bloody Tanahashi?! SHINGO?!!!!!

And if we are able to get Bryan Danielson v Kazuchika Okada, I genuinely think we may see one of the greatest matches of all time.

So no pressure.


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