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This Bryan Danielson quote helps explain how he’s been one of the best wrestlers in the world for 20+ years

A whole lot of people consider Bryan Danielson to be the best wrestler in the world today. And of this century. More than a few think he’s the best to ever do it.

He’s also got a reputation for being a bit of a know-it-all smartass. It’s something he plays up in his on-screen characters, so its hard to tell where the reality/kayfabe line is. There was his WWE “Savior of the Planet” run in WWE, for instance, which saw him routinely telling everyone in modern society we’re doing everything wrong. And since arriving in AEW, Danielson’s made appearances on the vlogs of younger talent to chastise them for having vlogs.

That was the basis of the question Bryan fielded at his Starrcast media scrum in Nashville today. But rather than rant about kids these days and their phones (other than making a good and valid point about how no one of any age is likely to find happiness on their devices), the American Dragon instead gave a thoughtful answer about the importance of learning at any age.

“It’s always good to ask good questions, regardless of — and I try to do that with the younger talent, asking them questions. Because I think that’s equally important. I’m 41, I’ve been watching wrestling since the 80s. I have a view on wrestling, but the world has changed.

“I remember when I went to WWE, and even before that, there would be some really old time wrestlers who’d be like, ‘Ah, back in my day kid, I used to just grab an arm and hold it for 20 minutes and the place would be going crazy,’ implying that that’s what I should be doing. And that wouldn’t work.

“There are probably some things that I think about wrestling that are no longer true about what wrestling fans want from wrestling. And I can only understand that by talking to a Lee Moriarty, or a Dante Martin, and saying like, ‘Hey, what is it about wrestling that you guys love?’

“Because when I grew up watching wrestling, it wasn’t that people thought it was real, but they reacted to it more like it was real, whereas this generation has an entirely different view on it, where it’s like the whole audience is in on the gig. They all know it’s not real. Can you convince them that some things are real, or can they get into things? Yes, they can. But what is it that they love about wrestling.

“So I think as important as it is for them to ask questions of veterans, it’s also for somebody like me to ask questions of them to see what resonates with the younger audience.”

And that’s why Bryan Danielson’s been one of the best wrestlers in the world for 20+ years.