Bryan Danielson hit fans with a Yes Kick to the gut on Collision when he told the world he’d begin winding down his career once his daughter turned seven. She’s currently six, and according to the record, would indicate that Danielson will be around at least until next May.
For the man who began his career training at Shawn Michaels’ old academy in Texas, it seems fitting that the song, Tell Me a Lie, starts blaring through the speakers, urging Danielson to tell everyone he’s just fibbing and that he isn’t going away, but that’s not likely to happen.
And so, as the American Dragon sets to breathe his last fiery breaths, the best place for him to be is in All Elite Wrestling.
When Danielson left WWE for AEW in 2021, he already knew he was one of the best wrestlers in the world and wasn’t shy about admitting it when he spoke at the All Out media scrum (one where CM Punk didn’t devour coworkers and pastries). Instead, coming to AEW was about testing himself against fresh faces, wrestlers he kept hearing fans proclaim as the best, such as Kenny Omega and Kazuchika Okada.
He’s since done that, and now he’s set to do it again, this time against a technical wizard in Zack Sabre Jr. at WrestleDream on October 1. For aficionados of mat-based action and holds, this is literally the definition of a wrestling dream come true. It’s safe to assume that Danielson will continue looking for first-time opponents and dream match scenarios following his tilt with ZSJ, but that’s not all fans should expect.
Reviewing Danielson’s words upon arriving in AEW, he talked about being at peace with his home life, calling it tame. Part of what lured him to AEW was its over-the-top nature, saying:
“I need one part of my life that’s a little bit wild, right, that like, oh man, you see these guys doing these crazy things, and I’m like, ‘Oh, my God, can I do that? You know what? Hell, yes, I can.’”
If Danielson’s performance at 2023’s All Out is any indication — of which he received five-star praise from Cageside readers and other observers — fans can expect a hell of a final trip full of blood, sweat, and brutality that sees Danielson push himself to the max.
And it’s what makes AEW the perfect place for Danielson to begin the final countdown, as this period of his career was never about winning championships or being the face of a company. It was, and still is, about simply getting to wrestle, and AEW allows him to do just that.