AEW News

Bryan Danielson Names Match That Made Him Look Into Getting Cleared

Bryan Danielson

AEW Star Bryan Danielson has revealed the specific match that got him so “emotionally bothered” that he couldn’t wrestle that it inspired him to begin his comeback journey.

Bryan Danielson was forced to retire from wrestling in February 2016 due to medical reasons related to the concussions he had sustained over the course of his career. That July, he returned to WWE TV as the new General Manager of SmackDown, a role he performed in for two years.

During an interview with Wrestling Observer Radio, Danielson revealed that, before being brought in as GM, he had been exploring the opportunities available to him outside of the squared circle.

“The emotions from being out, I was trying to become ok with it and I think I probably would’ve been. I think things would’ve been a lot… My life would be very different if they hadn’t brought me in as the GM of SmackDown because I was forced to be around it. When I retired, I started thinking, ‘OK, what are other things that I can do? What are other things I enjoy?’, that sort of thing. I started signing up for all these things, I was enrolled in ASU for an environmental program, I had signed up for a permaculture design course that was six weeks long to do regenerative agriculture type stuff. So, that was going to be my focus. I was like, ‘OK, I kind of have to accept this.'”

However, once he had accepted the offer to return to WWE TV, Bryan Danielson says he was no longer able to pursue the courses he had been considering.

“Then they brought me in as the GM of SmackDown and I had to be around it every week. It also put a halt to my other ambitions. I’m not great with technology so the thought of doing classes digitally and taping SmackDown Tuesdays. Flying out on Monday, doing SmackDown on Tuesday, flying back on Wednesday, that’s missing three days of class time. So it really put a damper on other things.”

Being back around wrestling led to a situation where ‘The American Dragon’ was sitting at ringside watching AJ Styles take on Jon Moxley in the ring, a match he says was pivotal in him taking the path back to becoming an active competitor.

Then, I remember specifically I was watching Mox and AJ Styles – Mox is really interesting when I look at it now, the role he has played in me being where I’m at right now. I watched Mox and AJ Styles wrestling and I had to sit ringside for it for whatever the story was, I don’t remember exactly. I watched it, I got so emotionally bothered, like upset that I wasn’t able to wrestle.

“At that point I was kind of thinking, ‘I think I’m fine’, and that was the real turning point. Then I went home and I talked to Brie, it was like, ‘Hey, I think I want to wrestle’. She’s like, ‘Well, you’re going to have to prove to them that you can wrestle, so what does that take?’. Then I started to come up with a plan and started working on some things and that’s where the story took us.”

Bryan Danielson returned to the ring in 2018 and captured the WWE Championship once again the following year. He continued to wrestle in WWE until April 2021. In his final bout in WWE, he unsuccessfully challenged Roman Reigns for the Universal Championship on an episode of SmackDown.

At the end of that September’s All In event, Danielson made his debut for AEW where he has had classic bouts against the likes of Kenny Omega and Hangman Adam Page. At Revolution on March 6th, he is set to face the man who helped inspire him to get cleared to wrestle again when he clashes with Jon Moxley.

If you use any of the above quotes, please credit Wrestling Observer Radio with an H/T and link back to Inside The Ropes for the transcription.