Bryan Danielson says that he is “blown away” by the creative freedom wrestlers get in AEW but admits he loved working with the writers in WWE.
Danielson stunned the world when he left the WWE and Daniel Bryan behind when he showed up at the end of the All Out pay-per-view in September for AEW.
Since then Bryan Danielson has wrestled AEW World Champion Kenny Omega at AEW Grand Slam with the two men fighting out a thirty-minute draw.
On the microphone, however, is where the worlds of WWE and AEW seem to diverge the most as Danielson explained the differences in the company’s approaches to creative on the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast. According to Danielson, he was surprised when he was left to say what he felt during his first AEW promo instead of working with a writer to craft his words:
“I was actually a little bit blown away. My first time I had to talk or anything was in Cincinnati, and I was like, so what are we doing? ‘I don’t know, what do you want to do?’ Wait, what? Last week in Newark, it was the same thing. I was never handed a sheet of paper. I was never told what we’re doing. We kind of sit down and decide what we’re doing, and I was just like, oh. And then there’s this overarching fear for me a little bit because some people don’t like working with the writers.”
“I love working with the writers. I like collaborating. I had a really good time with that. Actually, one of my favorite times was as a bad guy in WWE as the ‘Planet’s Champion’, and the writer I worked with was Robert. We had so much fun, and he would present me with a piece of paper. I had a lot more leeway than a lot of people in WWE. I would work with the writer and be like, ‘Hey, what if we say this? What if we say this?’ And Robert was great because he would pull me back from the edge.”
Bryan Danielson goes on to explain that the writer worked as a safety net for him, focusing his mind on the wrestling show at hand:
“Sometimes, I’d go off on a tangent. ‘Hey, this is too far environmental and maybe not focused enough on the show that we’re actually doing.’ I think Robert helped me stay on track. Eventually, I wasn’t saying anything about the environment at all, but Robert was great because he would throw in little things there, and so I love collaborating with the writers. There’s a real fear of the blank page – the writer thing of, hey, you have to craft your own story, and you want that. You want that freedom, but then all of a sudden, it’s like, oh no, here’s this blank page.”
Danielson then goes on to say that it can be a “little bit nerve racking” coming up with things to say from scratch and talks about his experience as part of the creative team in WWE:
“You can create whatever you want. You’re like, ah, ah! That’s a little bit nerve racking, but for the last couple of months with WWE, I would get scripts. But my time in WWE has been pretty much that, always working with a writer but always collaborating, and in the last couple of months, I was part of the creative team a little bit. And so sometimes, very rarely, would I do my own stuff. ‘Hey, what if I said something like this?’ And I might have said that on a Tuesday. I’d show up on the Friday, and then it would be somebody else’s words but a version of what I kind of mentioned, and then we just work together.”