Bryan Danielson has expressed his gratitude to those in and out of WWE for the support over the years but says he was sent some disturbing messages after joining AEW.
Danielson shocked the wrestling world when he debuted in All Elite Wrestling at the very end of their All Out pay-per-view at the start of September. Since then he has faced down The Elite and took on Kenny Omega in a memorable thirty-minute draw at AEW Grand Slam.
Speaking to ABC6 in Philadelphia the former Daniel Bryan discussed leaving WWE and gave his thanks to those who made his time there memorable. The former WWE Champion however did express that he suffered the worst impulses of those on social media who sent him some disturbing messages after he defected to AEW:
“So, it just felt — it’s weird. You know, people — there’s a decent amount of tribalism in our culture today where it’s like people are, you know, say politically. If you’re right, everything on the left is bad. If you’re left, everything on the right is bad and same thing with wrestling. There’s WWE fans, and they would — the worst ones would be like sending death threats to me on Instagram or not death threats but, ‘I hope you die’ or, ‘I hope your son dies’ or something like that. But, that’s a small minority.”
Bryan Danielson did go on to express his appreciation for wrestling fans in general and tries to explain why he feels some might be “mad” that he left WWE:
“I think wrestling fans for the most part are great people and great humans but what it does is it tells you — it’s kind of like conspiracy theories. The really bad conspiracy theories so like flat earth or something like that. It’s like, you don’t listen to the flat earthers. Why do they — the issue is distrust, right? They don’t have trust, so the most hardcore of these people who are saying these horrible things, well they’re mad. Why are they mad? ‘Well because we supported you for years and years and we’re the ones who pushed you to this level and we feel like you’ve betrayed us and we feel like you left us’ and that sort of thing and I also, from a personal standpoint, never got a chance to say goodbye to a lot of people.”
Danielson’s last appearance in WWE came on the 30th of April SmackDown where he faced Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. A stipulation was also added that if Danielson lost he would be “banished” from SmackDown. Reigns retained his title and it only came to light after the fact that Danielson’s WWE contract had expired that same day.
For The American Dragon, the circumstances in which he left meant he didn’t get to say his goodbyes:
“A lot of people didn’t even know that was my last day. I didn’t know if I was gonna go back or not, right? My contract was up. Most people in the company didn’t know my contract was up that day except for a handful of people and I didn’t know if I was gonna come back, I didn’t know if I was gonna go to AEW, I didn’t know if I was gonna kind of stop wrestling for a while. So there was never really a chance to say goodbye, and I also just kind of wanted to express the gratitude that I have. Not just for the fans of WWE who pushed me to such a high level but also for the people in WWE.”
Bryan Danielson then went on to explain how there were so many people behind the scenes in WWE that made his life as comfortable as possible when he was with the company:
“I mean you have to understand, it’s everybody. So it’s like the catering people, who when I came in as a vegan, nobody else was a vegan on the roster and would make me my own food every week. They make this, they make this, they make this, you come, you shuffle food on a plate and all that kind of stuff. But they took the time to make me extra food. Like, ‘Hey, here’s something for you’ and this is before I main evented WrestleMania. This is when I was barely on TV. They would still make me food, right?”
“So it’s like, the creative team like Ryan Callahan. They asked me to be a part of the creative team a little bit and it’s the conversations with Ryan Callahan where we would — sometimes we’d be talking for an hour about the show, sometimes we’d be talking for 30 minutes about the show and for 90 minutes about other stuff and like them just welcoming me with open arms. It’s the other wrestlers, you know what I mean? And so it’s like there’s so many people that you don’t get a chance to say, ‘Hey, thank you. These past 11 years were awesome and it’s thanks to a lot of you.’”
Bryan Danielson is scheduled to face former NXT Tag Team Champion and AEW newcomer Bobby Fish on the special Saturday night Dynamite on October 16th.