AEW News

Bryan Danielson Talks WWE Mass Releases – “It’s Not Right”

Bryan Danielson

Bryan Danielson has commented on the latest round of mass releases from WWE and says he “doesn’t think it’s right” people are let go for budget reasons when the company is more “profitable than ever.”

The American Dragon left WWE of his own volition at the end of April 2021 when his contract with the company expired. In 2021, 72 WWE Superstars have not been so fortunate as they have found themselves let go from the company as part of reported ongoing budget cuts.

Speaking to Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Bryan Danielson discussed the latest round of mass releases made by WWE on the 4th of November. He also noted the difficulty in his father-in-law being the one to let the talent know their WWE days are at an end – something ‘Platinum’ Max Caster alluded to on AEW Rampage:

“In some ways, I get it. In some ways, I feel like it’s not right. It’s hard because my father-in-law [John Laurinaitis] is head of talent relations and he is the one who has to call them all. One of the things that I’ve always had a hard time with, and I’ve been fired from WWE twice, so I kind of get this; it’s one thing if somebody does something bad.”

“If you’re under contract and you’re not happy with the company, if they can fire you and give you 90 days, you should be able to give them 90 days to be released from your contract. On the flip side, if they’re only firing you because of budget cuts when they’re profitable than ever, I just don’t think that’s right.”

Bryan Danielson then touched on the reported bumper contracts handed out by WWE to ward people off joining AEW. The former WWE Champion thinks people should come before profits but notes it’s not a solely WWE problem but systemic of the culture of corporations in the US:

“They signed a lot of people behind contracts with AEW started to keep people from going to AEW then they realized, ‘AEW can’t sign all these people,’ so now the people that have too many high-end contracts if they feel like they are getting paid more than they should be getting paid, they’ll let them go. You offered them a contract to be with you for three years, if you overpaid them, that’s your bad and you’re still a very profitable company.”

“I wish they wouldn’t, but I also understand it’s business in America. Profits tend to be the most important things for companies. You can even talk to the people within the company. I love Vince McMahon and have learned so much from him, but companies are not people.”

“Corporations are their own people but for whatever reason, even good people make decisions that benefit a company that hurt the people that have worked so hard for the company. That’s hard on me mentally but it’s also the system that has been rewarded financially in the United States.”

Bryan Danielson then noted his eyes were opened by AEW President Tony Khan when he saw WWE’s way didn’t have to be the only way to handle things like releases in the wrestling business:

“I kind of just accepted that that’s what it was, except now I work for AEW. Tony Khan, he’s only let go of three people since the pandemic started and they were all disciplinary reasons. Other people, who are no longer with the company, if he didn’t want them, their contract expired and they weren’t re-signed. That’s how he approaches it.”

“Until I saw that and dealt with that, I always thought (WWE’s way) was unfair, but ‘it’s just the way wrestling is and it works,’ except Tony Khan came in and he doesn’t do that. AEW from a money standpoint makes way less money than WWE. Things like that led me to want to go to AEW as well.”

h/t Fightful