Following CM Punk joining AEW, the contract status of Daniel Bryan took up the mantle of professional wrestling’s worst kept secret.
But the secret is finally out, Bryan Danielson, formerly known as Daniel Bryan has arrived in AEW.
After Kenny Omega retained his AEW World Championship in a war against Christian Cage, The Elite descended on the ring to celebrate and dish out more punishment. Luchasaurus and Jungle Boy came to even the odds but were quickly taken out.
As Omega continued to celebrate, a debuting Adam Cole made his way to the ring, seemingly to challenge the champion but instead he reunited with The Elite. With Cole embracing his stablemates, Bryan’s entrance music hit to a monstrous ovation.
Bryan helped beat down the Young Bucks as Omega exited the ring. The show went of the air with ‘Yes!’ chants ringing around the arena.
— All Elite Wrestling (@AEW) September 6, 2021
Daniel Bryan’s WWE contract expired on April 30th 2021. The same night that he was defeated by Universal Champion Roman Reigns on SmackDown. After Bryan’s contract expired it was reported that WWE were “pushing hard” to re-sign the former World Champion, but nothing came of the talks.
From there the story went cold until July 21st when it was reported that the American Dragon had signed a contract with AEW. It was later suggested that Bryan would be debuting on September 22nd at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, however plans changed.
With the arrival of Punk, and the buzz surrounding it, Bryan’s debut was moved forward.
In recent weeks, Punk himself fanned the flames of speculation by referencing Bryan on Dynamite. Not that he was done there. Speaking in numerous interviews hyping up his own return to the ring, Punk expressed his desire to face Bryan in the ring once again. In conversation with the The New York Post, Punk said that he would like to wrestle Bryan again soon.
During an interview with Renee Paquette on her Oral Sessions podcast, Punk again mentioned Bryan, saying that he would like to team with him to take on the Young Bucks.