AEW superstar Bryan Danielson recently appeared on the ABC6 in Philadelphia program to hype this week’s edition of Dynamite on TNT and discuss all things pro-wrestling, including how he received angry messages from WWE fans once he jumped ship to AEW, and how he fell in love with wrestling all over again during the pandemic. Highlights are below.
On leaving WWE and receiving angry threats from fans:
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. 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 a 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. 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. 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.’
How wrestling in empty arenas due to the pandemic made him fall in love with the business again:
I started really re-loving wrestling during the pandemic again. Empty arena wrestling reignited my love for wrestling. To me, it was such a unique challenge. It was like, ‘Oh my gosh’ and when we were in the Performance Center, there was no people, there was no extra audio. There was no crowd sweetening, there was nothing and I loved it! Because it was such a unique challenge as far as like, ‘Woah, what even is wrestling? How do you even present this?’ And you know, some people just do their same old thing and whatever it is. That clearly doesn’t work with no crowd and so, it made me look at wrestling differently, it challenged me. It was a lot of fun. But then, my daughter’s going into pre-school and I was just like, ‘You know what? Maybe it’s just time for me to just be a dad.’ All these conflicting ideas about what I wanted out of my life. So, and then kind of settled on I thought 40 was gonna be the tipping point where I was just like, ‘Okay, physically I won’t be able to do what I wanna be able to do.’ Turns out I’m 40 and I feel great so…
(H/T and transcribed by Post Wrestling)