Danielson would give All Elite Wrestling big boost
- August 8th, 2021
Post and Courier - Wrestling)
Punk (left) and Bryan Danielson could be headed for
AEW. Provided photo
Mike Mooneyham Special to The Post and Courier
hottest rumor swirling around the wrestling world
is the arrival of former WWE world champions CM Punk
and Bryan Danielson (aka Daniel Bryan) in All Elite
rumor has been making the rounds over the past couple
of weeks, picking up steam with each additional tease
and tweet on social media.
little doubt the acquisition of such sought-after
free agents would be a tremendous boon to a company
that is on an upward trajectory, not to mention the
quality matches that the two could provide.
champion Kenny Omega said he was looking forward to
the possibility of working with both men during an
interview on Wrestling Observer Radio.
very different athletes, two very different performers.
I respect both of them in similar but also very different
ways, said Omega.
was a system that was not created for them there,
and they were able to break every ceiling that was
placed in front of them and emerge as an actual legend
that will never be forgotten. So its cool for
me to think that Im going to be able to be in
the ring with these two possibly. But I think
because they were so prominent in the WWE, and a lot
of that is featured with segments, angles, character
work. You know, for me, as exciting as the wrestling
part is, the ability to tell a story is more exciting
of the biggest stars in the industry, Punk (Phil Brooks)
and Danielson initially were rumored to be making
their debuts on a Sept. 22 AEW Dynamite: Grand Slam
show at Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York, although
nothing has been confirmed. Its also possible
that Punk could debut on one of several shows in late
August and early September in his hometown of Chicago,
including an AEW Rampage event on Aug. 20 at the spacious
United Center or on Sept. 5 at AWEs All Out
pay-per-view at the NOW Arena in Hoffman Estates,
Ill., a suburb of Chicago.
have no comment on those, AEW president Tony
Khan recently told the New York Post when asked about
the rumors of Punk and Danielson joining the AEW roster.
Those are good questions but I cant comment
42, who was the WWE champion for an amazing 434 days,
hasnt wrestled since taking part in the 2014
Royal Rumble. At the time of his bittersweet departure,
he said he had zero passion left for professional
wrestling and that he would never return
to the WWE again.
even with seven years off, its hard to imagine
that Punk wouldnt have an immediate impact in
can work, but more importantly, Punk can talk. I believe
hes one that could probably stir that audience
up to violence, Jim Cornette said on a recent
for potential AEW opponents, Punk could cut
them up like gutted fish, verbally, added Cornette,
who said Punk could be a heel, but hes
going to be a natural babyface because hes a
star coming in and AEW got the guy that Vince McMahon
couldnt get to come back. So theyre gonna
like him, but he might not want to be liked. He might
see an opportunity to go in here and create more stir
than anyone else is by actually making them genuinely
leaving wrestling, Punk has fought twice for the UFC,
written for Marvel Comics and done MMA commentary.
He also served as an analyst on WWEs now-defunct
Backstage show on Fox Sports.
40-year-old Danielson, who has been with WWE since
2009, last wrestled in the main event of Wrestlemania
37 when Roman Reigns successfully defended his Universal
championship against Danielson (Bryan) and Edge in
a triple threat match.
WWE deal expired on April 30. Like AEW star Jon Moxley,
he would be given the freedom to do events that wouldnt
conflict with his AEW schedule, most notably with
New Japan Pro Wrestling.
AEW Dynamite, the companys flagship show, pulling
in bigger demographic numbers than Raw in some key
categories, the acquisition of Punk and Bryan could
tighten up those margins even more.
really help wash off the minor league
perception some people still have for it, one
of the major differences that has emerged between
WWE and AEW is the latters occasional use of
blood. Nowhere was that more evident than on a recent
edition of AEW Dynamite on TNT that featured a particularly
bloody No Disqualification match between
Chris Jericho and hardcore performer Nick Gage involving
a pizza slicer, baseball bats, fluorescent light tubes
and panes of glass.
who was the subject of a Dark Side of the Ring
episode this season, used the pizza cutter to carve
up the 50-year-old Jerichos forehead as the
network cut to a picture-in-picture commercial break
that aired a Dominos commercial featuring an
image of a pizza being sliced for a delivery.
dont know if anything more perfect has ever
been on television than a Dominos Pizza ad running
while Nick Gage uses a pizza cutter on Chris Jerichos
face in the picture in picture, one fan tweeted
regarding the product placement.
is officially the best picture in picture commercial
in professional wrestling history, added another.
pizza chain, though, didnt find the ill-timed
stunt very amusing, instead issuing a statement to
Front Office Sports disavowing any involvement or
knowledge of the promotion.
was noted that the family-friendly pizza brand might
also pull its advertising schedule from AEW programming.
share the concerns expressed about this incident and
the content of this TV-14 rated program, and are assessing
our advertising presence on it going forward,
said Dominos spokeswoman Jenny Fouracre-Petko.
rumors regarding Punk and Danielson heading to AEW
have spread like wildfire on wrestling websites and
on social media, and a number of readers of this column
have weighed in with their thoughts on the subject.
have Vinces attention, wrote Brad Fisher
of Mullins. I think Vince realizes that his
product is sinking and that competition will bring
out the best in both. Hoping for one hell of a ride!
would love to see it! said Amy Elliott Vaughn
of Mayfield, Ky.
Duncan of North Charleston said hes also sold.
has caught my attention for sure. I feel like AEW
has more water color attention than WWE. Just a matter
of time before they pass them in my opinion. AEW has
all of these big names, and all we get from WWE is
Roman (Reigns) forced down our throats week in and
week out the same way its been since 2014.
event and milestone, wrote Greg Tingle of Sydney,
Australia. Then, all going well, who will be
next? One more huge name may seal the deal and get
AEW the mega international coverage and flow into
the global pop culture scene.
a game changer on so many levels. Both guys have prolific
stories going in; their reputation precedes them.
I think this will reignite their passion for wrestling,
said Sarah Hirsch of Douglas, Ga.
President Joe Biden eliminating the non-compete clause,
this should make Vince McMahon very nervous,
posted Brian Westcott of Meridian, Idaho. Both
men feel they have something more to offer. They can
work less dates, work in other places such as Japan,
and have more creative control with their characters
and storylines. I only watch ROH on television.
Hunter of Washington, D.C., opined that any decision
to test the waters in AEW will be based on their belief
that the company offers a chance to do something special.
think Punk and Bryan understand this too, and it was
no small factor in their decision
make a buck or two as well!
AEW goes on TV live or recorded at the same time with
WWE Raw, then the true competition starts and a winner
will be declared accordingly. I havent watched
WWE in 15 years its gone so bad, wrote
Brian Braddish of Limerick, Ireland.
is something that will get his attention and also
give pro wrestling the rejuvenation that it desperately
needs! said Mark Walters of Muskogee, Okla.
think Punk and Danielson will bring in fans who havent
tried AEW before, and I believe many will stay after
they see the match quality of the AEW roster,
posted John Pearson of Muskogee, Okla.
McMahon publicly isnt sweating the upstart competition,
declaring at his companys second-quarter earnings
call, I dont consider them competition
in the way that I would consider WCW back in the day,
not anywhere near close to that.
gave the company a run for its money in the late 1990s
when Nitro beat Raw in the television ratings for
83 consecutive weeks.
on those recent comments, AEWs impending acquisition
of Punk and Danielson isnt likely to cause much
concern for the WWE owner, wrote Chip Collins of Columbia.
is clear that Vince does not care so much about professional
wrestling except to the extent that he can break out
additional programming that has sports entertainment
as its base. As far as ratings are concerned, it will
not be a concern until his programming partners (USA,
FOX) become concerned and basically mandate an emphasis
on better storytelling/wrestling that will bring back
the viewers that are slowly leaking away.
dont think the signings would be a tipping point
WWE is still the untouchable giant of the industry,
wrote John Adam Petree of Winston-Salem, N.C. That
being said, AEW is definitely doing something right.
The hot crowd in Charlotte seemed like a crowd for
a JCP event in the 80s or a WCW Nitro in the
90s. Its like AEW is definitely catering
to pro wrestling fans and not those of sports entertainment.
Im impressed with their production, the actual
wrestling, the reverence and respect for prior wrestlers.
AEW has rekindled interest from fans that might have
quit watching wrestling over the years and have found
a wrestling home to come back to. I hope they sign
Q2 earnings call had him quoted as saying that AEW
isnt as big a threat as WCW ever was. Hed
better reconsider. AEW is taking no prisoners. That
being said, you cant kill WWE, posted
Stuart Monroe of Justin, Texas.
if they do beat them in the ratings, AEW is an American
product, while WWE is a global brand. It will take
them a long time to actually match the reach that
WWE has, said Jack Lord of Gadsden, Ala.
Worrell of Wilmington, N.C., noted that stunts
like the recent pizza-cutter bloodbath do AEW no favors.
Pizza is currently reconsidering their sponsorship,
as they dont want to be identified with that
dreck in any shape, form or fashion. And nobody blames
them, wrote Worrell.
AEW is going to be taken seriously as TNT cable network
programming, that kind of garbage has got to go. And
nobody would blame CM Punk or Daniel Bryan for now
having second thoughts about lending their tremendous
hard-won A+ player credibility to AEW as the promotion
now exists. Last time this controversy happened with
network sponsors, it ended up with Dusty Rhodes himself
getting fired from the company from Turner-owned network
television. Punk and Bryan may reconsider.
good for the business in general, said Padin
W. Rojan. Now the New York folks are gonna make
some changes and the fact that they have endured everything
and have the experience, they will end up with the
advantage in this game of madness that is pro wrestling.
The new kids on the block with a chip on their shoulder
will no longer be the flavor of the month in the near
future and the other folks (WWE) will be around to
remind everyone that they are the brand you can trust.
Lyon Schwartz of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, said he
doesnt think its a fight for viewers and
that many fans are just grateful to have alternatives
and be able to watch a different show with its own
approach every night of the week.
this point, other than The Rock (maybe), I dont
think any talent moving changes things substantially.
WWEs big project since Hogan left for WCW was
to make the brand bigger than any individual talent
and theyve succeeded, whether you like
their shows or not. Pre-COVID they had long since
stopped advertising who would appear on live cards
in advance. Ratings dont matter the same way
either compared to the late 1990s. WWE has its own
distribution channels, and at least two other competing
promotions are owned by networks outright, and arent
big enough to be a threat.
question is will AEW finally figure out how to properly
book angles, talents and feuds, said Tarron
Coalson of Clemmons, N.C. Not exactly their
strong point. If they dont, it will be reminiscent
of WCW. Signing a bunch of guaranteed high-price contracts
until finally TNT and Tony Khan gets tired of losing
the shiny newness wears off, Kahn is stuck with high-dollar,
old recycled talent that people wont care about
in another year. Talent development, i.e. TNA pre-Hogan,
would have been the smarter move. How long will daddy
continue to let son lose hundreds of millions is the
question, wrote Eric Buddy Burke of Columbia.
is like putting lipstick on a pig. Looking forward
to Brock Lesnar signing so he can job out to Marko
Stunt, commented Rick Bauer of Barrington, N.J.
hope is less blood and honestly, I havent been
able to watch hardcore things post-Benoit, wrote
Kirk Campbell of Hanover, Pa. That Gage episode
of Dark Side of the Ring was disturbing. If AEW firms
up and has less of the BS and more reasons to watch
feuds play out, theyll do great. I get the sense
those guys are doing their own promos without scripts
which is a step in the right direction. They just
have to be a great No. 2 and theyll do great.
on how they are booked, how they pull off that booking,
and a few other variables. Nothing is a given,
said Jonathan Bolick of Taylors.
signed some big names back in the day, but they were
all well past their prime. AEW is adding names that
still have a few good years left. Although the gap
is still huge, its slowly closing, noted
Terry Jackson of Goose Creek.
Griner of Savannah, Ga., remarked that a recent edition
of AEW Dynamite marked the first time in a couple
years that he enjoyed an entire show.
stories were good. The work was solid. The cinematography
and lighting was just well done. Such a breath of
fresh air. The addition of Punk and Bryan (Danielson)
will only make things better. Great talents that will
up the bar a few spots and I believe all the talent
in that locker room will rise to the occasion. Personally,
I am eagerly awaiting!
great Bobby Fulton, formerly of The Fantastics, agreed
with McMahons statement that WWE wasnt
in a race.
who try to beat Vince McMahon instead
of focusing on the product, said Fulton, have
sparklers while Vince has cannons.
ago I ran lots of shows in smaller towns. Guys like
Hacksaw Jim Duggan, JYD and so many I would feature
would pack small towns. In the big markets they had
been seen for years. Vince had them run their course
for him. Yet in small markets they were hot. Vince
wont let anyone go he hasnt felt has anything
left for him. WWE is light years ahead of everyone.
He was able to change the marquee from Professional
Wrestling to just say WWE. I personally dont
think WWE will ever be in trouble. Although some of
the booking/writing could be lots better, they have
too many revenue streams. The WWE will always be the
the very least, said David Mabry of Altavista, Va.,
AEW has moved the needle.
me the big differences are that WWE is so pasteurized
and homogenized by comedy writers and Vinces
insistence on WWE-made characters. AEW lets the wrestlers
be themselves. AEW has stuff I do not like (death
matches, comedy, gymnastics), but they offer wrestlers
that I do like (Thunder Rosa, Serena Deeb, Britt Baker,
Ricky Starks, Willie Hobbs, Sammy Guevara, etc.).
All in all the product to me is better. I just fast-forward
through whats not my cup of tea. I cant
watch WWE period (and I enjoy Charlotte Flair). Even
if Punk and Danielson do not go to AEW, it has already
moved the needle due to internet buzz and talk. We
all compare the wrestling we watched when we were
younger to todays product and talk about how
it was better. It was nostalgic and simple, but it
was still staged fights with silliness thrown in that
a lot of us outgrew as it got sillier. For me, wrestling
has always been a mixed bag, we are just at an age
that we yell at the clouds a lot!
Cain of Knoxville, Tenn., doesnt think Vince
McMahon and company are concerned
Punk has been out of the wrestling biz for a while
and has a few MMA losses as well. But hell create
initial buzz. Love the addition of Daniel Bryan for
them! I still watch Raw more out of habit than anything.
Really started becoming more of a fan of AEW because
it has more of that old rasslin feel.
Although I am not a fan of the death matches or the
overused high flying spots. To me, its going
to take a John Cena/The Rock type of a signing for
VKM to really take notice of AEW.
Serati of Caldwell, N.J., admitted hes pining
for the past.
just dont get excited watching todays
product like I did 30 or 40 years ago. I can remember
going to the Garden with my dad, and the atmosphere
was just so tremendous. And when Bruno or Andre would
start walking down the aisle, the place would just
explode. I guess it was just so real to me then. Wrestling
just hasnt given me that level of excitement
here for full article and multimedia
Post and Courier)
of the most interesting reads on pro wrestling over
the past few years. There is a real buzz in the air
about pro wrestling again, and AEW is largely the
reason for it. Now they just have to becoming fully
sustainable over the new number of years and the rest
will be history... that, or someone (Khan Sr) etc
will have to stop funding the dream promotion. Ha.
A tremendous read again. Cheers from Sydney.