Bryan Danielson Confirms AEW Contract Length, Comments On Recent WWE Releases
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling
Bryan Danielson says he’s All Elite for at least three years, and weighed in on WWE’s recent round of talent releases.
Bryan Danielson appeared on Wednesday’s episode of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani and discussed the latest group of WWE releases that took place on November 4. Danielson said that he’s in a bit of an odd situation considering many of his extended family members work for WWE, but doesn’t think it’s really fair that talent doesn’t have as much say in their contract status as the company does when it comes time to cut them.
“So, in some ways I get it. In some ways, I feel like it’s not right, and it’s hard because my father-in-law is the Head Of Talent Relations there, he has to call them all and [tell them they’ve been let go.] John Laurinaitis, yeah. So, one of the things I’ve always had a hard time with, and I’ve been fired from WWE twice, so I kinda get this — it’s one thing if somebody does something bad, but for example, if you’re under contract with WWE and you’re not happy or you’re not happy with the company, whatever it is,” Danielson explained, “if they can fire you and give you 90 days [the non-compete clause], you should be able to give [WWE] 90 days to be released from your contract.
“But on the flip side, if they’re only firing you because of budget cuts when they’re more profitable than ever, I just don’t think that that’s right and they should — they signed a lot of people to high-end contracts when AEW started, to kinda keep people from going to AEW, but then they realized that AEW can’t sign all of these people, so now the people that have too many high-ends contracts or whatever it is, might be getting paid more than they feel like they should be getting paid they’ll let them go. But you offered them a contract to be with you for three years, whatever [the terms were], but if you overpaid them, that’s your bad, and you’re still a very profitable company.
“So that’s my take on it, I wish they wouldn’t [let talent go like that], but I also understand that it’s business in America, you know what I mean? Profits can be the most important thing for a company a lot of the time, and you can even talk to the people within the company, I love Vince McMahon, I do. I’ve learned so much from him, but companies are not people anymore, right? They’re taking on, legally they’re their own ‘people’, a corporation, but for whatever reason they make a decision that benefits a company that hurt the people that have worked so hard for the company. That’s hard on me mentally, but that’s kind of the system that’s been rewarded financially here in the United States.”
Bryan Danielson went on to say that now he’s on the opposite side of the situation with AEW, noting that Tony Khan has only let three people go since the pandemic and all of those cases were due to disciplinary reasons. He said other people have not returned just because Khan elected not to renew their respective contracts, but that approach helped him see the business side of the wrestling business in a new way.
Towards the end of the show, Danielson confirmed he had signed a three-year deal with All Elite Wrestling, confirming a September report from Dave Meltzer of F4WOnline.com. Danielson talked about going to Japan under his current deal and said he can do that if AEW clears it (and WWE would have allowed it in the final offer they made him), but that’s hard right now due to travel restrictions brought on by COVID-19. Danielson also said that he’s not sure if this is the final contract he ever signs, but hopes that his body will tell him it’s time rather than having any doubts in his mind.
“When I signed this deal, me and my wife were kinda thinking that this would be my last contract. What I’m hoping is that I’m having so much fun and feeling good, that I hope by the end of the three years that I’ve worked so hard, and this sounds horrible, but I’ve worked so hard and had so many intense matches that my body doesn’t feel that great. Like, repairable if I stopped wrestling for six months my I’ll feel as good as new, but then [I hope] that I’m like, ‘OK, now I’m kind of done being a full-time wrestler’ because I feel like the hard part would be thinking, ‘Man, I still feel good and I want to be a full-time wrestler’ but then just thinking because of age or whatever it is, or because I want to be there for my kids, which I realistically do, I think stepping away from being a full-time wrestler then would be a lot more difficult.
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