Bryan Danielson On Facing Kenny Omega At ‘Grand Slam’: ‘It Feels Like My Favorite Experience In A Match’
Photo Credit: All Elite Wrestling
Bryan Danielson has come a long way from wrestling in front of a few dozen people in the early stages of his career.
Last month, in his in-ring debut for All Elite Wrestling, “The American Dragon” faced Kenny Omega in a remarkable dream match in front of more than 20,000 fans. This electric crowd turned Danielson’s first bout with AEW into one he’ll never forget, as the fans roared with anticipation at something as elementary as the contest’s opening lock-up.
During an interview with 6ABC, Danielson explained why, recent bias aside, this match with Omega has leaped to the top of his list of favorite experiences during a match. He also expressed his gratitude for the fans’ “incredible” response in this special moment.
“When you look back on favorite matches, it’s hard because there’s a recency bias but it feels like my favorite experience in a match,” said Danielson. “My favorite experience before might have been wrestling Kofi Kingston at WrestleMania (35). But that, I think that may have topped it.
“But one of the things that I think in these moments where fans are just super into something is that how lucky am I to be doing this thing that I love, with this incredible reaction.”
“The American Dragon” then looked back on how the live crowd’s response during his match with Omega was drastically different to the one he received when he faced CM Punk in front of 75 people before either man signed with WWE. He recalled how one fan ironically criticized his and Punk’s wrestling skills, and in hindsight, this “deflating” experience made the crowd’s cheers during his bout with Omega even more meaningful.
“I haven’t talked to CM Punk about it in years, but CM Punk and I wrestled each other, I think it was in like 2004 or 2005, at this little promotion in Florida in front of 75 people,” Danielson said. “And we wrestled for like 45 minutes. So we’re out there in front of so few people, and it’s so quiet and you can just hear the people. Like the guys weren’t even booing us.
“It’s a guy sitting in the front row, chatting to his friend, he just goes, ‘These guys aren’t very good, are they?’ His friend goes, ‘No, not really.’ It’s not even booing us; they’re just talking to each other, but we can hear it. That’s such a deflating experience, as opposed to having this experience where fans are excited to just see you tie up. Gratitude is what it feels like.
If you use this transcription, credit WrestleZone and link back to this post.