Bryan Danielson has thanked everyone in and out of WWE for their support over the years, but he claims he received some disturbing messages after joining AEW.
Danielson stunned the wrestling world when he made his debut in All Elite Wrestling at the tail end of their All Out pay-per-view at the beginning of September. Since then, he has defeated The Elite and wrestled Kenny Omega in a memorable thirty-minute draw at AEW Grand Slam.
Speaking to ABC6 in Philadelphia, the former Daniel Bryan discussed his departure from WWE and thanked those who helped make his time there memorable. The former WWE Champion, on the other hand, stated that he was subjected to the worst compulsions of those on social media who sent him disgusting messages:
“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.”
Bryan Danielson went on to express his gratitude to wrestling fans in general and attempts to explain why he believes some may be “mad” that he chose to leave WWE:
“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 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.”
Danielson’s most recent and final WWE appearance was on SmackDown Live on April 30th, where he faced Roman Reigns for the WWE Universal Championship. There was also a stipulation that if Danielson lost, he would be “banished” from SmackDown. Reigns retained his title, and it was only later that it was revealed that Danielson’s WWE contract had expired on the same day.
For Bryan Danielson, the circumstances of his departure meant he didn’t get to say goodbye to many within WWE:
“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.”
The American Dragon then went on to explain how there were so many people backstage in WWE who made his life as easy as possible while he was there:
“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.’”