Bryan Danielson Reveals WWE vs. AEW Insights, Scouted AEW for Vince McMahon

Inside WWE's Curiosity About Rival AEW's Strategies

by Atia Mukhtar
Bryan Danielson Reveals WWE vs. AEW Insights, Scouted AEW for Vince McMahon
© Bryan Danielson/Reddit

In what has to be seen as a breakthrough revelation, Bryan Danielson previously of WWE and now representing one of the most high-flying talents of AEW freed up the competitive undercurrent playing out between the two wrestling powerhouses during a panel held at the South by Southwest Festival.

As it fast approaches its fifth anniversary and fresh off of what was, at the very least, its most significant event to date the sold-out, history-making Revolution 2024—Danielson sat down with me to talk about that very buzz; the crosscurrents and dynamics that led him to make such a surprising career move from WWE to AEW, considering just months prior he had main-evented WrestleMania.

A turn can happen anytime in wrestling, and Danielson's turn was also amped up with his surprise debut at AEW All Out 2021, along with his longtime buddy Adam Cole. Somehow, what Danielson had to say now had to rise above his personal career path it seemed to be the interesting case of WWE backstage involvement in the strategies of AEW on the way to their success.

Danielson's AEW Insight

In what has become a classic case, Danielson revealed that WWE boss Vince McMahon personally called him through just to "pick his brain about all things AEW." Stitching within the creative envelope of WWE at the time, Danielson had the impression he'd been asked to review eight weeks' worth of AEW television within six days.

It was critiquing that way; he very much captured much of the ways in which to get it right, not least of which was the praise of Tony Khan in successfully reflecting the wants of wrestling fans in the promotion, to the overall approach, and for the company to balance invention with what it does at its core best.

That is the background against which Danielson spoke at SXSW. The constant balancing act the sport walks between tradition and innovation. In other words, insights by Danielson span both eras, something rare even for those who've footed in both camps.

He revealed one of the contracts himself, and two more emerged from two AEW trademarks filed late last month. Combined, it gives new context to this hard-bitten takedown of WWE.

Bryan Danielson Aew Vince Mcmahon