Bryan Danielson is a liar. Don’t take my word for it.
Even with out that admission, we all know that Danielson completely loves manipulating followers’ feelings. Whether or not it’s the Sure! Motion or turning heel to face Adam Web page, there won’t be a greater wrestler on the planet who can get you to really feel one thing than Danielson. He’s carried out it because the lovable, ignored-by-the-powers-that-be underdog and because the smug, extensively accepted finest wrestler on the planet who doesn’t suppose anybody can contact him.
And there apparently isn’t something Danielson received’t use to inform the story he needs. Wrestling storytelling is closely constructed on what’s come earlier than, callbacks to historical past whether or not it’s earlier matches or former alliances and rivalries, or referencing different feuds and well-known moments from the enterprise. The largest story in Danielson’s profession is simply not the apex of the Sure! Motion and his win at Wrestlemania 30 in New Orleans, however the truth that the story type of stops there. Due to harm, Danielson’s reign as champ solely lasted 64 days, and he might solely defend the title as soon as. He returned shortly earlier than the subsequent Mania, the place he received the Intercontinental Title, however then needed to disappear once more shortly after on account of concussion points. He retired not lengthy after due to them.
Ever since his return, all followers have watched his matches with not less than a modicum of trepidation. Given what most of them undergo with athletes going by means of concussion points and the way all of us wince on the subsequent hit, watching Danielson turned that turned as much as 11, as a result of wrestling is all hits. Would this be the spot that despatched Danielson again into retirement? You couldn’t assist it, even because the matches have been nonetheless pretty much as good as they’ve ever been.
Nonetheless, that ebbed over time. As Danielson placed on nice applications with AJ Types, or Kofi Kingston, or Roman Reigns, and the matches piled up, it felt like we might all cease holding our breath. The farther he acquired from retirement, the extra spots and bumps he took, and the extra he returned for the subsequent match, it felt like everybody’s footing acquired a little bit extra strong as we purchased an increasing number of into Danielson’s run.
However Danielson’s defection to AEW got here with the declaration that he was there to “fucking wrestle.” Which meant he might do no matter he wished, inform the tales he wished, and now not have to suit throughout the WWE boundaries. So yeah, he’s been bleeding in every single place. He’s flipped from face to heel instantly. He’s put “VIOLENCE” on prime of the marquee every time he’s within the ring or on the mic. He doesn’t have to fret about children and shareholders anymore.
And yeah, he’s going to play off his brain injury past. We’ll never know for sure, but it’s not hard to imagine that any proposal of Danielson using his concussion history as a storytelling device in WWE would have been met with a hard no. There would have been pearl-clutching from some fans and they certainly would have feared a backlash against their medical team even at the mere suggestion that Danielson was hurt again, even if completely in kayfabe. It was still too fresh and too painful for fans, likely. Funny that New York will let wrestlers insult each other’s families or openly talk about boning their wives, but this would have been a bridge too far and made people too uncomfortable.
But in AEW, Danielson has a license for anything. So because he had to take some time off after Double or Nothing, the whispers were that it was the brain injury issues arising again. He missed Forbidden Door, though it was never explicitly stated what kept him out.
It doesn’t matter what is real and what isn’t, not to Danielson. If that’s what people are talking about, then that’s what it is. So in his return match with Daniel Garcia, he was telling the story of dealing with a brain injury again. He stumbled around. He took long pauses. He looked glassy-eyed. And he knew that all of us were squirming at home. And then he lost, and again, he wasn’t around for a little while again. Danielson heightened everything by making us think that yes, this could be the last time we saw him.
His promo last Friday before the rematch with Garcia was only accentuating that, telling fans he would never stop wrestling voluntarily and they would have to stop him from doing so. The fear with Danielson ever since he came out of retirement is that he wouldn’t know where the limits were, that he needed this too much, and that his long-term health was never a consideration. He would simply go too far. That he could really fuck himself up. We know in real life that Danielson doesn’t wish to go an excessive amount of longer and desires to be a gift father, however that’s not the character he’s enjoying.
Final evening was no completely different in his 2-out-of-3-falls match with Garcia. He actively headbutted Garcia. He took photographs off the ring publish to the dome. He did the glassy-eyed promoting once more. The match was implausible, and its stakes have been heightened as a result of Danielson retains fucking with us. And he is aware of that we’ll by no means know when he’s fucking with us and when it’s gone past that, which supplies each second in each match much more desperation. Is that this the one? Is it that transfer? That bump? He can’t assist himself.
Danielson is probably going close to the tip, his chosen finish, anyway. However he’s doing no matter he needs till that day comes, and our discomfort at the specter of that day being introduced ahead in opposition to his needs is simply one other automobile, one other instrument, he can use. It makes Garcia appear to be an actual star as a result of we’re asking, “Is that this the man who ends it? Will it’s his legacy?” It makes Danielson’s survival of the feud appear much more epic, as a result of he acquired that near the cliff.
Bryan Danielson is a liar, and he loves fucking with folks. And none of us will ever cease displaying up for extra.