Although the rumors had gone around for quite some time that WWE would lose Daniel Bryan to AEW, until it happened, the prospect of Bryan Danielson in All Elite Wrestling was still just fantasy. Now that he’s made his debut at All Out, we can start to officially look forward to his future in the company in more ways than one.
One of the first things I always tend to do in these scenarios—and I know I’m not alone in this—is to formulate a list in my head of who I’m most excited to see him face. That could be in a true storyline feud or just at least a single one-on-one match, depending on the person.
Before anything gets cooking beyond his brawl with The Elite from the finale of All Out, let’s toss out our ideas of who we’d like to see Danielson face!
Without further ado, here is my top 10, along with my honorable mentions.
5 Honorable Mentions
- Brian Cage – Despite the size differential, Cage has shown he can work very well against smaller opponents. Likewise, Danielson can get a good match out of people almost twice his size, too. I’d like to see Cage vs. Danielson in an underdog story down the line.
- Chris Jericho – It might seem blasphemous to have Jericho on the Honorable Mentions, but what bumped him off the list to me was that he’s a babyface right now. I don’t think they could properly work well together unless Jericho was a heel, which I don’t think will happen any time soon, if ever again in AEW.
- Malakai Black – He didn’t make the top 10 because I just thought the others would work better against him. Black has more than proven himself capable of great matches, but I often find myself tired of the gimmick. Given a choice, I’d rather spend the time seeing Danielson against a few one-shot opponents on this list than spending several weeks leading up to one Black match, if I had to pick. Still, I’m sure the match itself would be great.
- Miro – Since Miro is doing his best in-ring work in quite some time, if ever, let’s see what he and Danielson can do when they aren’t hindered by WWE’s strings.
- Sammy Guevara – This kid is going to make nearly every list of mine and just narrowly was taken out of the top 10, mostly because he’s a babyface like with Jericho’s situation. Nevertheless, Guevara would learn a ton from being opposite Danielson and I think BD would do wonders with Guevara’s youth and vigor. I could see these two potentially having a sleeper best chemistry together out of this entire list, even.
10. Jon Moxley
I’d place Moxley higher on the list, but part of me is always going to give a higher priority to matches I haven’t seen before, rather than something that has already happened.
Granted, we haven’t seen Jon Moxley vs. Bryan Danielson. We’ve seen Dean Ambrose vs. Daniel Bryan. I’m sure that’s a much different scenario, given how they were under WWE’s creative input and had different outlooks on the business then, too.
Moxley’s best work is usually more on the brawl and hardcore side of things, but he can often work very well against people who are more technically sound. Sometimes, the difference is what makes it fun to watch. As such, I’d like to see what Danielson can do trying to out-wrestle someone who wants to simply take his head off and wail on him.
Who would ultimately win this match? I’d go with Moxley.
To be honest, there isn’t much to a PAC feud in my mind for nearly anyone. He’s not the type of person who I think can sustain a dedicated storyline, as most of his promos sound the same and come from the same creative input: I’m mad and I’m going to beat you.
However, for a one-off match, this would probably be fantastic.
Say what you want about PAC’s character work, his in-ring work is always top notch. The guy’s always been able to wrestle well and gets more of an opportunity to show that off in AEW compared to when he was in WWE and had more limitations to take into account.
Just put PAC in the same ring with Danielson, give them a 20 minute time limit and let them go. I’ll have my eyes glued to the screen, I’m sure.
Who would ultimately win this match? I’d go with Danielson.
8. CM Punk
While I was disappointed in most of Punk’s return match against Darby Allin, I’m willing to give him the benefit of the doubt that part of that was ring rust, part was just getting the feel of things again and part was trying to figure out a potential new style.
If there’s anyone I trust would work well opposite Punk to let him try out some new things, but be able to dictate a different flow of the match and know what’s working and what isn’t, it’s Danielson.
These two have a connection and a friendship that dates back to their days in Ring of Honor, and while they’re not as intrinsically tied together as say Edge and Christian or Johnny Gargano and Tommaso Ciampa, that bond is something you can build upon in multiple ways. They can be great partners in tag team affairs and could work well opposite the ring, too.
Any time you get two great performers together who are veterans and can trust each other, you’re likely in for a treat, and since both had stepped away from the business for a while and are passionate about professional wrestling, I’m curious what type of match they’d craft.
Who would ultimately win this feud? I’d go with Danielson.
7. Jungle Boy
Jungle Boy is one of the most thoroughly entertaining in-ring competitors in AEW. His enthusiasm is off the charts and his talent allows him to have great matches with everyone, whether he’s wrestling in a main event against a top-tier star or against some enhancement guy on Dark or Dark: Elevation.
This shouldn’t be a feud. Both are babyfaces. Just put them in the ring together, let it be known that Danielson wants to face Jungle Boy because of how well he reveres his skills, and let them wrestle. It’s as simple as that.
Who would ultimately win this match? I’d go with Danielson.
6. Darby Allin
The Darby Allin vs. Bryan Danielson situation is similar to the Jungle Boy setup, but I think there’s more room for story here. This is something I’d rather see play out as more of a feud in comparison.