Does Bryan Danielson Want to Be The Top Star in AEW?

Bryan Danielson has been with AEW since the All Out 2021 pay-per-view. Since then he has racked up Match of the Year candidate matches with Kenny Omega and Hangman Page and launched the wildly popular Blackpool Combat Club faction. However, he is still without a championship reign during his AEW tenure, even though he has been in two AEW world title matches, won the AEW World Championship Eliminator Tournament last year and can potentially win the vacated title at AEW Grand Slam next week if he beats Chris Jericho on tonight's AEW Dynamite in Albany. 

Danielson spoke with Sports Illustrated ahead of his match tonight and explained that, while he wants to be a world champion, he doesn't view being AEW's top guy as a priority. That's in stark contrast to what Jon Moxley said in his emotional promo on last week's Dynamite, saying when it comes to leading AEW he "wants the ball."

"For me, it's not about being the top guy," Danielson said. "I don't care about that. And it's not about leading the locker room. You can be a leader without the title. I like the feeling of big championship matches. Championship matches are my favorite kind of matches to wrestle. It's a different feeling from anything else."

"This is an opportunity to create more excitement," he later added. "I'm pretty pumped about the title tournament. It just lends gravity to all these matches. I'm really excited."

Much later in the story, Danielson noted, "I want to be world champion, because being in championship matches is unlike anything else. Those matches, they've got a different tension. I love the feeling of a big title match. Those are the feelings and emotions I'm chasing."

He also talked about his ongoing rivalry with Jericho, which involved a match at All Out as well as the drama surrounding which faction Daniel Garcia belongs in. 

"One of the things I love about pro wrestling is the different personalities," Danielson said. "If Chris and I weren't wrestlers, would we share anything in common? I don't know, but I know we share a love for this. The reason Chris Jericho wrestles is because he loves it. That's a shared passion. That's my connection with Daniel Garcia, too. That love of wrestling brings us all together. And this match is going to be completely different. It's two guys who want to be AEW champion, and will do anything to get it."

h/t Sports Illustrated