Much like the Jon Moxleys and Jake Hagers before him, Bryan Danielson is nearly unrecognizable from his WWE counterpart. Since joining All Elite Wrestling last September, the former Daniel Bryan has harkened back to his smash mouth offense from his independent days, favoring kicking some [expletive] heads in over Yes! kicks. His strong style moveset is reflected in his presentation as well, as the former Ring of Honor World Champion is back to going by The American Dragon monicker. On top of all that, Danielson has blurred the lines between babyface and heel. While the submission specialist garners cheers from AEW crowds, that hasn't stopped Danielson from flexing during LeBell Locks or continuing vicious elbow strikes long after the referee has called for the bell.
Those aspects aside, the biggest alteration to Danielson's presentation has been the retirement of the Yes! chants. While 10,126 strong extended their arms in the familiar motion upon Danielson's AEW All Out debut in 2021, the former WWE Champion has avoided everything related to his famous catchphrase.
"I'm not doing it myself because I respect WWE's intellectual property," Danielson said last September. "They haven't threatened anything legally. I had a great conversation with Kevin Dunn before I debuted with AEW. I was very up front with WWE on, 'I want to let you guys know I'm leaving. This is my debut date.' They asked me, politely, to respect their intellectual property even on some things that couldn't be legally enforced. I'm trying my best to do that. There are also certain expectations fans have of me that they want to be able to do and I'm happy they still get to do that. I'm going to do my best to avoid swinging my arms in the air."
One year later, and Danielson is still without a true catchphrase in AEW. Speaking at Starrcast V last week, the founding member of the Blackpool Combat Club noted it is all by design.
"One of the things that I've tried to avoid is doing any sort of catchphrase. The reason why is it came to become a crutch, and when people expect something of you, and you need to give that to them, that almost feels like it pins me down more than it helps me," Danielson said (h/t Fightful). "One of the people I really respect from an artist's perspective is Bob Dylan. So if you go to like an Aerosmith concert, you're gonna want to see the hits, right. When you buy a ticket to a Bob Dylan concert, you might want him to play certain songs, but you know going in, he's gonna play whatever the f--k he wants, and that's kind of what I want my wrestling career to be now. I want people, 'Ah maybe I hope that he does this,' but they're gonna be happy with kind of whatever, just me being creative and doing what I love to do."
Danielson last wrestled for AEW on the July 27th edition of AEW Dynamite, losing to Daniel Garcia.