Bryan Danielson Confirms WWE Tried to Set Up Working Relationship With New Japan

A report broke back in May that WWE was in talks with New Japan Pro-Wrestling earlier this year to form some sort of working relationship. This was right around the same time Bryan Danielson's contract with the company was ending and he had stated publicly in interviews that he wanted to remain in WWE if he was given the freedom to work in other promotions in Japan and Mexico (a deal that is virtually unheard of for most of WWE's talent). Other than a fiery promo from Tony Khan directed at WWE president Nick Khan nothing came from the negotiations, though Danielson did confirm earlier this week that they did indeed happen. 

"I don't know how far along the talks went and I don't know even if I was the start of them, for sure, but one of the things when I was talking to them when WWE was trying to re-sign me was, I said, 'I want to be able to work in Japan.' They were trying to come up with an agreement to where I would be able to go and do that," Danielson said (h/t Fightful). "It was definitely something that was talked about. I don't know where it went or anything, all I know is now it seems like AEW has a really great relationship with New Japan. So, I feel like it couldn't have gone that well (laughs)."

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Khan explained in an interview with last month with Jonathan Hood why he has formed so many relationships between AEW and other pro wrestling companies, including New Japan — "Impact, AAA, and certainly New Japan, I've done a lot of stuff with. It has to make sense for AEW and we've seen wrestlers from AEW go and capture championships in different promotions around the world. A lot of AEW wrestlers still hold championships in various promotions around the world and it's good for those promotions to have such strong recognizable champions who have a great TV platform to wear their titles and it's good for us because it shows that we're the top company in wrestling, frankly, and a lot of companies out there have had our wrestlers come in and do really well. I'm very open to it and it shows good bonds between the companies and allows us access to good wrestlers. We have one of the best rosters, but it's always good to have fresh and different talent. It's why I like working with other companies. Also, New Japan has had big shows and have great talent specifically. I've done a lot of things with them. The main focus is on AEW and our shows. We have such a big roster and so much bandwidth that it allows us to expand, partner, and help other wrestling companies."