Bryan Danielson And Ricky Starks Deliver A Classic At AEW All Out

Bryan Danielson made his in-ring return on tonight’s AEW All Out pay-per-view, defeating Ricky Starks in a brutal strap match after suffering an injury back in June. Things started off strong between Danielson and Starks tonight, with Danielson bleeding before the two were even strapped together. Things only grew more intense once the bell rang. Starks started out on top, choking the already-bloody Danielson with a strap in the opening minutes of the bout. Each time Danielson began showing early signs of a comeback, Starks would utilize the strap as a weapon to keep his opponent down. Once Starks tried taking things to the second rope, Danielson was able to counter and finally get on the offensive.

Though he seems to be back on the heroic side of the fence, there’s still no denying Danielson’s penchant for violence, and it was on full display tonight. Once momentum was in his favor, Danielson began whipping Starks with the strap before taking the match to the outside. Pulling Starks head-first into the post, Danielson busted his opponent open before going back to some additional whipping.

Once back in the ring, the increasingly gory Danielson landed more kicks and knees on Starks before the younger competitor was able to counter with a lariat. After spending a few moments recovering deep into the match, both men rose and exchanged hard-hitting whips with the strap, with Danielson taking some especially brutal punishment before overcoming the back-and-forth through sheer willpower. After some involvement from Big Bill and Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, as well as a spear from Starks and a Busaiku Knee from Danielson, Danielson choked Starks with the strap using the Labelle Lock, forcing Starks to pass out.

It was widely reported that Starks was initially set to face CM Punk in the main event. Once Punk was let go from AEW and it became clear that the match wasn’t happening, Danielson was brought in as a replacement, as set up on last night’s AEW Collision. There, Steamboat appeared, addressing Starks’ challenge to a strap match from earlier this week. Steamboat then tricked Starks into signing a match contract that actually stated Danielson, known as “The American Dragon,” would be his opponent. Steamboat appeared again tonight, joining Excalibur and Nigel McGuinness on commentary for the bout.