This past Saturday night on AEW: Collision, Bryan Danielson broke the news to pro wrestling fans that his time as a full-time in-ring competitor is coming to a close. The American Dragon noted that he made a promise to his daughter that when she turned seven, he would back away from pro wrestling to spend more time at home with her. His daughter is currently six and turns seven in May so that puts less than a year on his time in the AEW ring.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, Danielson clarified what his in-ring future looks like following his melancholy address on Collision.
“I don’t think I’ll ever reach a point where I declare I’m absolutely done,” he said. “I want the ability to show up when I want to show up. Terry Funk is someone I always admired. He retired a million times, but he loved it so much he couldn’t help but keep doing it. And he did it when he wanted. For me, it might be a couple times a year, or it might be years between matches.”
The article reveals that Danielson’s current AEW contract expires shortly after his daughter’s seventh birthday, so the timing of his stepping away seems all the more convenient. Before he’s done, however, he did note that he would like to compete at next year’s AEW: All In London from Wembley Stadium, which he didn’t get to do this year due to injury.
“There is the realization that over the past year, I’m getting hurt after every big match I have,” said Danielson. “That’s a sign. I love wrestling, but I do not want to wrestle at the expense of my long-term health. I did the Iron Man match with Max, and then I didn’t wrestle again until Anarchy in the Arena, and even that was a lot of smoke and mirrors. Then I wrestle Okada and I break my arm. The injuries are starting to pile up. At what point is that worth the risk? Especially when my kids want and need me at home.”
He closed out his thoughts about his future by musing about possibly showing up to compete at a DEFY show in his hometown of Seattle.
“How easy would it be for me to call the promoter and pop in some weekend? They wouldn’t even need to promote me. I could come in, surprise people, and do my thing.”