In a recent PWTorch Livecast, Wade Keller and Jason Powell discussed Bryan Danielson (of course, we all are) and the possibility of him landing in TNA. A caller asked what it would take for Danielson to jump ship (even though he’s not really on a ship right now), and although Keller has said numerous times that Danielson is not interested in working for TNA, he and Powell did mention the names of some current TNA wrestlers with whom Danielson could work. Upon suggesting “Joe, AJ, Angle, even Nigel,” my brain started churning: How good would those matches be? Some of those matches have been done and done again in Ring of Honor, but TNA would give them a greater national platform. And what matchups await Danielson in WWE that would make me part with my money, if any?
Well, let’s run through some possibilities:
TNA main-eventers: Rob Van Dam (I almost worry there would be a clash of styles here, and I don’t know which one would have to adapt his approach to work well with the other), Kurt Angle (oh my god, these two would put on a wrestling clinic; it would be like revisiting the Angle vs. Benoit matches of WWE 2001-2003), Jeff Hardy (Danielson would need to go into this match as a strong heel, which is fine, but Hardy is so sloppy and flip-floppy that their styles could clash as well; their match would almost have to be character-driven, with good wrestling a happy accident/by-product), AJ Styles (I like this match, although I’m continuing to tire of Styles atop TNA).
WWE main-eventers: John Cena (I can see it; Cena has a way of wrestling to his opponents’ strengths, and of course there’s the intrigue of the “bad worker” Cena getting stretched by the “best in the world” Danielson), Shawn Michaels (this proposal should be enough to pull Michaels out of retirement in a possible teacher-vs.-student angle, and god, would it be a classic), Undertaker (sure, Taker continues to evolve, but something about this matchup doesn’t look right in my head; maybe it’s the size difference, or maybe it’s the complete lack of possibility that Taker would tap to Danielson), Chris Jericho (the weeks leading up to this match could create some of the best mic work in ages, and that’s saying something considering how great Jericho has been the past three years, and they’re both such good characters and workers that everything would mesh wonderfully), Edge (Edge wrestles with the amount of energy that would work well better with Danielson than would, say, Jeff Hardy’s enigmatic carelessness, plus he’s a strong character who fans want to see whipped by someone able to do it, and his mostly mat-wrestling style fits Danielson’s well, they also both have cocky demeanors that lend themselves to a fun feud), Randy Orton (Orton is methodical but a little boring, Danielson is methodical but pretty interesting, and yet somehow I could see this working no matter who was the face and who was the heel).
TNA midcarders: Desmond Wolfe (I love the Wolfe character in TNA, he would be a great antagonist against the “best in the world,” and in the in-ring product would be top-notch), Matt Morgan (all I see here is the intrigue of the smaller Danielson vs. the much larger — but not as gimmicky as Undertaker — Morgan; the wrestling won’t be five-star-worthy, but it could be passable as a David-vs.-Goliath sort of thing), Samoa Joe (I know how great their matches were in ROH, but I couldn’t give two shits about Samoa Joe these days if I were on an all-fiber diet, and it’s not like TNA would give them 30 minutes to work with), Mr. Anderson (I know I’ve said good things about Danielson’s possible matches against WWE wrestlers, but Anderson is almost too WWE, combined with being too indy-punch-and-kick to make this match any good), Jay Lethal (I like Lethal, and their matches could be exciting and potentially even star-making for both in the way Rock vs. Triple H was in 1998, but I’m sure I’m in the minority, and sadly that could include TNA management).
WWE midcarders: CM Punk (hell yes, please give this to me; two great wrestlers, two great characters, two great styles, and there’s the back story of Danielson being one of the eight NXT rookies who beat up Punk during their Monday Night Raw invasion), Rey Mysterio (this would be cool, as Danielson’s mat-based style would match well with Mysterio’s WWE-toned-down lucha style; I envision many brilliant counters, nearfalls and submission drama), Sheamus (I like this kinda-bigger-vs.-kinda-smaller matchup, which would give Sheamus a chance to use his power and us the chance to see Danielson stretch Triple H’s workout buddy — whom I like), Jack Swagger (eh, Swagger just doesn’t do it for me, and he’s about as “WWE” as Mr. Anderson is), Christian (you know, they’d have pretty good matches, but they aren’t setting my world on fire, as Christian is WWE-ing up an awful lot lately), Evan Bourne (see: Rey Mysterio, and then bring it to me), William Regal (I know Regal is more of a jobber these days than a midcarder, but I think we all know how much of a clinic this match would be), Tyson Kidd (see: Evan Bourne), The Miz (duh; let’s do it again, and let’s do it right).
Unless my eyes deceive me, WWE offers a lot more matches for Bryan Danielson that I’d like to see (or at least have some upside) than TNA does. And I am taking into consideration TNA wrestlers like Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin, Brian Kendrick, Kazarian, Hernandez (my homeboy), Homicide (yes, I know, their ROH series was classic, but again, this is TNA we’re talking about) and Abyss (gross). I also haven’t forgotten about WWE superstars Triple H (for the love of god and Danielson, don’t let this Bigfoot attack take place), Kofi Kingston, Drew McIntyre (yawn), Matt Hardy (more gross), John Morrison, Ted DiBiase, Cody Rhodes, MVP… there’s plenty of “no thanks” to choose from, but WWE’s positives outweigh TNA’s, giving me great concern over Bryan Danielson flying the coop.