Bryan Danielson’s arrival in AEW brought the house down at All Out on September 5. Danielson’s debut came just moments after that of Adam Cole, who had just shocked the audience by joining The Elite.

Danielson is now making it clear that he’s after The Elite. More specifically, Bryan is after AEW World champion and Elite leader Kenny Omega. While that match is surely on the way, Danielson has some serious hurdles to clear. The first on the list may be Adam Cole.


Adam Cole. Bryan Danielson. Why Did They Land On Different Sides of The Elite? | AEW Rampage 9/10/21

Elite Arrivals

Bryan versus Cole already happened in WWE of course. But that match was a one-off and it never lead to a lengthy feud. So now that both men are on opposite sides in AEW, it’s only logical that they will go to war.

Danielson is leading that war and he’s determined to put The Elite’s dominance of AEW to the test. Bryan comes in with a lot to prove, to himself and the AEW faithful as well. He’s a true pro wrestler at heart and he wants nothing more than to ply his craft on the worldwide stage in Tony Khan’s company. What better way to do that than by challenging the top guy?

It’s a spot that many fans perhaps didn’t expect Danielson to occupy, at least not yet. Rumors of his arrival raged online for months before All Out. While it was never confirmed by Danielson or the company, it did seem inevitable that he was on his way to AEW. But to imagine that his first target would be the world champion?

It’s a point of contention for critics, who believe that homegrown AEW talents should get those main event opportunities first. A debuting star who just worked for Vince McMahon should perhaps not cut to the front of the line, despite how popular he is. After all, CM Punk is not pursuing Omega and Cole is working with Kenny, instead of against him. So are the critics right?


Adam Cole vs. Daniel Bryan – NXT Championship Match: SmackDown, Nov. 1, 2019

Aiming High

Since winning the AEW World Championship on December 2 of 2020, Omega has had six title defenses. Only two of those defenses came against stars that came straight from WWE to AEW. The champ should be defending against all viable challengers, which is exactly how the company books Omega. 

That does not change the fact that Danielson is indeed coming in on the top level. But it also doesn’t mean that Danielson will actually win the AEW World Championship. The Elite will obviously be a factor in this rivalry moving forward. That’s especially true of Adam Cole.

Cole and Danielson had only one match to show off in WWE. The fans got a taste of what they can do together and it left many of them wanting more. Now both men are in a company where their actions, promos and matches are not being micromanaged. They have the freedom to create something special and to make magic between the ropes. So is this feud bound to happen?


Bryan Danielson & the AEW World Champion Come Face to Face - What Happened? | AEW Dynamite, 9/8/ 21

War Is Coming

It’s hard to believe that Danielson and Cole won’t mix it up in the ring. The Elite is the biggest machine in AEW and Bryan Danielson is standing dangerously close to that machine. Bryan is a man on a mission and that mission involves the most important champion in the company. The Elite’s job is to keep the title around Kenny’s waist and that’s exactly what they will do. 

Adam Cole is now part of that equation and he will surely do everything in his power to help Omega. The Elite faction won’t last forever of course and at some point, Cole and Omega may come to blows. But in the meantime, Adam is in The Elite and he’s in it to help his friends. But he may also help himself as well.

Cole’s first AEW match will happen on the September 15 edition of Dynamite. Cole will face off against The Elite Hunter himself, Frankie Kazarian. Cole will surely get his first win in the company and the match itself should be a good one. But if The Elite remains true to form, the violence will not end with the final bell.

If The Elite decide to beat Kaz down, Bryan could slide in to make the save. Assuming that happens, then Cole versus Danielson could be the first major program for both men in AEW. If so, then it’s only a matter of time until Danielson versus Omega becomes a reality.

The fact is that Bryan Danielson is in a great place in his pro wrestling career. He’s won world championships, he’s worked main event matches all over the globe and he’s firmly established himself as a true star in the industry. Now he’s on to the next phase  and in that phase, he will prove himself in AEW. The same is true of Adam Cole and it’s likely only a matter of time until these two stars do what they do best in an AEW ring.


Tom Clark is a Senior Pro Wrestling Analyst and Featured Columnist for Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Stitcher, Amazon Music, Audible, Spotify, YouTube and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live


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