Tony Khan comments on Bryan Danielson, Claudio Castagnoli, more

Jul 7, 2022 - by Marc Middleton

Photo Credit: AEW

Bryan Danielson’s condition changed in the last two weeks before the AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door pay-per-view, and now we know that is scheduled to undergo more testing soon.

AEW President, CEO, General Manager & Head Of Creative Tony Khan recently spoke with The New York Post’s Joseph Staszewski and revealed new details on Danielson being out of action, plus interesting tidbits on how Forbidden Door plans were changed.

Khan had originally said he wanted to bring in Claudio Castagnoli for ROH, but he ended up being Danielson’s replacement in the match against Zack Sabre, Jr. at Forbidden Door, and then again in the Blood & Guts match against The Jericho Appreciation Society. Khan was asked if things almost worked out better, where it feels like he really fits in The Blackpool Combat Club. Khan revealed what Castagnoli told him after Blood & Guts.

“Claudio said after the Blood and Guts match, he came back to me and said ‘I could not have had a better first week. I could not have imagined any place I’ve ever been enjoying it more than I do here. The first week I’ve had is something I’ll remember the rest of my life.’ He was very grateful. He was very happy,” Khan revealed.

Khan planned for Castagnoli to debut at ROH Death Before Dishonor on July 23. He noted that when talking with Castagnoli on June 2, the day after the Dynamite West Coast debut from The Kia Forum in Los Angeles, he knew he had to book the creative leading up to Forbidden Door, and that plans were likely going to change due to AEW World Champion CM Punk needing time off due to his foot injury.

Khan revealed that Punk’s x-rays came back on Friday, June 3, and “it wasn’t good.” While there has been no timeframe announced for Punk’s return to action from the foot injury, this is the first we’ve heard in regards to the severity of the injury. Khan then revealed how he made several changes to Forbidden Door, and booked Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jon Moxley for the Interim AEW World Title.

“He’s one of the greatest stars ever in Ring of Honor and Claudio Castagnoli is associated with that history in ROH,” Khan said. “I thought as we’re moving toward Death Before Dishonor on July 23, I originally thought that would be an incredible place for him to debut if Bryan Danielson is good to go. Admittedly when Claudio and I were talking, we had a conversion on June 2, so it was the day after the [LA] Forum show so I was just kind of getting my bearings and realizing I had put TV together all through “Forbidden Door” and that was probably going to change. I knew [CM] Punk was gonna need some time. His X-ray came back Friday and it wasn’t good. That’s when I had to jump into a plan with Mox [Jon Moxley] and the interim title and make a lot of changes to Forbidden Door.”

Khan continued and revealed that he originally planned for a six-man with Punk and current IWGP, AAA & ROH World Tag Team Champions FTR vs. IWGP United States Champion Will Ospreay and Aussie Open. That match ended up being FTR and Trent Beretta vs. Ospreay and Aussie Open, with the AEW stars getting the win on the June 10 edition of Rampage. Punk was originally planned to defend against Tanahashi at Forbidden Door, which would’ve pulled Tanahashi from the brief Blood & Guts build he was involved in.

“It would have been totally different stuff because [Hiroshi] Tanahashi wouldn’t have been in the Blood and Guts Moxley-[Chris] Jericho stuff because Tanahashi would have been wrestling Punk,” Khan continued. “There would have been a completely different set of stories going into the pay-per-view. When Will Ospreay invades, Punk would have been with FTR so they would have taken Punk and FTR down. So that trios match would have been Punk and FTR versus Ospreay and the United Empire.”

Khan said Danielson is doing much better. He revealed how he spoke to Danielson on June 15, the date of the Road Rager Dynamite special, and said Danielson was feeling great, and amped up about the match with ZSJ at Forbidden Door, and about working Blood & Guts. Khan then spoke with Danielson on Saturday, June 18, which was eight days before Forbidden Door, and Danielson’s condition had changed. Khan declared then that Danielson would not be wrestling at either show. Khan added that Danielson has scans coming up soon, but he did not disclose what sort of scans. He indicated that no matter how good the scans are, he’s not looking to bring Danielson back right away.

“I don’t think it was a good thing Bryan [Danielson] got hurt,” Khan said. “I think that’s one of the worst things, but he’s doing much better. I talk to him a few times a week. I had talked to him on Wednesday when were were in St. Louis for Road Rager and I talked to Bryan. And Bryan was like, ‘I feel f—king great! I’m ready to come back and I’m gonna fight Zack Sabre and we’re gonna go to Blood and Guts. Let’s f-king go man.’ Then I talked to him the Saturday, eight days before the pay-per-view and he’s not doing as well. So I immediately was like, ‘You’re not wrestling. If you’re not feeling great eight days out, I don’t care if you have seven straight days. I’m shutting you down until further notice.’ He has scans coming up. I’m like, ‘I don’t care what they say. They could be perfectly clear.’”

It should be noted that there is no word yet on how Danielson is doing now, and how he was doing after that last call Khan mentioned. Danielson previously recorded a WWE RAW message for John Cena’s 20th Anniversary, which aired on June 20, but it was not confirmed when that video was taped. Danielson appeared to be doing fine in the video.

Khan continued and recalled how Danielson asked him “what about Claudio?” on that call. He noted to Danielson how he already had Claudio under contract, then told him about the June 2 phone call where he knew Forbidden Door plans would need to be changed due to the injuries to Danielson and Punk.

“We had a situation where a great wrestling star Claudio Castagnoli had an open spot where he could not only step into AEW but also step into the Blackpool Combat Club, where it makes perfect sense,” Khan said.

Danielson has been on the shelf with an undisclosed injury since the AEW Double Or Nothing pay-per-view at the end of May, which saw he, Moxley, Eddie Kingston, Santana and Ortiz team up to defeat The Jericho Appreciation Society in the first-ever Anarchy In The Arena bout. While a concussion has been rumored, it was reported in early June that Danielson did not suffer a concussion, but he would still be out of action for 1-2 weeks after suffering some sort of injury at the pay-per-view. It was also said that Danielson was “banged up” in the Anarchy match, but that he was initially expected back for Forbidden Door, if not sooner. That obviously never happened, and it was reported on June 22, before Danielson had the Dynamite segment with ZSJ, that he was out “and may not be wrestling for a while.”

It was reported this week by Wrestling Observer Radio that Danielson appears to be doing fine, but still has not been cleared to wrestle. It was noted that Danielson’s situation is concerning because of how long it’s taking him to get cleared. He added that “no one knows” when Danielson will be medically cleared as “getting cleared from a concussion can be any time. There’s no timeframe.”

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