CM Punk vs. Bryan Danielson: Who Will Have the More Successful AEW Run?
All Elite Wrestling has changed the dynamic of the professional wrestling industry. Two of the biggest free agents in the business, CM Punk and Bryan Danielson, have joined the company after making their names in WWE.
From the moment they arrived, both men felt like top stars as they were in WWE. However, the industry has changed significantly since they last worked together.
No matter how popular the two may have been previously, they now have to prove themselves with AEW. And both will play a unique role for the company in its immediate future.
Especially with a company as young as AEW, it is interesting to consider the future. What will we look back upon as the most important moments in its history? Who will stand as its most defining stars?
While Punk and Bryan will both be vital to where AEW can go, who will be more important to the future? Who will have the most success? Let's have a look.
The Case for CM Punk
CM Punk arrived in AEW to one of the most monstrous ovations in wrestling history. It was the perfect storm. After seven years away from the business, he came back in his hometown of Chicago with a brand-new company.
It may forever be the biggest moment in AEW history. The All Out pay-per-view also could be considered the greatest wrestling event for the promotion, highlighted by Punk's first match in seven years against Darby Allin.
All of this is to say the bar has been set high for The Best in the World, but he can certainly live up to it. He has made clear in repeated promos that he is more interesting in putting over younger talent than finding his own lasting success.
Punk is likely to still win AEW gold along the way. The company will rely on him in big spots to keep that momentum. Some of his success will be directly tied to what he can do for it as a whole.
He had a great match with Allin, and that should only be the beginning. On the mic and in the ring, he is the type of performer who can truly make stars out of the talent on the roster.
Few have the combination of talent and spotlight that Punk has to be able to give to others.
The Case of Bryan Danielson
If anyone has the combination of talent and spotlight to match Punk, it's Bryan Danielson.
One of the absolute best wrestlers to step into a WWE ring, The American Dragon is a special talent, who also managed to get himself over like few others.
He did not come with the same level of hype as The Best in the World due to how long Punk was out of the business. That is because The American Dragon has done everything in his power to remain in the ring.
Concussions nearly ended his career entirely, taking him out of action for nearly three years. When he returned, it was a monumental moment when the former Daniel Bryan recaptured the adoration of the fans.
AEW allowed him a chance to continue to build back his love of wrestling, and it is clear that his goal is just to compete. He wants to face the best of the best from all over the world. When he can, he will certainly compete at New Japan Pro-Wrestling and possibly with other companies as well.
For now, he is going after the AEW world champion Kenny Omega, and he could be the one to dethrone the long-running champion. He was a multiple-time world champion for WWE, and he will likely win gold for AEW.
Danielson also knows he is at a spot in his career where he can only be at the top so long. Much like Punk, he will soon be the one putting over young stars. He may just have a longer run at the top before he gets to that level.
Punk has sung Danielson's praises repeatedly. He knows how good The American Dragon is to the point that he has put him over himself, but the world knows Danielson is one of the best wrestlers of this generation.
While he did not have the raucous debut of Punk, he is younger and arguably more talented because almost no one is more talented than The American Dragon. He is another level of ability to the point that WWE gladly inserted him into multiple WrestleMania main events over the past decade.
Punk is a special talent who will make AEW better, but Bryan feels like the type of performer who can make AEW the best.
His matches with everyone from Kenny Omega to MJF could make this company better, and he is popular everywhere he goes. Both men have been the best and biggest stars in the sport, but only one can be that for AEW.
Punk is well-positioned for what he wants to do for AEW, but Danielson is in the right spot to stand atop the promotion.