Bryan Danielson: I’ve wanted Kazuchika Okada match ‘for so long’

Bryan Danielson and Kazuchika Okada have both commented on their upcoming match at AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door. 

Okada and Danielson spoke with Sports Illustrated ahead of Sunday's pay-per-view. Danielson told Justin Barrasso he's wanted to wrestle Okada since before he even figured it was possible for him to do so. He also considers Okada to be one of the greatest wrestlers of all time. 

Danielson said: 

“I wanted this match for so long without ever thinking it was a possibility,” says Danielson. “I started watching him while I was in WWE, but there was no place to go work where that match would ever be possible. Then AEW started. That’s why this is so special to me. I wanted it for so long, and it’s now actually going to happen.”

“When Okada first won the IWGP championship, he started having all these incredible matches with Tanahashi,” Danielson continued. “He started building this incredible legacy. The Tanahashi matches, the Kenny [Omega] matches, those stand out to me—their 60-minute one was just unbelievable. The matches with Shingo [Takagi], the matches with [Will] Ospreay, the matches with Zack Sabre Jr."

“When I watch Okada, I’m watching one of the best of all time. Now I get to experience actually being in the ring with him. What’s that like? That’s what I get to find out.”

Okada also spoke with Sports Illustrated about his upcoming match against The American Dragon. He said during the interview that he realized while watching Danielson wrestle Kenny Omega in AEW that he could do something incredible with him. 

Okada said:

“That is my strongest image of Bryan—when he was in Ring of Honor,” says Okada. “I haven’t seen many of his matches since he went to WWE. When I saw the time limit draw he wrestled with Kenny Omega in AEW, I knew he and I could do something incredible.

“I have respect for him. There’s no hate here. I think that’s the appeal—just pure, competitive wrestling.”

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Okada was also asked about a potential match against CM Punk and responded:

“I’m not sure—The Young Bucks are kind of friends of mine,” Okada says with a laugh, alluding to the issues between the Bucks and Punk. “But if fans want to see the match, I want to do it. In Chicago.”

Danielson is focused on being mindful regarding his match with Okada. He wants to enjoy every second of it. 

“I’m telling myself to enjoy this moment, one I thought would never happen. Now I can do it in front of a passionate wrestling crowd in Toronto, and I’ll remember it for the rest of my life.”

Our own Dave Meltzer reported in today's edition of The Wrestling Observer Newsletter that Danielson has been banged up since his Ironman match against MJF at Double or Nothing. Meltzer wrote:

Danielson has been hurting since the MJF match going more than [one hour]. He’s only worked one match since then, which was Anarchy in the Arena.

AEW x NJPW Forbidden Door II takes place this Sunday, June 25, from the Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Okada vs. Danielson is expected to be the main event of the show.