Bryan Danielson Recalls Training At The Inoki Dojo, Shares Memories Of Antonio Inoki

(Photo Credit: AEW)

AEW star Bryan Danielson recently spoke with on a number of topics including his decision to train at the Inoki Dojo.

Danielson said, “So it’s really crazy because interesting to see in a parallel universe what would happen if I never went to the Inoki Dojo. But I had started making a name for myself and Ring of Honor had just kind of started, right, in 2002. But in going to the Inoki Dojo, I was the first person to kind of go there who lived at the Inoki Dojo. I didn’t have the money to… Because it was in Santa Monica. I didn’t have the finances to rent a place in LA. And so I was like, “Hey, I’d really like to train at the dojo. Can I just sleep on the floor?” And it’s not like the new Japan dojo in Japan where they have little rooms and all that. They have bedrooms and all that kind of stuff. There wasn’t that. I was just sleeping on the mat, right? And so they were open and accepting of me and allowed me to do that.”

Danielson also spoke about some of his memories of Antonio Inoki.

“And so it would be like… Antonio Inoki would sometimes be in there and you’d see just his take on wrestling and that sort of thing. And one of the things that he did was in our first Tokyo Dome match, it was actually… This was in 2002 and it was the night before the actual real Tokyo Dome show. And we’re wrestling. It’s me, Rocky Romero, and I think Ricky Reyes. We were in the six-man tag against Jushin Liger and two other people, maybe Tiger Mask and one other person. And so we are by far… These guys are the veterans, yada, yada, yada. And we go out there and we have a very good, fine professional wrestling match. And when we got to the back when we got to our hotel room, Inoki had our trainer at the time, Justin McCauley slap us all on the face to inspire us to do better because I understand that those people are your seniors and that you have to listen to them. But my thing with pro wrestling is don’t just do what everybody else is doing. Do what you know should do or do what you think is best or do what’s going to push pro wrestling to the next level. And that’s just kind of an idealism that I’ve taken with me throughout my entire professional wrestling career. And so that’s what he’s meant to me personally. I have some funny stories but I’m probably not going to share them. But he’s just an incredible, unique pro wrestling figure who was really a dreamer, right? The shows that he put on in North Korea. What he thought you could accomplish through pro wrestling is grander than what pretty much anybody else in professional wrestling has ever thought.”