RF Video Shoot Interview with Christopher Daniels (2014), Disc One

This interview was filmed in 2014

Disc One runs at three hours and seventeen minutes long

The interview was conducted by Rob Feinstein

They start from 1999. Daniels said he had a job at Walt Disney Imagineering and how they were cool with giving him time off to wrestle. However, he had an opportunity to tour Japan for six weeks with Michinoku Pro and Walt Disney told him that they would have to give his job away if he went and that is how Daniels became a full-time wrestler.

He was then asked what the outlook for Independent wrestlers like himself when WCW and ECW closed. Daniels said he went back and forth from Japan and the Independents and it was not too hard as he did okay with Japan. He said he was under contract when WCW closed and the WWF did not pick up his contract.
He was asked about working for Jim Kettner in ECWA with Low Ki and Daniel Bryan. He said he was doing a deal when Ki & Bryan were a tag-team that did not get along with each other. When asked about Low Ki’s personality, Daniels says that he puts 100% of his intensity in being the best wrestler he can be and said once you earn his respect, he lowers his guard and got to know him as a person.
When asked about his initial impression of the Ring of Honor concept, Daniels said at first he just thought of it as a show and did not understand the concept until later on, citing that RoH was filling the gap that the ECW fanbase wanted and he was not familiar with that. After the first five or six shows, he said the company started to pick up some steam then started to see the goals they were trying to achieve.
Daniels thought that Gabe Sapolsky, the booker, was planting the seeds for the promotions in the first few shows as he had a long-term goal and saw the bigger picture. On the subject of Gabe’s strengths and weaknesses as a booker, Daniels said he can nitpick and say that it is tough to get him to change his mindset but talks about how he always had a long-term vision. He remembers telling Dixie Carter about him, trying to push him to Dixie as someone to sign along with other wrestlers but does not know exactly why he never made it in either TNA or WWE.
He is asked about Donovan Morgan and if he is surprised that he never made it big in the United States and Daniels said that he was not due to the fact that he made a deal with Michael Modest with Pro Wrestling Noah and their focus was on Japan and being from the West Coast, it got expensive for the Northeast promotions to fly them out.
When asked about the sixty-minute Iron Man Match for the RoH Championship, he said it was his first time wrestling an hour long match and remembers how it was 100 degrees in the Murphy Rec Center.
He is asked again about Low Ki, this time why he has not stayed long in major promotions. Daniels said that in the WWE, Ki left as he saw the writing on the wall and would rather leave than spin his wheels without any momentum. Daniels said that by watching NXT, Ki was the ones that the fans wanted, despite the WWE leaning towards Joe Hennig, then talks about what it is like to have the fans behind you but not the machine and you have to decide if you would rather tread water or go somewhere else and try.
Daniels is asked about Xavier in RoH and if his title reign did not work out due to being at the wrong place at the wrong time or missing what it took to be a star. Daniels said that the fanbase mentality was that he was not as good as guys like Joe or Ki but that had him stand out as a heel who the fans felt did not deserve his spot. Personally, Daniels said he liked him and thought he was good and chalks it up to bad luck as to why he never made it as a star.
When asked about meeting AJ Styles for the first time, Daniels said that he always had good ideas and how AJ always listened to his ideas and that is why their matches gelled together. Apparently, these two have named their kids after each other. He talks about how they have gotten older, they realized that they no longer have to stuff “six pounds into a five pound bag” and to use the more is less philosophy. On AJ leaving TNA, Daniels said that he is disappointed in TNA’s mentality for letting AJ go and knows it is a business but thinks that decision will come back and bite TNA in the ass.
He know talks about how guys like Paul London and Amazing Red were able to find their niche in RoH and how that helped make the company stand out. When asked, he said that it was Gabe’s idea to put Allison Danger in the Prophecy.
Rob asks Daniels if it was right for Gabe to book people in stories when they had other commitments and expect them to be there. Daniels said people have to make decisions that benefit them financially and how he would never get mad about that and how it is part of the business.
On when he first heard about TNA being put together, he was with Low Ki and Eddie Guerrero at a WWA PPV. Both Jeremy Borash and Bob Ryder were there and he thinks Bob was the one who got him into the company. At first, he saw it as steady work as they were doing weekly shows.
He said that Jerry Jarrett was awesome and respected his work. He also thought his mentality of how he wanted to present the company was good. He knew Jeff a little bit from WCW and the WWA shows but in TNA, he was very busy putting stuff together and thought he was cool with him at first. He mentions the rumors of them going out of business after the first few months and said they never really did anything about them and liked wrestling once a week and thought it was fun to get a lot of time each week to wrestle on a National stage.
He goes back to WCW for a bit and how he was initially hired by Kevin Sullivan but after coming to the company when he finished a tour of Japan, Sullivan was fired and Russo and Bischoff were there and he was rarely ever used. He did one promo which the company hated and was going to get involved in a storyline involving Daffney but that never came to fruition.
Daniels said that he got a chance to know Russo at the beginning of TNA and how Russo liked his ideas and they became friendly. Rob then brings out Russo burying him in an interview (Kayfabe Commentaries WCW Timeline 2000) and asks what that was about. Daniels said he understood what Russo was trying to say as how some guys only cared about their match quality and not their characters and that was why they never got over. Daniels then follows that up by saying it was false and went up to Russo once, asking him how they could hide his weaknesses and build to his strengths. Daniels said that Russo’s answer to him was “Bro, your work is what is going to get you over.” When he finished up as the Curry Man, Russo said that he wanted Daniels to be the “wrestler” but then went out and lost every match. Daniels wonders if your gimmick is that you are a good wrestler but constantly lose, how are you supposed to get yourself over? He then talks about how instead of venting his frustration, he would think about try to do what the company wanted. He then mentions once exception to that in 2011, they had a talent meeting in TNA in which they were told that there was no such thing as a push and to just go out and get yourself over, adding that there is no such thing as asking too many questions. Daniels said he stood up and said that was not true as he was fired the year prior for being accused to stirring things up by asking too many questions himself then Russo told him he was let go because he was not over. Daniels regrets not telling him when he was supposed to be positioned to get over and failed, saying that he was made to look unimportant by Russo so why should be fans care about him. He then said how he was a babyface but made to look like a douchebag in that role.
When asked what Russo’s strengths were as a writer and if he got wrestling, Daniels got the impression that Russo thought he was above wrestling and really hated it to be honest. He then talks about Russo loving the Paparazzi gimmick and how he thought if it was a two-hour show it would get great ratings, prompting Austin Aries to tell him that it would be a sitcom and not wrestling if that was the case.
Daniels said that Elix Skipper left as he got hurt badly and decided to try another career that took less punishment on his body.
He talks about the XXX feud against America’s Most Wanted and how they all worked well together. Daniels said that James Storm found a new confidence he never had before after the feud as their team was viewed higher, as Storm was considered the guy behind Chris Harris, who was billed as the star. Daniels said that Harris had all of the goods but in the WWE, thinks it was probably a wake-up call of not doing well in the WWE system and once he got let go, Storm got really popular and might have had heat with the office. Daniels also said that Harris had some health problems too.
He talks about how TNA did a bad job of establishing their brand, citing people approaching Kurt Angle in the airport and asking him why he quit wrestling, despite the fact he was under a contract with TNA. He also said that there are no casual fans of TNA, just the hardcore fan. He then talks about ex-WWE talent coming to the locker room of a house show in a small city and speak about how they went from WrestleMania to this tiny show.
On working with guys like New Jack and Sandman, he said that it is up to him to adapt to his opponents style and if he wrestled that style, he knew he was going to get tossed around, the same way he knew he was going to get kicked and chopped a lot if he faced Low Ki. He also said that those guys were always safe and cool with him and said it was a fresh matchup.
Daniels said that he got along with CM Punk backstage as they both had similar interests like comic books and other wrestling. Daniels said that Punk was the one who first explained the straight-edge lifestyle to him and saw that if he could do that with his life, maintaining that focus, then he could apply that to his wrestling career. He also said that he was easy to work with while laying out matches.
He is then asked if he thought it was fair if TNA made him leave RoH, the company he worked for first. He said he wanted to work for RoH but was not in the position to leave TNA, were he was getting paid better, as he had a family to take care of and AJ was also the same way. He said that he does not like to turn down work and it tore him up to leave the company.
When asked why Joe Legend’s run in TNA did not last long, Daniels believed that there was some bad blood between Legend and Jeff Jarrett and that was the reason. On working with Michael Shane, Daniels said that some of his matches were against Michael Shane. He said that he was not surprised that he left the business but was surprised that he never got more out of it by being the cousin of Shawn Michaels. He was really impressed with Chris Sabin when he first arrived with TNA. Daniels loved working with the Naturals and puts them over for wanting to be a team and how they put in a lot of effort. He then said that he has a picture of himself as the X Division Champion and the Naturals as the Tag Champions posing with the belts.
When asked about working the 2nd Ultimate X match, Daniels said that they tried to change it up and use ladders and chairs to get the belt at first, letting that fail then reinforce the idea that you had to win by climbing up the cable. He remembers after the match was Scott D’Amore said it was disappointing. Daniels himself did not feel like it was a dangerous match but was afraid that he had a weak grip so he would practice holding himself up on a pullup bar for as long as he could leading up to the match.
On moving TNA tapings from Nashville to Orlando, he said that there was not a lot different for him but they were in front of a different audience and starting to do TV for Fox Sports Net, which got the product across to a new audience.

Daniels praises Dusty Rhodes for working in the main event and for giving him the opportunities to get over.

He then expresses frustration after asking why they are doing things are certain way then getting shot down, using a Russo impression by saying “bro.”

When asked about the Lockdown PPV concept of every match being in a cage. Someone from the creative team ran down the card and 3 or 4 matches were in cages and Jerry Jarrett jokingly said they should make every match in a cage but the creative guy took it literally.

He talks about Samoa Joe and how guys pushed for him to come to TNA for a while until they finally brought him in as some people were against it but once Joe came to TNA, he shut up his critics.

Daniels thought that it was a terrible idea to turn Joe heel and thought he should have stayed heel and Joe remain a face. He said he knew he was right the minute it happened as Joe gave him the muscle buster and the crowd instead chanted “one more time.” Daniels wanted Joe to be looked like Goldberg, with him running away all the time, but said it fell on deaf ears. He thought changing Joe from the unstoppable force was a terrible idea. On the Ultimate X match he had with Samoa Joe and AJ, Daniels said that Joe was not a fan of that type of match.

He loved teaming with AJ Styles against LAX and said how they got a huge pop at Slammiversary when they won. He also liked working with Homicide and Hernandez and ended up feuding with them when the office proposed that he and AJ defend the belts against America’s Most Wanted in an Ultimate X match but AMW refused and LAX was getting over. Daniels also said once they got rid of Konnan then turned face took a lot away from them.

When asked about working with Sting then having the feud end before it began, Daniels said that Russo told him to grow his hair and a beard and that he was going to get him over in this feud. Daniels said he was going into it with the mindset that he was playing someone who followed the old testament god about eye for an eye and to tell people that bad things happen because people are bad and that he actually wanted to go on TV and say how 9/11 and Katrina all happened because it was there fault. Daniels said that Sting was taken aback by all of that then said that the network would never let that happen. He then talks about the feud and how he was always an afterthought to Sting as they feuded. Daniels then said that Russo booked him to apologize to Sting and be his partner then turn on him again an hour later. Daniels said he told Russo it didnt make sense and he said to do it anyway. Daniels thinks that Russo believed him against Sting was not a marquee match, which Daniels was fine with but then questions why the f--- are you even having this feud to begin with then. He then talks about how the first match he was booked to lose in nine minutes to Sting and asked Russo why this was happening as he needed a win to further it along but Russo told him that it was not working and that they were going to go a different way. Daniels then told Russo how this was designed to get him over but he was never presented at any point in the feud as someone who was important enough to feud with Sting but that went nowhere. He then talks about Russo not listening to the ideas of others.

Daniels then expresses frustration about Dixie Carter when he asked her what he can do to get over more and she told him that they expected him to be the leader of XXX. Daniels then said why didnt they tell me that before hand as he was not going to overshadow the team and how their gimmick of being all equals made it work. He then said that Dixie told him to find a way to change what he was doing so Daniels typed up an email with two ideas: keeping the “Fallen Angel” nickname but being Christopher Daniels the wrestler or becoming the Curry Man, which is what ended up happening. Daniels says he wrote the email as he wants to be proactive and to get ahead.

When asked, Daniels said that he liked the Curry Man character a lot. He said that it was all about having fun and noted how his wife loved the character. He then talks about playing the Suicide character and how they needed someone to fill the role until Kazarian came back so he said that he did because he wanted to be a team player.

He said that the “Fish Market Street Fight” was a stupid idea and that Team 3D felt the same way but came up to him and said they should make it the best dumb gimmick match ever. Daniels puts them over for being funny and entertaining.

Daniels said that it meant a lot to him for Kurt Angle to give him respect as a worker. He said that his matches with Kazarian against AJ & Kurt a blast.

When asked about Samoa Joe putting over Kurt Angle, who just started out in the company, Daniels said he was disappointed the way it went and thought it was a missed opportunity. He thought that Joe should have gone over and Kurt coming out the next TV show saying that he underestimated Joe and played off of that.

He hoped that Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan coming into TNA would bring more notoriety to the company but though that it was too early to do air the show on Monday nights opposite of Monday Night RAW.When asked about TNA putting over the ex-WWE guys instead of their own talent when they came into the company, Daniels said that some people were upset that he put over Val Venis a month after challenging for the World Title but he just looked at it as work and understood why they did that but ultimately, it did not work out.

On how he got released, Terry Taylor called him up and said that they had to let him go because he was disruptive in the locker room. Daniels was take aback by that then later on called Dixie and ended up speaking with both her and Russo then told that the way his contract was structured and since they had no plans for him, they were going to give him a few months off then bring him back to team up with Samoa Joe.

After that, Daniels contacted RoH and he flew right in to cut a promo on Davey Richards. Daniels is asked about Davey and said that the company was putting a lot of pressure on him to be the “spirit” of the company. He also said that Davey came to him with a match layout and said that it was one of the few times that he barely made any changes to the match. Daniels said that he gelled best with Eddie Edwards during that time in RoH.

When asked about his RoH TV Title run, Daniels said he was happy about the run but a little disappointed about how he lost the belt as he suggested to Jim Cornette that he lose the belt on the first ever RoH TV Show but he was told that they wanted to promote the people who were going to be with the company and he lost the belt before that. Daniels does not know who was behind that decision.

Daniels said he got along with Cornette, who he said got him into the Dojo with Dory Funk and the “Shotgun Saturday Night” shows.

On how he got back into TNA, he got a call two days after the PPV in which Jeff Hardy showed up a mess and asked to be at the TV tapings. Daniels then said that he called Hunter Johnson (Delirious) the booker in RoH that he was going to TNA for a taping and did not want to have him hear it from someone else. Then, Cary Silkin called him and said that Daniels contract said he could only wrestle under a hood for TNA. Daniels told Silkin that he understood that he was always going back to TNA and told him that he needed to pay his billl as he had worked just one match that month and was barely getting by. Daniels then explained to Silkin is situation and they were not happy but understood where he was coming from.

He is asked about Bully Ray reinventing himself and Daniels said he has a great wrestling mind and would go to him at times for advice.

When asked about Bruce Prichard replacing Vince Russo as the Head of Creative, Daniels said that he had much of a connection with him and thinks he did not work out as the company wanted him to move to Nashville and he did not want his family to leave Texas.

Daniels said that RVD did not give the respect to the guys that they gave him. He then gives an example of how he went up to RVD before their first-ever match and just let him know what is finisher was and how it was performed and RVD responded with “Yeah, I’ve been taking that bump since 1998” and that he came off sounding like a dick.

He talks about being put in a feud with AJ and going to creative and pitching an idea of him finally beating AJ then dodging him when he wants a rematch. Daniels then said that Bruce Prichard came up to him and in a condescending manner asked him what was the most important part of wrestling, upset that he suggested that he beat AJ. Daniels said that not once in his career did he refuse to do a job to someone else and that everytime they wrestled, AJ beat him clean and where are they supposed to go with the story if he is the heel and loses cleanly in the first match. So, they then told Daniels he was going to beat AJ in a fluke manner, prompting Daniels to mention how they wondered he was not getting over.

When asked how the company changed when John Gaburik was brought into TNA, Daniels said that Gaburik called a meeting when he first came in and said that talent was a priority and wanted to get them over and talk to them about what they feel will help get them over as well. Daniels then met with Gaburik, who told him that he had watched the past month of TNA and that he hated his character most of all but now that he has met him, he gets the character, which confused Daniels. Gaburik then told him what could the film to get him over as who he could wrestle was secondary. Daniels said that he had a few ideas, one of which was a PSA on how to conduct yourself when you come across Bad Influence but never heard anything from him about any of his ideas. Then, they came out with Impact 365 and that he and Kazarian did their own stuff that they thought was entertaining but the company never did anything with them nor did they want to showcase them.

Daniels said that guys like Scott D’Amore, Konnan, Raven, Kevin Nash, and Tommy Dreamer all have great minds for the business and could run creative. He even said that when Jarrett was done being a full-time wrestler, he had a lot of good ideas. He feels that the guys writing have not wrestled or even had experience in wrestling so that their ideas do not mesh with a wrestling program and it turns into having both a variety show and a wrestling show

Speaking about the Indy scene today, Daniels said that he sees a lot of young guys that are hungry and a lot of fresh matchups.

He closes by thanking his fans for their support.

Final Thoughts: I thought this was a decent shoot interview. Do not expect to hear about road stories or parties in this disc though. Daniels spoke about his career and the frustrations he had while working in TNA. He shed a lot of insight as how TNA sees things and what they believe will get people over, which after hearing Daniels explain their thought process, you know why the company is in the place they are in now.

I also thought that Daniels came off like a good guy here. He seemed to want to help out anyone he could have and would be a good veteran presence in a company. After 12 years of being in TNA, it is easy to see how he is frustrated at how it went with all of the roadblocks he encoutnered while trying to get himself over. Although, to think that he would even be able to perform the character he wanted to do in his feud is a bit ridiculous.

Overall, I recommend this shoot. It is a bit long but Daniels comes across well and a guy who would do whatever the company asked of him, which sadly in return led to TNA walking all over him when he wanted to suggest ideas to get himself over. Daniels seems to have a good mind about the business too. He doesnt try to bury anyone but his candid about the frustrations of working in TNA. The second disc is a 54 minute long shoot with Frankie Kazarian as they talk about their time as Bad Influence.

Here is the scheudle of my reviews:

Friday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/21/86
Friday: RF Video Shoot Interview with Christopher Daniels, Disc Two
Saturday: RoH All Star Extravaganza 11/9/02
Sunday: WWF Superstars of Wrestling 9/27/86
Tuesday: WWF Wrestling Challenge 9/28/86
Thursday: Shoot Interview TBD