Christopher Daniels was one of the Ring of Honor Wrestling originals. wrestling on the first major show in company history — a match that also featured WWE superstar Daniel Bryan, who competed in ROH as Bryan Danielson. Daniels has since returned to Ring of Honor and hit a high point in his career by winning his first world title as well as continuing his tag team with Frankie Kazarian.
Daniels is now touring with Ring of Honor and they are hitting cities all over the United States with live events, with two shows coming up this weekend in San Antonio and Dallas, Texas.
Christopher Daniels took the time to talk to Shawn S. Lealos about his recent success in Ring of Honor, wrestlers who have a chance to become huge future stars, and what fans can expect when they go to a live ROH show when it comes to an arena near them.
Shawn: How do you compare your recent run in Ring of Honor to your past runs with the company?
Christopher Daniels: I was there in 2011 and left right when Sinclair bought the company. I came back in 2014 with Frankie (Kazarian) and it was different because over those three years, Sinclair brought Ring of Honor from a company that was just starting to do syndicated television. In those three years, they brought them to the point where they were doing live pay-per-views, which is where Frankie and I debuted at their first broadcast pay-per-view.
It was great to get back. It was different because over the course of my career there, I’d sort of been by myself, but I came back with Frankie, who was the best partner I have ever had. It put a different dynamic into what we were doing and what I brought to the company, anyway.
Over the course of the last four years, Frankie and I have held the tag team titles twice and just recently we were the six-man tag team champions with Scorpio Sky. We have been very successful, and it has been very beneficial to the three of us.
Shawn: You were on the very first pay-per-view Ring of Honor ever held and were on the very first major show Ring of Honor ever released as a company in 2002. You were on two of the most important shows that moved the company forward.
Christopher Daniels: Absolutely. I was very fortunate to be part of the company at its inception and now 16 years later, I am still a big part of the company, I feel. It is very cool to be engrained into what the Ring of Honor history has been and look forward to continuing to contribute to ROH’s legacy.
Shawn: When you first started out in Ring of Honor, a few fans had seen you, Bryan Danielson and AJ Styles on the indies and then you all exploded. You went to TNA and were great there and AJ is the best in-ring wrestler in the WWE right now. Looking at the new Ring of Honor talent, who do you see reaching that same level?
Christopher Daniels: The first guy I have to talk about is Scorpio Sky. We were very fortunate to get Scorpio as a part of Ring of Honor and to bring him in as part of SoCal Uncensored with me and Frankie. I mean, he’s been wrestling for 15 years but I feel like people weren’t really aware of him because he hadn’t had that breakout performance on a national stage. In the last year in Ring of Honor, people have started to see that Scorpio is, hands down, one of the best guys on the planet.
I feel like whatever the future holds for him and us, as SoCal Uncensored, no matter what happens, Scorpio is going to be a big part of Ring of Honor for a very long time.
Another guy that I feel has the world in front of him as far as wrestling goes is Adam Page. In the last couple of years as part of Bullet Club, people have started to see Adam grow as a performer and as a wrestler. It is tough too because there are so many dynamic personalities in Bullet Club that, for a while, it seemed that Adam was in the background.
Now, he sort of stands out front and he is one of the dynamic personalities that people have come to expect from Bullet Club. He has become one of the more popular guys and certainly one of the most talented guys that Ring of Honor has had in the last couple of years. There is probably going to be championship gold in his future.
Shawn: How have you been able to remain healthy and change your in-ring style from the early days of the Fallen Angel to your current style, still putting on great matches at the age of 48?
Christopher Daniels: It is not an age thing for me. It is, for me in my head, I have always tried to do the things that I know I can do no matter what part of the match it was in. I’ve always told other wrestlers that, in terms of staying safe and staying smart, you do the things that you can do whether it is the first five minutes of the match or the last five minutes of the match.
For me, I have been very cognizant of taking very calculated risks. I am not a high flier in the sense that I take those high risks in every part of my match. I wrestle what I feel is a very safe style for me. That might be comical to an outside eye to see some of the things I do at the age of 48. It’s something I feel comfortable doing and I feel safe doing.
Whatever acrobatic things that I do that seems high risk to other people, to me it is a very calculated risk. Those are the risks that I take any time I wrestle. I know that no matter what I am doing — if it seems dangerous — it is something I know I can do 10 times out of 10.
I have been fortunate to avoid the accidental injuries that come and go in everybody’s career. I keep my risks at a minimum in my head. That is something all pro wrestlers have to learn. There are things they can do every time and not suffer from fatigue or mistake and keep it within that risk factor.
Shawn: Ring of Honor is coming through Texas this weekend at San Antonio and you have two very different matches. On Friday in San Antonio, it is SoCal Uncensored against Team CMLL and on Saturday in Dallas, you and Frankie fight Hurricane Helms and Delirious. How do you go about planning for two very different styles of matches on back-to-back nights?
Christopher Daniels: It is natural for me. I feel like one of the things that have made me someone who has had longevity in professional wrestling is that I am very versatile, and I adapt to the people across the ring from me. That has been one of the reasons that I have been successful, in the sense that many promotions around the world want to use me. They know that no matter who I am in the ring with, I am going to excel and have a great match. That is something my partner Frankie is excellent at as well.
You put us in the ring against high flyers or brawlers and we adapt. We sort of know how to play that game no matter who is across the ring from us. The first night, we wrestled three of the best Luchadors in the world and then the next night we are wrestling one of the most successful stars in WWE history in Hurricane Helms and one of the most successful stars in ROH history in Delirious.
They are two different matches style-wise but that has been our strength to adapt and adjust our styles to fit the people across the ring from us.
Shawn: What can the fans who come to Ring of Honor shows expect when they come to see you wrestle at events like these house shows in Texas?
Christopher Daniels: First and foremost, professional wrestling is definitely an exercise that is best enjoyed live. You can watch it on television and the camera angles make sure you see exactly what you are supposed to see. But, the best way to enjoy it is live and you feel that atmosphere and energy from the crowd around you. That is what we as wrestlers enjoy – feeling that energy from the crowd, being swept up in the moment of the show.
The thing you will find about Ring of Honor is that once the show starts and the bell rings, we put a premium on what happens inside the ring. We have been saying we are the best wrestling on the planet for many years now. I feel that our roster right now is top-notch and can stand with any other promotion in the country – in the world.
You will learn that Ring of Honor has the best wrestlers on the planet and bell-to-bell we put on the best show. That is what people can expect when they come out to San Antonio and Dallas this weekend.
Shawn: With All-In selling out like it did, do you see a huge resurgence in the indie scene of professional wrestling?
Christopher Daniels: I think we were already in that resurgence. I don’t think that All-In was the first sign of that resurgence but was the most recent sign of that resurgence. I feel like, right now, with the proliferation of professional wrestling at the fingertips of the fans – they can do out and find with all the different streaming services and all the different promotions that are finding success right now, I feel like there is more opportunity for a real professional wrestling fan to find something that he or she likes in professional wrestling at their fingertips.
All they have to do is get on their tablet or computer and search it out. I feel like there is definitely a resurgence in independent wrestling. It is that wide variety of styles and promotions and wrestlers out there. You talk about All-In and that speaks to the popularity of Matt and Nick Jackson and Cody Rhodes right not of Bullet Club.
Apart from that too, you are seeing different companies from around the world and around the United States finding more and more success and building on their own fan bases and that is because not only are the live fans enjoying what they are seeing but fans across the internet are reaching out and trying to what is scratching their itch for professional wrestling.
Right now, it’s the best time in the world to be a professional wrestling fan.
Tickets for both events are on sale at ROH Wrestling’s official website.
Fans can watch Ring of Honor Wrestling every Wednesday night on their local Sinclair Network. They can also sign up for an Honor Club membership at the official ROH site to see all the television shows and catch up on past pay-per-view and special events as well.