Source: The Baltimore Sun
In a recent interview with The Baltimore Sun, Christopher Daniels talked about his relationship with AJ Styles, working through the X-Division, what it’s like to work with Hulk Hogan, Eric Bischoff, and Jason Hervey, and much more. Highlights from the interview are noted below, but you can read the entire thing by clicking here. Enjoy!
On Working Through the X-Division
Well I think that at the time there wasn’t anything like the ‘X Division’ on television. You just had ECW and WCW sort of close down in the last year or two before TNA came to prominence. And so WCW and ECW, those were the places where you would see guys like Taka Michinoku or Rey Mysterio, Psicosis, or the cruiserweights from WCW; that is where you saw that fast-paced hybrid of Japanese style and Mexican style of Lucha Libre. Once those two companies closed, there wasn’t really an outlet for that style, that fast-paced athletic style. And so, when TNA came around at the middle of 2002, they put emphasis on guys like Low-Ki and Jerry Lynn and A.J. Styles and the Amazing Red. It was different from what you were seeing in the WWE at that time. That was the main difference and because TNA was sort of marketed as the alternative to the WWE, you actually saw the difference in the style of WWE and the style of the ‘X Division’ wrestlers. And now, 10 years later, you’ve got guys like Zema Ion, guys like Doug Williams, guys like Sonjay Dutt, Kenny King, Mason Andrews. … You’ve got guys that are trying to carry the torch that A.J. lit, that Jerry Lynn lit back in 2002, and these guys are trying to make their name and still trying to push the envelope as far as what constitutes an ‘X Division’ style, that hybrid style that I talked about. … That Japanese, Mexican, high-flying, high-athletic, high-energy style.”
On Working with AJ Styles and Their History
I don’t know. Ever since A.J. and I met back in 2001, we wrestled at the NWA 53rd anniversary show and not soon after that we wrestled again at the APW ‘King of the Indies’ tournament. I feel like those two matches put us both on the map in terms of what we could do if given a chance to wrestle each other. And so, from those two matches and the birth of Ring of Honor and the birth of TNA, where we had an opportunity to work with each other there as well, I feel like the independent promoters felt like they were going to get their money’s worth if they booked that match. So we wrestled each other all over the United States, we wrestled each other overseas, we wrestled each other in Australia, we wrestled each other in Ireland and England — so many different places. And now almost 11 or 12 years later, I don’t think there’s another person in this world that I’ve had as many matches with as I’ve had with A.J. and I feel like to this day, despite the fact that we’ve wrestled each other so many times, we both have such pride in our work and our work ethic that we go out there and try to make it different. We try to make each match new and different for the fans who may have been following us for this long, who may have had a chance to see us wrestle each other in Ring of Honor back in 2002 or watched us wrestle for the ‘X Division’ title in 2005 when I had it. It’s us trying to show the world that we’re still growing, still improving as wrestlers and when we face off against each other we try and show the world that we still are two of the best in the world.
On Flexibility with His Character with Hogan, Bischoff, and Hervey
It’s just trying different things. I’ve been fortunate in the past year, year and a half where I’ve had a lot of support from the creative team here in TNA. Guys like Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey have been very instrumental in giving me an opportunity to try different things. You know, when you’ve got that confidence from the supportive guys like that in high places, it gives me more of a confidence to try different things and to try and experiment with stuff and so far I’ve had a lot of success experimenting with these things. For example, the glove I wear to the ring, or carrying an ‘appletini’ around backstage or wearing a scarf as I do. Just these little character nuances that I’m trying to get as a whole piece of this character that you see now as Christopher Daniels. Because I’ve got this good relationship with the creative team, I feel like I’m willing to try and risk myself more. And if I get told “Hey, that doesn’t work,” I’m fine with that. But at least I had the opportunity to try. And when you’ve got that freedom, and you’ve got that creative confidence to try new things, that’s when I think you’re going to hit on certain things. Not every pitch I swing at is going over the fence, but you’re going to miss every shot you don’t take. So I’ve been very confident in the last couple months to try different things because I knew that at least I’ll get an opportunity to be seen to, to be heard and I’ve gone from there.