TNA Wrestling celebrates its 10th anniversary this weekend with the Slammiversary pay-per-view.
Through the years, many stars have come and gone through the TNA system, but there have been a core group of TNA "originals" who have remained loyal to the product through the good times and the bad.
One of them, a "founding father" of the company, was "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels.
Today, Daniels is one-half of the TNA World Tag Team Champions with Frankie Kazarian and the self-proclaimed "new face of Impact Wrestling."
My "From the Rafters Radio" co-host Chris Hagstrom and I had the opportunity to chat with Daniels about his tag title defense at Sunday's Slammiversary against A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle, as well as other topics.
Here is an excerpt of what Daniels had to say:
On Impact going live for the summer: Honestly speaking, we're live every month when we go on pay-per-view, so as far as the wrestlers, we're not feeling that pressure any different than when we do pay-per-view. Although the one big difference that I noticed last week was just the commercial breaks. It's something you have to keep in mind as you're in the ring, understanding when the cameras are on and when they're off, but that's a small adjustment. I made it; I'm sure all the rest of the roster got it in their heads quickly. I think all of us are happy this is going on right now. This is a great opportunity to show the world that we can do live, and I hope that this turns from an experiment into the way we do business from now on.
On facing Styles and Angle for the tag titles at Slammiversary: AJ and I have probably fought in every country, in every state on this planet. Going into Slammiversary, you get a team made up of two world champions, two world-class athletes like Kurt and AJ, it's a big test for Frankie and myself. But right now, I feel that Frankie and myself are the best tag team in professional wrestling today. I feel that we're going to have a title run that rivals the ones that Beer Money had when they were in charge, the type of title reigns that America's Most Wanted had when they were the top team. I think one of the things about Impact Wrestling is that once you get a tag team that has a good chemistry together, a good sets of talents like myself and Frankie, we're going to run with the ball. I think we're going to have one of those record-setting tag title reigns like those two teams I mentioned earlier.
On the TNA Wrestling tag team division: I feel like right now we're sort of in flux. That situation sort of comes and goes. There were times that we had a good number of tag teams that were up at the top. Right now, with Alex Shelley leaving TNA, with the Motor City Machineguns being gone, other than ourselves, I feel that the top established tag team right now is Samoa Joe and Magnus. Those guys came around in January of this year and they quickly became World Tag Team Champions. I still think they're one of the best tag teams out there, despite the fact they've only been around out there for a couple of months. So once we get through Kurt and AJ, and we will because as good as those two are they're not the established tag team like Frankie and myself, I'm sure we'll have to defend the tag team titles again against Joe and Magnus. Then whatever tag teams come through TNA, of course Frankie and I will have the situation well in hand.
On celebrating the 10th anniversary of TNA: When you talk about TNA from the past 10 years, people didn't expect us to last this long. I remember when we were in Nashville, we had the first-year anniversary and people asked, "How does it feel to be a year old?" Five years ago, when we had our fifth anniversary, it was the same thing. It's always that "How does it feel to grow?" The best thing TNA has been doing, every step we take has been a step forward. It may not be a big step or a great step, but it's always been a step forward, and I feel right now we've got a lot of momentum on our side - the fact we're going live, the fact that we changed our time slot, and the fact that we're doing better right now than we have been in recent months. I feel this is a big step forward for us. I know that the entire talent roster is going to step up and show the world why we've been around for 10 years and why we're going to be around a lot longer.
On his two iconic matches, vs. Samoa Joe and AJ Styles in TNA and vs. Low Ki and Bryan Danielson in Ring of Honor: I feel like at that point in wrestling, the triple threat hadn't been done to death. Some of the things we did at those times were sort of groundbreaking in terms of how we would get three guys involved. Usually, at the time, it was two guys wrestle and one guy rests for a period of time and then switch guys out and rinse, repeat. I feel those two matches were put together in a way that allowed for everybody to be involved at the same time, innovative ways to keep three guys involved, innovative ways to keep the action moving and innovative ways to keep all three of us moving at the same time. It's a testament to those guys - Danielson and Low-Ki, and Joe and AJ - that we put those matches together and they still stand the test of time. It says a lot that people still look back and say how good those matches were a decade later, seven years later.
On criticisms of the company not making new stars: I would say right now is the worst time to make those sorts of claims. You look at what's happening on television right now and the highest-rated storyline is between three homegrown TNA talents - myself, AJ Styles and Frankie Kazarian. Right now I feel like I've got a better rapport with the creative team, a better rapport with guys like Eric Bischoff and Hulk Hogan than I've ever had. I feel like I've proven myself to those guys as someone who is you have to hand him the ball, he will go forward and make something good out of it. I've felt that A.J. Styles has always proven that he's a great in-ring competitor and on the television show. I understand the point. There have been times that guys who have made their name have been given opportunities, but at the same time, you've always seen guys like Bobby Roode, James Storm, the Motor City Machineguns, A.J. Styles rise to the top. Talent is going to rise to the top, whether they come from TNA or from outside.
On the ongoing storyline with Dixie Carter: It's new ground. I feel like that's one of the reasons people are tuning into it. There's enough of a shadow of a doubt where people are watching, still trying to decide if they buy my side or A.J.'s side of the story. We've still got parts of the story to tell. Right now it's not even the beginning of the end. We're still in the middle of the beginning; there's still a lot of story to tell. So all I can tell the fans who have been watching and trying to make a decision is just stay tuned.
Daniels discussed a number of other topics, including his history with Ring of Honor, his thoughts on the new TNA Hall of Fame, opinions on taking Impact on the road and which knockouts have the best beards, among others. The full interview is available online at in the episode archives.
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