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Christopher Daniels Interview

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Athlete, wrestler, actor, husband, father - is there anything Chrstopher Daniels can't do? It's been a long road for the Fallen Angel in the wrestling business, but in travelling it he's also established himself as one of the top wrestlers in the world. Respected by his peers and revered by his fans, Christopher Daniels has plenty to be proud of. In this exclusive interview with NWATNA.com's own TIm Welch, Daniels speaks on everything from his days as a struggling actor to his opinion of the team of Triple X in TNA!


TW: Fallen Angel Christopher Daniels - tell us how you got into the wrestling business.


FA I grew up watching the NWA in North Carolina. I was a big fan of guys like Dusty Rhodes and Magnum TA and the Four Horsemen obviously. I graduated from college in 1991 and tried a career at acting and moved to Chicago to pursue that. It wasn't working out, so I found a wrestling school in Chicago called "Windy City Pro Wrestling" and decided to give that a chance. It ended up working out a lot better than I thought. I started training there in January and I was ready to wrestle matches in April. I wrestled in Chicago for about two years, and then in 1996 I moved out to California and really got a lot of opportunities from the WWF as well as overseas and everything kind of blossomed from there.


TW: After acting, what was it about wrestling that made you look to it as a new profession?


FA: It really started as something that my wife and I would joke about while I was acting, that if it didn't work out I could always give wrestling a try. She happened to find out about this wrestling school in Chicago, and she told me if I was serious about it I should take a look at it. I went and spoke to the school and I thought it was something I could actually do. I wasn't sure how it would end up, but I thought it was something I would give a try and at least if it failed I could say I gave it a shot. But it worked out a lot better than I thought.


TW: Did anyone in your family give you a hard time about wanting to be in wrestling?


FA: No, they were very supportive. You know, they worry about me physically and they worry about the injuries I could sustain doing this, but they've always been very supportive. They realized if this is something I really want to do and put 100 percent behind it, they would do the same and put 100 percent in supporting me. It was tough for the first few years because it really was a hobby at that point. I really wasn't making enough money to where I could call it a career. So there was a lot of lean times those years, but it paid off and it slowly turned into "my" career and my parents supported me back then and they continue to support me now.


TW: So at what point did you decide the hobby was over and you wanted to do it for a living?


FA: Well I always felt it was something I wanted to do, but independent wrestling was very unstable. So it wasn't until I started getting booked in Japan and elsewhere overseas so much so that I wasn't able to hold a regular job. That started in early 1999 when I was going to Japan regularly. I started getting bookings on the U.S. east coast regularly. It was at that point that it became my career rather than the hobby I did on the side when I worked the 9-5 job.


TW: Did travelling so much start to put a strain on your personal life?


FA: No, not really. I always envisioned, even when I was an actor, that I would be travelling as a job in some respect. Even living in California, not everything you do is going to be home-based. When I got into wrestling, I just went where the work was. To me, travelling is not a big deal, it's just part of the business. It's like working out and training, it's all part of the job. I've learned the travel tricks of the trade that make it easy on you, but at this point it's just second nature to me.


TW: I read once where you stated that if a promotion invested in The Fallen Angel, then you would invest all your time into it. It seems as if TNA has finally given you that chance.


FA: Yes, exactly. I tried for years with the WWE and for whatever reason it just never worked out. I also tried with WCW and just had some bad luck with them. I was always looking for that opportunity that would give me a chance to be put on a full-time stage and TNA is the first U.S. promotion that has done that. The people that give me a shot, I will always be loyal to them until they give me a reason not to be. And right now, I feel loyal to TNA.


TW: I'm sure there have been some people during your career that helped you along the way. Who might those people be?


FA: Well, as far as the wrestlers I'd have to say Mike Moran was one of the guys that helped me early on - he wrestled as one of the Texas Hangmen back in the day. He taught me a lot about ring psychology and wrestling both as a business and an artform. Most recently, guys like Raven and Shane Douglas have taken the time to sit me down to help me polish my skills and the little details that change you from being a good wrestler to a great wrestler. As far as promoters, guys like Jim Ketner who runs the ECWA on the East Coast, he was very instrumental in me getting my name out on the East Coast. Guys like Rob Feinstein and Gabe who run Ring of Honor. They've been instrumental in keeping my name in the spotlight and keeping me on the tips of the fans' tongues, so to speak. The people in New Japan have been helpful in me staying busy and gainfully employed.


TW: How did you come up with not only the name Fallen Angel, but your character as well?


FA: Well, I was kind of inspired by the Goldust character. When Dustin Rhodes first came out with that character, it seemed everyone had a strong reaction to it no matter what your background was because everyone has strong opinions about their sexuality. So I wanted to have a gimmick that


touched on everyone no matter what their background was and the thing I decided on was religion. As far as what influenced the character, I would have to say David Koresh as well as the character Kevin Spacey played in the movie "Seven", where his viewpoint was that no one was truly innocent and everyone has sin and evil in them. I used those influences to create a character that had a God complex and someone who thought he was a leader of men and prayed on the weakness of your mind. So that was the thought process behind it. As far as the look, I wanted something that was easily recognized and a priest robe came to mind. Dory Funk Jr. told me, that visually, it was just a great idea. He liked the idea and really helped me polish it up.


TW: How do you react when you read on the internet that many fans consider you one of the most underrated wrestlers in the world - as far as being recognized by the fans as one of the best?


FA: I appreciate people that say I'm underrated, which in their opinion might be that I'm not used as much as I should be. I just appreciate the people that follow my career. I wouldn't have the success that I have at this stage if it wasn't for the fans I have around the world. When they say things like "he's underrated" or "he deserves better than what he's been given"....


TW: But you must see the emails from fans that think you're the greatest wrestler in the world?


FA: That's probably overstating it a little bit, but I'm just happy to be doing what I'm doing. It was kind of a roundabout way to fulfill a dream, but I didn't realize it was a dream of mine until I started doing it full time and realized the scope of what I was doing. Whatever they say, I'm thrilled to be at the level I am now. I'm always shooting to go farther, but I also realize there's other people who would love to be where I'm at now. I'm very appreciative to those fans that have taken the time to follow my career and watched it blossom.


TW: Let's talk about you and TNA. You were a part of Triple X with Primetime Elix Skipper and Low Ki. What was your favorite aspect of being in Triple X?


FA: I don't think we've had my favorite part yet. We haven't hit our stride yet, and I think there's bigger things to come if and when we get back together on television. I'm just happy to be working with two guys as good as Skipper and Low Ki. Both are great athletes that have great minds for wrestling, and I think when we all put our minds together we come up with some great stuff. Wherever this goes, it's going to be an opportunity to do more great things, so I'm excited about the Triple X story.


TW: One of the things I've read is that the strong point of Triple X was that none of you were better than the other - in other words, you were all great in some way. How do you react to that?


FA: I agree with that. We all have our strongpoints as wrestlers. Low Ki is such an aggressive wrestler, Elix is such a great athlete and such a good acrobat, very well-balanced. I think the fact that I am very well-rounded in everything, it makes me feel like the grounding point of the team. One of the things I feel strongly about is my storytelling ability, and that's something I feel I add to the team. No matter which two of us have been in the ring, I've always considered us a good tag team.


TW: The most recent big event for you was obviously the Ultimate X2. Tell us what you thought about that experience.


FA: Well, it was a daunting task to try and come in and top the first. People can debate over whether we did that. I feel like we told a very good story. We took the first one and tried to play off of it. We didn't want to copy the first, but to try and add to the mystique of it. The concept is still new and there's so many ways to go about doing what it takes to win the match. Now, I think it's up to the guys in Ultimate X3 to top both Ultimate X1 and X2.


TW: Did it seem like the cables were higher than you thought they would be once you tried it out?


FA: They were a little higher than I thought. When I stood on the top turnbuckle for the first time and I couldn't reach it that kind of opened my eyes a little bit to how dangerous the match could be.


TW: The cables were exactly six inches higher than the first Ultimate X.


FA: That's what I heard as well.


TW: Well Chris Daniels, thanks for joining us here on NWATNA.com!


FA: Thanks for having me!

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