Back to TNA for one of its biggest names: Christopher Daniels.
Daniels got started in 1993 and we’ll pick things up in May 1994 in Windy City Wrestling out of Chicago, though this match is in Hammond, Indiana.
Light Heavyweight Title: Christopher Daniels vs. Danny Dominion
Daniels is defending. This is from Daniels’ TNA DVD so he’s on commentary to provide a lot of backstory and details. I’ve read a lot about Windy City Wrestling (also known as Windy City Pro Wrestling) but I’ve never actually seen a match from the promotion. Ace Steele, trainer of CM Punk, is in Dominion’s corner, along with the rest of the International Males faction as I think we have a lumberjack match here. The Males jump Daniels (with long black hair) to start but Christopher comes back with a hurricanrana and right hands to the head.
Dominion is thrown to the floor but some of Daniels’ guys throws him back in. A dropkick puts Dominion down to the floor but right in front of the Males. Daniels talks about wrestling for this promotion in 2005 (when this DVD was recorded) and facing, of course, AJ Styles. Back in and Dominion ties him in the Tree of Woe and stomps away before being sent to the floor. Daniels hits a HUGE cross body off the top to take everyone down.
Back in and Dominion scores with a clothesline followed by a butterfly suplex for two. A dropkick puts Christopher on the floor but International Male Kevin Quinn brings him back in for a middle rope spinebuster (I always thought that would be a good move, though setting it up would be a problem) for two more.
Daniels fights back with a slam off the top rope (as in Daniels was on the top and slammed Dominion down) to put both guys down. A double clothesline puts both guys down again but it’s Daniels up first with a running neckbreaker. Daniels nails a not great looking springboard spinwheel kick for two more and the yet to be named BME gets the pin.
Rating: C-. I’d watch this promotion. Daniels said he was about thirty matches into his career at this point and that’s rather impressive if accurate. He wasn’t great or anything but he looked good and had a decent match out there. Dominion is still kicking around I believe so there was something to this place.
Here’s some WWF from Shotgun Saturday Night on September 26, 1998.
Suicide Kid/Christopher Daniels vs. Too Much
Too Much is of course Too Cool. Daniels, in a singlet here, gets hiptossed down by Brian Christopher to start and it’s quickly off to the Suicide Kid. Everything breaks down and Too Much stops to dance, earning Taylor a double dropkick to knock him into Brian, sending both of them out to the floor. Suicide Kid and Daniels hit stereo dives off the top to the floor.
Daniels misses a dive though and Too Much takes over. Taylor hits a running dropkick to a seated Daniels, followed by a reverse suplex for two. Daniels comes back with a dropkick and the tag off to the Kid as everything breaks down again. Kid is stuck alone in the ring and a Trash Compactor gets Too Much the pin.
Rating: C-. Daniels and the Kid looked really good here and at least Daniels was on a developmental deal around this point. I don’t know why they let him go as he would have been a great choice for the light heavyweight division. Too Much would get a lot better once they turned face and started being goofy.
Daniels spent some time in Ultimate Pro Wrestling in California in 2000. This was a training ground for a lot of guys, including this guy who was becoming a huge deal elsewhere. This is the result of an open challenge.
Christopher Daniels vs. Kurt Angle
Angle jumps him from behind and hammers away before Daniels takes him to the mat with a leg bar. Daniels hammers away but Kurt comes back with a belly to belly suplex. A half crab puts Angle down again but he gets to the ropes. Angle nails a nice vertical suplex and a clothesline but his leg is still banged up. Daniels counters a German suplex into a downward spiral followed by the BME for two. Somehow he’s already spent and Angle grabs a DDT. A German suplex puts Daniels down for two more but he escapes the Angle Slam. Not that it matters as Angle hits it like five seconds later for the pin.
Rating: C+. The match was good albeit short. Angle would be WWF Champion ten days later so it was pretty clear that Daniels wasn’t getting a win here. There’s always something interesting about seeing a match in a promotion that barely ever gets any screen time and this one had a lot of big stars to show off.
Back to the WWF for a match against someone you might have heard of. From Metal on May 26, 2001.
Light Heavyweight Title: Jerry Lynn vs. Christopher Daniels
I think you know who is defending. Daniels takes over with an early slam and a top rope legdrop gets two. Jerry comes back with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker followed by an inverted Gory Guerrero Special. A sitout powerbomb gets two on Daniels but he counters a TKO into an electric chair for two. Daniels hammers away and plants Lynn with a tilt-a-whirl sideslam. The BME sets up a bow and arrow hold but Christopher quickly lets go. Lynn comes right back with with a tornado DDT to retain the title.
Rating: C. Not a bad match here and it’s nice to see Daniels finally getting a chance to show off instead of being your regular jobber guy. Lynn would never mean all that much in the WWF despite having a long reign with the Light Heavyweight Title. The match wasn’t that long but it was good while it lasted.
We’re finally at TNA, where Daniels would have one of his first matches on July 17, 2002.
Flying Elvises vs. Christopher Daniels/Elix Skipper
It’s a brawl to start and a member of each team is sent to the floor. The two in the ring both head to the floor very quickly with Skipper hitting a big flip dive to the floor. Siaki and Skipper get us going to start and scratch the Siaki half as it’s off to Estrada. Skipper is in trouble so Siaki drops to the floor and jumps in on commentary. He brags a bit before taking his shirt off and taking a tag.
It’s been all Elvises so far and an old A-Train over the shoulder backbreaker gets two. Back to Estrada as Siaki gets on commentary again. Estrada puts Skipper in a Razor’s Edge position and sits out into a kind of powerbomb for two. Skipper gets in a dropkick and it’s off to Daniels. Daniels and Skipper are the good guys here but they’re not really thrilling the crowd so far.
Things speed up and Daniels fires off clotheslines and dropkicks all around before Estrada suplexes him down to shift the momentum again. With Daniels on all fours, Skipper runs in, springboards off him, onto Estrada’s shoulders and then onto Siaki for a rana. A Blue Thunder Bomb gets two for Daniels on Estrada as this has picked up VERY quickly. Estrada comes back with a middle rope legdrop for two and it’s back to Siaki.
An enziguri puts Jorge (Estrada) down and it’s a double tag to bring in Skipper and Siaki. A belly to belly puts Estrada down and a floatover double underhook suplex gets two. Estrada comes back with an X Factor for two as this is slowing down a bit again. Daniels comes back in for the BME for two on Estrada and a missile dropkick from Skipper gets two on Siaki. The Play of the Day puts Estrada down but Siaki comes in and hits a rolling suplex into a neckbreaker for the pin on Skipper.
Rating: C. The match was entertaining enough for a spot fest, but it ran a bit longer than it needed to. On top of that, at the end of the day your X Division heels are called the Flying Elvises. They’re in the white Elvis suits but other than that, there’s nothing Elvis related about them. The name is too distracting for it to be such a small part of the gimmick and it’s making them more of a joke than a threat.
We’ll jump ahead to June 25, 2003, with Daniels part of the XXX group and feuding with America’s Most Wanted. They would have a great cage match, their first of two.
Tag Titles: Triple X vs. America’s Most Wanted
From June 25, 2003 and inside a cage. This isn’t the famous cage match these teams had but I’ve seen this one before and it’s awesome as well. The champions XXX are comprised of Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels while the challengers are James Storm/Chris Harris. This is the fifth match but XXX has won via outside interference every single time. This is also TNA’s first ever cage match.
It’s a brawl to start but the referee makes them tag to get on my nerves. Harris bulldogs Daniels down before AMW picks up Skipper and launches him into Daniels. This is pin or submission only, meaning escape doesn’t count. Daniels and Harris are the official starters and the fans chant for the Fallen Angel. Skipper gets in a cheap shot from the apron before throwing him face first into the cage for two. Harris is already busted open.
The champions take turns stomping on Harris’ forehead until Daniels gets two off a springboard moonsault press by Skipper. Harris gets a lucky shot off a running clothesline but Daniels kicks his head off for two. Back to Skipper who sends Harris into the cage again but Harris comes off the ropes with another clothesline. There’s the hot tag to Storm who cleans house, sending Skipper chest first into the cage with a reverse suplex. A powerslam gets two on Daniels but he kicks Storm’s knee out to slow him down.
We get a Kill the Cowboy chant, which is hopefully a remnant from the early days of the company rather than the fans not liking Storm’s current work. The champions hit a suplex/cross body combo on the bloody Storm but Skipper’s ribs are injured from being sent into the cage. Back up and the two of them rams heads, setting up a double tag to Harris and Daniels. Harris takes over with the raw power by ramming Daniels head first into the cage over and over. Skipper’s ribs get reacquainted with the steel as well as Daniels is busted open too.
Harris loads up the Catatonic (spinning Rock Bottom) but Daniels counters into the Angel’s Wings (lifting sitout Pedigree) for a very close two. Everything breaks down and Daniels blocks a reverse tornado DDT by taking Storm onto the top rope for an STO to the mat. Skipper belly to bellys Harris down before sending him into the cage again. Elix goes up top for no apparent reason but gets powerbombed down in a HUGE crash to give Harris a near fall.
Daniels hits Last Rites (Cross Rhodes) on Storm for an even closer two as Harris makes yet another save. Harris and Daniels go up top but Daniels backs away across the rope, allowing Harris to hit a diving spear for an even closer near fall. Skipper takes Harris down with the Play of the Day before going for a very big climb. Elix dives off the top with a high cross body but reinjures his ribs in the process. STORYTELLING BABY!
A delayed cover gets two so Skipper goes up again, only to be knocked down a bit and then out to the floor. Storm superkicks Daniels down and the Death Sentence (spinebuster/legdrop) mostly misses Daniels for two. Skipper tries to climb back in but gets knocked back to the floor. Harris goes up to the very top of the cage for a HUGE Death Sentence to crush Daniels for the pin and the titles.
Rating: A. There’s your price of admission right there. This was all about taking two teams and having them beat the tar out of each other for twenty minutes. On top of that we have the story of Skipper’s ribs in a good piece of psychology, a rarity in matches like these. The amazing thing is these four would top this effort in another cage match at Turning Point the following year. Great match.
Daniels was still part of XXX and would be part of the match with the original highlight reel moment for TNA. From Turning Point 2004.
America’s Most Wanted vs. Triple X
This is one of the things that TNA did that was indeed different: sometimes something other than the heavyweight title feud ended the show, which is definitely a good idea here. The six man was just ok but this was a great match. This is in a cage remember. AMW brings in handcuffs. That’s a signature thing for them and they’ll come into play later so remember that.
They have to tag here but I’ll give that ten minutes tops. Daniels and Storm start us off. Is there a significance to the tape that Daniels puts on his left shoulder that I’ve never gotten? I’ve always wondered that. Off to Daniels who kicks Storm in the back to take control. It breaks down quickly and AMW double teams Daniels. Off to Harris as Daniels is already busted open.
Skipper (XXX is Daniels/Elix Skipper if you weren’t sure on that one) gets his team the advantage and gives it back over to Daniels. He’s GUSHING already. Harris takes Skipper down and it’s back to Storm. Powerslam puts Daniels down. They load up the Death Sentence on Skipper but Daniels makes the save. Skipper pulls a towel back and handcuffs Harris to the post. West: “Oh what a dirty trick!” Yes, handcuffing your mortal enemy to a cage and making him defenseless is the same sort of thing you would hear on The Brady Bunch Don. Well called.
XXX double teams Storm and Daniels taunts Harris with the key. They drive the key into the head of Storm and hit a double team powerbomb/elbow combination for two. We get some heel miscommunication and Storm spears Daniels. There’s the key and Harris in free. That’s a nice twist on the hot tag because it’s basically the same thing. Harris cleans house and Storm is back up too.
I think everyone but Harris is bleeding. Triple X gets rammed into the cage multiple times but Skipper grabs a belly to belly to Harris. A suplex/cross body combo gets two. Hart Attack gets two on Skipper. Daniels hits a quick Downward Spiral to Storm and Harris goes into the steel. Harris is busted too. Death Sentence (AMW’s finisher) gets two on Harris who kicks out.
Skipper goes to the top of the cage (I don’t think you can win by escape) to Harris POWERBOMBS HIM OFF THE CAGE for two. FOR TWO. Angel’s Wings gets two for Daniels. Daniels goes up but Harris follows him. Now it’s time for the highlight reel moment to end all highlight reel moments in TNA. Skipper is sitting on another corner than Harris and TIGHTROPE WALKS THE EDGE OF THE CAGE AND HURRICANRANAS HARRIS TO THE MAT!!! WOW!
Daniels IMMEDIATELY drops an elbow off the top of the cage BUT IT GETS TWO. Daniels goes back up as we watch replays for a four man Tower of Doom. Daniels overrotates and lands on his face. Harris powerbombed Skipper who electric chaired Storm who suplexed Daniels. Everyone is pretty much dead but Skipper and Harris counter each others’ finishers. Everyone knocks everyone else down and Harris handcuffs Daniels to the cage in a nice play off what happened to him earlier. Last Call to Skipper and AMW pins him with XXX’s PowerPlex to split up XXX.
Rating: A+. What else did you expect me to give this? This match holds up incredibly well with the few moments from the cage walk to the Tower of Doom being as breathtaking as you’ll ever see. Absolutely awesome match and if you’re a fan of bloodbath cage matches that leave your jaw hanging open, find this right now because it’s excellent.
Here’s the first of many AJ vs. Daniels matches we’ll be getting to, and it might be the best. From Bound For Glory 2005.
X-Division Title: AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
AJ is defending and it has a thirty minute time limit under Iron Man rules. Daniels jumps AJ before the bell and we’re off quickly. He controls for the opening minute and they trade chops, won by AJ. A backbreaker puts Daniels down and onto the floor but Daniels blocks AJ’s dive. Daniels hits some palm strikes but Styles dropkicks him down. Back to the floor and Daniels is knocked into the crowd. AJ dives over the barricade and both guys are down.
They head back inside and AJ controls with a headlock. Five minutes in and the fans say both guys are awesome. The headlock stays on for a few minutes but you have to burn some time in a match like this. Daniels rolls out of it and hooks an armbar. AJ fights out of it and sends Daniels into a few corners. A hard kick puts Daniels down as it’s been almost all AJ so far.
Bridging Indian Deathlock goes on and Daniels is in big trouble, so he bited AJ’s hands to escape. Ten minutes in now. Daniels heads to the apron but AJ clotheslines him back into the ring. Springboard forearm is countered into a high collar suplex to put both guys down. Daniels takes over and twists AJ’s neck around a bit. That can’t feel good. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two and it’s off to a neck crank by Daniels.
AJ grabs a cradle out of nowhere for two and then another one for another two. Koji Clutch out of nowhere has AJ in trouble. AJ tries to power out of it but goes right back down. Another power out attempt works and AJ makes the rope. Slingshot moonsault gets two on the champion. We’re halfway through and it’s 0-0. AJ escapes a backbreaker and hits his moonsault into a reverse DDT.
Hammerlock belly to back suplex gets two as does a pumphandle gutbuster. That’s a new one. AJ tries a moonsault but gets caught in a Death Valley Driver for a very close two. Daniels puts him on the middle rope and flips him forward into a mat slam for two. AJ counters a neckbreaker into one of his own for a slightly delayed two. AJ tries the moonsault DDT again but gets caught in a spinning powerbomb for two. BME STILL doesn’t get a fall as it only gets a two count.
Ten minutes to go and AJ puts on a torture rack and then spins it out into a slam for two. AJ dives into the corner but Daniels moves and knocks Styles to the outside where he lands on the steps. A BIG suicide dive destroys AJ but Daniels can’t follow up due to exhaustion. As they come back in, AJ hits the Pele to knock Daniels back to the floor at 8 minutes to go. Another BIG flip dive takes Daniels out and both guys are down.
Seven minutes to go and both guys are down on the floor. As they get back in, Daniels blocks a suplex back inside and hits a belly to back suplex from the apron to the floor. That was pretty awesome, much like this match. Six minutes left and it’s still zero to zero. They’re both back in with five minutes to go. Scratch that as Daniels kicks AJ out of the ring before he was all the way in.
With about 4:25 to go they slug it out in the middle of the ring with AJ taking a slight advantage. Four minutes left. AJ has a big bruise on his leg. Small package gets two for the champion. Pele misses and Daniels rolls him up for two. AJ does the same and gets the same. Daniels hits a German suplex but AJ pops up and hits a discus lariat before collapsing. Under three minutes to go now.
AJ falls on top for two and we have two minutes left. Daniels channels his inner Piper and pokes AJ in the eye. That gets him nowhere because AJ gets to the apron and hits a springboard cross body for two despite a handful of tights. 90 seconds left and they trade forearms. The fans are split here. One minute to go and Daniels blocks a suplex. AJ kicks him in the head again but it only gets two. Daniels kicks him in the head but the Angel’s Wings are countered into a suplex for two. AJ hits the Clash with two seconds left for the only fall and the win. WOW that was a hot ending.
Rating: A. The only way to make this better would have been to say AJ loses the title in a tie. Still though, GREAT match here and pretty easily the best match I’ve ever seen these two have. That’s some pretty awesome timing too with AJ getting the pin literally with two seconds left. I know I complain about AJ and Daniels a lot, but back then it was great, with this being the best I’ve ever seen from them.
I’ve covered the Unbreakable three way far too often so here’s a rematch from Destination X 2006 in an Ultimate X match.
X-Division Title: AJ Styles vs. Samoa Joe vs. Christopher Daniels
They make it clear that the undefeated streak isn’t on the line here. AJ and Daniels go for corners immediately but Joe is like “dudes we’re on PPV you know it’s not ending that fast.” Joe beats up AJ a bit so Daniels takes a chance at the belt. The challengers go high/low on Joe and go at it themselves. AJ sets for a dropkick but Daniels grabs the rope. AJ is like screw it and just does a standing backflip and then hits the dropkick. AWESOME.
AJ and Daniels go up but of course crash down after kicking each other a bit. Daniels goes to the floor so AJ pops Joe with some forearms including the springboard one, bringing a smile to my face. AJ gets sent to the floor and Joe wants to get a highlight reel moment, busting out a corkscrew plancha over the top to the floor to CRUSH both guys. Joe tries to go across but slips off with a little help from Daniels.
Back in the ring now with Daniels in control. Enziguri and a running knee take Joe to the floor so it’s down to the non-Samoans. AJ climbs with Daniels following so AJ gets a twisting sunset sitout powerbomb to take Daniels down. Joe goes off on both guys, possibly having been offered a box of doughnuts. Out to the floor and Joe puts Daniels in a chair to set up the Ole Kick but AJ dives in for the save instead of going for the belt.
We start the Joe’s Gonna Kill You (I prefer IDR) chants as he sets up the Musclebuster. Daniels and Joe slug it out in the middle with Tenay saying Joe is feeding off of this. Joe feeding on something. Film at eleven! Clutch in the corner doesn’t work for Joe as both guys combine to hit a double Musclebuster on Joe in a cool spot. Pele takes down Daniels which is a move I appreciate more every time I see it. The timing and placement on that has to be perfect.
AJ goes up as the fans are chanting for everyone not named Joe. Styles gets to the belt but Joe pops him in the back with a chair to save the title. In a pretty weak ending, Daniels hits Joe with the chair and casually climbs up to get the belt and end it. Just like that. No big drama spot or anything as Daniels just grabs the belt. He would lose the title in about a month back to Joe on Impact, making this virtually pointless. Joe freaks out as Daniels and AJ shake hands.
Rating: B. Good but certainly not great here. Watching these three together is never a bad thing though as they have incredible chemistry and it’s nice to see Daniels actually win something in this feud rather than having Joe and AJ dominate 100% of the time. The problem is that this was compared to the Unbreakable match which isn’t going to work ever, so take it for what it’s worth.
After years of fighting each other, Daniels and Styles formed a team and went after the Tag Team Titles at Slammiversary 2006.
Tag Titles: Christopher Daniels/AJ Styles vs. America’s Most Wanted
AMW has the titles of course. Gail is looking great in all white tonight. Storm hides something behind the steps before the match starts. Styles and Storm start us off, which is a potential PPV main event today. Storm takes him down with a shoulder block so Styles starts jumping around to take over. There’s the dropdown dropkick and Storm is in trouble. The challengers start tagging in and out quickly as they work over Storm’s arm.
It’s off to Harris vs. Daniels for a battle of arm control. Daniels gets him down and steps on the head of Harris just to be evil, although in a friendly way of course. Storm comes in and we get some homosexually suggestive positions as a result. AMW gets sent to the floor and Styles hits a huge flip dive over the top to take them both down. Daniels brings Storm back in for a slingshot elbow drop for a delayed two.
Back to Styles and the perfect double teaming begins. Styles slides through Harris’ legs to ram his face into the apron. Styles goes back in to face the legal Storm but everything breaks down on the floor. Gail gets involved out there and AMW takes over again. AJ tries to use the barricade as a launch pad but Storm takes the legs out and sends AJ’s chest into the steel.
Back in and it’s Storm vs. Styles before a quick tag brings Harris back in. With Harris doing nothing he brings Storm back in for some kicks to the head for two. Back to the Wildcat who chokes away. I’m starting to get why Storm was the successful one after the team broke up. AJ gets spun around and almost makes a tag out of it, only to get caught in a spinning mat slam by Storm.
Styles counters the reverse tornado DDT and hits the Pele to put both guys down. There’s the double tag and Daniels speeds things up. The slingshot moonsault gets two on Harris as Storm messes up his save. A Blue Thunder Bomb puts Harris down but Gail makes the save. Sirelda, a Chyna wannabe, makes her debut and lays out Gail.
Back to the match, AMW tries a double team move off the top but AJ makes the save, allowing Daniels to hook a victory roll for two. Storm throws in a chair for Harris to blast Daniels to two. Hot tag brings in AJ with the springboard forearm followed by a pumphandle gutbuster. Spinal Tap misses and Harris blasts AJ in the face with the brass knuckles.
Daniels makes the save and AJ hits a slingshot splash for two. Back to Daniels but Angel’s Wings is broken up. The Last Call is blocked by a low blow and Angel’s Wings hits the second time but Harris elbows the referee. Storm brings in the beer bottle but it hits Harris in the head. A frog splash from AJ followed by the BME gives the Dream Team the titles.
Rating: B-. Another good match here and it would start a pretty solid reign for the new champions. AMW would slowly slip into a funk and be broken up by the end of the year. AJ and Daniels were a solid team though and they had some awesome matches against LAX, which was the whole idea of putting them together in the first place.
The big feud of the year for TNA was AJ/Daniels vs. LAX. Here’s the blowoff match at No Surrender 2006.
Tag Titles: LAX vs. Christopher Daniels/AJ Styles
LAX are champions. After some big match intros (with JB messing up LAX’s combined weight) we’re ready to go. The ring is cleared out very quickly and now it’s Homicide vs. AJ. The murder enthusiast goes up but Daniels makes a quick save. AJ can’t get there either as the fans know this isn’t ending that quickly. Homicide hits a suicide on the dead guy (angels are dead people right?) out to the floor as this is kind of a mess to start.
AJ is like screw it and hits a HUGE spinning moonsault over the top to take out Hernandez. That looked great. Hernandez wants to dive but Daniels makes the stop. Koji Clutch is broken up by Homicide. Hernandez tries what Monty Brown called the Alpha Bomb but it results in double teaming by the champions. There’s a modified Border Toss and AJ is half dead.
Hernandez brings in a ladder, showing some intelligence. In a nice move, AJ sends Homicide under the ladder on an Irish whip and then shoves it onto him. That looked good too. The ladder is gone now. In another cool move, Hernandez and Daniels are on top and Hernandez grabs him by the throat and hits more or less a choke overhead belly to belly to send Daniels flying.
AJ gets up and breaks up Supermex trying to go across with the forearm. Homicide pops Styles with a chair and goes across but he has a bad shoulder. Styles goes after him but Homicide gets a cutter off the X and both are down. Daniels goes up and Tenay sounds orgasmic. Hernandez goes again and again is caught. AJ speeds things up and a Pele takes Supermex down and there’s the moonsault DDT to Homicide.
The challengers try some double teaming but Supermex is too strong. Konnan sets a table on the floor but AJ escapes the Border Toss through it. More double teaming slows the big dude down including the BME and Spiral Tap. AJ manages to get the Clash off the apron to Homicide through the table in an awesome spot. Konnan clocks him with a slapjack off camera. Konnan comes in but Daniels goes on top of the structure in the insanity and dives onto the X, pulling down the titles to win. Scary SCARY finish as if he misses that he’s more or less dead.
Rating: A. I know TNA tends to overhype some of its stuff but this was indeed awesome. It was totally insane and doesn’t stop at all from bell to bell. The ending is awesome and there are enough jaw dropping moments in this to make everything work. This is well worth checking out, if nothing else for the spectacle of the ending. I see why this was match of the year for sure.
We’ll finally make it to ROH with Daniels in a four way at Final Battle 2006.
El Generico vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Davey Richards vs. Christopher Daniels
To say the fans don’t like Rave is an understatement. It’s nice to hear some good solid insults unlike a WWE show. A DIE JIMMY DIE chant starts up. Ok then. Richards is a big deal now and allegedly is the future of the company. He comes out to Runnin With The Devil so I can’t complain. This is a four corner survival match which I’m guessing means elimination rules? Daniels is a tag champion here.
The fans like fallen angels apparently. Maybe this is the Daniels I always hear about being awesome. There’s a fairly hot chick with him named Allison Danger so I can’t complain. His entrance takes a LONG time. She’s a girl scout and the fans want cookies. That’s creative at least. We’re nearly fifteen minutes in and we just now hear the announcers. Richards and Generico start.
This is two outside and two inside. We stall for a LONG time to start, namely due to Generico continuously shouting OLE! We’ll be getting a year in review kind of thing also which is a major plus for me. We hear about Rave having a heel hook that got Nigel McGuinness (Desmond Wolfe) to tap out.
Richards is confused by Generico. Hey I’m thinking like Richards! Daniels’ partner is Matt Sydal, more commonly known as Evan Bourne. Danger is the sister of Steve Corino. Dang. Scratch the elimination part as it’s first pinfall wins. That kind of makes no sense but whatever. Rave vs. Daniels now. Daniels wins. Like, wins a lot. Not the match, just the fight. Wow I worded that one badly didn’t I?
I never liked Rave in TNA and I think I’m seeing why again here. Danger gets the fans to cheer. That’s what a manager is supposed to do partially so she’s doing her job. Richards is fun to watch if nothing else. A German on Generico gets two. Best Moonsault Ever is broken up.
They’re doing a good job of keeping it at about three people in there which is nice instead of the usual two pairings these devolve into. Rave is being smart and just letting these three fight. I’m not entirely sure why the crowd is this into it though. It’s not that great. Generico hits his brainbuster on the turnbuckle on Richards, but Rave made a tag when they were in the corner. He slips in and gets his heel hook for the submission. Pay no attention to the total lack of tagging for the five minutes before this. He gets on the mic and whines about respect but Nigel McGuinness comes out and slaps him.
Rating: B-. This was ok but it wasn’t anything great. It just came off as being all over the place and lost its structure about 10 minutes in. It’s not bad or anything, but it’s just not that good. Having the heel win the opener is a bit of a head scratcher too but that’s fine I suppose. Just nothing to make me that into the show.
We’ll jump ahead to 2008, where TNA had an interesting idea called the World X Cup. One of the last matches was a four corner, three man team elimination tag at Victory Road 2008.
Team Mexico vs. Team Japan vs. Team TNA vs. Team International
Team Mexico – Ultimo Guerrero/Rey Bucanero/Averno
Team Japan – Milano Collection A.T./Masato Yoshima/Puma
Team International – Alex Kozlov/Doug Williams/Tyson Dux
Team TNA – Curry Man/Alex Shelley/Chris Sabin
This is a 12 man four corners elimination match. Coming into this the standings are Team Mexico and Team TNA with three points and the other two with two points. This is for three points. I’ll do what I can to tell the people apart but don’t expect much. Apparently it’s EVERY MEMBER has to be eliminated. I miss Curry Man. Daniels can shake his hips when he has to which is odd to type if nothing else. The Guns are starting to come into their own here and it’s working to an extent. Pretty soon they would be jobbing to big teams rather than just bad ones. Curry and Yoshino start us off.
And here are the Guns to beat the heck out of him. West points out how it’s smart to stay on the apron because it’s easier to stay in the match by being out of it, which actually makes sense. All of Team Mexico beats up Williams as this is a total mess at this point due to so many people being in it.
Dux goes for a victory roll but Bucanero drops into it kind of like a piledriver (think Owen vs. Bret at Mania X but more like a spike than a rollup if that makes sense) to get us down to eleven which is still too many. Team Japan beats the tar out of Bucanero in some painful looking stuff.
We crank the speed up a lot here and Puma is gone. There are two referees here thank goodness. What kind of a name is Milano Collection AT? It sounds like a cookie company or something. Cradle Shock takes him out anyway. That leaves just Yoshima for Team Japan.
West points that out and Tenay of course repeats it like 8 seconds later. Shelley hits a SWEET baseball slide on him while he’s in the Tree of Woe. He catches Shelley in an Octopus hold which is one of the most painful holds ever but of course just lets it go since it’s not that important I guess.
Shelley is just beating the tar out of Yoshino. Averno and Yoshino have a very nice high speed sequence as Yoshino is just trying to hang on. Averno gets pinned off a rollup though so we have one down for International and Mexico, two down for Japan, and TNA is intact. Chaos Theory on Sabin is broken up at two.
Team Mexico hit a pair of springboard cross bodies which looked great. Williams’ face is great when he gets nailed with a high spot. Guerrero hits a middle rope powerbomb on Curry Man to get us down to seven people left. That’s bearable at least. A crazy double team gets rid of Williams. I know I’m saying a lot really fast here but there’s no transition between a lot of these pins.
It’s the Motor City Machine Guns vs. Yoshino vs. Kozlov vs. Guerrero and Bucanero. Guerrero hits a gordbuster off the top for two on Kozlov. Kozlov gets a SWEET Russian Leg Sweep into a Cobra Stretch a la Delirious for the tap from Guerrero. This is FAST. Sabin hits a GREAT hurricanrana into a double super kick on Bucanero to get rid of Team Mexico. That clears things up a lot.
Since it’s a multiman match, it’s…actually not a Tower of Doom even though they were in position for one. All four are in the ring for a long time as they’re not even trying to have a coherent match at this point and I can’t really blame them. Sabin does the same run after the other guy thing that DiBiase does but hooks a Diamond Cutter instead of a clothesline. This is rather good stuff.
Kozlov goes heel and pulls the referee in front of him before rolling Sabin up and using the ropes to get rid of him. We’re down to Yoshino, Shelley and Kozlov here. Kozlov hits a great enziguri to counter a dive that missed for two on Yoshino. Sick looking move. Kozlov taps to Yoshino and we’re down to one on one. Shelley kicks his head off and Sliced Bread gets two only. I would have bet on that being the end. A PAINFUL looking Tiger Suplex gets two. Shelley just goes OFF and hits something like a reverse Emerald Flowsion for the pin.
Rating: B. This was a hard one to grade as it’s very different from anything most people will be used to. It’s definitely a great match as far as athleticism and showing off, but at the same time nearly half an hour is a bit much. This was definitely good though and a GREAT way to get the crowd fired up.
Back in 2008, TNA thought it was a good idea to have a wrestler named Suicide because he was a character in their video game. Daniels portrayed the masked character (never revealed on screen save for some inside jokes years later) and was entered into the X-Division Title at Destination X 2009.
X-Division Title: Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley vs. Jay Lethal vs. Consequences Creed vs. Suicide
Shelley is champion and obviously this is Ultimate X. No signature Guns’ music yet but we do get the awesome Suicide song and entrance. Everyone jumps the masked dude to start us off to more or less get us down to a tag match. These teams were feuding at the time so it makes sense. The Guns control early and Shelley goes up with Sabin running interference, only to be taken down by Suicide.
Tajiri elbow by Lethal as the fans chant Fallen Angle for Daniels who must be playing Suicide tonight. Sabin takes down Creed and goes after the title, only to be stopped by Creed. I guess he didn’t keep him down long enough. The crowd is surprisingly kind of quiet for this. Shelley moves out of the way of a Lethal dive. Suicide sets for a dive but gets kicked in the head by Shelley instead.
Suicide picks up Creed and puts him in a fireman’s carry so he can flip forward into the other four people in a cool spot. Lethal has to make the save and it’s back to the tag match. Sabin makes a diving save to stop Creed as the fans are getting into it now. Shelley misses a top rope splash to Creed and it’s Suicide trying again.
We get an INSANE looking Tower of Doom with Lethal on the bottom and Suicide on top. Being smart, Suicide hooks the cable so the other three fall while he hangs on. Lethal goes up after him and manages to powerbomb Suicide down so that all five guys are down now. Everything goes insane and everyone hits big spots, including a tornado DDT by Sabin to Lethal.
Shelley goes up but gets caught by Lethal. Lethal gets caught in a double powerbomb/Sliced Bread Tower of Doom move from the Guns which was cool. Suicide is caught in the truss as Creed gets a TKO on Shelly off the middle rope. Everyone not named Shelley is down so every one of them not named Suicide climbs a rope. As they kick at each other while hanging, Suicide climbs on top of the X and JUMPS TO THE MIDDLE, knocking everyone else down and grabbing the belt to win it. Awesome ending!
Rating: B. What else can you ask for from a match like this? Just have five young guys go out there and tear the house down with high spots and you have everything you need for the most part. The ending is still awesome and this is by far and away the best match on the show so far which I don’t think surprises anyone really.
AJ vs. Daniels. Again. This time for AJ’s World Title at Final Resolution 2009.
TNA World Title: Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles
Anyone that has read my reviews knows I don’t like Daniels at all for the most part. This is AJ before they turned him into the Flair tribute character, therefore making him awesome. The challenger is called Daniels here but I need more names to swap in and out so there you go. They stare each other down for awhile and then lock up with no one really having control to start.
Daniels grabs the arm when AJ is talking to the referee and takes over. AJ tries a nip up to escape but Daniels drops down onto him in a nice counter. Daniels stays on the arm for a good while but tries a dropkick which AJ holds the ropes for. We speed things up now and AJ pops off an awesome dropkick to take over.
We head to the floor with AJ doing his flips and dives to take down Daniels. Back in and a hilo sets up a discus clothesline for no cover as it’s all AJ at the moment. Off to the chinlock and the fans chant for Angle. Or is it Angel? Daniels goes with those palm strikes and a monkey flip to send AJ flying. Clothesline sends AJ to the floor but his foot gets caught on the rope and he lands on his head.
On the floor and Daniels puts AJ in a chair. He picks up another chair and tries to swing it. The referee stops him but when he’s not looking Daniels hits a release Rock Bottom onto the chair AJ was sitting in. Taz asks a good question: “Does the referee think the chair just exploded?” Back in the ring a side slam gets two as Daniels keeps up the assault on the back of AJ.
A headscissors out of nowhere puts Daniels down but it’s only for a second. Daniels sits AJ up on the ropes facing the crowd. He picks AJ up for something like a belly to back suplex but rotates him a bit to drop AJ back first on the turnbuckle in a sick bump for two. Moonsault “hits” and Daniels locks on a crossface minus the arm trap. Doesn’t go on long but it looked good. I don’t get why AJ couldn’t just put his arms down to break the pressure but what do I know?
Lionsault minus the running start misses and AJ hits a suplex to put both guys down for a bit. AJ goes to the apron so Daniels tries a rana to the floor. AJ just drops him down in a powerbomb which sounded awesome. He hammers on Daniels and we go back into the ring. AJ hits an FU into a backbreaker and the backflip into the reverse DDT for two.
Daniels is able to get something like a backdrop onto the top rope to crotch AJ. From there Daniels steps onto the middle rope and suplexes AJ back in with a unique move. With AJ sitting on the top rope Daniels hits a HUGE palm strike to the head. A Frankensteiner and a Shining Wizard gets two. The fans say someone got served in this youth language that I’m not familiar with. Pesky young whippersnappers. BIG knot on Daniels’ head here.
They fight over a suplex but AJ settles for a big old brainbuster instead. There’s the springboard forearm that I always love for a long two. Styles Clash is blocked so it’s a Pele instead. Another attempt is blocked by a palm strike. Another release Rock Bottom by Daniels sets up the Best Moonsault Ever for a long two.
Daniels hammers away as I think that knot on his head could take over a small country at this point. AJ sends him chest first into the corner and rolls through into the Styles Clash for two. Daniels gets up and puts AJ on the second turnbuckle on the inside (I had to channel Gorilla once or twice) but goes for a rana and is caught in the Clash from the middle rope to end it.
Rating: B+. Good match but it’s definitely a step or two behind the previous one. Daniels was never a real threat here as eventually he has to win something to be classified as a real threat. This was when AJ had a lot of meaningless matches as champion, but they were good enough that you could overlook that. Either way, this was good but not as good as the match before it, which hurts it a bit.
Back to ROH for a match at Final Battle 2010.
Christopher Daniels vs. Homicide
Daniels is TV Champion but this is non-title. That annoying pest Julius Smokes is with Homicide here. Egads I don’t know who is more overrated and annoying here. The fans are kind of split here so they’re no help. The dueling chants begin and they’re rather loud. They trade headlocks and call some spots. Arm drags get no one anywhere either.
Daniels gets two off a snapmare of all things and we hit the chinlock in about 90 seconds. Now we’re talking about Waffle House for some reason. Apparently Bennett is the Prodigy and wants a title. They hit the floor and Daniels takes over with a moonsault. Back in that gets two. Backslide gets two for Daniels. I can barely hear the commentators. Three Amigos by Homicide gets an Eddie chant. They also get two.
Homicide sends him to the floor and it’s a tope con hilo from Homicide. Back in and a t-bone suplex with a bridge gets two for Homicide. Top rope splash eats knees though and Daniels looks at his hand. Spinarooni maybe? Homicide gets a suplex and a jumping knee to the back of the head from the middle rope for two. Homicide gets a submission on the neck but Daniels counters into a Crossface for a few seconds.
Cop Killer is reversed into a release Rock Bottom (screw that Uranage nonsense) but the Best Moonsault Ever misses. Homicide can’t get a tornado DDT so Daniels hits an enziguri and calls for Angels’ Wings. The ref is bumped though and Homicide throws his shirt at Daniels and a Diamond Cutter ends it. I don’t see the point of the ref bump at all but at least the finish was clean.
Rating: C. Just a match really but not as bad as I expected it to be. Daniels keeping the striking to a minimum is always a good thing and it certainly was here. Homicide is someone I’ve never gotten the appeal of either so this really was a bad match for me. Could have been worse though.
Destination X is of course the showcase for the X Division. What better way to main event the show in 2011 than Daniels vs. Styles #84?
AJ Styles vs. Christopher Daniels
Apparently the winner is best X-Division Wrestler EVER, despite AJ’s resume blowing Daniels’ away. Christy does big match intros again. Apparently these two named their kids after each other. That’s borderline creepy. The latest chant: “Wrestling. YAY! Hulk Hogan. Boo!” Give me a break. Lots of basic back and forth stuff to start with them knowing each other really well being the idea.
AJ works the arm a bit and they speed it up quickly. Both guys work the arm and it comes down to another stalemate after about 5 minutes. They shake hands and AJ puts another armbar on. The fans are split again. They speed things up and Daniels hits the floor. They have a TON of time here so this is going to be a very slow build. Daniels keeps trying to speed things up but AJ keeps going with the armbar.
They slowly start cranking things up as Daniels takes over. He works AJ over for a good while but AJ sends him to the floor, adding in a plancha that looked almost like Delirious’ Shadows Over Hell. Back inside now and AJ hammers away again. AJ works on the arm AGAIN but at least is using a Fujiwara Armbar here. Helps a lot when they mix things up. Out to the apron and AJ counters into a suplex on the apron.
Daniels takes over on the floor. Back in he chops away at the back and gets a neckbreaker for two. Pinfall reversal sequence ends in AJ being caught in a Crossface. Death Valley Driver gets two and Daniels is getting frustrated. They chop it out and AJ hits an enziguri to put both guys down. AJ slips off the top and crashes down, letting Daniels get two. Daniels goes up but gets caught in a Torture Rack which AJ spins out into a powerbomb for two.
Bad Downward Spiral by Daniels sets up the Koji Clutch to AJ. They’re getting tired here. AJ makes the rope as this probably needs to end soon. Daniels uses his variety of strikes but still can’t pin him. The tape finally comes off Daniels’ arms which is good as it had been dangling for awhile. AJ snap mares him off the top for two. He can’t get Angel’s Wings or the Clash (AJ can’t that is) so Daniels hits an STO and release Rock Bottom but the BME eats boot.
Styles Clash out of nowhere gets two as this is nearly half an hour long now. Angel’s Wings gets two and Daniels is ticked. They fight to the corner but Daniels can’t hit the Angel’s Wings from up there. AJ busts out the Spiral Tap but it doesn’t look as good as it usually does. That’s enough for the pin though at nearly half an hour.
Rating: B. Another good match here but I don’t think it got as epic as they were hoping. It was one of the longest matches I can ever remember in TNA but at the same time they got sloppy later on in it. It was good, but I still think the title match should have closed the show. I’ve never been a big fan of these matches but they’re usually pretty good. Good choice to end the show, but it’s not like it means anything more than bragging rights. Also this went too long and the fans were losing interest late in it.
Back in 2012, Christopher Daniels had a long, confusing feud with AJ Styles. Kurt Angle hooked up with Styles and won the Tag Team Titles. Here they are defending against Daniels and Kazarian.
Tag Titles: Kurt Angle/AJ Styles vs. Kazarian/Christopher Daniels
Daniels and Kaz are challenging but Kaz doesn’t like Daniels all that much right now. He and AJ start and AJ takes him down followed by a kick to the back. Off to Angle and Kaz tags out, almost by slapping the taste out of Daniels’ mouth. Kurt charges into a boot and Daniels hits his slingshot elbow. Off to Kaz who covers off that elbow for some reason. Daniels yells at Kaz and tags himself back in but runs from AJ. The challengers argue on the floor as we take a break.
Back with Daniels in control of AJ and hitting his running STO for two. Angle comes in and cleans house. He fires off Rolling Germans on Kaz and does the same to Daniels. Kaz grabs a TKO for two on Kurt but gets caught in the ankle lock. That gets broken up quickly and everything breaks down. AJ clotheslines Kaz down but gets caught in a Blue Thunder Bomb. Angle gets sent into the referee by Daniels so Chris grabs a chair. Kaz pulls it away and lets AJ hit the Pele. Kaz tells AJ to finish this, but then hits AJ in the back with a chair, giving Daniels the pin and the titles at 11:34.
Rating: B-. So Kaz is evil for the sake of being evil. I guess that works, but would this count as two turns in the same show? Eh it’s fine as it’s better with AJ and Kurt not being champions again as the titles weren’t really fitting on them. This was nowhere near as good as the Slammiversary match but it was fine for a TV main event.
What’s better than all those times that AJ and Daniels have squared off? The FINAL time that they would face each other. From Final Resolution 2012.
Christopher Daniels vs. AJ Styles
This is billed as the last time so there MUST be a winner. Feeling out process and they fight over arm control to the mat. The feeling out continues for like four minutes as there’s NOTHING interesting going on here. AJ clotheslines him down to finally pick up the pace a bit and there’s the perfect dropkick. The bridging Indian Deathlock from AJ keeps Daniels in trouble as this is going nowhere so far.
Styles hits a snap suplex on the apron so Daniels comes back with a Rock Bottom onto the opposite apron. Daniels sends him into the steps a few times, including a powerslam/suplex hybrid down onto the steel. More back work follows as I try desperately to stay awake. Not that the match is bad but this show has been so freaking boring so far that it’s draining me. Daniels hits a moonsault and hooks a crossface minus the arm trap to torture AJ a bit more.
Off to a half nelson which isn’t really staying on the back so the match loses points for bad psychology. AJ fights up and they collide with AJ’s eye being busted open hardway. Daniels hits a release Rock Bottom but the BME misses, allowing AJ to hit the springboard forearm. AJ loads up the Clash but Daniels naturally escapes. A headscissors puts Christopher down but he comes bak with a sitout spinebuster for two.
A flipping slam out of the corner gets two for Daniels and he’s getting ticked off. AJ comes back with the moonsault into the reverse DDT for two and both guys are down. They head to the corner for a Daniels superplex for no cover so AJ hits the Pele to put both guys down again. Angel’s Wings is countered into a jackknife cover, but AJ backflips out of the cover into the Styles Clash for two. AJ loads up the Clash off the middle rope but Daniels counters into a rana. Now Daniels hits the Clash for the pin at 21:07.
Rating: B. Yeah it was good but so what? Daniels hasn’t won jack here, as AJ has beaten him how many times over the years? That’s the problem with this story: just winning the last match doesn’t always mean you win the war/feud. Daniels winning is the right idea from a storytelling standpoint, but this means nothing, as is the case with everything here. Oh and nice to see all the back work meaning absolutely nothing at all.
Daniels would get on a roll and get a World Title shot on Impact, January 24, 2013.
TNA World Title: Jeff Hardy vs. Christopher Daniels
Daniels is challenging here and literally dances to the ring. Tazz predicts that Hardy is going to have trouble in the year 2013. Feeling out process to start with Hardy taking over, only to miss a charge in the corner and fall to the floor. Kaz comes in to celebrate and we take a break. Back with Daniels hitting a clothesline and choking away on Hardy for a bit. A modified neckbreaker hits for two on Hardy and it’s off to the chinlock.
Hardy comes back with a clothesline and speeds things way up before getting two off the mule kick. A middle rope splash gets two but Hardy jumps into a Death Valley Driver for two. Daniels busts out the Koji Clutch which we haven’t seen in years and that no one seems to know the name of. Christopher loads up something like a superplex but gets caught in the front suplex from the top for two. The Twist is countered into the Angel’s Wings for two but the BME and Swanton both miss, the latter of which gives Hardy two. Hardy counters Angel’s Wings into a rana and it’s double Twist and Swanton to retain at 14:10.
Rating: B. Good match here with both guys looking great. Daniels is SO much more fun to watch when he’s not against AJ all the time and his latest run has been all kinds of entertaining. The promos are way better than the matches, which is saying a lot as the match here was solid stuff. Hardy winning was pretty clear but that’s not always a bad thing. Good main event here.
We’ll wrap it up with a twelve person tag from Genesis 2014.
Samoa Joe/James Storm/Gunner/ODB/Eric Young/Joseph Park vs. Lei’D Tapa/Zema Ion/Bro Mans/Bad Influence
Joe pounds away on Zema Ion to start as everyone else fights on the floor. We get the always cool sidestep from Joe to avoid a middle rope cross body. ODB and Tapa get into the ring for a few moments until Storm and Daniels come in instead. There have been no tags and only now are a handful of people getting on the apron. Gunner throws Kaz to the floor and now there’s no one in the ring.
Eric and Robbie get into the ring as Joe is now on his third corner of the match. Young and Park double elbow Jesse but Robbie breaks up Eric’s top rope elbow. Zema sends Eric to the floor but turns around to see ODB grabbing her chest. A fall away slam sends Ion flying but Tapa runs ODB down, knocking her to the floor. Daniels comes in to work over Young and gets two off a leg lariat.
Young comes back with a belly to belly suplex and it’s off to Joe for some fat man power. The backsplash gets two on Daniels with Kaz making the save. Joe dives through the ropes to take out the Bro Mans as a lot of things break down. Kaz breaks up an attempted Park dive but busts Park’s lip open in the process. For the first time ever, Park goes after his partners by taking down Gunner and Storm, leaving Joe to put Daniels in the Clutch for the tap out at 7:32.
Rating: D+. This was straight out of the Russo playbook: throw everyone out there at once and hope the fans are so impressed by the insanity that they don’t care about the lack of a story. TNA is walking a very thin line right now with this latest heel stable, even if it’s a looser version than usual. Hopefully it doesn’t turn out like the rest, but that’s probably the case.
Christopher Daniels is a great example of a guy that is good in the ring, even great at times, but isn’t going to be the top guy in the company. That puts him in the same category as Tully Blanchard and Arn Anderson, meaning he’s not doing too badly for himself. He’s definitely a guy worth having around for his chemistry with Kazarian alone, but he can go in the ring as well. That’s a guy worth having around.
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