I just sort of was working there. It wasn't a matter of hey, this is a tryout, or hey, this is an opportunity for you to keep working here. It was just matches and having good matches. But like the one match that I had with Taka on the television show, it ended up, because of that I ended up getting seen overseas, and because of Jim Cornette and the dojo, I got seen by a lot of promoters on the east coast, and that sort of opened the east coast to me. Being seen overseas got me to England and over to Japan. It started to open up because of that period of time in my life. I started to get more opportunities and I variety of promoters started to book me.
Wrestling Inc: You also had a brief stint in WCW, and that was kind of during their end. Did you feel that they weren't going to be around much longer when you had signed with them?
Daniels: No, I actually, like the first… I actually had two contracts with them. The first time, I got hired by Kevin Sullivan. I had a tryout in Los Angeles that he really liked, and so he hired me. I was finishing up a tour of Japan when Kevin got fired and Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff came back to the company. So it was that night that they did the reset in Denver, Colorado. That was actually supposed to be my first night, but because Vince Russo didn't know who I was and Eric Bischoff didn't know who I was at that moment, they sort of put me on the backburner.
So I ended up going into WCW after the fact and was meeting with Vince Russo and talking with him about trying to get some stuff going. But because they had so many guys coming through the Power Plant at that point, I was again sort of put to the backburner. So I was with them for the first time like for eight months. I was traveling on the road with them and doing Nitros and things like that, but not being used at all. Finally they started cutting costs and I was let go because like, I hadn't even, I had wrestled like one time for them on the WorldWide tapings against Chris Candido. The rest of the time I was basically traveling with them and not doing anything. So finally, they let me go.
Then a couple months later, Terry Taylor called me and asked me if I was available to do a match on Nitro as a tryout, and that was the match I had with Mike Modest. That ended up being the second contract I had, but that was right around the time when I guess all the things started falling apart, but I wasn't on the road with them at that point, so I had no idea what was going on with them. What happened was at the end of that match, Scott Steiner basically came out and destroyed myself and Mike Modest, and so we were at home selling those injuries when the company was sort of on their last leg. So I didn't know because I wasn't traveling with them. I had no idea behind the scenes what was going on until I was told that WCW had closed and they'd been bought out.
Wrestling Inc: So you didn't legit injure your neck during that period?
Daniels: No, I did injure my neck, but that wasn't the injury that I was selling. The gimmick was that this was the Monday after Sid Vicious had broken his leg and so in the match, when Scott Steiner came out and attacked us both, he supposedly broke our legs. So that was the injury that I was selling. I actually did hurt my neck really bad and lost feeling in my arm for about a month and a half, but I continued doing independent shows, like I wrestled like a week later and was still doing independent shows because basically, that was where I was making my money, was on the independents.
Wrestling Inc: Was that the most serious injury you've incurred?
Daniels: Yeah definitely. Yeah that was definitely the one that hurt me the worse. I was wrestling through it and still working through it, but yeah, it was the worst thing that ever happened to me. I was worried that it was going to be a permanent thing, and it slowly but surely sort of wore off. But I still have some damage to, my left arm is still… you know, gets tired quicker. There's still some damage to it, but it's nothing that's really hindered me past that first period.
Make sure to check back tomorrow for the second part of our interview, where Daniels discussed working for ROH, Daniel Bryan and CM Punk's WWE success, starting with TNA, Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff joining TNA, Vince Russo's criticism of him, his TNA departure in 2010 and much more.
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