Christopher Daniels Talks TNA's Early Days, Sting, Daniel Bryan, His First TNA Release, Hogan, Punk
Wrestling Inc: You started with TNA when they first started back in 2002. Around that time there had been a couple of other failed national promotions like XWF that Hulk Hogan was a part of. Did you think that TNA would last as long as it has and burst onto the national scene?
Daniels: Well I definitely hoped that they would have. When we started doing the Wednesday pay per views, there wasn't any outward signs to the guys in the locker room that there were financial troubles. It wasn't until after the fact that we all found out that money wasn't, they weren't making the amount of money that they thought they would. With Panda Energy and Dixie Carter coming along and sort of helping carry the company through those difficult times, we didn't even know about that until after the fact.
But I knew that the Wednesday pay per view, it was a different style. It was a different business model then what I was used to, but I knew I was working regularly and we had an opportunity to sort of make a buzz about the company. That was one of the good things about it, was that there was a lot of hungry people, a lot of guys that had never really had that national spotlight and it was an opportunity to get that spotlight on them.
Wrestling Inc: How would you describe those early years in TNA?
Daniels: I had a great time, man. I think that the one thing, like I said, there were guys that had never really had that opportunity, at the WWE or in WCW, to sort of, get their names known. So we were out there and they just sort of gave us that opportunity, especially with guys in the X Division. They wanted to sort of get that buzz about the company and get the word of mouth going. That was one of the things, man, guys like AJ and Low Ki and Red and Jerry Lynn and me and Elix. We were making, we were sort of the water cooler talk of wrestling. Every Thursday we waited to see if people reacted to what we were doing. We were building good word of mouth about the product.
Wrestling Inc: Definitely, I feel like the best wrestling in the country on a national level was in TNA at that time. You just saw styles that you didn't see anywhere else. What was your reaction when you heard that Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff would be coming in?
Daniels: I thought it was going to be a positive thing. I figured that with their name value, television executives and television companies were going to, sort of, pay more attention to us. This was after the fact where we had already been at Spike for a while. We were hoping to strike while the iron was hot in terms of going to the different time changes and the different formats of our show, whether it was an hour show or a two hour show. We're always trying to build momentum and make those small steps forward. Having Hulk and Eric come in, I thought, was another step forward for us in terms of getting more eyes on our product.
Wrestling Inc: Vince Russo was there during that time. He had criticized you in the past about not working on your character and just working on your in ring. What was his plans for your fallen angel gimmick and I guess, what didn't work out for him?
Daniels: I don't know. I don't know. He brought the stuff to me and I thought I did what he asked me to do, and then the feud with Sting ended before it really started. Like my opinion was that they always had other things for Sting to do rather than concentrate on the feud with me. When I asked him about it, he just said it wasn't working and he never really pointed to what wasn't working and why it wasn't working. He just said, "Oh, you know, this isn't going right. We're going to put you back with Triple X." So I mean, my opinion of Vince is that he never really had an idea of what he wanted with me. He never had a way to sort of, vocalize his intentions. He never gave me good direction in terms of what he wanted to see or what was going wrong.
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