Christopher Daniels On What Grade He Would Give AEW’s First Year

Multi-time champion Christopher Daniels was on today's episode of the AEW Unrestricted podcast with Aubrey Edwards and Tony Schiavone. Along with being an active competitor in AEW, Daniels is also the Head of Talent Relations, and he spoke on how he has handled the role so far.

"I've been very fortunate so far that I haven't had any large issues, any problems yet, and I think part of it is because I feel like as long as I keep in mind to treat everybody with respect and dignity, in the end, I'm talking to people that are in the position that I'm in at some point," Daniels explained. "I've been on their side of the conversation, so I try to keep that in mind when I'm talking to them, and because of that, I've been very fortunate to have the respect of the people in the AEW locker room. That goes a long way. If you treat them with respect, they treat me with respect, and so far, as thankless of a job as it is, I haven't had any problems with it."

Daniels also talked about how his role has changed during the pandemic. He noted his work in helping organize the testing done in AEW.

"Really just keeping in mind the COVID protocols that we're having, trying to coordinate with Doc Sampson and Chris Harrington," Daniels noted. "The idea is having everybody getting PCR tests before they come to shows, coordinating the blood test but a lot of that is also Chris Harrington too.

"I just sort of keep the email chains going [between] myself and Chris. So that really is a lot of it. We've really sort of got it down to a science in the past nine months of doing it like this. So I feel like we're really rolling as far as our routine. Everybody knows to get into town, get to the the testing spot, get your wristband, start to self isolate with everybody that's already in the same boat as you."

Daniels recalled signing with AEW. He noted that he had done all he could at ROH winning the world title for the first time in his career.

"When AEW came around, I was in probably my sixth year at Ring of Honor, and I was in a position where I felt like I had sort of done everything I wanted to do in the ring at Ring of Honor," Daniels recalled. "And this opportunity came when Matt and Nick sort of offered me this opportunity to join this company. It was an unknown commodity.

"There was nothing I could say. 'Oh well, obviously, it's going to do well or do poorly because this this and this.' It was a shot in the dark, but I felt basing my decision off of what I saw Matt and Nick do in the course of their career in terms of the success they had with the risks that they took, I felt like it wasn't really a risk at all.

"I felt like as long as I sort of hung with them and sort of stuck with their view that it was going to be successful. So I was very fortunate that they looked at me as a person that could do the job that they offered me, which was the talent relations, and so far so good. I hope I haven't let them down in any way, and I don't think I have."

Daniels was asked how he would grade AEW's first year. He pointed out the successes of AEW most notably in introducing new stars to a major audience.

"I would have to say probably a solid above average in the sense of a B+," Daniels stated. "Nothing we do is perfect. There's always room for improvement, but I feel like in terms of introducing a largely unknown cast of wrestlers to the wrestling audience, we've done a really good job. In the course of the year and change that we've been on television, I think more people know Hangman Adam Page, and Private Party and Darby Allin, guys that didn't really have that national spotlight on them until now, and now people are well aware of those wrestlers and many more that I'll probably forget to name just because [there's a lot of them].

"We've done very well in that first year, and I think the proof is the fact that we got a notice that TNT had signed us up for two extra years or three extra years. That to me says a lot. The fact that TNT has been so strong in terms of their marketing of AEW. You can't watch a movie on TNT without seeing two or three commercials for us, which is great, and that shows confidence in a product. If we didn't have their confidence, it would show. Definitely B+ and there's places to go. We can always get better, but I feel we've done pretty good in the first year."

Fellow SCU member Scorpio Sky was on a previous episode of AEW Unrestricted where he talked about how he was recruited by Daniels and Frankie Kazarian. Daniels gave his point of view of Sky joining SCU.

"Honestly, when we were at Ring of Honor, Frankie more than me but Frankie definitely put a good word in for Sky, and I've known Sky for a long time, but definitely he and Frankie had much more of a history through wrestling together and against each other on the California independents," Daniels said. "So Scorpio came through Ring of Honor and had a good couple good showings, and there was a moment in time where Frankie and I were looking for a third partner. We had had a partner, Kamaitachi, Hiromu Takahashi, who returned to New Japan, and so we had basically an opening as a spot for a trio that we were trying to get going in Ring of Honor.

"And there was one evening in Ring of Honor where Scorpio competed in a match against The Young Bucks and the rest of The Elite where Nick Jackson even took the time on the microphone to point him out singularly and say, 'Hey, we should have this guy here.' And I remember going to the gentleman that was booking the company. I said, 'Hey, why don't you give Scorpio Sky to us? Let him be our third,' and it wasn't two months after that the group that ended up becoming SoCal Uncensored got together."

Daniels was also asked what he sees himself doing in AEW. He admitted that there is no desire for him to be part of any dream match scenario and expressed what he hopes to do in AEW.

"I don't necessarily feel like there's anything that I want to do other than contribute," Daniels stated. "I don't think that there's a burning hunger in the wrestling world to see me necessarily wrestle anybody. I don't know if there's anybody going, 'I wish Christopher Daniels would wrestle Jon Moxley on Dynamite.' I feel like with the level of talent that we've got in AEW — there are some fans of mine that would love to see me on Dynamite, but the honest truth is, the time to feature me as an act, I feel, is sort of, not long gone, but it's sort of passed, and I'm okay with that.

"I feel like my best efforts now are to be used wrestling younger guys and sort of helping them get better if I can, and if that happens on Dynamite, great, but if it happens on Dark, also great. That's sort of what my focus is now is trying to wrestle the guys that are under contract with us and see what I can do to help them not make the same mistakes that I made or that I see other young wrestlers make in their career.

"That's sort of what I'm thinking in this point is who can I wrestle to sort of help build up and give them credible wins. I'm not a soup can, but I feel like wrestling me and beating me means something, even though seems like everybody does it these days, but I'm okay with that."

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit AEW Unrestricted with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.