X-Pac 1,2,360 (Episode 36)
Guest: Christopher Daniels
Date: May 10, 2017
Recap by: Christopher Gaspare
Top Newsworthy Items
-Christopher Daniels breaks down the ways Vince Russo helped and hurt his career
-Daniels isn’t planning on retiring soon, but he does have a career planned after wrestling
-Daniels says that ROH allows wrestlers to keep their intellectual property unlike TNA/Impact
00:00: Show introduction and discussion of All Pro Wrestling show over the weekend
11:26: The crew discusses the weekly news including The Rock potentially running for President and the Titus O’Neil lawsuit
27:58: Sponsor Ad
28:32: Christopher Daniels talks breaking into the business as a smaller guy
38:13: Daniels talks being WWE enhancement talent, Curry Man gimmick in Japan/TNA, and what theater acting in his youth taught him about wrestling
58:37: Daniels and X-Pac discuss Ultimate X matches, balding, ring types, and almost dying in the ring
1:16:53: Daniels talks about working with Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, and Ric Flair
1:34:13: Daniels talks about intellectual property and TNA/ROH and becoming World Champion at age 47
1:41:14: Daniels talks about his future, ROH’s future, and his favorite matches
2:09:17: Sponsor Ad
2:09:34: Show End
Show introduction and discussion of All Pro Wrestling show over the weekend
X-Pac welcomed everyone to the show and introduces his co-hosts, Jimbo, and TK Trinidad, and producer, Mark. He gave the briefest of updates on his arrest, saying he has tried to retrieve his belongings three times to no avail because it has been closed each time. Next, the discuss the All Pro Wrestling show over the weekend at the Cow Palace. X-Pac saw a number of people there including Pat Patterson, Kevin Sullivan, and Dave Meltzer. Actor Luke Perry was there as well because his son wrestles under the name Jungle Boy. X-Pac said Luke Perry was close to Dusty Rhodes as well.
The crew discusses the weekly news including The Rock potentially running for President and the Titus O’Neil lawsuit
The first news item was about the death of El Gran Apache. X-Pac knew Apache and his family as he lived in Mexico for four years. He saw Konnan the other day who said Apache died of cancer. X-Pac extended his condolences to the family. Next, the crew discussed the news story about Titus O’Neil being sued by a cameraman on the WWE show, Swerved. Allegedly, O’Neil hurt the man’s hand after reacting to being zapped with a cattle prod unexpectedly. X-Pac said he zapped Tony DeNucci with a cattle prod as a rib once when he was young and saw how much it must hurt. “What do you think is gonna happen when you do stupid s**t,” he mused. The last news item was about political activist Michael Moore suggesting The Rock run for President and The Rock saying in GQ that he would consider it. X-Pac thinks he would be good and “doesn’t see him as a party guy.” It’s agreed by all that maybe he would run for Governor of California first.
Christopher Daniels talks breaking into the business as a smaller guy
Daniels grew up watching wrestling and seeing stars like Dusty Rhodes, Nikita Koloff, and The Road Warriors, which led him to think he would be too small. He and his wife were trying to break into acting, and he would always joke that he could try professional wrestling if acting didn’t work out. She ended up finding a training school for him, and he started training under Sam DeCero at Windy City Wrestling. Daniels said that X-Pac was a big influence on him after seeing his small size on Global Force Wrestling. He also said DeCero saw the business changing some and introduced a lightweight title in Windy City, which Daniels held early in his career.
Daniels talks being WWE enhancement talent, Curry Man gimmick in Japan/TNA, and what theater acting in his youth taught him about wrestling
Daniels was told by DeCero that if he went to WWE as an enhancement talent, “they may look at [him] that way” permanently. He still went and did some television tapings as enhancement and dark matches. During this time, Jim Cornette got him into Dory Funk’s Funkin’ Dojo which was being housed in Titan Towers at the time. His first enhancement match was against Taka Michinoku, and this opened a lot of doors for him. First, it got him a connection to Japan where he soon started performing, and second, it gave him enough exposure to still get booked on the East Coast even when needed flown in from the West Coast. He said his time as enhancement was good because he was still able to have a competitive match. The only time he got “ate up” was against Droz, who was kind about it, due to Droz’s size.
He ended up in Japan and started to play the Curry Man character there. He didn’t know anything about the character from the Japanese comics, so he modeled the character’s behavior off Apu from The Simpsons until he was told to stop and simply wrestle. When he brought the Curry Man character to TNA, he had grown past being a “super serious” wrestler, which he said is a folly of young wrestlers, and learned to “have a laugh.” He said the entertainment aspect of wrestling is just as important as being able to wrestle and even UFC fighters and boxers have learned that being entertaining adds longevity to their careers.
Daniels and X-Pac discuss Ultimate X matches, balding, ring types, and almost dying in the ring
Daniels said theater acting taught him not to be shy and how to get across a message and establish a hook in a promo. He was recently holding a seminar at Ken Anderson’s school and realized that you can tell how comfortable a wrestler is by what he is doing in between moves. The inexperienced are waiting to do the next move. X-Pac chimes in, “you can see in in their eyes and see the wheels spinning” as they try to figure out what is next. Daniels said the experienced wrestler know that time in between moves is to rest, interact with the crowd, and tell the story of the match. X-Pac brings up the Ultimate X matches. Daniels said they “were the most unique thing TNA had ever done and still is” but that they “went to the well too often” by having approximately fifty matches over thirteen years. Daniels talked about a spot between he and Frankie Kazarian at the 2009 Bound for Glory show. Originally, they had planned for Daniels to go for the Angel’s Wings, but get back-dropped off the top. However, they ended up trying to do that Flatliner spot instead. His legs got hooked when Kazarian attempted it, which caused him to land almost right on his head.
X-Pac and Daniels also discussed the difference between the four-sided and six-sided rings. Daniels didn’t think bumps or hitting the ropes was different, but the hard part was that four-sided rings have corners at ninety degrees angles, which makes standing on the top rope in the corner easier than the six-sided ring. X-Pac had a severe problem with that because Silver King had busted his eardrum in Japan in the early ‘90s, which has also affected his balance. The conversation turned to Daniels shaving his head. In hindsight, Daniels wished he had done it sooner. He said that he’s looked the same since 2002 and joked that because of this, no one knows how old he is. X-Pac wished he had the courage to shave his head because currently he hides his bald spot by keeping his hair pulled back.
Daniels talks about working with Vince Russo, Eric Bischoff, and Ric Flair
When asked about working with Vince Russo, Daniels said it was “not great” and they “never saw eye-to-eye.” He revised the statement, however, and said that he could thank Vince Russo for putting Triple X (the stable with Daniels, Low Ki, and Elix Skipper) together, trying to book Daniels with Sting, and for booking he and A.J. Styles to main event over Christian and Tomko. Beyond that, he said that Russo would consistently write bad angles and segments for him then place the blame on Daniels, telling him, “You’re not over.” Russo would never take any blame even though he was the writer. After a while, he would ask Russo after a segment, “Is that what you wanted,” in effort to corner him on the issue, but Russo would never take responsibility. At one point, Russo told him, “Bro, your work is gonna get you over,” so they made his gimmick “the wrestler,” but then he was booked to lose over and over afterwards. Russo also didn’t like input from wrestlers. Russo told him once, “I don’t tell you how to wrestle; you don’t tell me how to write.” Daniels disagreed with this sentiment. He said he, like all wrestlers, is a storyteller and his opinion is “valuable.” On the flipside, he said working with Eric Bischoff and Jason Hervey was better because they would generate a story or angle then accept feedback and input from the wrestlers. He gives the particular example of the angle where he and Kazarian teamed up and blackmailed A.J. Styles and Dixie Carter. He also told a brief story about a promo he did with Ric Flair where Flair tried to bury him and tell him that he didn’t “know who [Daniels] was.” Daniels considered saying “You don’t know who I am because you’ve been drunk since you’ve been here,” but he didn’t want to bury a legend even if it would have gotten him over.
Daniels talks about intellectual property and TNA/ROH and becoming World Champion at age 47
When he and Kazarian were let go from TNA, he said that they wanted to take the Bad Influence tag team name with them, but TNA refused to let it go because it was their intellectual property. Kazarian came up with the name The Addiction because “a bad influence can turn into an addiction.” When they came into Ring of Honor and told them the name, ROH said that they could keep it if they ever decided to leave and that ROH is more “laid back” about those things. He also praised ROH for giving them an opportunity to prove themselves as a tag team from the first match they had against reDRagon. About winning the World Title, Daniels said, “I would have been okay” if I hadn’t won a world title. He also said that if he had won it at a younger age, it wouldn’t have been the same because the story of failing for so long and him being 47 was fifty percent of the story. He said he was told early in his career that “talent will rise to the top” if they keep at it.
Daniels talks about his future, ROH’s future, and his favorite matches
Daniels is focused on making his title reign successful right now and helping Ring of Honor. He said his body is sore, but he trains for functionality and has always wrestled smart meaning that if he couldn’t do something ten out of ten times successfully, then he wouldn’t do it. He doesn’t think ROH needs national television so much as perhaps some sort of app to keep everyone more up-to-date on all the wrestlers in the organization because it’s hard to fit everyone into a 42-minute TV show. He attributes the longevity of ROH to their ability to keep great veteran talent, like Jay Lethal, and showcase younger talent and letting them grow, like Dalton Castle. Continuing that pattern will lead to their future success. He was asked about a future with the WWE Performance Center. He said if that were ever offered, he would “examine” the offer, but he is happy with doing something similar with ROH right now. He is also working for Universal Studios in the Waterworld stunt show where he will sometimes play the role of Deacon. They have a roster of actors playing that role, and he is “low man on the totem” pole, but it is something he would like to focus on after he retires. On retirement, he said that he will retire the day he “is not having fun and hurts.” He would also consider retirement if other younger wrestlers had to slow down because of him because he couldn’t keep up. Finally, he said that his favorite match is the first three-way match with Styles and Samoa Joe because it is looked at by fans as “the glory days” of TNA.
X-Pac announces that next week’s guest will be second generation, former WWE star, Shawn Stasiak. The Get High and Watch Wrestling show will return on May 26th also.
Score and Review (7/10)
The Christopher Daniels interview is focused and interesting at times, mainly for some of the minutiae, but ultimately, it was uneventful. Daniels comes off as nice and grateful man who doesn’t bad mouth anybody but is also honest about himself and others. The best part of the interview focuses around his dealings with Vince Russo and Eric Bischoff, and the contrast between the two, during his time in TNA. It’s also interesting to hear a wrestler discuss plans for a life after wrestling toward the end of the podcast, considering so many seem to not have an exit strategy for the business. The weekly news items were skippable this week, which is becoming a running theme.
Chris Gaspare is teacher from Maryland who has been watching wrestling since 1989 when he saw his first WCW Saturday Night episode and quickly rented as many NWA and WWF VHS tapes he could find in local stores. He also attended Tri-State Wrestling Alliance and early ECW shows in Philadelphia, which really kicked his fandom into high gear. He lapsed in the mid-2000s, but returned to the wrestling fold a few years ago.
For more, check out last week’s recap of X-Pac 1,2,360 with Johnny Mundo.