The Fallen Angel Ascends To The Top
The internet has made it extremely easy to learn about new wrestlers and find their work. If you’ve been reading the site lately, you’ll notice my love for wrestling magazines. Dating back to the late 90s to the early 2000s, I relied on magazines to learn about new wrestlers. One of the first wrestlers I remember learning about through the magazines was none other than the “Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels.
My first exposure to Daniels was in the late 90s when he appeared in the Independent Wrestling section of a Pro Wrestling Illustrated. I’m not entirely sure what caught my eye as he didn’t necessarily have a unique look, at the time. I think it was more his character of a guy. I’d keep up with Daniels in the ECWA through the results section of the magazine.
It wasn’t until 2002 or 2003 that I actually witnessed Daniels compete. Around that time, the independent wrestling scene was picking up on the Northeast. After watching the first few ROH shows, I became quite invested in Daniels. I thought his in-ring work was excellent and his character was interesting to me. His group, the Prophecy, was a top heel stable in ROH. Within the first couple of year in ROH, Daniels and memorable matches with Samoa Joe, AJ Styles, Bryan Danielson (Daniel Bryan), and Low Ki.
Daniels was a vital part of the early years in ROH, but didn’t get to the number one spot in the company. He was always seen as a viable contender, but every time he battled for the ROH Heavyweight Championship, he’d come up short. By the time 2004 came around, Daniels was a hot commodity on the independents often times working with AJ Styles, which delivered great matches all over the country. Often times, Daniels would be on the losing end.
Back in the summer of 2005, Daniels returned to ROH after being pulled from the company thanks to TNA not wanting talent to be involved with a rival company. Daniels returned to try and win the ROH World Championship from CM Punk, who was threatening to leave ROH with the championship since he had signed a contract with WWE. Daniels and Punk had issues dating back to 2003 and Daniels taking out Punks girlfriend, Lacey. Once being determined to destroy ROH, Daniels returned to try and save the company and the championship. However, as he had done many times prior, Daniels came up short in his match with Punk with the match ending in a draw.
That was often the case with Daniels. While his best friend AJ Styles was off winning championships, Daniels wouldn’t be on the same level despite being on par with Styles with his in-ring ability. Earlier in 2005, Daniels successfully won the TNA X-Division Championship winning an Ultimate X match at Destination X in March 2005 and held the title until Unbreakable in September 2005 losing to AJ Styles in a match that also involved Samoa Joe. The triple threat match is considered one of the greatest matches in TNA history.
Soon enough, Daniels and Styles would form a tag team in ROH and capture the TNA Tag Team Championships in 2006. They’d have some great matches with America’s Most Wanted and the LAX before the mutually dissolved the team.
Daniels would enter into a feud with Sting in 2007, but it didn’t last long due to Vince Russo not knowing how to write for the character Daniels had. That is according to Daniels, at least. Following the brief feud, which saw Sting easily defeat Daniels, Daniels remained in the X-Division before being kayfabed fired in December 2007 due to the Feast or Fired competition.
For most of 2008 and some parts of 2009, Daniels worked under a mask as either Curry Man or Suicide for TNA. That’s all I’m going to discuss about that time.
In 2009, after a return under his Fallen Angel character and a run in the X-Division, Daniels confronted AJ Styles about his ability to get title shots and win championships claiming that Styles got unfair treatment. Daniels would fail in his quest to win the title from AJ Styles, once in a three way involving Samoa Joe, and another time in a singles match at Final Resolution. Shortly after the arrival of Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff in TNA, Daniels was released on March 31st, 2010.
Daniels returned to ROH in April 2010 and remained there until June 26, 2011. During this run, Daniels would win the ROH Television Championship. However, he challenged for the ROH World Championship a couple of occasions losing to Roderick Strong and Eddie Edwards when they held the championship.
In yet another return to TNA, Daniels would be featured prominently associating himself with Fortune. Eventually, Daniels would form a team with Kazarian, who turned on AJ Styles in the process, and they’d be called Bad Influence. As a duo, Bad Influence would become arguably the most entertaining act on TNA television. The feud with AJ Styles involved Styles allegedly having an affair with Dixie Carter, and then later having an affair with Claire Lynch. During this run, Daniels would win the TNA Tag Team Championships on two occasions with Kazarian before leaving TNA once again in April 2014.
By May 2014, Daniels joined ROH and maintained his team with Kazarian going by the name The Addiction. With Kazarian, they’d win the ROH Tag Team Championships on two occasions. While the team was a heel team, by early 2017, Daniels turned face and set his sights on winning the ROH World Championship, a championship he had come close to winning numerous times in the past.
Daniels won the Decade of Excellence Tournament defeating Jay Briscoe and would get a title a shot at the ROH 15th Anniversary Show. Leading into the event, Kazarian turned on Daniels and disbanded the Addiction. On March 10th, 2017, Kazarian showed that it was a ruse to trick the Bullet Club and helped Daniels win his first ROH World Championship defeating Adam Cole in the main event of the show.
Over the past couple of days, I saw a meme that showed a picture of Goldberg and Daniels. The meme basically said that the fans crapped on Goldberg winning a championship at his age while those same people praised Daniels. It shouldn’t be a surprise, but Daniels is still performing in 20+ minute matches and working the same style he has for the past 15+ years. Meanwhile, Goldberg is working 90-second matches. So, Daniels win should be celebrated.
What are your thoughts on Christopher Daniels journey to winning the ROH World Championship? Do you think he deserves it? Should he have won it much earlier in his career? If so, when would you have put the gold on the Fallen Angel?
Thanks for reading.