Daniels Speaks Out – TNA HOF, Going Live, Dixie, More

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Credit: Busted Open

Christopher Daniels recently spoke about the TNA Hall of Fame, TNA, going live and much more. Here are the highlights…

On the new era of Impact Wrestling: “As someone who’s been around from the very beginning, watching this company grow from the weekly pay-per views, to moving down to Orlando, to doing the Fox Sports Net and then finally getting on Spike, every step we’ve taken has been a step forward. It may not have been a big step, but it’s been a step forward. That’s what I think has always been the positive about Impact Wrestling, is that we’re always moving forward and always growing. Whether it’s going from Saturday night to Thursday night or going from 9 p.m. to 8 p.m, these are all meant to build up and broaden our audience. All of these steps that we’re taking are great steps. Right now, going live for the summer, I think that’s a big gamble for us but I think it’s a gamble we’re going to cash in on.”

On the TNA Hall of Fame: “In all honesty, I don’t think any of the people that you’re going to see that are still wrestling in an Impact ring will be in the hall of fame for a while. I guess that’s one of the drawbacks for having a hall of fame for a company that’s only 10 years old. How do you celebrate the accomplishments of a wrestler if he’s still having accomplishments in the wrestling ring? That goes for myself, Bobby Roode, James Storm, A.J. Styles and guys that you could conceivably argue deserve to be in the hall of fame that TNA has. If we’re all still accomplishing stuff in the ring, how do you induct us right now? I guarantee that I’m going to be in that hall of fame. I just think it’s good to be after I’m done being the new face of Impact Wrestling and winning all of my matches.”

On who will be the first person inducted into the TNA Hall of Fame: “Maybe Jeff Jarrett, but at the same time, Jeff is still competing in the ring. He’s not competing currently for Impact, but he’s still wrestling. He’s doing a lot with AAA right now; he’s still a viable competitor. I believe that the first person that’s going to be inducted into the hall of fame is going to be someone that played more of a role behind the scenes and who helped create TNA. I’m not sure who it’s going to be, but If I were a betting man, I would have to say it’s probably going to be someone who had a lot to do with creating TNA, someone who got it off the ground in that first year. But I mean this is all speculation. The truth of the matter is, I didn’t know about the TNA Hall of Fame until I heard the announcement last Thursday night, so this is all just wild speculation on my part.”

On TNA going live May 31st: “It was exciting. We were looking at it like a new era, like a big step forward for us. There was excitement backstage, and I was doing another interview about it and telling them the same thing, that we’ve gone live once a month for the past six or seven years. But the truth is, when you factor in commercial breaks and having to hit those time cues right on the button, there was a little stress involved. But at this level, we’re professional enough to understand the game and roll with those punches. I feel like we did a great job in terms of the product, in terms of the in-ring performances of the wrestlers, and I think it’s just going to be a matter of time before the viewing audience catches up to what we’re already doing. I’m sure that there was a little disappointment in that first rating, but I am confident in the fact that we plan to do this for the whole summer. We’re going to see a growth pattern for ourselves and the viewer’s going to catch up to us and you’re going to see growth from last week until the end of this summer.”

On his reaction to the May 31st rating: “I had no idea what to expect, to be honest with you. We sort of did a lot of changes all at once. The fact that we went to an hour early, and we did live; it’s a gamble to do all of that at once. Maybe in hindsight it wasn’t the right thing to do, but that’s not a call that I could make. The truth of the matter is, now that the company and the wrestlers themselves keep plugging it away on our Twitter, the more that we let people know that the hour earlier is going down and we’re going live, I think that more eyes are going to come to our product. And like I said, you’re going to see a growth pattern from the beginning to the end of the summer.”

On how going live and the new time slot will affect the audience: “I’m not really sure where the numbers are going to grow. I hope it’s just a matter of with the fan base that we already have, that the word of mouth is going to spread to that fan base that sort of got lost when WCW and ECW closed down. Hopefully we’re going to get more of a casual audience and more of an audience that’s watching television earlier in the night, and we’re going to convince those people to give us a chance and see something different than they’d see on Monday nights with the other company. Hopefully once we give them that taste, they’re going to stick with us and keep watching us.”

On if he agrees that his match with Samoa Joe and A.J. Styles at Unbreakable 2005 was the best in TNA history: “Yeah, I’d have to. I feel like that’s still the benchmark for this company. It’s the one that everyone talks about to this day, and I’m sure that 10 years from now they’ll still be talking about it. You see the three of us, we’re probably the closest to franchise players that you have for TNA. We’re all three sort of homegrown talents coming out of this company and that night, we showed that we deserved to be in the main event. And we still continue to deserve to be in the main event. We’re working our way there. Myself and Frankie Kazarian, could we be in the main event? Of course we could. Could A.J. Styles be in the main event? Of course he can. We’re top-notch players. We’re still at the top of our game. I think that particular match was our first taste of it, but it’s not going to be the last taste of it.”

On the feeling that there is always some sort of drama within TNA: “There’s always going to be instances where people are going to focus on the negative. Incidents [such as the Jeff Hardy situation, the Matt Hardy situation, and the Ric Flair situation] are unfortunate, but at the same time, you can’t paint the entire company with the brush of these singular incidents. There’s always going to be negatives. Unfortunately, that’s just the nature of the business. In the same way, people could paint the NFL [negatively] when Michael Vick was convicted of dog fighting. There’s always going to be negatives. But I choose to look at the positives of our company. I think we have one of the greatest rosters of talent that’s ever been assembled. I think if you give us an opportunity we’ll show you that, as far as wrestling goes, we’re top notch. These negative instances that come around, we try to move past them. In the instance of Jeff Hardy, he’s come back and been 100 percent clean. He’s 100 percent healthy, and at the top of his game. He’s been more focused in his wrestling career than he’s ever been. These things happen for every company; the WWE’s the same way. When these things happen, people are going to focus on them for little bit. It’s just how the company moves forward and concentrates on its positives. I think that’s the measure of the company itself. Right now, we’re in a new era, we’re doing new things, we’re pushing forward and trying to broaden that audience, let’s move past the negative stuff.

On Joey Ryan: “I absolutely think that Joey Ryan has a place in this business. I was a little disappointed that the Gut Check judges gave him a ‘No,’ but I feel like there were a lot of things going on against Joey Ryan. The fact that Alex Silva gained the first contract, I think that the judges didn’t want the Gut Check to seem like we were giving contracts to everybody. I think that they possibly had a preconceived notion of what they wanted to say. It was interesting that the judges made comments about Joey’s attitude. I know the words ‘sense of entitlement’ were uttered by one of the judges. That says a lot to Joey as a character and as a person when you get out there and you’ve got this opportunity. I think he believed that he had that job sewn up and I think as a competitor, he was 100 percent right. He had that sewn up. It was a valiant effort against someone who’s on the roll of his life right now in Austin Aries. Should he have gotten he contract? If I were the judge, I would’ve said ‘Yes.’ But I wasn’t the judge, and you can’t tell what Bruce Pritchard was thinking when he was looking at him, what Al Snow was thinking, what Taz was thinking. That’s something that you’d have to ask them. But I absolutely think that Joey Ryan has a place in this business. What happens now is going to say a lot about Joey Ryan’s character. Whether he continues to try to come to TNA, whether he parlays this opportunity he had on television into more work on the independents or work in a different company; only time will tell with that.”

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