Christopher Daniels isn't a household name, but he's well-known among hardcore fans of the most athletic soap opera on TV: professional wrestling. He's been wrestling for 24 years, and while he's only had fleeting appearances in WWE, the Palmdale, California resident has been a mainstay in upstart competitors Ring Of Honor and Total Nonstop Action/Impact Wrestling.
Sunday is the peak of pageantry in the pro wrestling year — it's WWE's Wrestlemania, this year being held in Orlando, Florida. But while they have the biggest spotlight, other pro wrestling companies are trying to grab their piece of the action, including ROH. Daniels will be wrestling Saturday night on ROH's Supercard Of Honor.
Asked to describe what he does, Daniels told KPCC, "My name is Christopher Daniels, and I fall down for a living." He's been falling down successfully for decades, but he recently became the ROH world champion for the first time despite wrestling on and off for the group since 2002.
"You never know the path that your career's going to take," Daniels said. "Even though it took me 24 years for my first world title, my first singles world championship, it's still a big deal to me and it's still an accomplishment, even 24 years in."
Daniels describes ROH as a group that focuses more on the athleticism and less on the soap opera, though they've got a healthy dose of that as well.
Daniels said that it's easier to break in now thanks to the internet and the ease of passing around a YouTube link, but he got his start in an era where wrestlers got noticed by building a reputation and sending around VHS tapes. He wrestled around the world, wrestling both on the East Coast and making regular appearances in Japan.
"That was how I built my livelihood, stringing together all those jobs, until TNA and Ring Of Honor came into existence," Daniels said.
Daniels began to break out as WWE ate its competition, buying out WCW, but leaving a gap that ROH and TNA began to fill. In his most recent run with ROH, he says that he wants to help the company reach the next level through items like a longer timeslot or getting a TV show on cable in addition to their syndicated program.
"I want to continue help to build the idea that Ring Of Honor is a viable alternative to the mainstream, what everybody knows professional wrestling to be, which is WWE," Daniels said.
The 47-year-old wrestler says that he wants to keep wrestling as long as he's having fun and can do it at a top level.
"I'm honest to say that I probably don't have a lot of years left, but I'm going to spend those years having fun and doing what I like to do, and if I can help build the company as well, that's added incentive for me to continue," Daniels said. "I tell people all the time that it's a young man's game ... but I like to think I wrestle a smart style, something I can do night in and night out."
Daniels has another soap opera world to keep him occupied when he's not in the ring: comic books. He's recently written some comic books that he also appears in, and he's a hardcore Marvel Comics fan who's still hyped about the comic book world.
"I've always said that the closest thing to real life comic books is professional wrestling. I mean, you have these colorfully costumed characters, good and evil, fighting for what they believe in, and whatever their powers are — whether it's high-flying, or brawling, or technical wrestling — they go out and we tell these ongoing stories," Daniels said. "Every month there's a new comic book, and every Monday there's a new wrestling show."
You can see him doing what he does best — falling down for a living — Saturday night on ROH's Supercard of Honor, defending his championship against "The Party Peacock" Dalton Castle, who Daniels describes as the Freddie Mercury of pro wrestling. The show is also set to feature the Young Bucks versus Matt and Jeff Hardy, who you may know from a long run in WWE, in a ladder match main event.
Supercard of Honor will be available on ROHWrestling.com as an internet pay-per-view and on the FITE TV app.
Watch Daniels promoting his match here: