"King of the Independents"
Daniels' innovation is not earthshattering; he wrestles a very fast paced, late 90's indy style that has moved to the forefront of mainstream wrestling now (ex. X-division) He has patented some very unique moves, such as the Angel Wings and the B.M.E, which I'm sure will be stolen by man a wrestler after he is retired. He also has created not one but 2 very unique characters to play: the merciless "Fallen Angel" in the States and the zany "Curry Man" in the Orient. He has not changed the landscape of professional wrestling but has certainly carved out his own unique niche in the pros and will be remembered for it.
2) Conditioning- 10/10
Daniels isn't the biggest or the best built, but he is in tremendous shape, especially for a wrestler near 40, and to my knowledge (although you can never be sure these days) Daniels is not a pill head and not a juicer. He has wrestled extremely long physical matches with the likes of Samoa Joe and CM Punk and be none the worse for it. Daniels could go any length of time with any one in the wrestling world and hold his own. Being the biggest isn't an instant 10 on this scale, as evidenced here but having a great physique and excellent stamina will take you to higher ground in the wrestling business.
3) Skill- 9/10
Few in the industry come better prepared for war in the ring than Daniels. After years of traveling the indy circuit, he made a mark by being a constant high level performer. His reputation is known as being a consistent, hard working athlete inside the ring and it shows. Daniels has excellent knowledge of how to work in a ring, he can bump quite well, he has a very solid move set that he has used for years and gotten done to a science. It's highly unlikely Daniels at least won't give you a match that is fun to watch, no matter the opponent. He's a little old school in his methods, but infuses newer theories into his game nicely. One of the most solid performers currently wrestling today.
4) Psychology- 9/10
The level of functionality is high with this one. Daniels is a very subtle psychologist. He's not an outward person, and doesn’t have a magnetic personality, but there are things those kinds of people can do. Quick transitions, stiff moves on face comebacks and brilliant matwork. Daniels uses every smart trick Arn Anderson ever did and it's working for him. He's great when juicing; he knows enough to get money shots in the camera, but enough to not hog it like HHH and give away the obvious intention for more drama in the match. He also doesn't forget about it; he plays it up and is very skilled in it. Daniels will be a great teacher after his in ring career is over.
5) Interviews- 5/10
Daniels is an articulate man but some people just don't have that effect on people that makes them want to listen. He is well spoken but there isn't much past his normal speaking voice that he delivers and sometimes you need to inflect on certain things and tone other things down. Delivering promos in the same characteristically low, dull voice does nothing for the viewer or the performer. As with most very talented in ring performers, this is their weakest point and I would have to agree with that for the Fallen Angel.
6) Character- 7/10
Daniels, as I've already said, isn't the most flamboyant person in the business, but his Fallen Angel character doesn't have to be. It borders on mystical fantasy and non-sectarian beliefs with out being heavy handed for the normal viewer sitting on his butt at home with Cheetos in his hand and for the kids who watch for fun. Then, for his flamboyant side, Daniels can hide behind a mask and be as goofy as he wants as the Curry Man. And as I should have said before in the Skill category, he has had some seriously outstanding bouts in Japan under this very guise. I like Daniels as a heel better, but not as this silly nomad with ridiculous face paint on his left side. His greedy and competitve thirst for X division gold suited him better, especially since he could get the job done in the ring.
7) Basics- 10/10
Daniels is a well schooled professional wrestler. He was trained in Windy City Wrestling by former partner and perennial back seat performer Kevin Quinn. His name isn't synonomous with success for a reason, but he helped sculpt a fine hand in-ring in Daniels. His strikes are perfunctory wrestling punches but his knowledge of holds and varied submission manuevers (from his time spent in Japan) serve him well and he's not afraid to work a chinlock in the middle of a big time PPV match because he knows how to work it without boring the crowd to death.
8) Fans- 7/10
Daniels has fan support because of his many years trying to make it up in the rankings, the cult following that ROH has created and Daniels amazing athletic ability in the ring. When he's working heel, he has that quality that allows you to still cheer for him because it's not that he doesn't like you (the fans) it's that he doesn't need you to win matches. His abilities are enough for him to become a star. He's usually cheered except for his current stint where he's just met with a whole lot of indifference.
9) Feuds/ Opponents- 5/10
Daniels, as I've mentioned, had worked the indy circuit for years and years, facing the best upcoming talent that generation had to offer; of course many of them have not made it to the big time. What casual wrestling fan has ever heard of Twiggy Ramierez or Ace Darling? My point exactly. While Daniels may have had some compelling matches with them, it doesn't really add up to the grand scheme of things. While in ROH, he faced many of the top names in the sub-TV land of wrestling and with TNA, finally he has had the chance to mix it up with some top names, such as Sting, Jeff Jarrett, Samoa Joe, and AJ Styles. With the latter 2 men I mentioned, Daniels had some amazing wars and long running rivalries and his devotion to the withering art of tag team wrestling has kept my hope alive for the 2 man teams to survive but as far as great rivalries, Daniels has had surprisingly few. Low Ki and CM Punk in ROH and Joe, AJ and America's Most Wanted in TNA are the ones with the most exposure. But I look for Daniels to get better with time, like an aged cheese, if he escapes bad gimmick hell where Vince Russo has stuck him.
10) Gutcheck- 6/10
To make a living in the wrestling industry is extremely hard and to be successful is even harder. To stay on top I believe you must stab several people in the back on the way up and have some kind of an ego, or just be a once in a lifetime performer. To be discredited because of your age is another harsh blow to deal out to someone and for Christopher Daniels, he overcame that sentiment that the WWF handed him years ago. He didn't need them to invest in him because he would invest in himself and believe in himself. If you are truly that talented you will be noticed. That in itself is a hard thing to overcome and Daniels has become a name worthy of recognition in the ranks of the wrestling world. It was a hard struggle for him, I'm sure, but having the heart and will to make your dream come true is what living is all about. For that, I award him the following 6 points.
PO: Thumbs Middle