And the truth of the matter is sometimes it’s hard to be different from the WWE when you’re trying to gain those same viewers. Sometimes there’s a tendency to sort of follow in the footsteps of the WWE. And so it’s sort of a fine line where you want to be recognizable as professional wrestling but you also want to set yourself apart from what some people consider the standard of professional wrestling, which is the WWE.
So I think the challenge for us as individuals is try to stand out. Try to get people talking. Try to get that word of mouth out about our product. Not just ourselves but the entire roster as a whole. Trying to get people talking about the differences in our talent. The differences in terms of the stories we’re telling in the ring. Trying to get some buzz about the things that we’re doing.
Geek To Me: It’s not like TNA is lightweight. You’ve got some big names over there. You’ve got Kurt Angle, Sting, Hulk Hogan. Icons in the business. What’s it like being in the locker room with the likes of a Hulk Hogan the day of a house show or a pay-per-view?
Chris Daniels: It’s great, man. I respect the guys immensely. All the roster does. And when you’re standing shoulder to shoulder with these guys, in the trenches, going to the house shows, going to live events, going to TV, going to Pay-Per-views, and you see someone like Kurt Angle who has had immeasurable success in professional wrestling as a whole, going out there and doing his best to try and make people aware of the product, trying to make the product stand out, you can’t help but give 110% in that same respect.
And you can’t just mention those guys, you gotta mention guys like Bully Ray and Devon, the guys who used to be the Dudley Boys, they’ve both had career resurgences in TNA. They’re doing some of the best work of their careers, not just in the ring but also behind the scenes. They’re very hands on, in terms of trying to make our product better. Not just visually, not just in the ring, but also behind the scenes trying to build up brand awareness. Trying to get more people involved, to get people aware of what TNA is doing.
Geek To Me: D'Lo Brown still back there behind the scenes?
Chris Daniels: D'Lo Brown is also there, someone who is very influential behind the scenes, not just at television tapings but also on the road. He’s very influential in terms of the talent that we sign, and bring to TNA and put on our television show.
Geek To Me: I saw him the last time you guys were in Chicago. He’s a great guy. I asked him to do the head shake thing for me. (laughs)
Chris Daniels: Oh yeah, his neck still works that way.
Geek To Me: You’ve been in wrestling for a while, you consider yourself a veteran-
Chris Daniels: Yeah, actually- so twenty years, I’ve been in it for a little bit. I’ve done it for a couple years (laughs).
Geek To Me: So what do you think about the next up-and-coming generation?
Chris Daniels: I can’t help but applaud it, man. They feel the same way about professional wrestling, at least the ones you can recognize that have this in their blood, that make this a priority. Versus the guys that are doing it on the weekends, just doing it for a laugh, doing it to pass the time. It doesn’t take long to figure out the guys who are in it for real, and the guys that are just sort of playing and pretending.
And those guys that are in it for real, for the long haul, I can’t help but respect them. Because they were me, 20, 15 years ago. Trying to make a name. Trying to stand out from the crowd. I mean, it’s very tough, especially on the independent scene, just to sort of stand out, and catch the attention of TNA, of Ring of Honor, of WWE. And the only thing I can tell those guys is the more often you work, the more often you ply your trade, the more likely you are to be seen.
When you become comfortable enough to travel anywhere and everywhere, wrestle anyone and everyone, and get that reputation for being able to work with anyone at any time, that’s when you become a commodity to these promoters. When you get comfortable enough with yourself, to know that you can fly in, two hours after you land you meet someone for the first time, you go out and have a good match with that person. When you’re that comfortable with your own product, with your own work rate - so to speak - that’s when you become valuable. That’s when people start vying for you, to ply your trade in their wrestling match.
Geek To Me: Any other tips you’d like to give a kid who wants to get into pro-wrestling?