AJ Styles versus Christopher Daniels is a rivalry which has been a constant in TNA Impact Wrestling for the last decade.
The two are advertised to collide one last time 8 p.m. ET Sunday, Dec. 9 at the Final Resolution pay-per-view from Universal Studios Orlando.
During a recent TNA Wrestling conference call to promote the pay-per-view, Styles reflected the first time he met Daniels. It was at the 53rd Annual NWA Anniversary Show in 2001 from the WrestlePlex in St. Petersburg, Fla.
“It was the first time I had met Christopher Daniels, and what a match it was,” Styles said. “Two guys who knew nothing about each other and having an unbelievable match. I think it’s what helped me in my career to get to the next level. When you have matches like that with Christopher Daniels, you get noticed. My popularity grew ever since I wrestled Christopher Daniels. As far as changing over the years, I can tell you there hasn’t been that much change as far as the wrestling goes. As far as characters, we have been the closest friends and now bitter enemies.”
Styles and Daniels have met more than 100 times through the years, but the two have been able to make each match stand out. This Sunday should be no different.
“They’ve all been pretty good, so the bar has been raised,” Styles said. “The last time we met was the Last Man Standing match and literally about killed each other. It was such a brutal match for both of us that ended with me putting him through a table off the ramp with the Styles Clash.
“It’s hard to top that because we literally left everything we had in the ring and outside the ring. There was nothing left after that match, except to have one final match. It is a lot of pressure because we want to make something people will remember and never forget. We want to put on a classic. It’s hard, but I think we will be able to do it.”
Styles will strive to make his match different from anything else on the card and something fans haven’t seen or will forget.
“Classic wrestling and story-telling, it’s everything that is involved in professional wrestling, as far as what it has and what it will be,” Styles said. “...With rivalries who knows who the next guy is. As friendships, I think I have done enough of those. So I think it’s about time AJ Styles does his own thing and stop worrying about everyone else. [It’s time] to stop being the janitor of TNA and cleaning up everyone’s messes and do my own thing.”
Even though this Sunday’s battle is being billed as the final encounter, Styles isn’t naïve. He knows it’s never say never in his line of work.
“What if he is in the Bound for Glory Series, and I’m in the Bound for Glory Series?,” Styles said.
“How can we not wrestle each other? How can we stay apart? Is there going to be some rule? Or maybe it’s the final time where I ask him, and he accepts? That’s going to be a hard one to get around, so we will see.”
The Phenomenal One has had so many memorable moments in TNA history and a number of them involved the Fallen Angel. Styles and Daniels have one the tag team championship, and Daniels hoisted his close friend on his shoulders to celebrate Styles’ world title win. He ranks their last man standing match at Destination X as their most brutal encounter against one another. Comparisons were made that their competitiveness and chemistry in the ring resembled the classics put on by Ric Flair and Ricky Steamboat.