TNA Wrestling’s Christopher Daniels Bound for Glory

 

jvarsallone@miamiherald.com

Christopher Daniels is a bad influence in the ring.

At home, he’s a good one.

Daniels is one-half of Bad Influence, a solid tag team rich with arrogance and attitude in TNA Impact Wrestling. He teams with long-time friend Frankie Kazarian. Their cockiness and interference make them traditional heels, boo’d by the masses. Their ability and ego make them two established, talented wrestlers.

And they’re entertaining.

“It’s easy being [the heel],” Daniels said. “I don’t like a lot of people, so it’s easy to me to be the bad guy, but honestly, what Frankie and I do, the types of people we are; we’re sort of smart #%^^^; we’re sort of snarky guys, and it comes across well on television -- the way we act, what we do, our wise cracks and our nonsense and tom foolery. It’s entertaining, and in the end I have no problem with people wanting to see me get beat up. I’m fine with it.”

Daniels and Kazarian prove tag team wrestling can work when given the platform, and that platform will be center stage during the Bound for Glory Weekend, TNA’s biggest time of the year.

Bad Influence is part of a gauntlet tag team match during the TNA Bound for Glory pre-show at 7 p.m. EST Sunday, Oct. 20 on Spike TV. The winner of that match will earn a title shot against champs Cowboy James Storm and Gunner during the TNA Bound for Glory pay-per-view which starts at 8 p.m. EST.

“Frankie and I, as the best tag team in the company, the best tag team in the business, it’s up to us to set the standard,” Daniels said. “We’re going to go out there, the first match of the night, and set the bar for everyone to meet, and then later when we wrestle for the [TNA] world tag team titles, we’re going to show the world why we are the best tag team.”

Daniels, 41, has been wrestling 20 years. He’s been friends with Kazarian through 15 of them.

“Because Frankie and I have been friends for such a long time -- we traveled the roads together -- when we decided to come together as a tag team, we knew that we were going to gel really quickly,” Daniels said. “There wasn’t a feeling out process. We knew each other, and one of the reasons why we were so successful so quickly is because he and I have the same mentality when it comes to tag team wrestling. We understand that the way a tag team succeeds is if both individual members put the team ahead of the individual desires.

“We kept being successful no matter what’s been put in front of us.”

Daniels enjoys tag team wrestling with his friend, but singles action is ‘most liked.’

“Frankie and I have good chemistry, and we still haven’t scratched the surface of what we can do as a tag team,” Daniels said. “I see something big there. I see something positive in what we’re doing. I feel like we can run with this for a long time and continue to be entertaining on [TNA] Impact Wrestling, continue to be a dominant tag team in wrestling. I’m happy that I found something successful, and I want to keep running with it as long as we can.”

Growing up in Fayetteville, North Carolina, Daniels had two loves -- comic books and pro wrestling.

“If I wasn’t doing this [pro wrestling], I’d probably be running a comic book store somewhere,” said Daniels, who graduated from Methodist University in Fayetteville with a degree in theater. “I was working at a comic book shop before I got into pro wrestling, making a little extra cash and getting comic books for free. Who knows. That may be in my future.”

Daniels’ parents introduced him to comic books, but as a seventh grade is when he started collecting. He enjoyed “The Uncanny X-Men” by writers John Byrne and Chris Claremont under Marvel Comics and “The New Teen Titans” written by Marv Wolfman and artistry by George Perez via DC Comics.

“Those were my two favorite books at the time, and those stories and those characters are what got me into collecting the books and trying t keep them in good condition,” Daniels said, “and over the years it’s been something I’ve stuck with, reading those characters, Wolverine, X-Men. I’ve been a Marvel guy ever since then. The past couple of years I’ve read just about everything Marvels put out. It’s rare if I’m disappointed by anything Marvel does. It’s really good stuff to read and be entertained by.”

Daniels owns “Wolverine” No.1 and “The New Mutants” No.87 with the first appearance of Cable.

Comic book characters on the big screen is very common these days.

“It brings new eyes to comic books,” Daniels said. “When ‘Iron Man’ the movie came out and “Captain America” the movie came out, it brought new eyes to the source material. Anything that’s going to help the comic book store to live and thrive and survive is a positive.”

Daniels enjoyed the first “Iron Man” movie, the first “Spider Man” movie and original “X-Men” flick. He attends comic cons, most notably San Diego and New York where, in awe, he thanked comic book writer and former artist Brian Bendis (Marvel’s “All New X-Men” and “Uncanny X-Men”). Via the Internet, Daniels recently became friends with artist Ryan Stegman (Marvel’s “She-Hulk,” “X-23” and “Spider-Man”).

Comic books and pro wrestling are a good mix. Some pro wrestling characters are influenced by comic book heroes and villains. Larger than life personas.

Daniels brought some books to TNA shows, but now with technology the IPad is an easier and safer way to show books. Frankie Kazarian, Gunner, Homicide, Rob Van Dam, Rosita, Samoa Joe, Velvet Sky, Eric Young are some from the TNA roster (present and past) interested in comic books.

“I’ve gotten a lot of guys interested in different Marvel stuff and tried to get them involved in the different comic book titles I read,” Daniels said, “so they can go and enjoy it themselves.”

Daniels is just starting to encourage his kids to read comic books.

“When I was their age, I was reading comic books, and it helped broaden my vocabulary. I’m hoping that’s going to be the case for them, to help them read at a higher level than they are now...and become smart #%^^#& like their dad.”

The name Bad Influence is credited to Frankie Kazarian. When he first wrestled in 1998 that became his tag team moniker.

“Frankie always liked the name, and I thought it fit with what was going on with us at the time. So we started calling ourselves that before the company did.

“We are the ‘Bad Influence’ of TNA.

“We decided that’s who we are, and we kept pushing it and pushing it, and finally everybody [in TNA] hopped on board with it.”

Daniels has won 15 championships between TNA and Ring Of Honor, including 10 tag team titles (eight in TNA, two in ROH). He is also a former World Wrestling Council tag team champ in Puerto Rico. He’s wrestled in Canada, Japan and the United Kingdom, too. Daniels had brief stints in WCW and WWF, training at Dory Funk Jr’s Funkin’ Dojo. He is known as “The King of Indies” for his work with independent promotions across the world, including Frontier Wrestling Alliance, International Wrestling Cartel and Pro Wrestling Guerrilla.

Daniels received much notoriety as the Fallen Angel. He is very close with Curry Man, Suicide and even Conquistador Dos.

As for the current EGO, the Extraordinary Gentlemen’s Organization, Kazarian is again the brains behind the name. EGO is Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian) and Bobby Roode. Strength in numbers.

“It’s a good pairing,” Daniels said. “Back from the days of Fortune, Frank and I had a good chemistry with Bobby, and we play well off each other. Bobby is one of the best wrestlers in the world today. I think there is a lot of opportunity and a lot of different directions the three can go to be entertaining and successful. Championships for all.”

Living near Los Angeles, Daniels and his wife, Lisa, have two kids: Jerica Ellen, 10, and Joshua Allen, who turns 8 the day after Bound for Glory.

Daniels would love to bring the belt home for his son’s birthday.

“My kids don’t watch all the time, but they make sure to watch when I’m on,” Daniels said. “They have a good time, and they understand what dad does. I’ve explained a few things to them. They know I’m playing a bad guy on TV, but I’m not really a bad guy, and they know what I do is not something they should be doing at school on the playground.

“They understand dad’s doing a job, and it’s entertainment. So it’s easy for them to watch dad get thrown around, boo’d and goof off like I do. I tell them dad likes getting the thumbs down from everybody, and they know dad doesn’t need to be liked to be successful, but they do wonder why I lose all the time. ‘Dad, when are you going to win?’ ‘I’m not sure yet kids. We’ll keep trying.’”

Dad would love to win at Bound for Glory and bring the belt home just in time for his son’s birthday.

• Follow Christopher Daniels on Twitter @facdaniels

• It’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month and TNA Impact Wrestling superstar Christopher Daniels wrapped filming for Susan G. Komen Orange County.

Daniels will be appearing in Komen Orange County’s second holiday jingle video campaign, which is scheduled to debut just before Thanksgiving.

Daniels, along with several others, was asked to lend his singing voice to help raise funds for mammograms for underserved and underinsured women and men in Orange County. He spent an afternoon belting out new lyrics to the tune of “Jingle Bells” about raising money for breast health.

Pro wrestling star Brian Kendrick generously lent himself and his school, Brian Kendrick’s School of Pro Wrestling, for filming. The result was anything but ordinary.

Look for the video on YouTube and all over social media, launching mid-November.

Here’s a link to the Komen Orange County website: www.komenoc.org.

• TNA Impact Wrestling is 9 p.m. EST Thursdays on Spike TV.

• EGO’s Bad Influence (Christopher Daniels and Kazarian) will be part of a gauntlet tag team match along with Chavo Guerrero Jr. and Hernandez, Joseph Park and Eric Young, and The BroMans during the Bound for Glory preshow on Spike TV. The winners get a title shot against TNA tag champs Cowboy James Storm and Gunner later on the pay-per-view.

“In the past two or three pay-per-views, they’ve had three-team matches and four-team matches, and they can be sort of difficult, because there are so many bodies out there. In a gauntlet match, two teams enter, and one wins, and then the next team comes. So it’s outlasting all these teams, relying on our stamina, and Frankie and I feel we’re in the best shape of our lives. We’re certainly a better team than the rest of the teams in this particular gauntlet.

“It’s a test for us, but I think it’s a test we’ll pass pretty easily. In terms of tag team continuity, in terms of chemistry, I don’t think any team in the company. I don’t think any team in the business has what Frankie and I have. We’re the best tag team going, bar none, and we’re going to show the world [at Bound for Glory] we’re better than all these teams. We’re more entertaining. We’re better wrestlers, and in the end, we’re going to have the tag team titles with use, where they belong.”

Spike TV’s Countdown to Bound for Glory special is 7 p.m. EST before the pay-per-view gets underway.

TNA’s Bound for Glory pay-per-view is 8 p.m. EST Sunday, Oct. 20 from the Viejas Arena in San Diego. The event is headlined by AJ Styles challenging Bully Ray (with Brooke Tessmacher) for the TNA championship.

Also, Ultimate X: Jeff Hardy vs. Austin Aries vs. Manik vs. Chris Sabin (with Velvet Sky).

TNA Knockouts champ ODB vs. Gail Kim vs. Brooke Tessmacher.

Kurt Angle vs. EGO’s Bobby Roode.

Sting vs. Magnus and more.

The Bound For Glory Weekend also includes the popular Fan Interaction and the induction of Kurt Angle into the TNA Hall of Fame.

Visit www.tnabfg.com and www.impactwrestling.com for the latest news and information regarding Bound For Glory.

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