Quickie Thoughts- Daniels won me over the very first time I saw him against TAKA on Shotgun. He was the first non-Maryland indy guy whose career I monitored and there's even a chance I never would have gotten into non-Maryland indy wrestling if it hadn't been for Daniels. Daniels was THE indy darling of the late 90s-early 2000s. I went to my first ECWA show because of Daniels. I followed ROH from the beginning because of Daniels. Raven was the main guy who got me into TNA, but Jarrett & Daniels were just percentage points behind him. Daniels is one of the smoothest wrestlers I ever saw. Loved his moveset. It's too bad he didn't do as much with the "Fallen Angel" character as he could/should have. Had tons of charisma without having stellar mic skills. Probably the best viable guy never to win the ROH or TNA title. Glad to see he is still going strong today. My favorite indy wrestler ever (yes, even above Teddy). Would make my all time Favorite 25 list.
Let me get Curry Man out of the way real quick. It's garbage. I hate that "wink wink nudge nudge look how stupid pro wrestling is" crap. That's why Chikara can suck it.
I was blown away when I saw Daniels wrestle TAKA on Shotgun. It's not every day you see a jobber break out picture perfect belly to belly suplexes, slingshot Jackhammers(! this should have been stolen by everybody) and a badass elevated sitout pedigree. I don't know how he wasn't signed on the spot. Cornette put him over huge on commentary. He name dropped APW as a Daniels haunt so I started following APW online.
Which made Daniels the first non-Maryland indy wrestler I followed. He also wrestled for ECWA and UPW in those days, having dream matches with RVD and Angle in UPW. Daniels won a bunch of indy titles and tournaments, botched a WCW tryout, and spent some time in Japan. He even had a cup of coffee in ECW. I saw him take on Rhino at The Arena. I was marking out for my indy darling and I made my cousin cheer for him. (My cousin wasn't a Daniels fan because he thought he "had a bad attitude") The rest of the crowd sat on their hands. Rhino won and now I'm pretty sure this is what turned me into a Rhino hater for the next two years. I had long wanted to check out a live ECWA show just to see Daniels but I wouldn't get that chance until late 2001.....
When Daniels vs. Low Ki turned me into an indy wrestling fanatic. This was the best live match I had ever seen at the time and it almost made my Coolstuff list. Daniels' glassy eyed faux knockout sell of a Low Ki kick followed by The Fallen Angel spearing Ki in mid-cartwheel and then picking him up for Last Rites seemingly all in one motion made me decide right then and there that Daniels was the best in the world. Sure, I probably switched back to Angle or RVD when I watched Raw the following Monday but Daniels was best in the world for at least two days. I became a regular at ECWA shows for the next year or two. Daniels would later go on to have an excellent match there with the rather mediocre Mike Kruel. Daniel Bryan had a dud with John Walters on the same show. Proving once again that Christopher Daniels was the best in the world....at least for two days.
ROH came along and I was on the bandwagon from the beginning mainly because of Daniels. The Daniels/Ki/Dragon 3 way from the first show put ROH on the map. Daniels got superstar reactions despite being the company's top (only?) heel. The Murphy Rec Center went nuts whenever Disposable Teens hit. Much bowing ensued. Low Ki/Daniels was their top feud. Ki was the first champ but it seemed only a matter of time before Daniels would wrestle the title away from his nemesis.
Only it never happened. In a weird bit of booking, Gabe hot shotted the title onto Xavier, who immediately proclaimed himself a Daniels lackey. Crowds hated Xavier when they would have loved Daniels and that's precisely why Gabe did it. He wanted a champ who would draw heel heat. Daniels was too popular to ever draw heat from the smarky ROH crowd. Xavier had no such problem. It didn't really work but I can appreciate the idea.
Daniels also ventured to TNA around this time. It was such a fun time to be a fan of alternative wrestling. You could see your favorites in a whole bunch of different places. Daniels was teaming with Elix Skipper and Low Ki in a group called Triple X. Low Ki soon pulled a Low Ki and left. Daniels & Skipper went on to have an all time great TNA feud vs. AMW. Triple X vs. AMW in a cage was my TNA MOTY for both 2003 & 2004. Daniels also had a brief feud with Jarrett that was quickly forgotten during this time.
Meanwhile, Samoa Joe had become ROH champion. Daniels challenged him in September 2003. I had to miss this show for some reason and I never would have forgiven myself if Daniels won the title that night, but he didn't, so it ended up being ok. The Rob Feinstein incident caused TNA to pull their wrestlers from ROH. Daniels stuck with TNA. The hated CM Punk received kayfabe credit for eliminating Daniels from the company. BOO!
No more Daniels in ROH sucked. I needed to get my live fill of Daniels somehow so I went to a 3PW show in Philly. Daniels had his usual MOTN. This time with Joey Matthews, AJ Styles and Chris Sabin in a really good four way. Matthews was the star of the match but it never would have come off as well as it did if the crowd didn't love "The Fallen Angel" so much.
Daniels was a major player during TNA's 2005-06 peak when he was having all time great company matches for the X Division title with AJ Styles and Samoa Joe, and later w/ AJ vs. LAX.
He came back to ROH in the summer of 2005. I actually thought about driving all the way to Connecticut for Daniels' return match vs. Matt Hardy(!) but decided against it. Still, just the fact that I considered the long drive counts as a point in Daniels favor. I did see Daniels wrestle Punk for the ROH title in Philly. It was the most excited I had ever been for an ROH match. The most heated rivalry in ROH produced....a boring technical match that ended in a 60 minute draw. Most disappointing live match ever, and it really hurt my ROH fandom.
Anyway, I finally got tired of Daniels at some point in 2007. I didn't outright turn on the guy, but he became just another wrestler. 8 years of continuous fandom is a pretty long time for me.
Looks like he's had a late career resurgence teaming with Kaz. Good for him.
Addendum- I was underwhelmed/disappointed when I saw The Addiction live. This new gimmick does nothing for me and I don't understand why Daniels still uses the "Fallen Angel" nickname. It would be like if Triple H was still being announced as "The Connecticut Blueblood" in 2000. All he did in the ring was a weak STO and a bunch of moonsaults.
Daniels was a major player in the indy boom period who will likely be forgotten over time since so many of his contemporaries went on to surpass him and that's shame.