When Total Nonstop Action (TNA) fans file into the Maryland Theatre on Saturday evening, they’ll be treated to several different contests but there will be one very familiar match.
It’s Christopher Daniels vs. A.J. Styles.
The Daniels-Styles rivalry dates back to TNA’s early days before the company garnered the worldwide attention it enjoys today.
For Daniels, it’s a fun challenge to formulate different ways to keep the decade-long rivalry interesting after countless showdowns.
“A.J. is always someone who pushes me to my limit,” Daniels said. “It’s tough after wrestling somebody for 10 years to keep it fresh, but that’s a challenge we look forward to to make it different.”
Daniels is considered one of TNA’s originals — he was with the company at its inception in 2002. He wrestled for World Championship Wrestling (WCW) until it folded in March 2001, and then for some smaller organizations around the world until he caught TNA’s eye.
“A lot the of people that were involved in the end of WCW were involved with the beginnings of TNA,” Daniels said. “There was this company called WWA (World Wrestling All-Stars) that did a pay-per-view in Las Vegas in 2002 that I was on and the people from TNA, who remembered me from WCW, saw me on that show and offered me a position.”
Daniels has accomplished plenty during his time with TNA.
He has held the Tag Team Championship six times — including twice with Styles — and is a four-time TNA X Division champion. About the only thing he hasn’t accomplished is becoming World Champion, which is something he would like to change.
“I’m still having fun doing what I’m doing and I don’t see an end anytime soon, but the one thing that has sort of alluded me is being World Champion,” Daniels said. “With the current success I’m enjoying personally, I feel like it would be an easy shot to get up to that level.”
Bobby Roode is TNA’s reigning World Heavyweight champion. The opportunity to square off against Roode while he is atop his game is a challenge Daniels would welcome.
“It would definitely be a challenge to step up to him at this point when he has all this momentum and all this confidence,” Daniels said. “But those are the challenges that make this still fun for me.”
Until Daniels gets his opportunity at championship gold, he is focused on his newer character.
Daniels was best known as the “Fallen Angel,” which he described as someone who had a God complex and actually thought he was God at times.
Now, Daniels’ newest role is more “delusional” as a guy who thinks, “he’s the straw that stirs the drink.” The new character is in a program with another TNA talent, Frankie Kazarian, that is being featured on television.
“There is a development between myself and Frankie Kazarian,” Daniels said. “And as far as I can say about that is you have to stay tuned because the story is being unfolded as we speak.”