Originally published at Christopher Daniels was asked to be at IMPACT Slammiversary, had a commitment with NJPW
If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.
** On the latest episode of Brian Hebner’s Refin’ It Up podcast, Christopher Daniels joined the show and shared that he was asked to be at this year’s IMPACT Wrestling Slammiversary but he had a commitment with New Japan Pro-Wrestling. Daniels said it stung not being there.
They approached me to be a part of the Slammiversary that weekend but I had already committed to New Japan for that weekend and so that was why I wasn’t at Slammiversary, and you know, I’m disappointed. I had made a commitment to New Japan and the stuff I’m doing with New Japan STRONG right now is very important to me but I would be remiss in saying that it didn’t sting a little bit to know that I was gonna miss the 20th anniversary of Slammiversary and to see Frankie to be the referee for that as well, it also sort of made everything full circle after the careers that you’ve had at IMPACT.
At TNA Destination X 2012, Daniels and AJ Styles competed in a Last Man Standing match. Daniels shared that he was ‘knocked stupid’ during the bout and recounted talking to Brian Hebner as he was trying to regain his wits.
I’m not disappointed in this match but it’s not our best match were the referee and I’m almost positive, you might remember this, but there’s a moment where AJ does this move. It’s basically a suplex that turns into a neck breaker and the minute I hit the mat, I sort of remember this, I remember saying, ‘Where am I? What happened? What’s next?’ And I can swear that I looked up at you and I was like, ‘Hey, where are we at? What happened?’ And after the match was over, I talked to AJ and I was like, ‘Hey man, I think I got knocked stupid in there for a hot second.’ I finished the match but if you look back at it, you could see near the very end, there’s some clunky moments, some not so smooth transitions and part of that is because I wasn’t quite sure where I was and so I think that’s one of the reasons why you said three or three-quarter stars or whatever. Well, a lot of the flow at the end of the match suffered because I was sort of a step behind what was going on. So, there’s some stuff in there in that match that didn’t go so well for myself personally and you know, there’s no one to blame except myself. For whatever reason, I got gonked. I finished the match, I probably shouldn’t have. In this day and age, you probably should have stopped that match but ten years ago, who knew? So there it was, I got gonked, I was sort of loopy for a second, finished the match and if I recall, that was the beginning of sort of the jealousy angle that we retold with me and AJ.
** Jesse Collings and Brandon Thurston of Wrestlenomics conducted an extensive interview with John Carlan, former WWE V.O.D. Director and Producer. Carlan talked about having to edit New Jack matches for the WWE Network and those matches having ‘Natural Born Killaz’ playing in the background. Carlan stated that it was tasking, but he and a fellow editor eventually got the hang of it.
A disaster . I wish I had my editor friend on this call. He could tell you a story or two about that because him and I worked deep into nights doing New Jack matches, just New Jack matches only. I kid you not and you laugh, but I’m telling you, it wasn’t funny, it was painful but absolutely, so what we had to do was — and we got it down after a while. After you did five of ‘em, you didn’t have to worry about it as much anymore. You would have to go through — we picked out a new piece of music which was one of my all-time favorites and every single thing — again, that was one of those lucky occasions for the most part that we had Joey Styles on a clean channel. So we had the commentary. If you had the commentary, the rest is basically cake except for New Jack. So, when we got into those matches, you would have to, you know — we knew we had Joey so were good, but, we had to take… we ended up just combing through his sound effects machine. All our editors have sound effects, they have thousands of sound effects that we can choose from. So we would find one and we would label it ‘toaster’ and we would find one and we would label it ‘keyboard’ and we’d find one and we’d label it ‘broomstick’, you know? We found one and we would label it ‘computer monitor’, ‘toaster oven’, whatever, ‘mop’, ‘can’, whatever and then we would just use those all throughout and rebuilding those matches, no lie, just those matches alone would take longer than it would take us to build the entire pay-per-view. It was that difficult and it was an adventure but, every one of those New Jack matches is on there. We never lost any of ‘em which is, again, something I’m real, real proud of.
Another task that was time consuming was blurring out the old ‘WWF’ logos. John touched on how everything with that logo had to blurred out including ring skirts, the logo on referee shirts and crowd signs.
The rules at WWE changed all the time for those of you who don’t know that. It’s just a quirk. It’s just the way that the company operates. So, there was a time where it was just the scratch logo so we were good, so the block logo, the old ‘WWF’, the block one was okay and then a year later, it wasn’t okay so we had to go back and retrace our steps and to pull all that stuff down and redo all of that, whether it’d be the referee jersey or sometimes the logo would be on the ring mat or certainly on the skirts, right? The ring skirts were a major deal. Certainly up the rafters, sometimes they would have them hanging all over the place, you know, back in the 90s certainly.
No joke, 100 percent, 100 percent , make logs of those and just because it was taking up so much of our edit time that we actually had to do to get stuff on the air, we just gave it to editors on the side like either overnight or at a time where we would just have them come in and work with us for 10 hours but not in the edit, but just by themselves in some rooms somewhere else just doing blurring. Blurring was a full-time job. The edit staff had folks that were just there to blur. That’s how big of a project that was for sure.
Carland was with the company from 1998 to 2020. He discussed providing content for FOX to air on FS1 as the COVID-19 pandemic began. Carlan said FOX’s standards and practices group were stricter than WWE and brought up an instance where they turned over a ‘Best of Ric Flair’ video for FOX to air that they felt was PG but received a list of 30-40 fixes that FOX wanted done.
When we were doing the shows, the ‘best of’ shows if any of you remember those, those were the things that we were kind of doing when the pandemic first hit when we were all sent home because we really were struggling for content. Those shows, then in turn would get cut down and sent over to FOX because FS1 obviously had no programming either with all sports shut down so that was another project that was very — so their S.a.P. group and what I mean by that is standards and practices were even stricter than anything we had to go through, through me or through any folks to get stuff on our linear side. They had an even stricter group over there that they went through and even though we had made it fully PG safe, that wasn’t fully ‘PG safe’ sometimes in their view so they would go through and pick apart stuff like I remember one time, I think I got a list. I thought I was fully done with the program, was ‘Best of Ric Flair’ as a matter of fact and I thought it was done-done, shipped and ready to go and I think the next morning, I got a list of about 30-40 fixes they had that I would never have seen in a million years unless you scrubbed the thing with a fine tooth comb which is what they were doing, which was a hassle but it was what we had to do with our partners and make everybody happy and get the product on-air that they wanted so, that’s what we did.
He shared that the 1999 St. Valentine’s Day Massacre: In Your House event was not allowed to be promoted on the linear front, meaning that when WWE’s video-on-demand service would have content airing when the app was opened, that event was not cleared to be promoted.
Folks would come to me through a colleague of mine who I worked closely with who helped me a great deal in my V.O.D. ventures. They would often go to her and and try to pitch these ideas that she in turn had to come to me and I had to basically say, ‘Yes, that’s okay for linear.’ ‘No, hell no that’s not okay for linear.’ That was, you know — and one in particular that I always use it as an example because I just can’t understand it because it happened year after year after year because a lot of times on the linear side that folks wanted to use content that was relevant to a holiday for instance, right? A Black History Month, right? Something like that. So every year, every year, I would constantly get asked the question, ‘Can we air St. Valentine’s Day Massacre on the linear side?’ And every year, the answer was continuously, ‘Not a chance in hell,’ because it’s not appropriate for PG. It’s not — linear was strictly, strictly for PG at this point, PG only, PG only, PG only so, the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre for those of you that don’t know was an old February pay-per-view back in 1999 that had blood and guts and sexuality all over the place. It was like from hour one to hour three. So that was never gonna see the light of day under my watch.
In 2020, EVOLVE, wXw, PROGRESS Wrestling and ICW shows were added to the WWE Network. John ran the point guard position when it came to editing and getting that content up. He said those conversations first began in 2017.
Yeah, I think it was a win-win . That’s how I looked at it because it was a win for us because we gained more programming probably for a discounted price and you know, we didn’t have to buy the library. It was just some sort of contract and again, that wasn’t something I negotiated. That was not me, I’m just a TV guy, I don’t negotiate contracts. But yeah, again, that was another hat that I wore was the independent wrestling promotion guy. Basically anything that went near or touched V.O.D., I had to be involved with it in some way, shape or form. So, like I said, a win-win was we got the discount, we got the footage and then these folks who were struggling to find a wide platform for their product, holy cow, they get to be on WWE Network. I mean it took us some years to actually get it up because there was some… there was different levels that — they wanted to make different levels of the Network and a make it a different — I’m sorry, ‘tier’. So they went through different — a couple years’ worth of how these tiers were gonna look and where the indie product was gonna go and that was gonna be X amount more dollars a month if you wanted that and those kinds of things so it just took a lot to get it up because I worked with it pretty much from the time we started in business with these folks which is probably, I wanna say ‘17, maybe ‘18, something like that.
Earlier in the conversation, he dove into the specifics of one of his roles in WWE and discussed acquiring libraries, going to Dallas to assess World Class Championship Wrestling footage, going to Canada to assess Stampede Wrestling footage and he would give WWE a talent assessment as well.
There’s not a lot I haven’t done in the business, you know, in the wrestling business, in the TV business combined but like I said, the majority of the stuff that I think is good for the topic here is certainly, you know, the latter years which is working first for when we first started or when WWE started the S.V.O.D. service . That was kind of pre-streaming, pre-Netflix, pre that kind of thing so that started back up in 2004 and I kind of was a part of the team that headed up that group and what we did at that time was go out and I was lucky enough and privileged enough to be — and to start acquiring some of these libraries and what we talk about the libraries and I mean video libraries. All the footage that you see currently on the Network now or for some of those documentaries, biographies, whatever you wanna call them. Certainly, guys had history in other companies. A lot of guys and gals had history coming up through the business in other companies certainly so we, at WWE, we wanted to have a lot of that to be able to provide the viewer, our audience, the WWE universe with the best possible content. We wanted to make sure we got our hands on that so I was appointed from the production team to kind of be that guy to go out there to go to Dallas for the World Class Championship Wrestling assessment, to go to Calgary to assess the Stampede library with the Hart family, that kind of thing which was great, you know? And like I said, it was a privilege and the company trusted me and I would certainly come back, write up a report, give it to the powers that be and then they would ultimately make the decision for whatever the price was if it was worth it. So my job was to go there and check things out whether it’d be the quality of the actual videotapes themselves to the actual physical tapes to the quality of them when they’re up. What did they look like? How is the audio? How’s the video? And then of course to give them a talent assessment. What was the talent like? Do we have A-plus talent? Do we just have B-talent? Is it worth a million dollars that they’re charging us for this? Those kinds of things. So I was able to do that all over the country and in Canada as well to kind of bring that to the table.
** While Shingo Takagi was being interviewed by NJPW’s official website, he recalled hearing in late 2018 that Kenny Omega said he wanted to face him the following year, but Omega was gone by then. Takagi thought maybe Omega wanted to do the match under the AEW banner.
I heard from the media that Kenny Omega said he wanted to have a match with Shingo next year , and then Kenny was gone, so I thought, maybe he wanted to do it at AEW? I had been wondering about the existence of AEW for a long time.
In this year’s G1 Climax, Shingo is in the D Block. He shared his thoughts about El Phantasmo, who he is in the same block with. He questioned why Phantasmo is in the G1 seeing as how he did not make it to the finals of Best of the Super Juniors. Takagi feels that rather than being a fighter, Phantasmo is a wrestler who is satisfied with doing “such and such”.
He didn’t even make it to the finals of Super Juniors so it’s a question to ask, why is El Phantasmo in the tournament?… I think it’s just a coincidence of the number of people in the competition.
I think he is a wrestler with great potential, but he has the image of a ‘jack-of-all-trades’ who can do anything. That’s why I don’t feel that Phantasmo is a fighter, but rather a wrestler who is satisfied with the fact that he can do such and such.
** Tony Schiavone and Aubrey Edwards welcomed Sonjay Dutt onto the AEW Unrestricted podcast. Dutt detailed how the trio of himself, Jay Lethal and Satnam Singh came to be. The idea was first presented by Tony Khan and Dutt was initially hesitant, but he was all for it once he realized he’d be able to consistently work with his best friend Jay Lethal.
Wow, okay so, I would say that was kind of the — and I remember the date. I think it was like April 1st because it was a week before my birthday and a week prior to that, Tony Khan came up to me and he had this idea. I guess it’s no secret to him and a lot of people backstage that Jay Lethal, he and I are best friends. We’ve been best friends for 20 years and when I say ‘best friends’, I mean, you know, he is — Thanksgivings, Christmas, vacations, he’s family, you know? So he comes to me — Tony — he says, ‘Hey man. I got this idea. I wanna try and link you and Jay Lethal on television and then he drops the Satnam bomb and since I stopped wrestling, I was very adamant that my future was not in front of the camera. I kind of refused those roles in previous companies where I was very fulfilled and I still am. I’m very fulfilled with what I do backstage in cultivating talent, new talent and helping them out and kind of and showing them the ropes. That is where I truly feel I have excelled in the last five-plus years. So when he came to me with this idea, I was kind of hesitant but when he dropped, ‘Hey, you’re gonna work with Jay on-camera,’ it was a quick yes. Being on-camera and working so closely with my best friend, I mean I can’t write a better story. It is truly like a dream come true to be out there with Jay and Satnam now has joined us. It is a pleasure to work with him and teach him the ropes. We both obviously, you know — Satnam speaks very good English but I speak the same language as him, Punjabi, we speak Hindi so, I try to let him know that you’re far away from home but when we’re hanging out, it should feel like home so I’m having a great time kind of teaching him. Me and Jay have taken a hands-on approach with Satnam. We’re loving kind of what the results have been so far, especially with his in-ring debut a few weeks ago on Rampage. I mean he killed it, he really did.
This past January, Dutt inducted Ruckus into the Indie Wrestling Hall of Fame. Sonjay touched the history he has with Ruckus that dates back to them being in high school together.
When the idea was presented star studded night, it was awesome. It was streamed live on FITE TV. Hopefully it’s a yearly thing. Hope it’s an annual thing that they start doing now.
** WWE’s Madcap Moss was interviewed by Jim Varsallone and he spoke about his past ACL and Achilles injuries. Moss dove into what he’s been able to learn from those setbacks such as finding positives in tough situations and controlling what he can.
I’ve had a couple of major injuries and those can be seen as setbacks but they can also just be seen as challenges to overcome and there can also even be a benefit to them. I think both of the injuries I had helped in a few different ways. First of all, when you’re rehabbing a major injury, you have to refocus on the process. You can’t focus on anything else but the process because it’s monotonous and it’s day-to-day and sometimes, especially early in the rehab, it might be all day and they are not exciting exercises to do. You’re just activating muscles and stretching them. But it might take three two hour sessions for that day just to get the muscles re-firing and to get yourself into position just to be able to move on to the next steps and so it really helps you focus on the things, like I just said, that you can control, this process day-to-day and the other thing it does is allow you to step back from the product itself, from sports-entertainment and just get a different perspective on things and see what stands out to you is important because sometimes in the day-to-day, you can get bogged down in certain things and kind of get into a bubble and not see things as they really are and I think being able to step back and remove myself allowed me to do that and so, even the setbacks, even the challenges I turned into positives for me and to this day, I try to do that. Not everything’s gonna go my way. I know that and I’m prepared for that and I just take it one step at a time, control what I can, put my all into that and just keep moving forward, keep persevering, and everything seems to work out just fine when I do that.
** Ahead of the NJPW G1 Climax 32, New Japan’s official site published their chat with Taichi who is in the B Block. He expressed that he likes the format of this year’s tournament opposed to years past because he is wrestling six matches instead of nine.
For me, I simply said, I’m glad that the number of matches has decreased. To be honest, I think everyone who entered the tournament was relieved that there were only six matches instead of the nine that there used to be. Why? Why? I don’t think there are any people who would say, ‘Why?’ Of course, there were some who said, ‘I wish I had wrestled with this guy,’ but I don’t think anyone thought, ‘I wish I had wrestled nine matches.’
** The latest guest on ‘Insight with Chris Van Vliet’ is Peter Avalon. Avalon’s librarian character was being discussed and it was mentioned that WWE’s Chad Gable is shushing the in-person crowd. Avalon said he has been tagged in posts and received text messages about it.
I got quite a few That’s right, I’m the shush man.
Furthering speaking about ‘The Librarian’ character, Avalon heaped praise onto former AEW correspondent Jenn Sterger. He said he was not well informed about sports and Jenn would provide him with sports facts and material to say about the sports team of the city AEW was in.
That was also just kind of done on the fly. I was under the idea that I was going to be the only librarian. I was under the idea that I was going to be The Librarian on BTE, and then they did this thing where there was going to be a contest where people could send in promos to become The Librarian. They kind of told me that it was going to happen and that they had an idea for 2 librarians. I am like hey, whatever, I’m down for whatever. I am professional Peter Avalon and I can make anything work. Especially anything silly. So whatever, these promos happen and Leva naturally gains traction, she is good at what she does, she is a natural entertainer and she is good. So now she wins the contest and we are partnered together and here we are today. It was kind of written as we went on, and it was a lot of my own brainchild of trying to think of what to say. Tony wanted it to be very Lanny Poffo, but I didn’t just want to be a direct Lanny Poffo. Maybe I won’t do poetry, let me dive in and actually see what a librarian actually does. I know he is not someone who just reads books, a librarian just doesn’t read books, he is Google before Google. You go and talk to him and you can find out information or he can point you in the right direction. So that’s what I will do, I will spit facts. So maybe I will find some sports facts and start reciting some facts. So that became my fame for a little bit as I come out and try to take the little jabs at the sports teams. I had Jenn Sterger there at the time, she was my clue in to anything that was sports related. She knew her stuff man. I would be like, ‘OK, where are we at? What team?’ And she was hammering off like current stuff like, ‘This guy is this, this guy is injured…’ I’m like sh*t, I don’t know any of this stuff. I don’t give a sh*t, I am not an NFL or an NBA guy. So she helped me big time with those promos.
In the past, Avalon has opened up about his time with TNA/IMPACT Wrestling and his on-screen program with EC3. Avalon said EC3 looked out for him and made sure he got as much mileage out of their program as he could all while knowing Avalon was not supposed to come out of it well in a character-sense.
I loved working with Ethan Carter, EC3, he is great. He was very helpful with me, he knew what the role was, I’m there to get my ass whooped. But he wanted me to come out of it really well and he knows I’m not supposed to come out of it well. This is all for him, but he wanted to make sure that I got as much mileage as I could out of it. I think because of that, I was able to get 6 months out of it in 2013 as Norv Fernum. Jeff Jarrett was the producer of most of our stuff and was behind it. But when he left, they were not as gung-ho and eventually we just stopped getting used.
** In edition #96 of Hiroshi Tanahashi’s Ace’s HIGH series, he recounted what he was thinking when New Japan Pro-Wrestling was first brought under the Bushiroad umbrella. Tanahashi stated that like many people in NJPW, he was worried about what would happen to the product. After he talked to Takaaki Kidani, he learned how passionate the Bushiroad CEO is about pro wrestling.
I found out about it at the same time as the rest of the boys actually . I think I would have said something at the announcement, being the champion, but I can’t quite remember. To be honest, like a lot of people in the company, I was worried about just what would happen to NJPW, but talking to Takaaki Kidani afterward, I really understood that the guy was passionate about pro-wrestling and devoted to making this work. The things we’ve been able to do since, like wrapping the trains on the Yamanote Line with Tokyo Dome ads, it was the sort of stuff we hadn’t done before. I’d been steadily working away doing promotion, and he was taking everything to a whole new scale. I’m definitely grateful to him.
** While on Busted Open Radio, IMPACT Wrestling backstage interviewer Gia Miller answered the question of if she would prefer to continue being an interviewer or transition to pursuing an in-ring career full-time:
Man, that is such a tough question and if you had asked me two years ago, I probably would have told you for sure, I’d be a wrestler, 100 percent. But now that I’m doing this and I really realize just how much longevity I have in the role that I play and I do enjoy being an interviewer. I have a degree in Journalism. This is something that I like to do and it was always on my list of things to do. It just happened in the opposite order that I thought it was going to, so it’s almost sad because like, of course I know my in-ring career, it’s going to come to an end eventually and then after that, oh yeah, I can be an interviewer and then there’s all that longevity after that. But, if I wanna do it opposite, eventually I’m gonna have to stop being an interviewer and that’s so hard to come to terms with. So I honestly — I don’t even know. Of course, I got into this business to be a wrestler and I still want to be a wrestler and I had this conversation with someone pretty recently and to me, it doesn’t really matter if it’s as an interviewer or as a wrestler or as a manager. I want to be that — this term we throw around a lot but it holds a lot of weight, an ‘icon’. That’s what I wanna be one day. I wanna be Mickie James, I wanna be a Tommy Dreamer. When you say those names, there’s no explanation. People know who they are because they’re an icon and that’s what I wanna be one day. I don’t know what it’s gonna be as but that’s my goal.
** PWInsider is reporting that the first group of talents for WWE’s SummerSlam week tryouts in Nashville, Tennessee are: Lenaya Griffin (Track & Field for Long Beach State University), Lea Simone Mitchell (Michigan State alum, Gymnastics), LaMonte McDougle (Football, University of Texas at San Antonio) and Derrian Gobourne (WWE N.I.L. athlete).
** There is an interview on the Fightful website with IMPACT World Champion Josh Alexander. He told the story of when AEW’s Santana was wrapping up with IMPACT, he bet Alexander that he would win the world title before his first contract was up. Alexander took the bet and now owes Santana a steak dinner.
I think the whole business changed mid-way through the pandemic for all of that stuff with the influx of AEW and there’s a lot of jobs out there, but then Ring of Honor shutting down. It’s always this ever-changing thing with being a free agent. It’s stressful. Especially for someone like me who it took fourteen years to get signed anywhere, to get any real notoriety. But I always wanted to be with IMPACT Wrestling. I knew that I had unfinished business here. Even though I didn’t think anything was possible with my singles career, I had people like Jordynne Grace and Santana of L.A.X. telling me I was gonna be a World champion since the moment I got here. I do owe Santana a steak dinner, though. The night before he left IMPACT, we were hanging out just to say goodbye and he said, ‘I bet you a steak dinner that you’re gonna be World champion before your first contract’s up.’ I was like, ‘No way. Take that bet all day long.’ I still owe him a steak dinner.
** Tickets for WrestleMania 39 on 4/1/23 and 4/2/23 in Inglewood, California go on-sale August 12th.
** Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling’s ‘Wrestle Princess III’ show is scheduled for October 9th at Tokyo Dome City Hall.
** Battle of the Brands 2K22: Return of The Animal!:
** Dustin Rhodes was welcomed back onto Sports Guys Talking Wrestling.
** July 14th birthdays: Bully Ray, Charly Arnolt (Caruso).
If any of the quotes from the following podcasts or video interviews are used, please credit those sources and provide an H/T and link back to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.