NOTE: The following contains a TV Spoiler
Christopher Daniels has been a cornerstone of ROH since the company’s inception in 2002, but the ROH World Championship -- pro wrestling’s holy grail -- has eluded “The Fallen Angel.”
In what very well could be Daniels’ final shot, the 24-year veteran will challenge for the ROH World Title currently held by Adam Cole at the 15th Anniversary pay-per-view on Friday, March 10 at Sam’s Town Live in Las Vegas.
Daniels, 46, earned the title match by winning the Decade of Excellence tournament, which was composed of eight competitors who debuted in ROH more than a decade ago.
After defeating Mark Briscoe and Chris Sabin in the same night last month in the first round and semifinals, respectively, Daniels beat two-time former ROH World Champion Jay Briscoe in the finals this past Saturday in Atlanta.
That match, which will air on an upcoming episode of “Ring of Honor Wrestling,” was an instant classic, and the result was somewhat of a surprise, as the number of pinfall losses Briscoe has suffered over the past four years can be counted on one hand.
Regarded as one of the “Founding Fathers” in ROH, Daniels competed in the main event of ROH’s first show against Bryan Danielson and Low Ki in a Triple Threat Match. Since making his pro debut in 1993, Daniels has won championships all over the world, including the ROH World Tag Team Title on four occasions and the ROH World Television Title.
He has come close to winning the ROH World Title on several occasions, including taking CM Punk to a 60-minute draw in 2005. However, Daniels has not had a world title match since April 1, 2011, when he lost to Eddie Edwards at Supercard of Honor in Atlanta.
Daniels left ROH shortly thereafter before returning in 2014. During his current run, Daniels’ focus has been on The Addiction, his tag team with longtime friend and partner Frankie Kazarian.
“I put the idea of being world champion aside for a while in concentrating on the tag team with Frankie,” Daniels said recently in an exclusive interview with ROHWrestling,com, “I do have that pang of regrets sometimes. I feel like I’m being a little selfish, but at the same time, we’re all a little selfish when it comes to being world champion. I’m sure Frankie would feel the same way.”
The Addiction won the ROH World Tag Team Title from reDRagon (Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly) in April 2015 and successfully defended it for five months. Daniels and Kazarian regained the championship by defeating War Machine (Hanson and Ray Rowe) last May.
At All-Star Extravaganza VII on September 30, The Addiction lost the title to The Young Bucks in a three-way Ladder War that also involved The Motor City Machine Guns (Chris Sabin and Alex Shelley). The insane contest was voted Match of the Year by Honor Nation, and despite coming up short, Daniels and Kazarian put on such a gutsy performance that earned it them a standing ovation from the crowd in Lowell, Mass.
“I felt a little bit of shame knowing that I had all these plans and all these strategies -- the things that I pride myself on in terms of being the ring general -- and all those plans and ideas that I had backfired on me,” Daniels said of the match. “It took its toll on me and made me question a lot of the things I’d been doing. ... It took me a while to get my confidence back.”
After winning the Decade of Excellence tournament, however, Daniels’ confidence is at an all-time high, as his victory over Jay Briscoe showed that he is at the top of his game. Whether it’s Adam Cole standing across the ring from Daniels on March 10 or someone else, the champion will undoubtedly be in for an extremely tough night against a determined challenger who knows he may not get another opportunity at this stage of his career.
“I certainly feel some of the matches a lot more than I did even three years ago,” Daniels said, ‘but at the same time, I know I’m one win away from being champion. … I feel like I’ve done enough in my career where people will respect my contributions, so I don’t know if I need the world championship, but I certainly do want it.”
ROH 15TH ANNIVERSARY PAY-PER-VIEW
Local Time: Friday, March 10, 2017 6pm PST
Sam’s Town Live
5111 Boulder Highway
Las Vegas, NV 89122
To purchase tickets click here