Sunday 3 April 2011

The Gospel Truth

‘The Fallen Angel’ Christopher Daniels has been around the wrestling business for a long time now. In that time he’s achieved a lot. He worked for the original ECW and received positive responses from the famously hostile-to-newcomers crowds, a sign that he was destined to become a name within the industry. He’s made numerous tours of Japan, both under his regular gimmick and his whackier ‘Curry Man’ persona. He worked under a mask as Conquistador Dos in the WWF, sharing screen time with Edge and Christian and wrestling the Hardy Boyz. While he wasn’t on TNA’s first show, he debuted for the company early in its life and quickly became a star there.

But it’s in Ring of Honor that he’s had his greatest success. He main evented their first ever show (in a great three-way match with Bryan Danielson and Low Ki), became one half of the first RoH tag team champions, and raised his profile to become one of the biggest names on the independent scene in tremendous matches with everyone he was put in the ring with. More recently he’s become the second ever RoH World TV champion and continued to have thrilling matches against everyone he’s put in the ring with, most notably rising star Davey Richards.

It’s because of his recent stellar work in RoH that I was disappointed to see him return to TNA. This is a company that had failed to use him properly for several years before they released him last year. He’d been made to portray a character that had been created for a TNA video game, the skull-masked, body-suited Suicide, as well as Curry Man (a gimmick that was never going to be accepted by audiences outside of Japan or CHIKARA), and been the victim of a stop-start push that was damaging to his credibility.

After being released ‘The Fallen Angel’ returned to Ring of Honor, leading to the title win and matches mentioned above. I was pleased to see him back in a wrestling promotion capable of using him properly. He’s a great talker, a greater wrestler, accepted by fans, and capable of working as either a heel or a face.

That last trait is going to be coming in handy, because at the March 16th iMPACT taping Daniels returned to TNA and saved the babyface Fourtune stable from a beating at the hands of Immortal. For now, Daniels is a good guy in TNA.

Over in RoH a heel turn had been seeded into storylines a few weeks ago. Having stolen The Book of Truth, a supposed self help guide penned by heel manager Truth Martini, Daniels informed fans that he’d read the book cover-to-cover. It was doing that that convinced then-face Roderick Strong to throw in his lot with the House of Truth last year.

Following an unsuccessful World title challenge against Eddie Edwards on April 1st, Daniels showed shades of his villainous past when he refused to shake hands with the champion. This behaviour continued the following night when he relied on a low blow to gain a victory over House of Truth member Michael Elgin.

During that match Truth Martini, at ringside with Michael Elgin, barely moved, which the commentary noted was odd. Indeed it was, and later on we found out why it happened. Following Roderick Strong’s loss to El Generico the House of Truth began a beat down on ‘The Generic Luchadore’. Colt Cabana made the save, followed by Chris Daniels. But, in the words of Jim Ross, it was a setup all along: Daniels walloped Generico with The Book of Truth after teasing he’d use it on Strong and Martini.

I believe the decision to turn him was made to bolster the previously flimsy ranks of the House of Truth and as a way to counteract any negativity that may come his way at RoH events due to his association with TNA. It’s a good move. It sets up the desirable matches of Daniels v Cabana and Daniels v Generico, as well as a tag match with Roderick in the mix. It also makes me think that either Generico or Cabana (probably Generico) is headed for a TV title reign. I don’t think Daniels will have the belt much longer now he’s working for TNA. With this turn RoH has created a feud in Cabana and Generico v the House of Truth that fans will want to see.

I suspect TNA’s use of Daniels will be less enjoyable. Knowing the company’s love of swerve turns I would be unsurprised if Daniels turned on Fourtune in favour of Immortal, most likely at Lockdown. Whether that happens or not I can’t see him being used in any meaningful way by the promotion’s current creative regime. It is nice to see him getting another paycheque though.

For now at least, it looks like the best place to watch Christopher Daniels do what he does best is in Ring of Honor. And that is the gospel truth.

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