“The southeast coast is the hotbed for professional wrestling, in my eyes at least, it was the hotbed of the National Wrestling Alliance, so I grew up as a fan,” Daniels said.
But, professional wrestling wasn’t on Daniels’ mind during his post-college days, as the future TNA star attempted an entirely different career before making a career-altering decision.
“After I graduated college, I was trying to be an actor in Chicago and it wasn’t going so well for me,” he said. “So I decided to find a professional wrestling school, just to give it a try so I could say to my kids, hey your dad tried to be a pro wrestler. So I gave it a try and because I grew up watching it, I had a frame of reference, so the training went relatively easy for me, or easier than it was for a lot of the other guys in my class. After that, I was wrestling in three months — and that was 19 years ago.”
During his 19-year career, Daniels had traveled across the United States and has also made his way into 20 different countries, showcasing his talents to a worldwide audience that has embraced professional wrestling as an art — a cultural movement.
It hasn’t always been life under the bright lights for Daniels, who had his breakthrough moment with the World Wrestling Federation (WWF) in 2000, premiering as the member of a tag team duo known as Los Conquistadores. From there, he would go on to sign with the World Championship Wrestling (WCW) organization, which was a rival corporation to the WWF in the early 2000s. During a match in 2001, Daniels botched a move during a television show, nearly breaking his neck. But, as most wrestlers are expected to do, he finished the match.