ESPN: What do you think is the biggest difference in TNA today from when you first started with the company a little over 10 years ago?
Daniels: I think that with of all the hard work of guys like AJ Styles and James Storm and Bobby Roode, we’ve really opened up the eyes of wrestling fans to where it became conceivable that guys like Kurt Angle and Christian Cage and the Dudley Boyz and Hulk Hogan could come to TNA and make it a better product. If it wasn’t for the work of the originals, guys that left WWE wouldn’t have come to TNA; they would’ve just went on to do their own thing. But because those guys saw the spirit of the homegrown talent, they saw that they could help build and grow something that could be an alternative to what WWE is putting out.
You, AJ Styles, and Samoa Joe have wrestled in some of the greatest matches of the last decade. Is there one match between any combination of you three that stands out as your personal favorite?
Definitely, it’s the Unbreakable 2005 main event. It’s the first time we ever did the three-way. A lot of things just seemed to come together at the same time. The Impact Zone crowd was really pumped to see three TNA homegrown talents in a main event, and it was just a special atmosphere. We knew while we were going through the match, that we were on to something special, and now, people still call it the best match in company history.
What is the positioning of TNA and Impact Wrestling moving forward? Are you guys content to be the second biggest promotion, or are you guys going after WWE in the near future?
Of course, you have to understand that the World Wrestling Federation and World Wrestling Entertainment have been around for the better half of 70 years. They’re firmly entrenched, and over the course of that time, they’ve become synonymous with professional wrestling. Impact Wrestling and TNA is only 11 years old. There’s going to become a point where we’re slowly but surely making people aware of our product and letting them know that there is an alternative to WWE. But it’s not an overnight process. We’re making people aware of us, and whether it’s Hulk Hogan or Kurt Angle or Jeff Hardy, whatever name draws the attention first, once people have sampled our product, I feel like if they’re real wrestling fans, they definitely stay involved and stay interested in guys like Bobby Roode and myself and Frankie Kazarian and AJ Styles and Samoa Joe. Once they watch, they become a fan. So while I would love us to be as popular and as watched as World Wrestling Entertainment, it’s going to take time, and I’m in it for the long haul and so is the rest of the locker room.