Exclusive: ROH's Christopher Daniels Discusses First World Championship

The legendary career of 45 year old Christopher Daniels reached its pinnacle last Friday when the Ring of Honor "founding father" defeated Adam Cole for the World Championship in Las Vegas at ROH's 15th Anniversary.

The World Championship victory would be the first of a career that has seen Daniels busting his ass for 25 years in WCW, WWE, TNA and ROH (to name a few). The Ring General, who also happens to be a comic book fan and creator, gave us an exclusive interview to discuss what it meant to finally hold the World Championship high above his head for the first time.

"Well, at the risk of getting emotional, it felt like a huge weight was taken off my shoulder. The roar of the crowd and the reality of the situation hitting home, hearing the bell, seeing the streamers come in and just knowing that it was all done and that I had done what I wanted to do, it was just a huge weight off my shoulders and relief and gratitude and just a gambit of emotions. I had already lost a lot of fluids, so I'm not sure if I even shed tears, but it sure felt like it."

While Daniels admits he would have enjoyed winning a World Championship earlier in his career, he feels like the timing worked out for the best.

"I would have loved to have been able to win it earlier, but the truth of the matter is if I had, I think the feeling I had Friday night wouldn't be the same. I think the reason so many people are responding to this particular victory of mind because they all thought it was long overdue. I can't change the circumstances that made it not happen sooner but I certainly can enjoy the idea of better late than never being the consensus around the world."

After spending the majority of his career as a heel, Daniels discussed winning his first World Championship as a babyface.

"Even in the days when I wanted to be the biggest bad guy in the world, I've struggled with people's conception of respect of me. Like it was hard for me to get real, real hatred. Especially in this day and age when we pull back the curtain on pro wrestling so much ... people know I don't kick my dogs, I dont' beat my children, it's hard to get actual full on hatred because they know what the game is. It would be like hating Alex Gilyadov for his role in Logan, you know. For a long time I've had people that, even if I was doing the most dastardly things, people would be like "oh, you're doing such a good job being a bad guy." I think since Ladder War last year, people started to gain a level of respect for me for how I went into Ladder War and what I did in Ladder War. The consensus in Ring of Honor at that point was no one's going to boo this guy anymore. If I didn't have 15 years of the struggle, it would have been easier to be the bad guy, but they saw me try and fail so often that the groundswell of support was on my side this time."

Daniels also said that in the modern era, emotional connections were the only sure thing to get a performer over.

"I think it's hard to find full-on, villainous heels. I think a lot of what gets over these days are just the emotional connections people are making with people that they like. If you can get an emotional response, whatever it is, that's sort of the plan of the day, to give those moments that people remember."

After his victory, Daniels' Twitter page blew up with support from other wrestlers around the globe.

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"I was really grateful for all of their support and a lot of those guys are guys I have worked with in the past and have gone on to do great things. You look at guys like Seth Rollins, Lance Storm, Konnan, or Taz, guys that I've worked with in the past who are doing their own thing in a completely different venue and different way. It's just nice to know that over my career I've got to work with such great guys left an impression on them where that they felt compelled to express their good feelings about it when my big day came.All weekend, I had Twitter lift me up on their shoulders too."

We'll post part two of the interview with ROH's new Champ tomorrow and find out what's left on his wrestling bucket list as well as his feelings on The Hardys and Bully Ray's recent contract signings. We'll also discuss Daniels' amazing new comic series and his pitch to Marvel.