WWE's journey through the late-90s involved a potential star that nearly graced their roster – Christopher Daniels, an independent wrestling sensation who would go on to become the ROH World Champion. Despite his undeniable talent, WWE passed on Daniels during a tryout, a decision that WWE Hall of Famer Jim Ross recently shed light on in the latest episode of "Grilling JR." According to Ross, the fate of Christopher Daniels hinged on the perspective of one crucial figure – Vince McMahon.
"Vince [McMahon] didn't see it, he didn't feel it," Ross elucidated. Standing apart from the physically larger combatants, Daniels possessed a remarkable skill set that impressed those in the know. Ross elaborated on the scenario, revealing, "Chris is not the biggest dude in the fight but he's a tremendous talent, very skilled.
It's just that one guy — and I also don't know what Russo thought of Christopher Daniels."
Ross Supports Creative Plans for Daniels
Ross noted that if creative plans had been pitched for Daniels under his purview, he would have readily supported the idea.
Recognizing Daniels as a versatile performer capable of adapting to various wrestling styles, Ross mused, "I'd have no problem with that because he's a good guy, he's a soldier, and he's a good worker, can work a lot of different styles." Despite his capabilities, Daniels' path diverged from WWE.
The tryout itself left no strong recollections of a disastrous performance. Known as a 'highspot guy,' Daniels showcased a multifaceted in-ring prowess, blending aerial acrobatics with technical finesse. Ross shared, "I know we brought him in for a tryout and I don't recall it being bad.
He was known as a 'highspot guy' but he could work as well. Just didn't work out for him, I guess." If it were solely Ross's call, he revealed that he would have extended an offer to the former TNA X Division Champion. Daniels carved out a prosperous trajectory in wrestling circuits like ROH, TNA, and PWG, and currently contributes his expertise to AEW's backstage operations as part of the talent relations team.
Yet, the doors to WWE's main stage remained shut due to McMahon's particular perception of the talented wrestler. In the end, Christopher Daniels' journey exemplifies the intricate balance of talent, timing, and individual judgment that shapes careers in the unpredictable world of professional wrestling.