In just a year-and-a-half, Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian have gone from not being wanted by TNA to one of the best tag teams in wrestling.
Daniels and Kazarian left TNA, the company they home almost exclusively since 2002. They have since become a much-needed, and much-experienced cog in the Ring of Honor tag team division, which is better than ever.
“We just continue to click on all cylinders from an in-ring standpoint,” Kazarian said of his partnership with Daniels. “Everything just continues to progress in a positive direction.”
The Addiction recently lost the ROH World Tag Team Championships on September 18 at Ring of Honor’s All Star Extravaganza VII. While they are without the titles, they continue to be one of the most consistent presences on Ring of Honor television, and have been since joining the promotion as a team in June of 2014.
They joined Ring of Honor after an exit from TNA they both saw coming. The next step for the team was clear, in their minds.
“We both kind of knew the end was near. I think I did more so than Chris,” Kazarian said. “Going forward, we knew the one thing we had to do was continue the act, continue the team. The team at that point hadn’t even scratched the surface of what we could do. We knew we wanted to go out and kind of do the international thing, which we hadn’t really been able to do and do the independent circuit around the country.
“The main thing we wanted to do is go to Ring of Honor. Chris, having a history there, and the scene at the time, they continued to put on great show after show after show.”
Daniels and Kazarian began teaming together in 2012 with TNA. They won the TNA World Tag Team Championship twice, beating Samoa Joe and Magnus in May of 2012 and A.J. Styles and Kurt Angle in June of the same year.
A few months before Daniels and Kazarian left TNA, Styles did the same. His success in New Japan and Ring of Honor was a good sign for The Addiction.
“For him to branch out and do the things he’s done, whether it’s in Ring of Honor or New Japan or internationally, that says a lot about just how talented he is,” Kazarian said of Styles. “It definitely was the man making the company, not the other way around. A.J. is going to succeed no matter where he is, and I think you could say the same for Chris and myself.”
Before returning, Daniels last performed in Ring of Honor in June of 2011 and said he has always had a good relationship with the company. When he and Kazarian left TNA, the only concern was whether there were spots for them.
“It was the first call I made when I left TNA, but I had no idea they’d have a place for me, and I had no idea if they’d have a place for both of us as a team,” Daniels said. “We were fortunate they gave us the opportunity to belong there.”
Back in ROH
The Addiction were able to stand out in one of the deepest tag team divisions Ring of Honor has ever seen. With teams like The Kingdom, Young Bucks, reDRagon, War Machine, Jay and Mark Briscoe and more, Daniels and Kazarian still stood out and had a 167-day reign with Ring of Honor’s tag team titles.
Daniels and Kazarian debuted at ROH Best in the World 2014, Ring of Honor’s return to pay-per-view. With their experience performing on pay-per-view and weekly television with TNA, they easily made the transition to a big stage. Having worked at that level for as long as they did, The Addiction came to Ring of Honor with a leg up on the rest of the tag team division.
“That’s something we were very used to doing. This last year we’ve been there, we’ve tried to give everybody the opportunity to learn and sort of understand the experiences we had in TNA and the things we dealt with in terms of television and pay-per-view,” Daniels said. “I think that’s something we bring to the table not a lot of teams have there.”
Now, Ring of Honor can be seen across the country every week on cable television through Sinclair Broadcasting. The Addiction have plenty of experience performing on a weekly wrestling show, and that helped them stand out immediately upon arriving in Ring of Honor.
“That’s our wheelhouse,” Kazarian said. “When we’re allowed and given the opportunity to express ourselves vocally, I think as an act we’re untouchable. That is kind of what made the team, especially in the early formation in TNA.”
Daniels and Kazarian know they are in the best possible position as a tag team, with the latter saying Ring of Honor hasn’t scratched the surface in terms of potential matchups.
“Right now, there’s at least seven or eight tag teams that are viable contenders for the tag team championship,” Daniels said.
A Future Addiction
As first announced in our article profiling pro wrestling power agent Bill Behrens, Daniels and Kazarian will participate in New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual World Tag League tournament. The multi-week tournament (November 21-December 9) determines the IWGP World Heavyweight Tag Championship challengers at NJPW’s Wrestle Kingdom show in January — a huge opportunity for all 14 teams.
This will be Kazarian’s first time working with New Japan. He has worked in Japan for Zero-1, and most recently with Wrestle-1 while with TNA.
“New Japan is the company I always wanted to work for over there,” Kazarian said.
For Daniels, this will be his first New Japan appearance in the heavyweight division. Daniels last worked for New Japan in 2008 and was a consistent member of NJPW’s juniors division from 2002 to 2004, participating in two Best of the Super Junior tournaments in addition to holding the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag championship alongside “The American Dragon” Bryan Danielson. Because of that, he is excited for the fresh matchups that will come of The Addiction’s participation in the World Tag League.
“It’s very exciting, especially for me in the sense this will be an opportunity to wrestle a lot of the heavyweights,” Daniels said. “Back in the day when I was over there as Curry Man, I was in the junior division, so I never got an opportunity to work guys like (Shinsuke) Nakamura, (Hiroshi) Tanahashi or some of the bigger guys. It’s going to be a brand new set of challenges for me going over there and working. I’m looking forward to seeing what teams are put together by New Japan and what the brackets are going to be. It’s definitely going to be a new situation. It’s not going to be me wrestling the same guys I wrestled 10 years ago.
“The way New Japan is firing on all cylinders with their guys, it’s going to be fun to be in the ring with all those guys and see if we can sort of keep up and make an impression on the Japanese fan base and the New Japan roster.”
At 45, Daniels is still performing at a high level in Ring of Honor and around the world. He has no timetable for hanging up his boots and ending his career inside the ring.
“It’s definitely day-by-day,” Daniels said of how he views his future in wrestling. “I see what works and what kind of demand there is for my work on the scene. So far I’ve been lucky Ring of Honor has been very open to the idea of me staying there and working as long as I want, so I’m not looking to change that any time soon. I want to keep working as long as I can work and as long as I can perform at a high level with the rest of the guys in that locker room. That’s my plan, to just keep going until I can’t do that anymore.”
As for The Addiction as a team, the duo have no plans of breaking up any time soon.
“Whatever’s in front of us, we tackle it and put our heads together,” Kazarian said. “Chris is a brilliant guy, and I like to consider myself a creative person, as well. We’re just going to keep doing whatever we can to move onto the next one.”