Interview: Christopher Daniels and Joe Koff talk ROH 15th Anniversary Show, goals, legacies, AJ Styles and more
Almost exactly 15 years removed from its first-ever event, Ring of Honor will present its 15th Anniversary Show tonight, March 10th, live from Las Vegas. The anticipated event will feature fresh as well as familiar faces, celebrating the company's anticipated anniversary.
However, no match on the card will have higher stakes than the main event, which will see Adam Cole defend his ROH World Championship against Christopher Daniels. These two have been on a collision course for weeks and will have a score to settle when they finally meet in the middle of the ring.
ROH COO Joe Koff has played a major factor in putting together the card for the pay-per-view, in addition to being a part of many monumental moments in the company's illustrious history along with Daniels, an ROH Original in his own right.
This past week, I had the honour of talking to Daniels and Koff about the excitement surrounding tonight's 15th Anniversary Show, Daniels' potential final shot at the prestigious prize, Koff's thoughts on the current landscape of ROH, any remaining goals both men may have, and much more.
What's especially interesting about Daniels headlining the 15th Anniversary Show is how he was a part of ROH's very first show almost exactly 15 years ago. Plenty has changed about the “Fallen Angel” since then, but one thing that hasn't changed is his pursuit of the world championship.
He discussed the honour of taking part in that historic “The Era of Honor Begins” event in 2002 and how it led him to where he is today.
“Honestly, it's sort of surreal to know that in the 15 years Ring of Honor has been around that the name Ring of Honor has become synonymous with great wrestling. And you look at the guys who have held that championship in the past, guys like Bryan Danielson, Low Ki, CM Punk, Samoa Joe, Austin Aries, Tyler Black. I can sit here and list off names for five minutes straight and to know I have the opportunity to add my name to that list of guys, and to represent Ring of Honor as some of the best wrestling on the planet, it's surreal. And to know I was there at the very beginning and been there off and on throughout the 15 years, it's a real special moment for me.”
ROH COO Joe Koff is also excited for the epic main event and everything it has to offer, commenting on how that match specifically will help the 15th Anniversary Show stand out from past instalments.
“I think there are a couple of things. One, that Christopher Daniels is going to having his title shot against our current champion, Adam Cole. For Chris, this is a journey he has waited a long time for and one I'm sure that he covets and at the same time, Adam isn't ready to give it up, either. What we're going to have in that match, I'm just going to call it “ROH Experience” and “ROH Newer Experience” because Chris has been a part of the company almost since the beginning.”
“In the Decade of Excellent [tournament], he was a combatant in that, and Adam Cole obviously has been a part of the Sinclair era since 2011. There's a lot at stake for both men and both are such great professionals and great technicians and performers and students of their art, I just can't imagine this not being one of the top matches anyone can see.”
Unfortunately, Daniels will be going at this world title match alone, following the events that transpired on this past week's episode of ROH TV where Kazarian shockingly turned on his Addiction tag team partner of five years and joined The Bullet Club.
Despite that, Daniels revealed he remains focused on the task at hand, while a reunion with Kazarian is almost out of the question at the moment.
“I don't know, man, I feel like this decision that Frankie made, especially knowing I needed all the support I could get going into this match with Adam Cole, for him to turn his back on me, that's hard to forgive. I can't concentrate on that right now, I'll deal with Frankie starting March 11th, but March 10th is my focus right now, Adam Cole is my sole focus. And if I start to think about the feeling of betrayal Frankie joining Bullet Club has given me, then Adam already wins. I have to put that aside and swallow that until the day after this match and concentrate fully on wrestling Adam Cole.”