Fans of wrestling nationwide will have the pay-per-view pleasure tonight of watching Lockdown 2013, the latest crafted conflict from TNA Wrestling (and no, we looked it up, it actually stands for Total Non-stop Action). One of the big moments will be the tag-team title match, which will feature the preening Christopher Daniels and his partner, Kazarian, as they take on two other brawny, bellowing tandems.
At some point Daniels, a 43-year-old native of Kalamazoo, Mich., will likely strike a pose that he picked up in the Marvel Universe or in baneful Gotham City — that’s because the Lex Luthor look-a-like is a devoted fan of comics who has even entered the ring dressed as Magneto, the Marvel’s mutant master of magnetism. What are the ties that bind comics to wrestling? We asked the black-hat ringmaster to pin it all down for us.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Wrestlers seem to have a lot in common with comic book characters — they fly through the air, they make a lot of fans and enemies, the whole thing with tights. Do you think comics were a compass that pointed you toward your destiny?
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS: Not exactly. I grew up as a fan of both comic books and professional wrestling, but it wasn’t until I had been a wrestler for many years that I realized how much of a crossover there is between comic fans and wrestling fans and the similarities between the two forms of entertainment. I’ve said many times that the closest thing to a real-life superhero is a professional wrestler. We tell stories of good vs. evil in the ring, and we all have our own “powers,” whether it be brute strength, extreme agility, amazing high-flying acrobatics, or incomparable technical prowess.
NEXT: Candy and Kryptonite
Superman has kryptonite — what’s your weakness?
Snack foods. Specifically, Willy Wonka’s Bottle Caps. I promise you, William, one day I’ll break free of the sugary-sweet grasp you have on me!
Hollywood has actually made it cool to like comics but that wasn’t always been the case. What was your experience as a comic book fan as a youngster?
I never experienced any problems socially due to being a comic book guy. Granted, there were only a few kids that were into them as much as I was, and we definitely hung out together and traded books back and forth. I certainly attribute my large vocabulary to reading comic books, and I think reading as much as I did helped me in school overall.
Now we’re in the golden era of superhero cinema. What have been your favorites?
My three favorite superhero films, in no particular order — well, actually, in chronological order: Spider-Man, with Tobey Maguire and directed by Sam Raimi. I remember seeing this while I was on tour in Japan and being so thrilled with the finished product. I recognize that moviemakers have a huge obstacle to overcome when making a comic book movie, because they’re trying to appeal to people that may not be fans or even aware of the source material, while keeping the film appealing to the die-hard fans of the comic itself. I thought Spider-Man walked that line perfectly.
My next choice: The Dark Knight. That’s based mostly on the performances of Christian Bale and Heath Ledger. But also because I felt like Christopher Nolan pulled the camera back on most of the action, making it much easier to watch and enjoy.And finally, Marvel’s The Avengers. Marvel took advantage of the popularity and quality of the previous films…and jumped right into a great, action-filled ensemble piece with great actors. Joss Whedon gave each character his or her time to shine.
You look in the opposite corner and it’s your worst nightmare, the comic book character you have no chance against. Who would it be?
Definitely Wolverine! His mutant healing factor negates any damage my formidable skills can inflict on him. And his razor-sharp adamantium claws? Hey, ref, are those things legal?
Is there a wrestler you think might secretly be a Skrull?
Well, there’s always been speculation in the locker room that Kurt Angle is more than human, almost a Terminator, because he’s accumulated [so] many injuries…Mutant? Skrull? Hmmm, that would explain a lot.