Match Point is an on-going series at Last Word on Pro Wrestling, where we look at intriguing matchups in indie wrestling and beyond. They may be dream matches, first-time matchups, or hotly anticipated rematches. Today’s edition focuses on a rematch from 2011 between one of independent wrestling’s pioneers, Christopher Daniels, and one of its current hottest commodities, Jeff Cobb. The showdown takes place on November 8, 2018 during the Ring of Honor/New Japan Pro Wrestling Global Wars tour.
Christopher Daniels is a veteran’s veteran and a wrestler’s wrestler. He’s been around this business longer than most and he’s still performing at the top of his game, now in his 25th year. He’s seen it all and in Ring of Honor, where he’s the promotion’s only ever grand slam champion (trios, tag team, television and world title wins), he’s done it all. That’s why a compliment and endorsement from “The Almighty” himself is worth its weight in gold.
In September, Christopher Daniels gave such an endorsement to three wrestlers who he sees as being the future of the company he helped to build: Adam Page, Scorpio Sky and Jeff Cobb.
With Jeff Cobb coming into ROH in the past couple of weeks, I’m very interested to see him against some of the top guys in Ring of Honor. He’s someone who could definitely change the game when it comes to ROH.
Jeff Cobb is someone who has the potential to “change the game when it comes to ROH.” That’s certainly high praise coming from a guy like Daniels, who has been with the promotion since the beginning and who absolutely knows what it takes to elevate a company. After all, as one of the Ring of Honor Founding Fathers and TNA Originals, Daniels has had a role in building not one, but two successful promotions.
Daniels career began in 1993, at a time when the professional wrestling landscape was completely different than it is today. WWF and WCW were the two top companies and they were just about to enter into a transformative period in wrestling known as the Monday Night Wars. All the while, Daniels, a man in his early 20s, was embarking on his career in the Midwest. Daniels spent his first five years primarily with Windy City Pro Wrestling before making his WWF debut in 1998 for Shotgun Saturday Night. Daniels continued to work sporadically for WWF until 2001 and also worked a few matches for WCW in the same span.
2002 then, was really the beginning of Daniels’ so-called indie career and the point in which he truly began to establish himself as one of the scene’s early pioneers. Daniels found a home with the brand new Ring of Honor Wrestling and even took part in the promotion’s first ever main event where he faced Low Ki and the American Dragon (WWE’s Daniel Bryan). The same year, Daniels worked a few matches for the also brand new, NWA Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. By 2003, Daniels was working concurrently for New Japan Pro Wrestling (pre-ROH partnership), Ring of Honor and TNA, something that even with the recent climate, will probably never be done to that extent again. Because it wasn’t just one-off appearances. Daniels worked 35 matches for TNA, 26 for NJPW and 18 for ROH that year. Daniels continued to work for TNA and ROH for parts of the next four years, establishing himself as a top name in both promotions, where he is most known for his career. But Daniels’ successes go far beyond TNA and ROH.
The 48-year-old Christopher Daniels has won 19 of his career 44 titles in TNA and ROH. That means that the rest of his belts have come throughout the indies which include All Pro Wrestling, Ultimate Pro Wrestling, Frontier Wrestling Alliance, East Coast Wrestling Association, World Wrestling Council, AAW: Professional Wrestling Redefined, Midwest Championship Wrestling and Michinoku Pro Wrestling to name a few. Daniels is also known for his work in Pro Wrestling Guerrilla and International Wrestling Cartel. He’s traveled the world, wrestling in Puerto Rico, Japan, Mexico, Germany, Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy and more.
And that just scratches the surface on Daniels’ remarkable career.
By the time Jeff Cobb’s pro wrestling career began in 2009, Daniels had already been wrestling for 16 years. But while new to mixing it up inside the squared circle, the 36-year-old Cobb was not new to wrestling as a sport. In 2004, Cobb represented Guam in the Summer Olympics in the freestyle wrestling competition and served as the nation’s flag bearer as well. From there, he began his transition into pro wrestling.
Jeff Cobb wrestled exclusively with Action Zone Wrestling (where he is a three-time champion) in Hawaii up until 2012, at which point he began wrestling in California as well. The move to California was needed and as it would turn out, somewhat influenced by Daniels himself. Daniels traveled to Hawaii where he faced Cobb for the AZW Heavyweight Championship and afterwards, gave the just three-year pro some words of wisdom. From there, Jeff Cobb moved to San Francisco, continued to train and in 2015 was really began to break out, due in large part to his role as Matanza Cueto on Lucha Underground. As far as a national audience, more people were now seeing Cobb’s work than ever before and they were extremely impressed. The exposure of Lucha Underground opened doors for Cobb and soon his talent was too much to deny.
By 2016, Cobb started to become a household name in the indies, working at promotions such as PWG, AAW, PCW ULTRA, WrestleCircus, Beyond Wrestling, EVOLVE, The Crash, Lucha Libre AAA, Absolute Intense Wrestling and more. The following year, Cobb’s explosion on the indie scene continued as he wrestled 135 matches across 57 different promotions, adding NJPW, DEFY, PROGRESS, Bar Wrestling, Over the Top Wrestling, Major League Wrestling, IWA: Mid South, Championship Wrestling from Hollywood, Fight Club: PRO, Smash Wrestling and House of Hardcore to his resume. Cobb continued to explore the indies in 2018, adding Combat Zone Wrestling, IWC, Warrior Wrestling, Dojo Pro, Insane Championship Wrestling, Ring Warriors, wXw and of course, ROH.
An attraction the world over, many people were shocked when Cobb chose Ring of Honor despite seemingly having interest among other big suitors in IMPACT Wrestling and WWE. And while Cobb’s choice did surprise, his time in ROH has shown that he’s made the right decision. Cobb made an impact from his first day on the roster, destroying the annual Top Prospect Tournament before earning a shot at the television title. In an absolute squash, Cobb defeated Punishment Martinez for the belt in his first official match with the company. He’s currently undefeated since coming to ROH this summer.
While Jeff Cobb is the television champion, he 12th title in his career and fifth he currently holds (APW Universal Championship, PWG World Championship, Ring Warriors Grand Championship and PREMIER Heavyweight Championship), the belt won’t be on the line when he takes on Daniels. Though, if Daniels were to win and become the first person to defeat Cobb in an ROH ring, there is no doubt he’d be at the top of the line to receive a championship match. And as we’ve talked about before, Daniels really needs a belt and needs one soon if he hopes to stay in ROH going into 2019.
Oh my. https://t.co/DtupStE2So
— Christopher Daniels (@facdaniels) October 25, 2018
At one point, Christopher Daniels was the King of the Indies. He helped pioneer the scene through his work at smaller companies and some of the more established ones. However, at 48 years old, there’s no denying that Daniels is closer to the twilight of his career than the dawn. That doesn’t mean he has retirement on the mind. It just means that he might be looking to pass that mantle on. If anyone is next in line for that moniker it would be Jeff Cobb and there’s no better way to pass that torch than in a match. Cobb’s made quick work of all of his opponents thus far but Daniels will really be his first big test. These two have faced each other but that was before Cobb really came into his own, and even then he still won. But Cobb took Daniels’ advice and now he’s one of the best in the business and someone that Daniels is even looking to as the future of Ring of Honor. That all being said, this should be Cobb’s best match in ROH thus far and one certainly worth watching.