Tuesday, December 5, 2023

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Taya Valkyrie on her title, Kross, Tessa, Austin Aries and Lucha Libre

Taya Valkyrie had an incredible 2018, and 2019 is starting off with more triumphs.

In her personal life, Valkyrie married her boyfriend of two years, John Morrison, known as Johnny Impact in the ring, last summer.

Valkyrie has been heating up the indie circuit, but Impact is where she’s made her biggest mark in 2018. The Canadian pro debuted a new finisher, and introduced her already-established Wera Loca gimmick to a larger audience, complete with new intro music.

Most recently at Impact, Valkyrie has been in a brutal feud with Tessa Blanchard, involving just about every referee on staff. The disdain for each other culminated at Impact’s Homecoming earlier this month, where special referee Gail Kim and Valkyrie dished out punishment to Blanchard, helping Valkyrie to become the new Impact Knockouts Champion.

Blanchard has since been suspended from in-ring action, after attacking Gail Kim backstage, during last week’s episode of Impact. In the past, Blanchard has stated that Valkyrie “brings it” but isn’t “a diamond”, claiming Valkyrie is only where she is at because of her husband.

Diva Dirt’s Kristen Ashly had the opportunity to interview the new champ. The Knockout spoke on Blanchard’s comments and the exciting start to her 2019, including her moment in the ring with Gail Kim.

“What a way to start off the year! In response to Tessa, what can I say? Yeah, I’m no diamond, nor do I want to be. John is my husband but he has nothing to do with my success. I was Taya before I met John and I’ll continue to be that dominating force as his wife. Being married doesn’t effect someones talent. She can be upset, she can run her mouth, she can attack officials and be disrespectful to the Impact locker room, but at the end of the day I am Knockouts champion. As I’ve stated before, she is welcome to a rematch whenever she wants.

Having Gail backstage as an agent is really one of the best parts of being a Knockout. She wants the best for each and every one of us ladies. She gives the best advice and always stands up for us in every aspect. It’s an honor to be working with a legend that has so many years of knowledge and advice.”

On the same night Valkyrie won the Knockouts Championship, her husband Johnny defeated Brian Cage to retain the Impact World Championship. Taya gave her thoughts on sharing the victory lap with her husband.

“It was amazing. I love that we get to share this crazy journey together. But, it’s our individual careers that brought us to this point and also brought us together. I’ve never met someone so supportive, inspiring and motivating as John. I’m beyond proud of him for everything he has been through, his failures, successes and everything in between. Us holding those titles at the end of the night really was the exclamation mark on many years of hard, hard work between us both.”

Taya Valkyrie
Credit: Impact

Now that the feud between Blanchard and Valkyrie seems at a stand still, for the moment being, the champ looks to her future as the title holder at Impact.

“Honestly, I feel ready for anyone. Our locker room is full of such talented women! So, who ever becomes number one contender better be ready to bring it. Having Rosemary back is such a wild card.  I love it! We have so much history, but our characters aren’t the same they were a year ago. So, who knows what could happen?”

Last year wasn’t all roses for Valkyrie, however. Her and Johnny found themselves in a feud with Austin Aries on Twitter, after Aries used hurtful terms to describe Valkyrie. Aries has since left the company. Valkyrie reflects on the feud.

[Laughs] “Oh, my. Well, as everyone knows, the internet is a crazy place where everyone feels like they can say whatever they want. Even on this site I’ve seen some pretty awful stuff written by “fans” about all of us in this business. So yeah, it happens. And the fact that [Aries] went after me is a perfect example of a pathetic little man. I had nothing to do with his match vs. Johnny Impact. But yet, for some reason, he felt he had to attack me. Anyone that knows me, knows I won’t sit back and be treated like that. That’s all I’ll say, not going to go on about him and give him attention that he doesn’t deserve. Boy, bye.”

The newest feud Valkyrie is finding herself in, is with Killer Kross, who ruined her moment after winning the title, and is attacking her dog Prince Presley on Twitter, oddly enough. Valkyrie touches on the feud.

“Kross has had a reputation for years of being a lunatic. This is just another example of it. I’ve known him forever and was there as a huge supporter of him when he first came to AAA. So honestly, his words and actions are very disappointing. I guess I didn’t really ever know him. He’s a fake and if it’s not Johnny that breaks him, I will.”

The talented wrestler spent a lengthy tenure in the Mexican wrestling circuit, after only initially planning to stay for six weeks. Her career blossomed there, and she’s since returned to Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide, after an abrupt and controversial departure. The two-time, longest-reigning Reina de Reinas Champion gave insight on her time at AAA, and why she chose to stay in Mexico.

“Yeah, that was the original plan [laughs], but this is pro wrestling! Nothing goes as planned! I met [El Hijo del Perro Aguayo] a few days into living in Mexico and he basically just asked if I would stay and be part of “Los Perros del Mal”. At the time, I had no idea what that meant or represented within the Lucha Libre community. I do, now. Perro changed my life, Perro and Konnan were the first people that really saw something in me and for that I am forever grateful. Those years changed my life, made me grow, taught me to fight for what I want and shaped me as a person and performer. When he passed away, I was absolutely devastated. It was a horrible few years. His passing affected me emotionally, physically and mentally. I really struggled. But I knew he wouldn’t want that for me. I hope he’s proud of how far I’ve come and that he knows how influential he was in my career and in shaping me into the person I am now.

Lots of things have changed and a lot has stayed the same. I wouldn’t have returned if I didn’t feel like it was the right time to do so. I’m happy to be back, and the fans have been so welcoming. I love being able to work with Konnan again, as well as so many of my friends that I consider family. I traveled and worked with these luchadores for over five years! It just feels good to be around them, once again.”

Valkyrie experienced recent success in Mexico, where she was crowned the very first Lucha Capital Women’s Champion. She shares her feelings on the special moment, and discusses future plans with Lucha Capital and Lucha Libre AAA.

“It felt great, it being my first return to Mexico after almost two years and leaving as the new Lucha Capital champion. It was overwhelming and emotional for me to be back in Mexico City but it was all worth it. Who knows what the future holds. All I know is it’s going to be a very exciting and crazy year.”

Finally, looking forward to what surely will be an exciting 2019, Valkyrie reflects on her start in wrestling, after a successful career as a fitness model.

“The whole reason I got into fitness competition and fitness modeling was because I wanted to be a wrestler. Remember that this was 10 years ago, when wrestling was not where it is now, and I really had zero clue how I was going to get into the business. I was a huge fan of Victoria, Torrie and Trish, and I knew all of them had come from the fitness world. So, in my brain at the time, I figured I would do the same! It ended up working out, because after winning the Canadian National Fitness Tall Championship, I went on to win second at the Arnold Amateur and that ultimately resulted in WWE contacting me for my first tryout. Three months after that, I was reporting to the Storm Wrestling Academy.”

Tune into Impact Wrestling every Friday at 10 p.m. EST on the Pursuit Channel, or Twitch, to see what Taya does next!

Who do you think Taya should feud with next?

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