“Do you ever get tired of welcoming me back?”, Madison Rayne teased on Thursday’s Impact Wrestling Press Pass Podcast. It’s true, Rayne has come and gone from Impact Wrestling a number of times. For her, it will always be home. After a short visit last summer and a subsequent departure, Rayne signed a new multi-year deal with the promotion. She’s experienced just about every corner of the wrestling world over her impressive career. Yet, something keeps bringing the 5-time Knockouts Champion back to Impact Wrestling. SteelChair Magazine got to hear a little bit about what exactly that something is, and what her goals are this time around.
The Future of “The Killer Queen”
Rayne first came to Impact Wrestling, then TNA, in 2009 and quickly found her way to her first Knockouts Championship. She’s incredibly grateful for those early opportunities to prove herself. 10 years and a wealth of experience later, she’s back in the Knockouts division with the same goal. “It’s the same as what I’ve proven over the past years,” she said, “to prove I’m at the top of my game.” Unsurprisingly, that includes a 6th run with the Knockouts Championship. With her eyes on the ultimate prize, she gives credit to the competition in today’s Knockouts Division. Taya Valkyrie and Tessa Blanchard stand out to her as two of the strongest talents and leaders in the locker room. She’s eager to get a chance to face them, as well as the incredible talent that makes up the Knockouts Division.
Rayne mused about how the feeling in the locker room hasn’t changed. Gail Kim’s leadership is the glue that holds it together, creating a sense of stability even as new faces enter the fray. The difference this time around doesn’t come from Impact Wrestling, it comes from Rayne herself. Last summer, she came back with the intention of spending some time on commentary and bringing the female perspective to the booth. Now, after honing her craft around the world, her focus is crystal clear, “It’s all about business.”
Impact Wrestling may not have changed, but her attitude has. Rayne is ready to step up and climb to the top of this highly competitive division. Her pride in the Knockouts and Impact Wrestling comes through so strongly, it’s clear she’s ecstatic to be a part of it once more.
The Women’s Revolution in Wrestling
Just don’t ask her if the Knockouts get enough credit for the current Women’s revolution. “I don’t like that question,” she said candidly when asked. It’s not that they don’t deserve credit for the hard work that they’ve put in, but Rayne explained that it’s just not that simple.
“This has been an ongoing uphill battle for women in wrestling for many years,” she noted. It’s impossible for her to highlight one group of women, one promotion, or one division and say “they did it.”
“Without Mae Young, there would be no Mae Young Classic.” All of the women who compete today are standing on the shoulders of the women who came before them. It’s been a massive collective effort spanning decades, and Rayne is well aware of that. She’s also been a huge part of it, with many current Knockouts standing on her shoulders to reach new heights. We can’t wait to see what Rayne accomplishes in 2019 and beyond.
All photos courtesy of Impact Wrestling.