Lucha Royalty is not dead. Even if Taya Valkyrie left her ‘Fairy Queen’ gear in the closet and brought to Impact Wrestling her ‘Wera Loca’ attitude, something she had been working on in Lucha Libre AAA, the current Impact Knockouts Champion unveiled a new face when she helped her husband, Johnny Impact, retain the Impact World Title belt (before Rebellion).
Taya Valkyrie is a woman with no fears, she can face a man or a woman with the same talent, ferocity and dedication. One year ago, she was already telling us she was there to make a statement. Even if she struggled to reach to the top, as always, Taya Valkyrie made it her own way, with this warrior attitude that has helped her forge her legacy in wrestling and Lucha Libre, in Mexico and in the USA.
A few days after Rebellion PPV, SteelChair Mag had the chance to have a one-on-one conversation with the Knockouts Champion about her match at the PPV, the Knockouts roster, her own fights in life and wrestling business, and what Impact Wrestling and the Knockouts title mean to her.
What are your feelings on your match at ‘Rebellion’ against Jordynne Grace?
It was a very good match for me because I felt that I brought some different strategies into this match, facing Jordynne Grace. I believe that we are both very strong competitors physically and we really were matched well. In the end, I’ve had to break her down and go after her strength, which is her ability to lift people and really break that down in order to take to win. But in the end, I did win and I did retain the Knockouts title. And I also gave Jordynne Grace her first defeat in impact
What are your thoughts on Jordynne Grace as a competitor and a woman?
I think that she has so much room left to grow but she’s so talented in such a young age. What you’re seeing now, I don’t even think is half of what we’re going to see of her in the future. It’s very exciting to be a part of her career the way that I have been and challenging her, and she’s challenging me a lot, and I’m excited to see what we can do in the future and, if we do face each other again, I’m gonna feel even more prepared and I hope that she brings 120%, because I always feel like I have to be one step ahead of everybody, especially now with the target on my back which is being the Knockouts Champion. Jordynne is extremely talented and we will see very amazing things from her in the future.
How do you feel being the Impact Knockouts Champion?
This is the first major title that I have won within the United States and, for me, that’s a huge accomplishment. I am a Canadian girl that wanted to become a professional wrestler and had to change my entire life and move to Mexico in order to follow my dreams. Ultimately ended up here in the US, now working with Impact, I mean it’s a dream come true for me. I worked my butt off to get here and I don’t think anybody can tell me otherwise because I’ve been through hell and back to get to this point. I’m extremely proud to be the Impact Knockouts Champion, to represent the lineage that is being a Knockouts Champion and representing it in the world of today. With how strong women’s wrestling is, this is an extremely important title to have and I’m very proud of it.
The Taya we’ve seen in the ring since last year’s ‘Bound for Glory’ is very different from the Lucha Royalty. You’re more fiercer, more sharp, more rough. It seems like something changed during the few months you were away from Impact Wrestling. Are this new style and new attitude some things you absolutely wanted to bring into the Impact Zone?
I think people sometimes don’t realize like how much of our character and how much of our personalities in the ring are influenced by our personal lives and our personal growth and who we are outside of wrestling. I went through a lot of stuff over the last few years, good and bad, some extremely stressful, some personal battles. I also got married, I had these just crazy up and downs that happened. I think that, when I came back, I was finally in a place mentally and happy with just where I was in my life. Honestly, the Taya that you’re seeing now, I think the biggest thing from her is confidence.
For the longest time, I allowed people to negatively affect my attitude or negatively affect the way I thought about myself and I think, growing up as a woman within this industry and entertainment, in general, it’s always hard to continue to be positive and continue to love yourself, honestly. I believe that I finally got to a point where I was like, I know my worst, I know how talented I am, I know how hard this has been and I’m just not going to allow any negativity or hatred or stress within my life affect the outcome of my career. I ultimately think that that is why the Taya you can see now is just so much more confident and and and ready for anything because I finally walking in with my head held high.
To which extent Johnny Impact, your husband, helped you in that process?
Johnny is my one grounding superhero, Savior of life, I just adore and love him so much. He’s a huge part of why I am so confident. I finally found a person that wants me to be the best, that wants to
see me happy, that wants to see me be you where I deserve to be and, if it wasn’t for him, I’d be lost, I think. He has just been such an influential part in why I am as confident as I am now and why I really just have flourished into who I am today.
This Taya we’re seeing right now is very close to the Taya of Lucha Underground in Seasons 2 and 3.
Absolutely, I do think that the Taya that you’re seeing obviously is definitely the Perros Del Mal Taya (Lucha Libre AAA’s famous stable), it’s definitely the Taya that came into Lucha Underground giving a lead-pipe to Johnny Mundo to hit Cage in the head, it’s definitely the Taya that you saw in Season 3. It’s the essence of why my nickname is Wera Loca. I’ve just now more grown up, maybe in Season 2 we saw the Teenager Taya (laughs) and now I’m an adult. She’s definitely that version and, in my opinion, the most fun to be. Definitely, a part of me is shown through her, the evil part of course, but it is the most fun I’ve had in a very long time, what we’re doing right now on Impact Wrestling.
You wrestled Brian Cage in your very first match in Lucha Underground and, on the Road to ‘Rebellion’, you and Johnny had made a living hell of his current run.
The dynamic between Brian Cage, John, and myself, has been so fun to revisit because there is so much history there. I’m surprised he didn’t do worse to me when he powerbombed me at Rebellion but that has yet to be seen, so who knows…
Were you and Johnny worried about Brian Cage being rushed to hospital after the title match?
Obviously, accidents and things happen in matches. It happens all the time, no one wants to see anybody get hurt but this is professional wrestling and things happened. I hope he gets well soon because Johnny is going to be right there waiting for him and ready to challenge him. Johnny lost the Championship but he should be first in line for a rematch and regaining that Championship. So Brian, pull it together and let’s go! Cage is a very tough competitor, a very tough human being, a very tough person in and outside of the ring so I have no doubt that he’ll be coming back and the rematch between him and John will be an epic battle to see. They have a long, standing history of wrestling each other and I know that, when they do have this rematch, it’s going to be amazing and I don’t think you should expect anything less from these two great wrestlers. Hopefully, it happens very soon and, when it does, we can review it together.
You’ve been in the Knockouts roster for almost 2 years. Who’s been your fiercest opponent? Which one of the girls you have never wrestled you really want to?
Obviously, the two that stand out the most, as far as my longest history is with, would be obviously Rosemary and Tessa Blanchard. I have only ever wrestled Su Yung I believe once, I would love to have a chance at the Undead Bride again. There are so many people there that I haven’t completely got the chance to compete with, someone like Kiera Hogan or Madison Rayne (Editor’s Note: The interview took place a few weeks ago). There are so many tables left unturned, so many dream matches that are left to happen and different things that could change over the next few months. Who knows what can happen on TV tomorrow? I’m excited to see what happens and to maybe have a new rivalry or revisit an old one. I don’t really know but I’m prepared for anything. I’ve always proved you can put anyone in front of me and I will continue to do so because this is what being Champion is. When a woman earns her spot or when the time is right or when I decide it’s time for a Championship match, I’ll be ready.
Nearly 2 years after your debut, are you happy to be on Impact?
I am very happy. I’ve always taken the road less travelled, I’ve never had it easy I’ve always been involved in these different kinds of companies. Impact Wrestling is different but it’s also very special. I think that they were all trying to make something interesting and different from what the norm is, with having wrestlers from all over the world and having styles combined in the ring constantly. All of us in the Knockouts are being given opportunities to shine and have our own storylines and being trusted to carry these great matches. At Rebellion, there were women involved in three different matches, that’s great, that is amazing and I’m so excited to be part of that. The heads of the company, like Scott D’Amore and Don Callis, believe in us and believe in the product, and I believe in it. I can’t wait for the world to wake up and realize that Impact Wrestling is something special. If you aren’t watching Impact Wrestling I don’t know what you’re doing because, if you are really a truly a wrestling fan, you don’t want to miss it.
Follow Taya Valkyrie on Twitter @TheTayaValkyrie. All pics and screencaps courtesy of Impact Wrestling.