Former Impact Knockouts Champion Taya Valkryie spoke to Spencer Love about her early experience wrestling in Alberta, becoming the longest-reigning champion in Impact/TNA history, Deonna Purrazzo’s addition to Impact, her feelings on Impact’s women’s division, her fashion line LOCA, and more.

    Credit: Win Column Sports Canada

    Her memories of working in Alberta

    Spencer Love: “We were talking before this, you were genuinely on the first-ever professional wrestling show that I ever went to. (It was) just such a highlight for me (and) something that obviously has been a huge impact on my life, but obviously, you’re the guest! I want to pick your brain: What what was your experience like when you were working here in Alberta?”

    Taya Valkyrie: “I mean, it’s so crazy to think back on it, (because) it feels like a million lifetimes ago, just because so many things have happened and changed. I’ve just grown up so much over the last almost 10 years in this business. Oh my god, almost ten years! I mean, back then I was just like a wide-eyed, you know, excited, new wrestler. (I was) so green! So green. I mean, I watch some of those old matches. I’m like, ‘Oh my god, what is happening?’ But, I mean, everyone starts somewhere, and Alberta as a whole, I mean I went to the (University of Calgary) when I first graduated high school. I’m born and raised in Victoria, BC, so I spent a lot of time in Calgary and in Edmonton, Alberta as a whole. It’s always – I always think about Alberta with a smile on my face, and it definitely was where Taya Valkyrie was born basically. So, it’s a good feeling to think about. I’m excited to get back there at some point when things kind of start calming down.”

    World of Hurt

    SL: “One other part I did want to touch on as far as Alberta goes, because going through and doing my research there’s always some stuff that I find that I hadn’t found out before, take me through your experience with World of Hurt?”

    TV: “Oh my gosh, you’re really going for it! I was on – for people that don’t know, World of Hurt (was on) for two seasons. When I first did World of Hurt, I think it worked kind of like a, I mean, a wrestling school scenario, quote-unquote ‘reality show,’ and season one was taught by Lance Storm, my actual wrestling coach, and then Season Two was actually with Rowdy Roddy Piper. Season One, I literally had been wrestling probably for about three months when I was on that show. My first-ever match as a professional wrestler was for TV, aka World of Hurt. When everybody looks at that stuff, you’ll be like, ‘holy crap, that was Taya’s first match,’ and I remember we had to do to on that first day and I was petrified, and I was just like, ‘Oh my gosh,’ like, I’ve been a performer and an athlete my whole life, so I’m very much a perfectionist. And I just was – I mean, I had confidence, but I mean, obviously I was worried that I was not that good at the time.”

    SL: “Not quite where you are now.”

    TV: “Now, looking back I’m just like, ‘wow, yeah, that was not good,’ but, I mean, it was a huge part of like, how I started, and I love it! And, like, Lance was such a huge part of like my entire career, obviously, having been my first coach and that’s where I met a lot of people that are still, you know, in my life when it comes to professional wrestling and PWA was where I started in Calgary and Edmonton. So, World of Hurt was a lot of fun.”

    TV: “The second season, when we did it was Rowdy Roddy Piper, was incredible and crazy and fun as well, and I learned so much from him and getting to have learned from him. I feel like I always say that that month when we were shooting that, he really helped connect me to my character for promos and things like that. I would say that’s probably the most important thing I took away from getting to work with him for a month straight. So, yeah, it was just – it makes me laugh to think about the whole situation. I think it was on like, some channel called the Cave Network or something. I don’t even know if that’s a thing! Like, I don’t even, is that still a thing?”

    SL: “I couldn’t even find it on YouTube. It’s on some weird, like, Vista or something like that.”

    TV: “Yeah, I think there’s some weird clips on YouTube of it, but it’s quite – if you are a Taya Valkyrie fan, you should watch it just to have a good laugh.”

    SL: “Well, for what it’s worth, you weren’t the one that I think a lot of people were laughing at more, but we’ll let people tune into the show to find out more on that end!”

    TV: “YEAH! Okay, I know who you’re talking about!”

    Being the longest-reigning champion in Impact/TNA history

    SL: “We’ll leave that one for the uncensored podcast. It’s so cool to me because you obviously say your first match was on World of Hurt. (You) starting out in Alberta. It’s one of the things that I love most about independent wrestling is you really get to see people at the start of their careers and then obviously, getting the opportunity to speak to not only the longest-reigning Impact Knockouts Champion but the longest-reigning champion in Impact and TNA history. How much pride you take in the fact that that one of the premier wrestling organizations in the world not only had the faith in you to put a title on you, but literally be the person who held the championship the longest?”

    TV: “I mean, it’s crazy. I remember when everything was starting to happen, (it’s) like ‘you’re like only a few days away from breaking this record’, and I just kept going in, and I was just like – I watched TNA and I looked up to so many people, and that generation of Knockouts in early TNA, like was so inspirational to me in becoming a wrestler. I remember just being like ‘these girls get a lot of time,’ and they (got) to show so much more than the girls were getting in WWE at the time. I mean, obviously, things have changed and evolved, and women as a whole are just getting a lot more respect and opportunities than we ever have, and it’s because of women like that, the women that started at all in TNA. I am so blessed to even be working for this company that I looked up, you know, wanted to be part of for so many years, and also to be put in a category with some of the top women and men in professional wrestling as the longest reigning champion in Impact Wrestling history. So, I take that with – I am very proud of that, and I hope that everybody from those older generations is proud of me and hoping that I represent him as well as I can.”

    Impact’s willingness to showcase female talents

    SL: “I love that you touched on it there, of being one of the premier wrestlers, whether a woman or a man. It’s something that I think that Impact Wrestling has done, not only a great job of, but they’re really the flag-bearer as far as it goes for really pushing those sorts of boundaries. How much does it mean to you to work for a promotion that will push a woman is World Champion or will feature intergender matches on more than just an occasional basis.”

    TV: “It means a lot. I mean, I’ve been doing intergender wrestling all of my career honestly, since, well at least for like, the last eight years, because in Lucha Libre, everyone – there’s intergender all the time. It’s not – that’s why, when people ask me how I feel about it, I’m just like, to me, it’s just wrestling. It’s not – I don’t see it any differently than I do a women’s match or a men’s match. It’s just wrestling. It’s just two people fighting and two people that want to win. And I consider myself a tall, strong, fast, well-rounded International professional wrestler and I feel like I can hold my own against absolutely anybody. So, I am very happy that I work for a company that allows that to happen and allows us all to shine in our own and allows us to have creative freedoms and listens to us and really take our ideas into consideration and allows us to grow as performers and as women.”

    Impact’s women’s division

    SL: “Obviously wrestling a lot of intergender (and) not a stranger to it yourself but the women’s division in impact – I think I’m not the only one with this opinion, it ain’t unique by any means Taya, but it easily, in my opinion, Impact’s got the strongest women’s division in professional wrestling right now. Maybe speak a little to that and and what you think makes them unique.”

    TV: “I one-hundred percent agree with you. I think that we have an incredibly well rounded and diverse and different group of women. No one looks the same. No one wrestle’s the same. No one’s the same height, the same look the same everything. Everybody is absolutely different, and I think that’s so important. I just feel like everybody has a different story. Everybody has a different background, and that creates the opportunity for these incredible matches, which you’re seeing, and that gives you characters like Rosemary, gives you characters like me, gives you, you know, the Tasha Steelz, and the Kiera Hogan’s and the Su Young’s. I mean, like it’s just unbelievable the diversity of different types of performers that we have, and I love that and I I am very proud to be part of that. And, you know, even though I say that I’m from Slam Town, everyone knows that I’m Canadian, and I’m glad to be representing, you know, the Great White North as everyone likes to call it in the Impact Zone, and in Mexico in AAA. I also am a current and three-time Lucha AAA Reina de Reinas Champion. I was the longest, I am the longest reigning Reina de Reinas Champion as well in history, for holding the title for almost three years. So I mean, I’m very proud to be part of the Impact locker room and as part of one of the Knockouts, and with all these new additions of these incredible women that we’ve had over the last few months and weeks, I mean, the possibilities for matches is just growing and growing and I’m excited to see what we do over the next few months. Or year! Let’s try and make 2020 a little better than it’s been!”

    What Deonna Purrazzo will add to the Impact women’s division

    SL: “I love that you touched on the new additions, Taya, because two individuals that I think have done a great, great job – obviously one only making a single appearance –  but Jordynne Grace and Deonna Purrazzo. Maybe speak a little bit to the impact that you think that they’re gonna make, no pun intended, but the impact that they’ll have as far as the women’s division and Impact as a whole.”

    TV: “I mean, let me say this – and I said this already in another interview – I’m just waiting to see exactly what Deonna’s gonna do. I have never wrestled her, ever, and she’s literally just got – she’s just got there. She’s literally been there not even long enough to have a cup of coffee and you know, and get me one, too. I’m still – I am just waiting. I am the person that is waiting to watch and see what happens, I mean, bring it, Deonna, because I’m watching you.”

    Her clothing line, LOCA

    SL: “Now, we’ve talked a ton about your professional wrestling and I know that we could talk for hours and hours as far as that goes, whether it’s Alberta or Impact specifically, but you’re a multifaceted individual, you’re not just professionally wrestling. You’re actually in school right now and designing your own fashion line. What inspired you to do that and maybe take me a little bit through the background of LOCA.”

    TV: “I’ve been, obviously, a huge fan of fashion my entire life, as it’s been very evident in the way that Taya dresses in and outside of the ring and also as myself at home. I’ve always wanted to do this. It’s always kind of been an interest of mine, and it’s always kind of been like a fantasy of like, of starting my own brand and starting my own label, or however you want to label it, a lifestyle brand or whatever. I decided that I wanted to go back to school, and I didn’t talk about it a lot because I was honestly very petrified and not remembering how to do school, because guess what? It wasn’t yesterday, you know? So I decided to go back to school. I think it’s always important to grow. Not only physically, but also mentally, and to educate yourself. And if – I knew that if I wanted to do something like this, I had to educate myself about it. I didn’t want to just hand it over to somebody. I wanted to be involved and I wanted to know every little thing that was going on. So many people nowadays, especially the athletes, or celebrities, just kind of hand the reins over and put their name on it and that’s it. I don’t want to do that. I want to be every part of it. I’m not saying that I am a celebrity or anything like that. I’m just saying that I want, as a woman, as an entrepreneur, and an educated person in society, I want to know, and I want to have my creativity be shown through every little piece in every little aspect of it.” 

    “So I honestly didn’t think that I would start this brand for a while still, but obviously with the state of the world and the circumstances, I found myself at home a lot, and I needed a creative outlet I needed to be able to – I’m a creative, artistic person and not being able to perform was killing me. It was like my soul hurt, and I was really upset about it like, you know, just like everybody else when everything just went from 2000 miles an hour to zero. You know, it was hard. It’s been very hard for everybody as a whole, as the world! The world kind of had this horrible thing happen to it, but I just always try to not feel, try to feel – I mean, it’s normal to feel sorry for yourself for a little while, obviously, but I just had to turn it around. I just was like ‘enough is enough. You know what, I’m going to’ – obviously my studies are not affected, because I do everything online, my fashion program and everything, and I just started, I just started kind of, you know, thinking about logos, and thinking about what I wanted to do and also what was accessible to me, because obviously, as you know, everything was closed, so you had to kind of be creative about how I wanted to, you know, how was I going to do this? How are they going to start this business when I had no access to anything, and I was really, just, new to this.”

    “My company is very small. My company is just me. My company is from the heart. I create, and I designed the logo myself. I self-printed, and the masks and everything is made in Los Angeles, and then I hand-dye every single item myself, so every single item is different, unique and actually is totally different from the other, and I take pride in that. I want people to wear my stuff and be happy and it be a piece of me. I think it comes through that I’m very passionate about this, and I just want to grow and have everyone grow with me as I kind of go on this other little fun, exciting adventure. I think it’s important as wrestlers and as performers and as athletes to kind of always have other interests for your own mental health and also just have other plans. The reality of the world is that we can’t land on our backs forever and be kicked in the face until we’re 95. Let’s be honest, but I know that what I want to do is in the arts, and if it’s acting, and now it’s clothes, and then it’s this and it’s that, like, I’ve always just kind of invested in the arts, and this is just one other facet and layer of me, Taya, Kira, as a performer and as an artist.”

    SL: “I think there are a lot of parallels between that and your professional career. You know, like a lot of heart into it a lot of passion into it. I think that’s really, really evident in even just the way you speak about it, and it’s very, very cool to hear. I know that you guys are doing a drop today, June 15th at 12pm pacific time, maybe without giving too much away, obviously you want people still tuning in, but what can they expect from that?”

    TV: “Well, I have a whole bunch of new designs that are new colors and different styles and stuff that are coming out on June 15, today, like you said. At 12pm pacific time, you can join me on the LOCA Instagram, I will be live (on) @locabytayavalkyrie on Instagram. John will be joining me, and I’m sure I’ll have a few other friends drop into that live, Instagram Live, and I’ll be going over all the new colors and styles and talking about everything and answering questions and just being there with you as the website goes live,, and I hope everyone just has fun with it and feels comfortable and confident in my clothes and I want everybody, if you bought something of mine, if you (have) it at home, take a picture, tag me in it, I love sharing everything to all of my platforms. We’re also on Facebook and on Twitter, @LOCAbyTayaV on Twitter. Yeah tag me, #ChicaLoca or #ChicoLoco and I want to see you all wearing my stuff!