Taya Valkyrie on Turning WWE Heartbreak Into Triumph

Taya Valkyrie
Hiban Huerta/NWA

Taya Valkyrie was devastated after her release from WWE. Though it was the disappointment that fueled a fire within the pro wrestling star, who refused to let the short chapter with the company be a career-ender.

Instead, the 38-year-old returned to Mexico and AAA Lucha Libre Worldwide a place the veteran first made a name for herself more than a decade ago. This started a whirlwind tour across numerous promotions. Valkyrie stands as the inaugural Major League Wrestling (MLW) women’s featherweight champion and holds one-half of Impact Wrestling’s Knockouts tag team titles.

She is set to defend her Reina de Reinas gold against the imposing Kamille at Triplemania XXX: Mexico City. It’s a massive challenge for Taya as she last clashed with the powerhouse coming up short in a stellar NWA (National Wrestling Alliance) women’s title match at NWA 74 in August.

Here “La Wera Loca” reflects on the year and how she turned heartbreak into triumph.

Looking back, was there ever a point where you questioned if you would continue wrestling after WWE?

Taya Valkyrie: I questioned my abilities. I questioned my worth in the business. I questioned my place. It was a lot of that at first. As we all know, I always get back up. I think this year has been proof of that. I just had to remember who I am and all the things I had accomplished. The barriers I have broken. That I do have that place at the table that is professional wrestling. Reconnect with people who gave me opportunities before and allowed me to do what I do. I wanted to prove I do belong. That comes with the territory. Having a dream and it not going the way you expected. I went through that depression phase, but it motivated me. It showed me who the hell Taya Valkyrie is, who La Wera Loca is and what has brought me to this moment.

Taya Valkyrie

Impact Wrestling

How was it getting back out there as a free agent?

This open-door policy or “Forbidden Door” was not a thing two-and-a-half, three years ago. I was experiencing that for the first time this year. It has really been inspiring and energizing and motivating me creatively and physically and pushing myself because I’m getting to wrestle in front of different crowds. I’m getting to wrestle different women and men who I’ve never wrestled before in companies I’ve never worked for before. I’ve really taken every opportunity and run with it.

Among those new companies you’ve visited has been the NWA. What stands out about working for them?

It was completely different with the studio aspect and how they film it. There were so many familiar faces and people I was excited to get to know when I walked into the NWA. Taryn Terrell, I hadn’t seen since Impact’s Orlando days. I got to work with Allysin Kay. I got to meet new people like Max The Impaler and some of the newer talent just coming in. It’s been really fantastic. Billy Corgan has been great in allowing me to work there and giving me that platform. Having me wrestle for the NWA women’s championship on night one of NWA 74, main eventing in this women’s match was a huge accomplishment for us. I think we left it all out there and left people talking. We earned our spot that night.

That night you faced Kamille. Coming up, you’re wrestling her again. This time for your championship. What has it been like to work with her?

It’s rare for me to be in the ring with someone who is taller and bigger than me. That was definitely something I had to think about strategy-wise. I’ve also watched her grow and evolve as a performer over the last five years or so. She is very respectful. She works very hard. She knows she has what it takes. It’s really exciting to me to be pushed by someone like that. We did it at NWA 74, and we’ll do it this weekend.

The last time you were essentially on her turf. In Mexico and AAA, that has really been your house. How do you think the atmosphere will be different?

Yeah, if I were her I would be worried. This is the wild west. This is Mexican lucha libre. These fans are unpredictable. The show is unpredictable. Everything about it. There are no rules. I came up in this environment. I traveled there and left my country. I left everything behind in Canada to follow this crazy dream. I lived it, breathed it, and engulfed myself in the culture. I learned the language. I don’t care how much experience you have. Nothing prepares you for that. I think that my experience and understanding of this environment give me the upper hand.

You’ve had three other reigns as the Reina de Reyes champion. How does it feel this time around?

It feels phenomenal to come back and win it from Deonna Purrazzo at Impact Wrestling. Being able to come back to AAA as their Reina de Reyes champion, I’m now tied for the most reigns in history at four. I’m also the longest-reigning. I’m also the first foreign-born woman to win that championship. I had a lot of naysayers when I first went there, but I just knew what I had to do. This championship means more to me than people can really understand. It carries a long history with me and has seen me through a lot of stages of my career. I’m going to defend it with everything I’ve got.

Do you feel at this stage you’ll commit to one company again?

I’ve been having so much fun getting to know these companies and wrestling everywhere. Just playing around and living my life. It has been incredible to have places like Impact, NWA, AAA, and MLW that have allowed me to do this and stretch my wings. The long-term plan would be to sign somewhere full-time and see where that takes me. I think it’s something I’m looking to in the new year. I just want to be somewhere that makes me happy where I can wrestle, have a very creative storyline, and where feel an honest amount of support. We’ll see what happens.

Taya Valkyrie

Impact Wrestling

There have been many performers let go by WWE during the prior regime that Triple H brought back. Are you interested if they approached you?

I feel like the energy even watching the product is completely different. I know how much Triple H cares about pro wrestling. I’m sad I never really got the opportunity to have a lot of work time with him. I didn’t get to pick his brain like I wish I had under the circumstances. It’s really great to see my friends thriving and some people who really deserving of a second chance getting that. You never know. Never say never. The world is so crazy. If you told me last year that this would be my life now, I wouldn’t have believed you.

How important was John [Morrison] during this transitional period? He always seems so positive.

We went through this together. I was released, and he was released two weeks later. It was a questionable time for us because we didn’t know what to do. We had to pick each other off the floor and figure it out. That’s exactly what we do. We’ve been married now for almost five years and have been together for seven. We’ve seen each other through a lot of things. I was just happy to be with each other, move back to Los Angeles, and start up again. We’re really resilient people. This is just another chapter in our lives.

We’re seeing you more in movies and other projects just as we’ve watched John. Can we expect more collaboration between the two of you?

Actually, the film that we both wrote together and produced. He directed for the first time. The Sheik Massacre is actually hitting film festivals soon. It’s a short horror comedy, starring a lot of familiar faces. We worked very hard on it. I’m excited for you guys to see it. The real Iron Sheik did the voice of the doll in the movie. We wrote it on our honeymoon. I’m excited for everyone to see it. We’re hoping to do more projects in the future.

AAA Lucha Libre Worldwide Triplemania XXX: Mexico City, October 15, 9/8c, FITE TV

NWA POWERRR, Tuesdays, 6:05/5:05c, FITE TV

NWA USA, Saturdays, Noon/11c, FITE TV