Taylor Wilde Talks ‘Impact Wrestling’ Return, Mental Health & Being a Real-Life Firefighter

Taylor Wilde of Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling

Taylor Wilde came on the scene at Impact Wrestling as a fresh-faced twenty-something, an underdog who stunned fans by toppling Awesome Kong (GLOW’s Kia Stevens) to win the Knockouts championship. Taylor went on to have a stellar career before retiring from the sport to become a mom and firefighter.

Fast forward a decade and Wilde found her way back home to the Impact ring. Now the Canadian is enjoying a renewed passion for wrestling, looking to leave the upcoming pay-per-view event Hard to Kill in a blaze of glory with a win over Deonna Purrazzo, Killer Kelly, and Masha Slamovich. Here Wilde reflects on her journey, fighting fires and opponents.

You found your way back to pro wrestling in 2021 after a decade away. How do you look back on that decision?

Taylor Wilde: I saw this huge jump from what used to be the “Attitude Era” with the blonde babyface versus the brunette heel to this huge mishmash of really talented female professional wrestlers and characters. Women really getting the respect they deserve as performers and as wrestlers. At the time my life was really changing. My marriage wasn’t good. I’d been a firefighter for about seven years. I knew I’d lost a part of myself as you do when you are in a marriage that is not healthy. You become a mom and your whole world becomes your child, which I wouldn’t change for a second. It had made me the self-assured person I am and made me know who I am. So it was a matter of all these changes happening. I had a really good girlfriend Krissy Vaine who I was in developmental with. She is this spiritual being and psychic and called me up five years ago saying, “I don’t want to sound crazy but you’re run in professional wrestling is not done. Take that for what you want it to be.” I thought, “You’re crazy. That’s not going to happen.” Here we are.

How would you compare pro wrestling to being a firefighter?

Firefighting was a good bridging system for me. It has been a blue-collar, strength-based job. It’s a laborious job. You also have to have thick skin. Since I had this career as a professional wrestler I say for the first four, or five years guys just called me “the wrestler.” It was this easy way to relate to me in a way that was separate from gender. Now I’m at nine years as a firefighter and established myself as one of the guys. They will definitely be in Toronto for shows front row, covered in body paint and glitter. They are my biggest fans.

Taylor Wilde

Impact Wrestling

What do you think of shows like Chicago Fire?

They are sexy, but nothing like our job. They make everything about firefighting so sexy and romantic. All these romantic things going on in the halls. It is nothing like that. It is d***and fart jokes. We are all a brotherhood and sisterhood. I grew up watching Law & Order and CSI. It’s such a sensationalized Hollywood version of the job. Of course, there are elements that are true. We love watching Chicago Fire and Backdraft. Those two are always on in the fire hall.

Did you have any fun celebrity interactions as a pro wrestler?

I met “Super Dave Osborne” [Bob Einstein] at Impact. I grew up watching him as a child and was this really weird moment where I was shaking hands with “Super Dave Osborne.” For WWE, I met Steve-O from Jackass before he was sober. He was a mess. He was very not sober at that time. He had a handler and was bumbling around backstage. He talks about his time and journey to sobriety. But I’ll never forget that.

Mickie James will call it a career if she does not win the Knockouts championship from Jordynne Grace at Hard to Kill. How much of yourself do you see in your own career?

If anything I emphasize and can completely relate to where she is in her career. I think she is doing it in a really great practical way. Sometimes it’s hard to make that decision. Am I done? Am I not done? You don’t want to burn out. This is the best way to leave on a high note. At least she fought until the bitter end. Mickie is one of my sisters. My allies. I respect her inside and outside the ring. She has always helped propel new up-and-comers. Anyone who has been in the ring with her is better because of it. I’m rooting for her. I’m so rooting for Jordynne too because I’m such a Knockouts fan.

You’ve been a big proponent of mental health. Where do you think we are when it comes to wrestling?

We didn’t talk about the mental health period 10 years ago. I think it’s very important people speak up and get the help they need. I’m very pro-medication and pro whatever you need to do to make yourself feel healthy, happy, and safe. I will always be the first one to speak up and say I’ve had my own personal struggles. We are these larger-than-life performers, but we’re people too. We hurt and have our moments. If we can help anyone by being transparent about our own struggles I hope it helps at least one person out there to reach out and get the help they need because life is short. Life is precious, and there are a lot of reasons to feel blessed and happy. And we can still have our moments. That’s okay too.

Taylor Wilde of Impact Wrestling

Impact Wrestling

Were you ever at a wrestling show where you had to put your firefighter hat on?

Just last Impact tapings. I don’t want to speak on it too much, but basically, there was a concussion-related injury and it was prior to the show. It was one of those moments where it was do we have a medical year? Yeah but you go. I am like a firefighter. You stabilize the scene and wait for higher authorities like doctors or medics to get there. You’re never off the job.

You’re in the four-way match at Hard to Kill for a shot at the Knockouts championship. It’s quite the mix of unique talent here.

Going into Hard to Kill is going to be a very interesting mash. We have four women from very different backgrounds. Masha, we had a singles match. She is so talented and so well-traveled. She is so psycho in the best kind of way. She is wrestling all the time. Student of the sport. She pushes me to be better. Deonna is this egotistical and vet in her own regard. She had one of the most captivating Knockouts championships runs I think. She is one of the talents I would love to have a storyline against because I think there is a lot we can pull out of each other. Then we have Killer Kelly who came into the Knockouts division as a fan of the Knockouts division. We all have this dark, eerie energy. It’s really going to result in chaos. Nobody is going to be bored watching this.

Impact Wrestling, Thursdays, 8/7c, AXS TV

Hard to Kill, January 13, 8/7c, Pay-Per-View and FITE TV