Inside The Ropes recently sat down with former TNA Wrestling Knockout’s Champion Taylor Wilde ahead of her clash with former WWE Superstar Tenille Dashwood during the upcoming IMPACT Wrestling #891 event – available to watch in the UK on YouTube or the Impact Plus app!
Speaking with Liam Alexander-Stewart, Wilde would discuss her return to oprofessional wrestling following a ten year hiatus, the differences between the current locker room and the iconic TNA Knockout’s Division of 2008, her biggest mentors in wrestling and who she would have love to see be apart TNA’s Knockout’s Division when she first broke into the company.
We mentioned during the intro there, you have returned to IMPACT after well over a decade, having previously been a part of the incredible then TNA Knockouts Division featuring the likes of Gail Kim, Awesome Kong and The Beautiful People. Having had some time now to step into the ring with some of IMPACT’s incredibly stacked knockouts division how does it compare to you with that class of 07/08 that really set women’s wrestling on fire internationally?
“Well, I think the biggest difference was when I came into TNA, all the women on the roster, all the knockouts, we had been on the independent scene together for years. There wasn’t a knockout I hadn’t worked with previous to TNA so we were all a pretty well oiled machine as we all really knew each other professionally and personally. Whereas you know, you take 10 years off, you’ve got a whole new crop of women. So I always say wrestling really ebbs and flows, it has highs and lows, it really changes what its flavour of the month is, the year. And I walked away off the back of an era where, you know, they were really into like the models and the Divas and then training them to wrestle. And itbecame really disinterested. For me, it became very boring. And I don’t mean TNA. I mean, all the companies. And you know, in the last year, year and a half, I’ve really watched women’s wrestling take this huge turn. Whereas the focus is really on the talent and the talent of female wrestlers is huge now,
and it’s not just one or two, it’s a huge, diverse pool of women. And even better, we’re talking about characters, we’re not talking about, you know, women that all look very same, you know, it’s the blonde versus the brunette. It’s a really exciting time for wrestling as a whole but specifically with women’s wrestling. So this second chapter of new knockouts has been a huge learning curve. For me. Wrestling’s also really changed a lot in the past 10 years.”
When it was announced that you were returning to IMPACT, the outpouring of support from fans on social media was truly something to behold. Did it surprise you at all how well received you return was by the IMPACT audience and how have you found the fan support since your return?
“Well, it’s been life changing really, because I feel like the first half of my career I didn’t really get to do what I wanted to do because women’s wrestling was at a different place and I was you know 20 25 and I just didn’t know myself as a person as well and you know that pans out to how you are as a wrestler if you don’t know yourself How can you know yourself as a wrestler? And a lot of the fans. You know, they’re older now, my first chapter of fans so to have the support of all the new wave fans as well as been incredible I didn’t know I was going to be so well received. I truly did. It was a big risk.”
We have seen you step into the ring with a who’s who of IMPACT Wrestling legends during you career with the company, is there anyone in particular that stands out to you as someone you really enjoyed working with be it because you felt they made you better every time or because they were so easy to work with?
“In terms of learning, I think Awesome Kong was my biggest mentor. And then, you know her and I had a storyline for like two years. So, you know, we became our own kind of travelling circus together. And she was this big superstar in Japan and she had a huge independents recognition in the States. And, you know, I came into TNA in a very unique way, I was essentially nobody off the back of being released from WWE. And, you know, I showed up on TNA as a fan in the audience. And you know, within a month I was knockouts champion. So she welcomed me with open arms in a way that was very old school, I had to earn my stripes with her, she just didn’t befriend me. And I respect her so much for it because I really felt like I earned my relationship with her in a professional manner. And I think wemade for a really great storyline as a result.”
This Thursday on AXSTV you battle ‘The Influence’ available to watch in the UK on YouTube or the Impact Plus app from 3am Friday, how have you found stepping into the ring with a fellow OG Knockout in Madison Rayne and what do you plan to do to counter the numbers advantage The Influence has had over you to this point?
“Well, the benefit is Madison Rayne and I we have a long history. But while I decided to find myself and you know, get another career, she stayed in wrestling and she’s been perfecting her craft. And you know, that makes her pretty dangerous. Because, you know, even though I know her well in the past, there’s a whole part of her I don’t know. As far as taking on the numbers, I think I’ve proved myself capable to hold my own in the ring with Kaleb with the K. And Tenille can’t seem to get the upper hand on me without the help of Kaleb and now she needs to drag big headed Madison Rayne, you know, body out of retirement. So I don’t know. I feel like they’re running out of options. And as far as numbers go, well, we’ll just see. But I think I think at the end of the day, it will be entertaining no matter whathappens.”
We have seen you thus far step into the ring with some great performers in IMPACT Wrestling but there is a plethora of talented Knockouts we are yet to see you step foot into the ring with, is there anyone particular knockout you are super excited about stepping into the ring with when the opportunity arises.
“Well, everybody. I’ve been gone for 10 years so this is a whole new crop of knockouts and they all bring so many different elements. There’s such different characters, Ttere’s such different talents. And you know, I might be considered a veteran of the sport but as a veteran, I’m, you know, well versed enough to know that you never stop learning and to be the best you have to get in the ring with everybody. So bring them all on.”
Finally, before I let you go because I know you’ve got a very busy day ahead of you. We have talked a little bit today about the original knockouts division and the booming knockouts division IMPACT has currently, to put the two together which member of the current knockouts division do you think would have done the best as part of that OG TNA Knockouts Division and why?
“Yeah, you know, I would have really liked to have seen Awesome Kong versus Jordynne Grace, because they both have a very, like if you go down to the core of what they offer, their, you know, strong, extremely physically mentally strong women who rely a lot on power moves and their size. And they both bring like the same amount of intensity. And it would be like a twist to that David and Goliath story you saw with Awesome Kong versus myself versus Gail Kim, because there’s a height differential, but I feel in terms of strength, they would be a lot closer match. So I would have loved to see that.”