Recently I had the chance to speak with “SoCal” Valerie Wyndham. In this interview we talk about her time as PWG commissioner, the difference between SoCal and Florida’s wrestling scene, NWA TNA, rumors of a relationship with Matt Hardy, phone sex ads, and more. To read the entire interview click below.
Steve: Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me. For those who didn’t read our first
interview, please explain how you got into the wrestling industry.
Valerie Wyndham: Basically by being a fan of wrestling and attending some local indy shows. The fans were nice enough to create a little buzz about me on SCU and eventually I was asked to start managing.
Steve: Were you always interested in wrestling growing up, or is it something you just fell into one day?
Valerie: I began watching wrestling when I was 14, so I missed out on a lot that I’ve had to make up through studying tapes. I don’t have any males in my immediate family so there wasn’t a big interest in sports for us.
Steve: Is that how you first learned to be a manager, by watching tapes? Or did you have any type of formal training?
Valerie: Yes, that is what I consider my training. Watching tapes and studying people like Missy Hyatt, Stephanie McMahon and Sunny. I don’t really believe you can fully train a manager. I suppose you could go through the motions but it wouldn’t compare to studying those that have come before you.
Steve: When you are out there, how much of your character is the real you, and how much is the character “Valerie Wyndham”?
Valerie: I’d say the character is similar to my personality, but just amped up a lot more. Which is good. It gives you the ability to be a much stronger person. Your creativity isn’t limited because when you’re that character you aren’t afraid of anything. Worrying what other people think of you doesn’t even
cross your mind. After all, in Valerie Wyndham’s mind there is no one else who even matters.
Steve: Did you create the character yourself, or was the idea given to you?
Valerie: I knew that was the character I wanted to portray and considered it to be the sort of persona I could do the best with. Luckily everyone agreed it was a good fit and they let me run with it. I’m always happy to work with promoters who allow me to really let the character come out full force, but in some cases it has to be toned down depending on the wrestler I’m managing and what his character is, or what my role in the promotion is. It’s not always something I’m able to incorporate, but I try my best.
Steve: When we did our last interview, you had just moved to Florida a few months prior. How does the Florida scene compare to the SoCal scene looking back?
Valerie: In all honesty there isn’t a huge difference. The biggest difference I see is that So Cal definitely has a much wider variety of wrestlers. I’m just glad the So Cal fans have accepted me again. I will be honest in saying they seem a lot harder to please. But that’s a good thing. It challenges us all.
Steve: Now I heard you’ll be moving back to Florida full time, will you still be coming out for shows here or will you be pretty much Florida only from here on?
Valerie: I will most likely be back every now and again for shows, as I was when I lived in Florida last year. I’m not sure when or for who but as it stands now I primarily work for PWG and UPW so I hope to make the occasional appearance for them whenever I am able.
Steve: Speaking of UPW, how did you first get involved with them? Did you contact them, or did UPW contact you?
Valerie: I had met Rick Bassman at one of my first shows and he was always kind and inviting when it came to my interest in working for them. Shortly after I moved to Florida I expressed that interest to Frankie Kazarian who was kind enough to provide me with the contacts for UPW. Eventually Rick gave me an opportunity on a show and it was a really great experience from top to bottom. From then on I let him know I’d love to work for them whenever they could use me.
Steve: And how did you get involved with PWG?
Valerie: I have remained friends with Joey Ryan and Scott Lost since my first show and they were simply nice enough to include me on their shows. I started in PWG by managing them when they were The X Foundation, which was a natural fit. Especially with Scott being the second wrestler I’d ever managed. Eventually I was put into the commissioner role which has been a lot of fun. I really enjoy
talking on the mic so I was ecstatic that they thought enough of me to put me in a position where I’d be doing a lot of mic work. The fact that the PWG guys have allowed me to not only be the only female in the locker room, but the commissioner of the company is a huge honor. If I hadn’t said it before I’ll say a huge thank you now to them, because it means a lot to me.
Steve: You’ve also recently done a little work WWE, how did that come about, and what was that experience like?
Valerie: I can only explain the experience by saying it was the coolest thing ever multiplied by about 1,647 times. Being backstage there I really didn’t expect to be included on the show at all, but Stephanie McMahon was sweet enough to include me and another girl who was there for the tryout in a backstage promo with some of the Smackdown superstars. The second time I went I was also lucky enough to be included in a commercial for WWE.com and WWE Auction with John Cena. The thing that has really thrilled me is that, like I mentioned, I was able to work in some capacity, whether it be a promo on the show or a commercial for the company.
Steve: Since Cena is a former SoCal wrestler, did you guys talk about the scene at all?
Valerie: No we didn’t discuss that, unfortunately. He was a class act though and I was happy to finally meet him. Some of the very first wrestling I ever watched was him as The Prototype on a UPW special. That’s something else I wish I could have mentioned to him. It’s funny the things you remember watching and then you find yourself sort of thrown into it!
Steve: You’ve also been doing a lot of work with NWA TNA, how did that come about?
Valerie: I was very fortunate to have TNA sort of fall right into my lap, as they began filming at a venue that was literally 5 minutes away from my home in Florida. I attended every show and was always prepared with tapes and resumes in case I saw an opportunity that I could talk to someone about working for them. Eventually one of the people I met was someone who I now consider to be quite possibly the coolest person I know in wrestling, David Sahadi.
Steve: So you were able to give him your tapes, and how long was it before he got back to you?
Valerie: He took the time to talk with me and understand that I was simply looking for a chance to work and learn more about the company. Eventually he gave me the opportunity of working for him as his production assistant which was such an awesome learning experience.
Steve: And that eventually lead to an on camera roll?
Valerie: Yes, after a few months I was given another opportunity, this time by Jeremy Borash who approached me about being a ring girl. I now consider TNA to be the biggest part of my life and I owe that to both David and Jeremy. Being involved with the company in whatever way that I’m able to contribute is absolutely tremendous! And right now I’m having a lot of fun as a ring girl. I tend to mark out more than the fans, though.
Steve: Are you under contract with them at all?
Steve: With TNA starting on Spike TV, do you think people will start to see them as a viable alternative to the WWE?
Valerie: Sure. There’s certainly something out there for everyone. The fact that people will be able to choose, or in some cases watch both, is a great thing. I say the more wrestling on TV, the better!
Steve: Can I ask about Matt Hardy?
Valerie: Sure. I’m not too familiar with the whole situation as I find it very confusing. But I will do my best to answer.
Steve: Well there’s a rumor that you and Matt Hardy have been seeing each other, any truth to that?
Valerie: No, but he is a great person. We are just friends.
Steve: So you aren’t the next Lita?
Valerie: I don’t think there will ever be another Lita. And if there is, I am the farthest thing from it.
Steve: OK, moving away from rumors, what are your goals in wrestling?
Valerie: I just hope to have a career in which I’m happy and satisfied with the sort of work I’m doing. Right now my focus is managing. That’s my passion. It’s the area in which I feel I’m challenged the most at. Because with managing you don’t seemed to be seen as just one thing. It, for me at least, has incorporated so many different parts of the business… mic work, storylines and even wrestling matches occasionally when the situation calls for it…it really keeps me on my toes. I tend to get bored easily, so not limiting myself to doing one specific thing is great. Managing is what I always consider my strongest point.
Steve: If the WWE came up to you tomorrow and said “We want to offer you a contract, but we want you to get breast implants” would you do it?
Valerie: Possibly. And I only say that because it’s an idea that I have thrown around, myself. Most wrestlers are against it, but if I were to ever get implants it would be because I personally felt a need or want to have them. And my opinion is the only opinion that matters when it comes to that sort of decision. Then again I would hope to wait at least a couple years, as I am still very young. And in case you are wondering, which I know you are, I might as well tell you that I am all of 19 years old. Just to clarify.
Valerie: Ah yes. What’s funny is people are still freaked out. I thought I escaped at least some of that when I turned 18.
Steve: Well, at least it didn’t freak out Matt Hardy. Just kidding.
Valerie: [laughs]. Wow! You went there!
Steve: Besides wrestling, what are some of your other interests?
Valerie: Not to sound shallow, but I do a lot of shopping. I really love Fashion. Other than that I really don’t do a whole lot of other things. I work out when I can, listen to music and watch a lot of wrestling videos and DVD’s. That’s pretty much it. I like surfing around on the internet too. It’s especially good
that I have it because I’m not really a phone person so I keep in touch with my friends online.
Steve: What websites do you read, besides SCU of course?
Valerie: I don’t much care for wrestling news sites as I am always unsure of who’s stories are credible. I try to avoid them, but I do like DivaBoard.com for information on the women’s side of things. Myspace.com is another site I enjoy. I feel like a big loser for using it but it’s actually pretty fun, especially because 90% of the TNA fans I meet are on it so I’m able to chat with them there and leave goofy comments for my friends. I also try to help my webmasters with my site when I can, though they are much better at doing updates and things like that than I am.
Steve: So, tell me about Wrestle Reunion and your experiences there.
Valerie: Wow I wouldn’t even know where to start. I kept describing the entire convention, and the hotel it was in, as a circus. Just madness. But in a good way. Everyone, and I include myself here, was just so excited they didn’t know what to do. Legends left to right. My involvement on the show was very cool. I was ring announcing, which was a fairly new experience for me. The fans really enjoyed themselves and so did I. I just kept thinking, wow….if you had told me a few years ago I’d be doing a show with and sitting and doing an autograph session with people like Bret Hart and Terry Funk and Wendi Richter….I wouldn’t have believed it. I still sort of feel like it didn’t really happen.
Steve: Did any of the wrestlers and people who had been around the business a long time offer you any advice at all, or tell you stories from their glory days?
Valerie: I wasn’t able to talk in length with many of them but the two people I worked closely with and got a lot of advice from were Jimmy Hart and Tom Prichard. They are true sweethearts and really looked out for me. Learning from those two is insanely cool. Even though they aren’t obligated to teach me so much, they seem to genuinely care enough to take the time to. DDP has also always been that way, too. I was happy he was around, as I hadn’t seen him much since when he was working for TNA.
Steve: Who has been your favorite person to manage so far?
Valerie: Oh that’s tough to decide. The wrestlers I’ve enjoyed managing the most are those who really take the time to include me and make me feel appreciated. IE: Steve Corino, Danny Doring, Frankie Kazarian and Scoot Andrews. Also, working with Francine has been amazing. She has taught me so much and is such a kind person. For that I am even a bigger fan of hers now than I was before I met her.
Steve: Last time we did an interview, I asked you who you would shoot in the face if you could, and you refused to answer. Is there anyone you would shoot yet?
Valerie: [laughs] Sadly, no. I don’t really even bother to dislike people that give me reasons to dislike them. I can save that sort of energy for something better.
Steve: What about Osama Bin Laden, would you shoot him?
Valerie: Maybe. He’s pretty shootable. Or perhaps I’d shoot the guy that decided trucker hats were cool. What was he thinking?
Steve: Some people have e-mailed me saying you are in a phone sex ad on TV, is this true?
Valerie: Whoa, seriously? That is absolutely false.
Steve: I haven’t seen the ad, but there’s been several people who have mistaken it for you.
Valerie: Wait…by some people do you mean Hook Bomberry? [laughs] Well it’s not me. I assure you.
Steve: Would you ever pose nude?
Valerie: I highly doubt it. I try not to rule anything out completely, but that isn’t something I want to do. It’s not the sort of message I want to project.
Steve: What would you do if you were ever put into a storyline that you didn’t agree with the subject matter?
Valerie: I’d try to work with it was best I could as long as it didn’t compromise my morals. There are some things I wouldn’t be thrilled to do but if it was in good taste I would try to work it out. They are storylines after all, meaning fictional.
Steve: What’s your favorite thing about wrestling, what keeps you in this business?
Valerie: Everything. I know I’m still fairly new to wrestling, but even in 3 1/2 years there has never been even the slightest doubt of why I’m in the business. I have never once questioned why I’m here. As silly as it sounds, I love it so much that I can’t even begin to fathom why anyone would want to leave it. Yes there are stressful times and there are vindictive people…but that’s life. I think people tend to blame the business too quickly. Seldom do they stop and realize the problems they’re having are usually to do with a certain individual or certain incidents. The business isn’t bad, business is, at least to me, the feeling you get when you’re at a show that makes you want to say out loud how much you love wrestling. Maybe it’s just me, but that feeling is something I get all the time and I hope it never goes away. The second it does I’ll be out. No one deserves to be in wrestling unless they feel that strongly about it.
Steve: Is there anything else you’d like to add before we end the interview?
Valerie: Not that I can think of. I appreciate your thinking of me for the interview though, Steve! I had a good time.
Steve: Thank you for your time as well.
For more information on “SoCal” Valerie Wyndham please check out her website at www.socalval.net.