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Taya Valkyrie Reveals How Shad Gaspard Impacted Her Career


Taya Valkyrie Reveals How Shad Gaspard Impacted Her Career

As the longest-reigning Impact Knockouts Champion in history and the current AAA Reina de Reinas Champion, Taya Valkyrie is one of the hottest wrestlers going today. While Valkyrie is seeing incredible success now, it was not always championships and victories for her. Speaking on The Chris Van Vliet Show, Valkyrie revealed how she was turned down by WWE at their tryout.

“There were other people that were there; Celeste Bonin [Kaitlyn] was actually at my same tryout and we were very similar,” Valkyrie said. “At that point, we were both fitness girls. She was American, and I’m Canadian. I’m just a little bit taller than her. Sometimes people like something that’s really right away, and sometimes they don’t. Sometimes it takes a long time to figure it out, but she got signed that time, and then everything’s kind of happened since then.”

The WWE rejection was difficult, but Valkyrie says it lit a fire under her that got her to where she is today.

“I obviously haven’t worked for them, but it pushed me to go to Mexico,” Valkyrie said. “It pushed me to find my way to Lucha Underground. It pushed me to be on Impact, where I am now. I think that it’s corny and stupid because I hate when people say this, but everything happens for a reason. But I truly believe in the universe creating and being the driving force of your own destiny, and liking something so much like wrestling, I didn’t see failure as an option. Even if my journey to where I am now has been different or delayed – not stereotypical – I’ve taken the road less traveled to get to this point.”

Earlier this year, the wrestling world lost a tremendous soul in Shad Gaspard. Valkyrie revealed she first met the late Gaspard when she was bartending, and he helped get her on the pro wrestling path.

“I’d met Shad Gaspard three weeks before The Nationals… WWE was in town,” Valkyrie said. “And I was bartending at this bar, and I was dressed as a female John Cena. They were in the bar and I was just serving them drinks and stuff, and he’s like, ‘You should be a wrestler.’ And I was like, ‘I’m trying to be a wrestler, and I don’t know how to be a wrestler!’ So he actually put WWE in contact with me the first time. If it wasn’t for that, then I don’t think that a lot of things would have happened the way that they did.”

Valkyrie is married to a fellow wrestler, WWE superstar John Morrison. The two wrestled together for Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling before Morrison returned to WWE. According to Valkyrie, her favorite match of her husband’s is with another current WWE superstar.

“I think it was one of his all night long matches,” Valkyrie said. “He’s had a few that are in Lucha Underground with him and Ricochet. Both of them are so unbelievably talented. When you have two people like that who both want to push the limits of gravity, you have some of the most epic, crazy matches ever.”

Valkyrie and Morrison have been together since 2016, officially tying the knot in the summer of 2018. Valkyrie says her husband has brought out the best in her both in and outside the ring.

“We’ve just taught each other a lot of patience,” Valkyrie said. “We’ve taught each other that we just need each other. We’re creatively bringing the best out of each other, and I’m sure he spoke to you about the movie [The Iron Sheik Massacre] that we wrote. I just love collaborating with him, and I think that we both– if anything, I taught him it would be that I have a different road interest than he did.”

Valkyrie mentioned how she’s been able to share some of her experiences with Morrison, experiences that he’s a stranger to. Valkyrie says they are about to teach each other things about wrestling, struggles, and life in general.

“There’s a lot of experiences that I’ve had that he hasn’t had,” Valkyrie said. “Some of them are not good, but I feel like I’ve kind of opened his eyes to different things and how hard it can be out there. Not saying that it hasn’t been hard for him, because it has. It’s been very hard for everybody to get to this level. I feel like I’ve shown him another side of what it can be like, to do what I did in my way, and he’s also shared his knowledge that he’s received through his type of training that he’s done and his walking road to wrestling, to me. We’ve exchanged power of information to each other.”

If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit The Chris Van Vliet Show with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

Mehdy Labriny contributed to this article.