We recently had a chat with former TNA manager, valet and ring announcer $o Cal Val, you can find her on Twitter at @SoCalValerie  
What first got you into watching pro wrestling?

Definitely the theatrics, the pomp and circumstance. I was never (and still am not) into sports. While I respect the athleticism it isn’t what initially drew me in. Storylines got me hooked!  

Who was your favourite wrestler when you were a child?

Stephanie McMahon. She was and in my opinion still is the most believable and that’s really what it should come down to. She knows her character so well that she intrinsically knows how to act (and more importantly react) in the way her character naturally would. She is extremely underrated as a manager because of her last name. Girls getting into wrestling these days don’t always count her because she’s seen more as a “boss” than someone to study diligently. She is my biggest influence and my inspiration to this day.  

Who is your favourite manager/valet of all time?

Again I’ll say Stephanie McMahon for reasons mentioned above. But others I loved studying were Sunny, Francine and Dawn Marie. These characters had the same greedy heel-ish intentions as $oCalVal and used their sex appeal in the same manner that my character often does. Conversely, in the off chance I am asked to be the good girl, I refer back to Miss Elizabeth. Her innocence and compassion was written all over her face. She didn’t even have to speak. That is pretty powerful.   

If you could have managed any wrestler past or present who would it be? 

I would say in the ’80’s maybe Ted Dibiase. It would make sense considering the “money” involved. But someone like Shane Douglas is a hero of mine that I would love to have learned from at ringside. Even now if he and I are on the same show I always pick his brain. He is so knowledgable and pleasant to be around. I am a huge fan. If any wrestler asked me who should they be studying I would list him toward the top of any list.  

Who was your biggest influence in wrestling?

You’ll kill me for saying this but AGAIN Stephanie McMahon. From head to toe. Her body language, how she dressed, her vocals…everything. No one gets under the skin of an audience like she can.   

What has been your proudest moment in wrestling?

Being contracted to a company as big as Impact Wrestling for 9 years. Especially at a young age. I started at eighteen and left at 27. I literally grew up in a huge wrestling company with some of the best performers in our industry. You can’t ask for anything more fulfilling than that. I am so grateful to TNA for giving me the opportunities they did.   

Have you seen any British wrestling, if so which promotions have you seen?

So far I have worked for (in order): Preston City Wrestling, Southside, Hope Wrestling and Global Force Wrestling. GFW was a lot of fun considering there are so many old friends on the tour. It’s like a reunion! But I’ve had nothing but lovely experiences with each federation. I plan on spending even more time in the UK this year so I’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg. I’m always open to suggestions so please let me know on Twitter if there’s a federation I should check out! Meeting new up and coming wrestlers is the best part. I love being in the know of who’s who and what company is the “one to watch”.   

Which British wrestlers stand out and have made an impression on you?

I mention Ryan Smile in many interviews because of the two shows I’ve done with him I have literally walked up to him and spouted all these genuine compliments! He is really, really talented. I got to hear him on commentary on the last Southside show and was even more impressed. Some guys can only wrestle, only talk, only do well at a few things. It seems he is one of the rare unicorns that can adapt to any role. THAT is how you make money and have longevity in wrestling. I wish him luck!  

Who are your current favourite wrestlers?

I watch mostly WWE and NXT these days. I’ve been on a huge Brock Lesnar kick after meeting him backstage at RAW last July and getting to know Paul Heyman, who is a HUGE idol of mine. (I was lucky enough to shoot for “Heyman Hustle” in a lingerie editorial that will be out soon!) In speaking with Mr. Heyman I’ve understood his and Brock’s character from angles I didn’t previously see so clearly. Another one I should mention is, of course, Finn Balor. I had heard so many amazing things from the boys about how talented he was but until I saw him wrestle live at an NXT show I didn’t fully “get” it. Watch him do something as simple as a dropkick and tell me it’s not beautiful! He has a sort of elegance and a gracefulness about the way he moves. It’s really interesting and something I’ve not seen before.  

What does wrestling mean to you?

It means an escape from real life. It means believing that good ALWAYS conquers evil, no matter what, to put it in the simplest terms. It means fantasy and a child’s idea of what a hero is. It is so freaking awesome. I love it so much.   

Will we ever see you in a wrestling ring again? 

I’m in wrestling rings quite often! But these days I am announcing and managing. Mostly for Evolve and Shine Wrestling which has now just been brought to the @FlippsTV app where you can watch worldwide, anywhere with wifi, instantly on your phone or smart TV! Visit http://www.Flipps.com and http://www.WWNLive.com for all the latest. Plus! I’ll be in the UK again very soon. Excited and honored to get to know the UK wrestling scene even more. So I’ll see you across the pond!   

Huge thanks to Val for taking the time out to have a chat with us, let us know what you thought of the interview over on the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SomeoneStopTheDamnMatch


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