Upon joining WWE at the start of the year 2021, Taya Valkyrie had already established herself as one of the world’s most successful female wrestlers.
As a former champion of IMPACT, AAA, and other competitions, Valkyrie came into the game with a lot of name recognition and was immediately treated like a movie star. The unfortunate thing for Valkyrie (also known as Franky Monet in NXT) is that her run with the WWE was cut short when she was dismissed less than a year after joining the company.
She was released on November 4th, only a few days after NXT made the switch to NXT 2.0, which focused more on fresh and younger talent. This week, Taya Valkyrie appeared on “Insight With Chris Van Vliet” to talk about her experience in the WWE, NXT 2.0, and what she’s learned.
“It was just like the most confusing experience of like, my entire life,” Valkyrie said. “And having worked, like I said, everywhere, I just left like ‘what is going on?’ 100% (it felt like walking on eggshells). I think everybody was. I can only speak for myself, but I can say the energy definitely shifted. We were hearing rumors all the time about ‘they are going to be firing people this week’ and the whole week, everyone is scared. We’re all busting our asses. I ended up training with Corino and the boys in the tag class. I loved training with MSK and Imperium because they are pushing me and making me do different stuff. It’s really cool learning from different people from different walks of life and paths. Everything was good and everyone was working really hard. The shift of how they wanted 2.0 to be literally changed from one day to the next. It just made everyone almost like hold your breath.”
After Triple H’s dictatorship ended in September, NXT officially became NXT 2.0.
Valkyrie responded to a question about whether or not Triple H’s departure from WWE had anything to do with her release by saying, “No one ever said that to me or confirmed anything like that. I don’t know. It was really confusing and I tired to make sense of it for a really long time and I was really angry, but you can’t make sense of something that doesn’t make sense. All I can say is that I worked very hard, I gave everything I could like everywhere I worked before and it was very confusing and I felt like I did something wrong. I’m a sensitive person. When everything went down, it was very confusing and heartbreaking for me because I felt like I let everyone down.”
Valkyrie went on to say that her husband, John Morrison, was on the WWE UK Tour at the time, which caused her to get tearful.
“John was on tour in the UK. Thank God, my friend Heather Monroe picked me up to go shopping when I got the call. I felt like I was representing the over 30 women who are still badasses and look good and do their job, are passionate, and can work, and I feel like I let everyone down. I know I’m putting that on myself, but it’s been really rough. I now know that I did nothing wrong. It just sucks. It sucks when you meet your heroes and you work at a place you dreamed of working forever and it’s something so out of your control,” she said. “Had I not gone there, I would have regretted it forever. I don’t regret going there. I just wish it had been handled differently and I would have been given a chance. I still made really cool friends and got to work with people I probably never would have worked with. Shoutout to all the coaches I got to learn from and the creative team and writers; Road Dogg, William Regal, all these people that really did help me.”
As Valkyrie pointed out in a tweet, “Stop supporting a corporation that has ZERO regard for its artists,” Morrison’s release came two weeks later.
In her tweets, Valkyrie said that she had received threats and “kill yourself” comments, which is not acceptable, and that it made her nervous to be among fans again. However, she stated that the fans had been quite welcoming upon her return to the ring. Valkyrie has now rejoined AAA and is still performing at different independent shows.