I recently interviewed GFW / Impact Wrestling star Laurel Van Ness. Below if the full interview in its entirety:
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Before you signed with GFW, you were making waves in the independent promotions. Compared to the men, how difficult, in your opinion, is it for the female wrestlers to make a living working on the independent scene?
"I think - for female or male, it is very challenging on the independent scene. Ideally if you notice, it is the people that don't have a second job that tend to be in one of the companies with a larger name and a larger fanbase. And that's how they are able to charge more, or work more, and travel around the world. The people that have made a name for themselves, and really just can wrestle have worked their butts off to get to that place. They definitely deserve a lot of respect."
You were involved in a long program with Allie. What is your take on the direction creatively for the women, over the past year - year and a half? How much of creative freedom is given to you?
"I love it. I think as females, we always want to have more air time, more room time, more - longer matches and more main events. But, at the end of the day, we're going in that direction, and I'm happy with that, and I'm happy with the side everyone has taken in women's wrestling. We do get a lot of creative input, and that's something you don't get in all companies. So myself and the Laurel Van Ness character, I'm very happy with the inputs that I'm able to get back from Impact Wrestling."
Talking about creative freedom, your gimmick caught fire this year, as the company has explored outside of the norms in terms of character development and out of the box thinking. While you previously talked about Dutch Mantel's input in the evolution of your character, how did the whole idea come about?
"Well, it was a collaboration between a lot, lot of people in the office, and Dutch and myself. It is something that I kind of - as we get inputs from the fans, and inputs from our peers and our co - workers, it's changed, and it has evolved, and it has grown into something maybe more crazier - more psychotic, drunk and things like that. So it is forever changing, and we're forever looking for inspiration. "
You cited Gail Kim as one of the influences for you getting into the business. How much of an interaction have you had with Gail over the past year?
"Well Gail is… not only is she a wrestler, but she does a lot (of work) backstage for us. She does agent our matches, and I've learnt so much from her in the past year, in and out of the ring - not just about wrestling, but life in general. She's a great person to have on my side, and all of the knockouts are very thankful, to keep her around even after she retired, as an agent."
What is the major difference according to you, between the independent promotions and GFW?
"Well, the difference was always going to be the talent. We're able to sign the best talent in the world. As I love sitting down backstage, watching our product because it is such high quality, and love watching the matches that are put together.
"But you know what? I've seen some amazing independent wrestling shows. I've seen high quality matches, I've seen high level talent. So at the end of the day, all independent companies are different, you know? It's hard to make that kind of comparison."