One of the many real-life couples in pro wrestling involves WWE's John Morrison and Impact's Taya Valkyrie. They've been married for two-and-a-half years, and previously worked together in numerous promotions including Impact Wrestling and Lucha Underground.
"We had met before because he was coming to AAA, because obviously, I think once he started working on [Lucha Underground] Season 1, he was coming to AAA and doing TV. But it was never like we weren't friends. I was just excited that someone spoke English," joked Valkyrie before being asked what she knew about Morrison before they started dating.
"Obviously I knew who he was, and he was so sweet. John is the sweetest human in all the world, in all the land. He was just always really nice to me. It was never more than that."
She then talked about the early dynamic between her and Morrison, who was known as Johnny Mundo in Lucha Underground and AAA.
"I went to Lucha Underground. Originally, I was actually told I was going to be 'Kobra Moon', so I had taken all the measurements for my costumes and everything. So when I went to the temple, I was greeted by Chavo Guerrero. He showed me around and then I was told that I was not going to be Kobra Moon," recalled Valkyrie.
"They said, 'You're going to be with Johnny Mundo and PJ Black.' And I don't know if they had, at that time, decided if it was PJ and Jack [Evans] that we were going to be [Worldwide Underground]. But I was told right away I was going to be with Johnny Mundo. I'm just in shock because everything kept changing - that's just wrestling and TV in general. A lot of things changed at the last minute. That day, I did my first run-in with John, and we were just like-- I was just nervous because I didn't know what to expect. This guy's a mega-star. Brian Cage is in there; there's a lot going on. I was just nervous. It was my first time in the temple, and I finally put my mark in the U.S. doing something."
Valkyrie's debut match with Lucha Underground in 2015 is still one that people talk about today. It was an intergender, no disqualification match where she took on Brian Cage, and it also involved Morrison making a run-in.
"It meant so much to me, and then it was the next day that I had that match versus Brian Cage that everyone still talks about. That was day two when John told me in the office that he had broken his foot," stated Valkyrie. "So they sent him to the hospital because he was supposed to have that match, and he said to me, 'Will you do this No DQ with Brian?' And I said, 'Sure!' So he went to the hospital, we called the match, everything was figured out, and they said, 'Brian had this crazy spot for you through these two tables. Are you okay with this?' 'Sure!' And he came back right as the show was starting because he had to do something and did a run-in in the match, and he goes, 'Oh yeah, I just sprained my foot. I didn't break it.' Great.
"Thank God he had thought that he'd broken his foot because then I wouldn't have gotten the chance to wrestle Brian and I wouldn't have gotten the attention that I have gotten from that match. That match really put me on the map as far as Lucha Underground is concerned. Brian is such an amazing performer, and was so easy to work with. I'm just very grateful that all the stuff kind of just happened that way."
That angle allowed Morrison and Valkyrie to work together more, and it was others in the Lucha locker room that noticed that Morrison was acting different around Valkyrie. That's what led them to point out to Valkyrie that Morrison liked her, and she thinks the Lucha Bros deserve a lot of credit for making that clear.
"As it progressed, I remember we filmed our first backstage segment with me and John, and I asked, 'What are our characters like? Are we friends? Are we bros? What's the dynamic?' And we still always talk about this because of how awkward we both were with each other, and if you go back and watch the scene itself, I have a red baseball cap on backwards and he's supposed to be in his dojo. It's just, to me, it's very obvious that I'm nervous and he's nervous. It's just very bad," admitted Valkyrie.
"That was the beginning, but it wasn't until he started following me around the temple that he asked me out on a first date. But he would follow me around, and there were different locker rooms. One is where the AAA guys would be; I remember I was sitting on the couch when I had Fenix on one side of me and Pentagon on the other side, and as we're all talking, in walks John into the locker room. He goes, 'Hola companeros!' The guys all stopped talking and looked at me. Pentagon and Fenix both hit me, and they said, 'Oh my God, he likes you! He never comes in here! The only reason he's in here is that he likes you! Oh my God! Taya, he likes you!' And then it was on because they just kept bugging me about it.
"Then he came out and went to dinner with a bunch of us AAA people, and they were wondering what he was doing there. He's buying everyone drinks, sucking up to my friends. I noticed something's going on here."
Many in the wrestling industry prefer to keep business and pleasure separate, and they do that by not dating any other wrestlers. Valkyrie was asked if she ever thought she would marry a wrestler before their first date.
"No, I don't know; I don't think that I would ever get married. I always wanted that, but you never know. Life is weird. I lived a gypsy lifestyle of traveling around and being independent.That's why my mom taught me to be - independent, and be able to take care of myself and fight for what I want. I didn't know what the universe had in mind for me," said Valkyrie.
"From there, he asked me out and we went to sushi, and I was so excited that he spoke English, and he always brings that up. He says, 'You were so easy to make happy on that date - 'You wanted sushi, you wanted to go to Hollywood Boulevard and see the stars on the Walk of Fame, you were happy when I spoke English, and you got happy when we drove past Trader Joes, and then, that was that.'
"We went and did press in New York and he took me to Hamilton. He took me to Hamilton, and then we just kind of started dating. Then he came to visit me in Mexico and I came to LA to visit him. We were filming and doing stuff, and the rest is history."
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.