Upon her arrival on the NXT brand earlier this month, Franky Monet (fka Taya Valkyrie) has her sets on changing the landscape of the women’s division on the black and gold brand. For the first time, Monet joined the panel on The Bump this week to talk about her long-fought journey in pro wrestling and how she got to WWE.
Monet’s journey in the squared circle began with the help of the late, great Shad Gaspard, who tragically passed away last year. She recalls the first time she ever met him and how he played a significant role in her wrestling career.
“Well, I always wanted to be a professional wrestler, but I didn’t really know how to go about that. I thought that getting into fitness competitions was going to be my in,” Franky Monet began on how her wrestling career commenced. “A few weeks before Nationals in Canada, and I believe Raw was in town. I was bartending at a club, and it was wrestling themed. I decided to dress as a female John Cena. And Shad and a bunch of guys came in, and they were just like, ‘Hey, what’s up? Why are you jacked?’
“He was like, ‘Do you want to be a wrestler?’ I was like, ‘I want to a wrestler. That’s why I’m in these fitness competitions.’ He, basically, was the first person to connect me with the WWE. And I continued to have a friendship with him. He was even at John and I’s wedding. Last year when we lost him, that was a huge loss to everybody and the wrestling community. He was a huge part of where I am today, honestly.”
Monet’s official training began under Lance Storm at his Storm Wrestling Academy in 2010. She mentioned in her interview how Storm still plays a significant role in her career.
“Well, Lance Storm was my first coach. He continues to be kind of like my wrestling dad,” Monet said with a smile. “He’s always watched out for me, even when I was in Mexico. He was always checking in on me. You know, he also trained my husband, so there’s that connection. He’s an incredible human being who loves this business, and he’s always been in my corner. I’m so proud he was part of those early beginnings. You know, it’s hard to find a reliable, great school. He’s an incredible teacher, and I’m glad I found him when I had.”
After spending some time at the Elite Canadian Championship Wrestling (ECCW), Monet moved down to Mexico to hone her craft and become one of the most respected non-native high flyers in the business. This is also where her “La Wera Loca” nickname was displayed. Monet revealed that originally, she was supposed to stay in Mexico for 3-5 weeks. But because of the love and admiration she received there, she spent an entire decade there before journeying over to the United States and taking part in Lucha Underground and Impact Wrestling.
“Mexico, literally, changed my life,” Monet exclaimed. “Coming from Canada, a lot of people don’t understand that it’s hard to get into the wrestling business because all of the cities are hours and hours apart. Sometimes, you have to change where you are to make things happen, and I decided to go to Mexico. I was supposed to go for, you know, 3-5 weeks; I ended up living there for five years.”
With her husband John Morrison over on the main roster, Monet looks forward to the day when she can join forces with her better half. Until then, she’s focused on making a name for herself in NXT.
“I think we’re made for mixed tag team wrestling. We’ve done it for years together. I would love the opportunity to be with him one day, but I also think it’s really important for me to establish myself as a sports entertainer for the first time in WWE on my own,” Monet replied. “When the time is right, Franky Drip Drip and Johnny Drip Drip at some point [will happen].”
Whether you know her as the three-time AAA Reina de Reinas Champion or when she created history as one of the longest Knockouts Champions in Impact Wrestling, Monet is ready to let all of her accolades speak for themselves and prove why she belongs to be on top of the NXT women’s division.
“I think there’s always pressure,” Monet noted. “I love what I do, and when you care so much about something that you’re literally [willing] to uproot your life to follow it until no end until you achieve your goal, you know, you have pressure no matter what you say. But I also thrive in pressure. I’ve been told no a million-and-one times, so this is just another situation where I have to prove myself once more, and I’m not scared to do that.
“I know my worth, my ability [and] my talent. I want to bring to the table a different story than anybody else has within professional wrestling. I took a different path, and it brought me here. Diamonds are made under pressure, so don’t worry about it.”
You can watch Franky Monet’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit WWE’s The Bump with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.