Taya Valkyrie reflects on AEW debut, keeping it a secret, meeting with Tony Khan in January

Photo Courtesy: All Elite Wrestling

Valkyrie states that she was welcomed with open arms by the locker room. 

One of the championship matches on the bill for AEW Double or Nothing is Taya Valkyrie challenging the undefeated Jade Cargill for the TBS Championship. 

Valkyrie arrived to All Elite Wrestling on the March 15th episode of Dynamite in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Valkyrie hails from Victoria, Canada. 

She reflected on her debut while speaking with Chris Van Vliet and was hoping the home-country crowd would vocally show up for her. Taya added that the locker room welcomed her with open arms. 

I mean, I was a little bit nervous (for my AEW debut). I was like, please Canada, please, please be there for me. Like, please cheer for me. You know, you never know, you always have those second guesses, like, are they gonna know who I am? Like, I don’t know. And they were there for me. So I’m forever grateful. And Winnipeg, thank you very much.

I was welcomed with open arms (by the locker room) and it was such good energy. Everyone was just surprised to see me. I think Britt (Baker) knew, I’m trying to think who else knew. But yeah, it was just so positive. And I mean, when you’re starting a new job anywhere, it doesn’t matter where it is, you know, in a studio like this or if it’s in pro-wrestling or a restaurant, you always have those kind of nerves because you never know what’s really going to happen. And it’s like walking in the first day of school. You know, like, catering, I’m like, which lunch table do I sit at? I’m still, you know, trying to figure that out. But honestly, everyone was so welcoming and excited. And it just made me a much more calm person and just felt like I belonged there.

Before her debut happened, Taya was on the same flight as The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) and fellow AEW talents. She attempted to disguise herself from fans at the airport. Taya did not stay at the hotel her colleagues were staying at. 

So I flew in and was actually flying on like the same flight as a bunch of people coming from L.A. like The (Young) Bucks and everybody. And like, as soon as we got to the Winnipeg airport to get off the plane, I have put a hat on, I put a mask on, and tried to cover myself up because like, as soon as you walked off, I walked off, like down the escalator. And there are fans everywhere. Yeah, I don’t exactly blend in. So I had to really cover up and then, they actually had me staying at a different hotel than all of the other people on the roster. So that was a secret hotel, secret location, had a secret S.U.V. pick me up and bring me to the secret backdoor. And yeah, that’s how it went.

She had exchanged messages with AEW President Tony Khan but the first time they met in-person was in January in Los Angeles. AEW hosted Dynamite from The Kia Forum in California on 1/11

Taya expressed her gratitude to IMPACT Wrestling and MLW for her recent stints there and wanted to finish up those commitments. 

I mean, I think that, you know, everything had to take its time properly. I feel like people were like, ‘Why didn’t you go there sooner or later?’ It’s not up to me. Contrary to what people think, you actually have to be offered a job and things have to be, you know, at the right place at the right time. And there had been talks over the last year, all of, you know, 2022 and speculation and rumors and things like that. But I just knew that, like my work was going to speak for itself. And when the timing was right, I would get that chance. And that’s exactly what happened. I became undeniable in 2022, I really put myself out there. You know, won awards, Biggest Comeback of the Year by PWI. And multiple, you know, five different championships across the world. I put in the work. And so I knew that-that would pay off. And it did.. And you know, when we had a meeting when AEW was in Los Angeles, in January, was when I was able to speak to Tony face-to-face, because we had spoken through texts and things like that. But you know, I sat down with him and it just kind of went from there. And I just had to wait for that moment, and it came, and then all of a sudden here we are. So yeah, you know, and even with the conversation, things didn’t happen right away. And it’s just not how business works. It’s not how this works at all. And I obviously have commitments with multiple companies. I really pride myself on never leaving, you know, never closing a door, and I really wanted to finish those storylines and finish those things properly. IMPACT has been a huge part of my career in my life. I never, ever wanted to leave them high and dry or anything, but I also had to protect myself in the way that I had to pick what was best for my next step. Yeah. And also MLW was nothing but fantastic to me, Court Bauer, shout out to you guys, you guys were great. That roster is fantastic. Like these people really helped me get through a really horrible part of my career, or at least mentally, I was not in a good spot last year. And I’m forever grateful for them. And because of them, I was able to take this next step.

Jade Cargill is 59-0. The first time she and Valkyrie went one-on-one, Valkyrie was not able to use her ‘Road to Valhalla’ finisher.

About Andrew Thompson 7741 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.