Madison Rayne - the challenge now is to stay at the top
By Phil Allely
Madison Rayne is a young female grappler in a male dominated world, but against the odds and after a shaky start she has become one of TNA’s best Knockout Division performers. Winning all the gold that is has to offer in a short space of time compared to her peers. Currently holding the Knockouts singles title she was kind enough to give Phil Allely a few moments of her time prior to her tag bout with Tara against the team of Angelina Love and Mickie James during the Dublin, Ireland leg of TNA’s recent Maximum Impact III tour.
“I guess I have been very fortunate to make this far so fast in TNA. I took a bit of time to find my place here and perhaps through luck I wound up as one of The Beautiful People. They are a great team and they helped me out greatly, it was just one of those unplanned things when Angelina had to leave (due to Visa issues), but that moved me up the ranks of the team and I really began to get where I wanted. It’s not like I capitalised on others misfortune, I mean due to pure luck again I was included on the last UK tour as well, I replaced a girl who had to return home.”
As current TNA Knockouts singles champion the 24 year old Rayne has an awful lot of competition in the recently rejuvenated division. All of them vying for the gold and like a seasoned pro Madison never steps down from a fight, although she may bend the rules or have someone waiting in the wings to assist her if things look bleak.
“Well the challenge now is to stay on top, people think getting the belt is the big thing and you can relax. That’s not the case, now I need to be one step ahead at all times, watch my back and keep an eye on everybody. I am the target now and I know it.”
TNA are famed for their live shows and no matter how banged up the crew are no one ever seems to complain about bad shows or performances when they make the long annual trip overseas to please their fans. Rayne like the rest of this years touring performers has her own idea as to why these shows seem to be more intense than those on her home turf.
“It may sound corny, but UK fans are the best, the loudest, hottest and most appreciative we see. It could be the spectacle of what we do (well we are the best at it) or the fact that we only come here once a year, so you guys are ready and willing to see us, but you guys seem more into our show than even our loyal US fans. They are intense on a different level, but they do see us more often I guess, so know what to expect.
Then again maybe we give even more than normal here, it’s such a privilege to be selected for the tours. We have such a good and talented roster that it must be hard to choose who gets to represent the company. I think we all feel proud to be picked to be an ambassador for TNA, I know I feel that way. For a small town Ohio girl like me it is awesome to be standing in another country and calling my mom to tell her where I am, it‘s very humbling to me to be in this fortunate position.”
TNA’s roster is one that whilst slightly top heavy with former WWE, ECW and WCW stars, it has also began to build itself a talented collection of young home grown wrestlers to forge the way forward for them, as the veterans inevitably pass the torch on to the new blood.
“Our company is young and we do have a good number of younger guys and girls here like myself, personally I see it kind of like, because of that we can grow as wrestlers as in turn TNA grows and we can learn as the guys in the back do too. It’s true what they say about TNA being like a family. You can credit Dixie carter for creating that sort of atmosphere, she is a very family orientated person and that rubs off on us too. We all know we can go to her, no matter what, boyfriend/girlfriend problems, family issues or anything else. We can go to her for advice, let off some steam or whatever we need. She can give us tough love, but she knows we need it if she does. We all work better form having that sort of person to go to. We probably work so much better for being able to do that, frustrations and anger never make it into the ring. This is a business and Dixie is serious about that too, but we are indeed the TNA family. We all look after each other too, especially on foreign shores, we are more aware of how the rest of us are and we look out for each other where we can.”
Other organisations seem to neglect talent when it comes to devising characters and storylines, rumour has it that TNA involve their talent in creative ideas as often as possible and encourage their input.
“They never encourage us to do anything we are not comfortable with, there may be a suggestion and we have to explain why we fell it won’t work, but no one will force us to do something we don’t like or feel happy with. We may have to justify why it’s not for us, but if we can the idea is dropped. If we don’t agree with the writers we can go to them, it’s an open forum. Dixie and creative are only too willing to let us voice our opinions, that’s why you don’t se those gratuitous bra and panty style matches here. We are not PG rated TV and we don’t’ need to push the envelope in other directions. We’ll often trade ideas with the writers and that’s how characters grow and build like ours do. I guess for girls in this business it’s hard not to be swallowed up in the sex orientated side of things, but here we are respected and after all we all have families, parents, brothers, sisters etc, all at home watching and they don’t need to see their little girl in that situation. We’d get asked about our comfort level with a scenario and agree to it or not. TNA doesn’t need to be that way with it’s Knockouts. I came here as a wrestler and I want to wrestle.”
Dirt sheets (online newsletters and magazines) are often criticised for their treatment of the female members of the wrestling industry. Madison and her fellow Knockouts have fallen foul of such things before and have to take them in their stride unfortunately.
“You know I really try to stay away from anything wrestling related online or in magazines. In the past I’ve cried myself dry over things I’ve read, we don’t need that in our lives. So now I keep clear if I can. We do this for our fans, we all work our tails off to please people and what I find is that our fans come to see us perform in the ring, storylines are taken note of, but a live show gives them so much more. We meet them, sign merchandise, pose for pictures, ask them and they all agree TNA Live is the thing to see. Our fans are the greatest and most respecting you could ask for”
With a heart of a determined wrestler beating in her young body the ever improving Madison Rayne has the potential to become a living legend like her fellow TNA stars Tara and Mickie James, check her out each week when TNA Impact and PPV events move to new UK TV home Challenge TV this February.