SoCal Val Exclusive Interview – “I think there’s a misconception of what Hogan and Bischoff did (for TNA)”
Hogan, Bischoff and fans in denim mini-skirts. A Wrestle:list conversation with SoCal Val gives us insight into the perspective of a TNA-loyal who has experienced the highs and lows of Impact from both backstage and in the spotlight. She goes into detail about her experiences as a female talent. The 31-year old, 15-year veteran of the business, speaks about the lengths that people will go to for her attention online, as well as the balance with TNA after an approach from PlayBoy Magazine.
You can listen to the full interview below:
On Early TNA Days:
I was there for nine years overall. I did my first show for them in January of 2003 when they were in Nashville. I was with a group travelling to Florida. I was with Roderick Strong at the time, managing him and a wrestler that was playing his brother, Sedrick Strong.
We had an opportunity to go up there in 2003 but that was just kind of a one-shot and then I was signed in 2005 but my first show with them was 2004 – I believe I was doing ring girl stuff. But even before that, I was doing production assistant work backstage.
On WWE Competition:
If I’m very honest, I think their focus was way too much about being second to WWE. Competition is always good but if you’re always looking at the person next to you and just trying to compete, trying to compete, trying to compete and trying to beat them, you lose sight of your own product. So I think that TNA was guilty of that off and on. Probably the best era from a wrestling standpoint was probably a little bit pre-Hogan era. Around 2005 to 2008 was the biggest time for us with Spike TV, and the X-Division was super hot.
On Strange Fan Behaviour:
You’ll get the people on Twitter that are, sort of, fly-by-night – you’ll see them once and you block them or whatever. Or some of them try to be consistent and change accounts which is hilarious. There’s everything from fans’ weird requests like there was a guy years ago that would just always email my web address about photos with me in the abdominal stretch. I don’t know why he was into that but that cracked me up. Another guy wanted to purchase used trash bags. So there’s all kinds of absolute weird things that people will ask.
There’s a lot of weird requests in terms of merchandise – all the girls in wrestling, well like 90% of them I think, will sell photo shoots or – on my calendar, the bikini I’m wearing on the front will go for a lot because it’s on merchandise. We’ll do that, we’ll have charity auctions and have signed evening gowns and dresses or whatever. But, the amount of people that ask for just strange things like that or a lock of hair – you’ve got to wonder, what are they doing with this stuff? I had a guy that bought a denim mini-skirt of mine and sent me a photo of him in it and honestly he looked better than I did!
On the ‘Hulk Hogan-era’:
A lot of fans will come up to me and say “Eric Bischoff and Hogan – I don’t like what they did” and I say “Listen. You weren’t there. You have no idea what kind of professional guys Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff are.” They were the easiest to work with; they were the kindest to all of us. They did a lot for us – I know that Hogan got us a lot of exposure and he was so pro-TNA and I think it was some of the best time professionally that we were there. So I loved that era and I think there’s a misconception of what Hogan and Bischoff did for us.
Follow her on twitter @SoCalValerie
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