$O Cal Val is one of the most beautiful managers in wrestling, despite recently celebrating her 18th birthday. In her short time in wrestling she has managed several major independent stars including Frankie Kazarian, Steve Corino, Danny Doring and Roderick and Sedrick Strong. This interview was conducted at an NWA Sunray event in Melbourne, Florida May 8, 2004.
Alan Wojcik: Was wrestling part of your childhood and who were some of your favorites?
$o Cal Val: I grew up in Beverly Hills, California. I wasnt into wrestling until I turned 14 and my early favorites were Kurt Angle, Triple H and Stephanie McMahon. Later on I began to watch Shawn Michaels videos.
AW: What led you to be involved in wrestling and is there a difference between a manager and a valet?
$o Cal Val: I went to some indy shows in California and I noticed there werent many females. I had been watching tapes and thought it looks like fun and the few girls I saw were good but there werent enough in the business. The girls I saw on the independent shows didnt look like they were taking their roles seriously. I dont mind being called a valet but in my eyes a valet is someone like Precious who just came out to cheer her man on and maybe pick up a ring jacket. I think managers influence the match by getting the fans involved and make things happen. They are able to be free standing characters and they believe their man can win each time he goes to the ring.
AW: You mentioned liking Stephanie McMahon, when you created $o Cal Val was she someone you used as a blueprint plus where did the name come from and how much of you is in her?
$o Cal Val: I knew from watching Stephanie I wanted to have a rich girl character. I have seen people try it and its hard to get across. The people I worked for (GSCW) wanted a snappy yet snooty sounding name for my gold digger character. I liked Valerie after going through several other names like Vanessa and Victoria. Later on I modeled myself after Missy Hyatt from her UWF/WCW managing days when older wrestling fans and friends said I reminded them of her. Missy did that character so well and I wanted to bring it back and modernize it. I think anyone can be girly and prissy but being the rich bitch is a 24 hour job. Missy played it well and I think I am the new breed of Missy Hyatt.
AW: What makes a nice girl leave the affluent Beverly Hills for Orlando, Florida?
$o Cal Val: My family relocated to Orlando and I went to several local shows and began to send my tapes and photos around. Luckily the promotions down here liked the character and I remained $o Cal Val. I forget to answer this before but there is lots of her in me but it is volume up big time. I play up the snob who looks down on people lie the Beverly Hills residents. Living there gave me great role models to mimic. Not long after I moved to Orlando I began going to Tampa/St Petersburg for IPW/NWA Florida events.
AW: Was it through the sending of tape and photos that got you with NWA Florida and what are your thoughts on Joe Price?
$o Cal Val: I sent some e-mails around and Joe responded to one. I had just done EPIC Pro wrestling and Joe was happy to have me. I had a background and knew shows. I had done some ring girl work with SCW but NWA Florida was where I got my Florida start when Joe put me with Danny Doring. I didnt want to get my hopes up but the pairing actually happened. I knew some former ECW guys like Chris Hamrick and Jerry Lynn so I knew about Dannys past.
AW: You have made some trips back to California to work with WWE indy favorite Ultimate Pro Wrestling. How did you come to work for UPW and your thoughts on Rick Bassman?
$o Cal Val: Rick I met at my second ever show and he is really cool. He has put me with some great wrestlers and I think likes me because he singed me to come back for their TV tapings. I have seen their pilot and I liked what I saw.
AW: Being you have worked in two different wrestling environments, how does a California fan differ from a Florida wrestling fan?
$o Cal Val: When I began the fans were really into hardcore which I do not like to watch. I am a fan of technical wrestling.
Behind my OG Scarface moons $o Cal Val
$o Cal Val: Please pull them up my eyes are burning. When I got to Florida I found the groups to be family friendly. Now that I have gone back to California I think the hardcore stuff was just a phase. Now there are lots of luchas and mat wrestlers. You said the WE likes UPW talent, well UPW has talent that is groomed to be professionals from their locker room etiquette to acting classes for promos. I think UPW and NWA FL groom talent that can take that next step to WWE.
AW: You have a long list of current and former clients I would like to ask you about so get comfortable and if you like we can get a beverage for you.
$o Cal Val: I would love a cappuccino or a diet drink.
AW: First off, how much input do you have in who the promotions pair you with?
$o Cal Val: I think it comes down to the promoter trusting in you. In California I have friends that will ask the promoters to pair them with me like Frankie Kazarian did. I think it comes down to does the character need a manager; some guys are so good they dont need a valet or manager. Some can benefit from a mouth piece. It can be up to me but I let the promotions do the work for me.
AW: You mentioned the man nicknamed the Future, he is the reigning NWA World X Division champion. Give your thoughts on Frankie Kazarian.
$o Cal Val: Frankie is one of the first guys I met in wrestling but I wasnt close with him when I began I stayed close to Scott Lost and Joey Ryan. Scott and Joey were my first clients and Frankie is a top star in TNA and also California so I kept a low profile. Now Frankie is cool with me and I enjoy seeing him when I go home. His technique and charisma make him great. With the exception of Danny Doring, Frankie asks for my creative input. Some wrestlers I have been paired with dont want a manager. Frankie likes having me involved and asks for my input into his character and the match.
AW: You brought up charisma and that word can be used to describe the King of Old School Steve Corino.
$o Cal Val: Steve is definitely one of my favorite people. He is the king of old school and I consider my character to be old school. I think you need to dress well at ringside and learn your craft. Steve is a fan of that and I think he helps me with suggestions on how to be a better heel character and what tapes to watch to steal ideas from.
AW: How does a sophisticated woman like you end up with the classy guy named the Rat Magnet David Babylon?
Vals drink request has arrived courtesy of one of her underlings
$o Cal Val: Think about this Alan, many wrestlers can have a rat but how many get $o Cal Val in their corner? Not that many. Wipe that look off your face because I know you are undressing me with your eyes. (Alan pleads not guilty) I never see David with rats so I dont understand that nickname. He does have lots of teenage fans but a good looking guy like him will have that happen to him. When you put a good looking guy like with $o Cal Val you get another great combination and you saw that tonight when David won the NWA Sunray Cruiserweight title.
AW: Can I get your opinion on some talent you have seen on a regular basis, namely the former NWA Florida Heavyweight champion the Modern Miracle Steve Madison?
$o Cal Val: I did manage him a couple of times. Its a miracle I look the way I do. Steve and I are young, good looking and talented to the point that it makes people sick. I think Steve has determination and will be huge in the national scene.
Former Florida Unified Cruiserweight champion Naphtali crashes the interview.
AW: Do you have anything to say about $o Cal Val?
Naphtali: She has boobs. I like boobs.
Naphtali is pulled away by his girlfriend
AW: Now we have silence. One of the many people that I think should be in the WWE is a former client of yours; former IPW World and NWA Florida Heavyweight champion Billy Fives.
$o Cal Val: Im going to use you as a foot stool because my feet hurt you dont mind do you. (Val puts her feet on my notebook and takes the recorder from my hand) Billy Fives is so intense in the ring. He can work with a manager but he can turn that switch to go from somber to intense like that. He is like Frankie Kazarian, I can sit as a fan and watch Billy Fives wrestle and I can be surprised. Now take this back and ask the next question.
One of Vals underlings removes her feet from my notebook and begins to massage Vals feet
AW: Lets talk tag teams you have been involved with. One duo I wish to discuss is the former IPW World tag team champions and now are split up, Roderick and Sedrick Strong.
$o Cal Val: It was a rough time with all their bickering and Im better than you arguments. I think there are amazing together or as singles wrestlers. It was hard to figure out who is better solo since both of them are traveling all over to Ring of Honor and ECWA. Both have egos and are becoming stars in their own rights unfortunately without my services.
AW: The other team I wish to ask you about are the former NWA Florida tag team champions, Ricky and Tommy Vandal.
$o Cal Val: I had a ball managing them for the MachoMan.com tapings. I thought we worked well together and it was short lived but you never know if I will show up in their lives again. Right now they are having success in MXPW and other promotions.
AW: You have also managed the man known as 1000% Guapo Shocker.
$o Cal Val: That was amazing chance. I knew many things about him. I worked for LXW and got some of my California friends that knew him to come to the event. Working with him was fantastic. I think Mexican fans love him due to his amazing presence in and around the ring. I liked him even though I dont like Mexican food but we ate sushi after that event.
AW Im not sure how much reality TV you match but you managed a Real World cast member Mike the Miz Mizanin.
$o Cal Val: Mike is a sweetheart and I managed him when he was part of Team University at UPW (Team University also consists of Tommy Wilson, Andrew Hellman, Lil Nate, Shawn Riddick and Tony Stradlin.) It was an honor to manage the home grown product from the UPW training school. Mike is popular from that show but it also helps that is a good ring performer.
AW: You have a position in WEW as the personal assistant to the promotions GM, the Queen of Extreme Francine. Whats like to work in that environment?
$o Cal Val: Let me say I have seen tons of Francine tapes and she is another person I model myself after. It was great to be paired with her and WEW is a fun show to work on. The fans get to be interactive with the girls. It is nice to be in a calm female locker room. Most girls can be catty and vindictive but not in that locker room. I will be going to Philadelphia for the next WEW PPV. I am happy to be aligned with Francine and we have done some great stuff together.
AW: When MLW reappeared on the wrestling scene this past January it signed $o Cal Val to be part of their ringside crew. Before the company closed down was there any talk of using you for more than the timekeeper?
$o Cal Val: You have to admit I made the timekeeper job look good. I was there to survey talent and the MLW office had a storyline laid out for me but we all know what happened to MLW. I have come to know that even thought MLW is gone I might be working for another promotion. So never say never Alan.
AW: I didnt plan that segue way into this next question. Speaking of never say never. On a questionnaire for www.glorywrestling.com you listed the Black Nature Boy Scoot Andrews as your most hated person in wrestling. Yet now you are in a working agreement with Andrews and his NWA (Ni##az With Attitude) partner Antonio Banks.
$o Cal Val: I think those two forces of nature coming together knocked some sense into me. After all Scoot has won belt after belt, why not have me since I look great wearing gold. Those two are like the Strong Brothers; they are intense and a great pairing. Scoots charisma was too hard to resist and lets end it there.
AW: Without sounding like a sexist, you are a very photogenic young lady. Have you ever been approached for modeling shoot or runway work?
$o Cal Val: You dont sound sexist so relax Alan. I do model on the side but Im dedicated to wrestling. I am a pretty face with a fabulous body. I do follow the fashion trends like you will notice by my Christian Dior outfit. I am a fashion follower and thats what great about wrestling is $o Cal Val can bring that knowledge to the wrestling fans. Have you ever seen the way people dress when they come to wrestling? By dressing the way I do 24/7 I am enlightening redneck wrestling fans.
AW: Where do you shop for those outfits you wear to the ring?
$o Cal Val: I do most of my shopping when I make trips to work for UPW. Why not burn some cash and plastic while you are near Rodeo Drive? I shop there so I can show the people yes I am hot and I know what to wear to make my body look hot and I have more money than you. I think wrestling needs that Miss Elizabeth type of character to bring the gowns and diamonds to the fans that cant ever have them.
AW: You brought up several veteran managers like Miss Elizabeth, Francine and Missy Hyatt. How do you feel todays women are perceived in the business and by the wrestling fans?
$o Cal Val: I have one gripe; women are seen as one dimensional. There are girls that can wrestle and manage or do only one of the two. I take managing seriously. Some girls look great at ringside but do they do their homework like I do, they need to learn from the past to perfect their characters. Some girls dont interact with their clients until its time to go to the ring and I think thats wrong. I know my clients out of the ring atmosphere and I feel for them when they get hurt, whether they win or lose a match.
AW: I think you answered this but I will ask it anyway. Do you prefer to be a babyface or heel and why?
$o Cal Val: The first time I ever insulted a crowd I wondered how could anyone want to be a babyface. I think having the power to make a crowd hate you is how managing used to be. Bobby Heenan and others got so much heat that they had people try to kill them. I think having the ability to make the crowd think you are a bitch is amazing. I had fun as a babyface but I felt like a cheerleader. I think as a heel you can improve on your character, as a pretty girl guys want to cheer for you and to make them hate you is the challenge and I love challenges.
Vals underling finishes massaging the feet and now is massaging Vals hands.
AW: You recently celebrated your 18th birthday. How does $o Cal Val celebrate a big birthday?
$o Cal Val: When you jet set like me it becomes almost becomes ordinary like going to the movies is for the common person. The average day in the life of $o Cal Val is a celebration spending money and doing what you please. For my birthday I had some down time and reflected on life and where I have gone so far. The guest list was very short as it is when I go places.
AW: Many people like me have their own live journals but you have a commentary on www.prowrestling.com . What can the fans find when they log on (hint, hint, nudge, nudge) to check out your commentary?
$o Cal Val: Yes in true $o Cal Val fashion I upstage everyone that has a live journal by having one on the biggest wrestling news site around. I was contacted by the site after a photo shoot and I was hesitant since I am not a wrestler I didnt want to express my views on peoples ring performances. So my column is about my life in wrestling from the backstage life and traveling the country. I like to show the fans that wrestling is a fun place to work.
AW: You also have a website www.socalval.cjb.net. Who designed it and what kind of input do you give?
$o Cal Val: My first site was designed by Deja who was the webmistress for www.randyorton.net. She made the site about me being the first diva of GSCW. But when I moved to Florida and she got busy with other projects. I was contacted by a gentleman named Kelly and I have total control since I am a picky perfectionist. Everyone that logs on knows that my fingers have been all over that site. Kelly is busy too he is working on a site for the Living Legend Larry Zbyszko.
AW: What is the dumbest thing a fan ever said to you that made you come close to breaking character?
$o Cal Val: I think you have to look back to the way managers got heat on them. At a show in Ybor City I was with Bruce Steele and the hatred for me was everywhere in the crowd. Bruce is great heel and gets enough heat on his own. We got so much heat that even before the event started they booed and yelled when either of us went to the bathroom or to get water. I got cups of beer dumped on my Givenchy dress I found out they had taken my six inch stiletto heel that fell off at ringside and the fans took hot wax and poured it into the shoe. Needless to say that the shoes had to go in the trash, which was a shame since I am a big shoe collector.
AW: What do you hope the future holds for $o Cal Val?
$o Cal Val: I hope to be as happy as I am right now. I have had so many calls from promoters wanting to book me all across the country. I want to be busy and be remembered as someone that wasnt just a pretty valet but someone that took the time to work the craft right. I want to remain level headed in life.
Thanks to $o Cal Val for her time. Thanks to her staff for accommodating me into Vals hectic schedule. Be sure to log onto her site listed above. For information on the promotions mentioned log onto www.NWAFLorida.com , www.sunrayprowrestling.com and www.upw.com