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$o Cal Val Take 2
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$o Cal Val isn’t your typical 20 year old. Already in her life she has been featured in magazines, DVD’s and on the internationally broadcast TNA Impact and Xplosion TV shows. Her list of clients in her managerial portfolio reads like a who’s who of wrestling and the rumors about her personal life sometimes reads like a Hollywood tabloid.  Alan J. Wojcik received a chance to speak to the TNA Knockout the day after the Final Resolution PPV to get answers to some pressing questions.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Last time we talked TNA had just moved to Orlando and began filming the Impact TV show. How did you come to work for them and what did you know about the product?

 

$o Cal Val: The trip to Nashville known to people had nothing to do with it. (Val went to Nashville in 2003 with some IPW Hardcore talent.) I got noticed by coming to the shows here in Orlando with tapes and resumes. I let them know I wanted to work as a manager but I would do other stuff on camera. I still want to manage but I became David Sahadi’s production assistant for a while and he helped me out by getting me noticed by Jeremy Borash who asked me to be the ring girl.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: During your tenure there have been several (and I do mean several) other women working as ring girls including some ladies of Hawaiian Tropic. What do you think led TNA to sign you in August and begin to call you a TNA Knockout?

 

$o Cal Val: We had lots of girls come and go who wanted to be here for all the wrong reasons. They didn’t want to be here because it was wrestling. They wanted to be on TV or get money. Some of them would say they watched wrestling which were total lies. I have been in wrestling going on five years this March. I haven’t paid all my dues but I have done tons of indy bookings and knew how to get a crowd going. The girls were models with no personality or social skills and were here as a job. I was ecstatic at getting a TNA contract, even though I still just the ring girl. I think it was TNA’s way of welcoming me into the family. I want to be here and they said thank you for all my work.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Throughout your life you have done modeling but this past year you were part of the TNA Knockouts DVD. What kind of reaction did you receive from your close friends and family?

 

$o Cal Val: The girls were ecstatic because it was a big step in building the Knockouts as a brand in TNA. It was funny because I was the ring girl and then I got told I was part of the DVD. I signed my contract after the DVD shoot was over and done. People like Bill Banks and Jeremy Borash pushed for me to be part of it. That was a big step in them saying I am part of the group. It was a huge honor to be included with that great group of women, some who I had admired for years. Plus we got a spread in Sole Collector Magazine with the DVD shoot. It was a whirlwind and I hope for a volume two DVD real soon.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: In addition to the TNA events in Orlando you have been part of the house shows. How do you feel the fans have reacted to TNA in Philadelphia, Detroit and the UWF shows in the Carolinas and should TNA become a full time touring promotion?

 

$o Cal Val: I don’t think TNA needs to be a full fledged touring company but we are seeing the PPV’s go on the road. The response to Bound For Glory being on the road was immeasurable. The second we landed in Detroit we had people following our every move. The one word fans kept using when they talked to us was FINALLY. Until you travel you have no idea how big our fan base is. We love Orlando but meeting new people is great.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You were at the Connecticut house show that was shut down. Please give your version of what went down.

 

$o Cal Val: That happened the day after my first house show in Philadelphia. I was so comfortable there because WEW (Women’s Extreme Wrestling) has done PPV’s in the same building. The next day we drove to the show and on the way we all laughed as we drove by the WWE headquarters in Stamford. Then we get to the show and at first we thought it was a rib. Then the rumors flew a rival promoter got involved but I still don’t know what to believe. Like the guys I was disappointed in the show being cancelled.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Being ringside for TNA events you have the best seat for some of the big PPV matches. What was your favorite match or moment of 2006?

 

$o Cal Val: That is a tough one. I am a huge Kurt angle fan but people forget when Christian Cage arrived in 2005 and then won the NWA World Heavyweight title in February. I thought his arrival was a huge jump. I might be wrong but I think he was the first big named person who came over that talked about putting TNA to the next level. When he came here I was star struck because I was a huge Edge and Christian fan. Now he’s a buddy and I get kidded about it. I remember seeing Kurt Angle on screen at the No Surrender PPV. No one knew he was coming and you saw his silhouette and you know that singlet so well. The crowd was never that loud in the Impact Zone.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Being close to ringside turned out to be dangerous for you when Kurt Angle was trying to get a rematch with Samoa Joe for the Final Resolution PPV. Were you worried being part of the angle and being placed in the Ankle Lock?

 

$o Cal Val: That was a good thing. I began watching wrestling about 14 years old. The first match I remember enjoying was Kurt/HHH/Stephanie (McMahon) in a three way match. People talk about Hulk Hogan being their hero. Well I came to wrestling later then them so Kurt was my hero when I began watching. I remember going to my first shows and wondering why the people were booing him. Now I see him every taping and PPV. I was personally excited to be part of the story. It’s surreal. I thought the girls were joking around because they know how huge a fan of him I am. He walked by one day and I started cheering “Yah Kurt Angle.” He politely laughed. I was honored to be in there with him. He came down and cut his eyes to me for an instant and next thing we were in the ring.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Fans that viewed TNA’s syndicated show Xplosion have seen you do some interviews and even host the PPV pre-show with Jeremy Borash. Were you nervous being on camera and do you think TNA might use you in that capacity full time?

 

$o Cal Val: One of the reasons I love managing is talking on the mic. But talking as $o Cal Val the manager is a huge difference then talking as a host. I miss having a character instead of being the TV interviewer. I had tried acting before wrestling but found it to be something different. At the last FIP event I cut six promos as the character and I loved being the heel. My TV persona is a babyface and its sales work. It was great working with Jeremy on the PPV’s and Xplosion and maybe I will get to do it again.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Besides working in TNA you have kept you managerial skills in shape working with the Heartbreak Express (“Superstar” Sean and “Fabulous” Phil Davis) in Full Impact Pro. How did that partnership come to be and give your thoughts on their bloody war with the Black Market (Joey Machete and Shawn Murphy)?

 

$o Cal Val: I had worked for FIP when it began; I managed Phi Delta Slam (Brother Bruno and Big Tilly). I began to work for them again recently and loved it. I had met the Express before but never seen them work, until we went out for a promo. Then I understood their characters and how I would fit in. They are so over the top and flamboyant, with great mic skills and that is totally me. I have managed many people I think its 80 and counting and they are very talented but underrated. As far as the violence goes you would think as long as I have been around wrestling I would be used to it. I don’t like the blood. If you watch me during TNA events you will see me get teary eyed. I don’t like the blood but have to tolerate it. Those teams have bled all over Florida. My friends have seen me on the floor crying over a wrestler because even though I am playing a character I have strong feeling about them. I have gotten real legit heat over it. The night the Strong’s (Roderick and Sedrick) wrestled in a cage for IPW (in 2002 they lost the IPW World Tag Team titles to “Black Nature Boy” Scoot Andrews & “Marvelous” Mike Sullivan) I had never seen that much blood before in one match. I balled my eye out and to this day I have no idea why I got heat. The fans need to believe in me when they see my emotions come out. If I am crying they feel what I am feeling. As the ring girl in TNA the fans usually look to me to see who is the good guy or bad guy. They see me and forget it’s not real. The Kurt Angle thing made me cry and I don’t apologize for it.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Over the past few years you have been working for WEW (Women’s Extreme Wrestling), at one point you were Francine’s executive assistant. For people that never get to see WEW, tell us what their shows are like.

 

$o Cal Val: WEW has gotten different reactions. In the PPV’s there is some nudity. A normal WEW event is an indy event but the talent is all women. It’s not smutty as some people think. There isn’t anything too out of line. I think the difference between WEW and other groups is WEW pushes the envelope other then straight out wrestling. I tell all the women I meet to work there and find out for their selves. I had some of my best work in WEW because they let me talk and be $o Cal. The best part was I got to work with Francine in and out of the ring. WEW and FIP allow women to be in power. In WEW I was the general manager and made matches, calling people out and talking to the crowd. I had worked for MLW and some of the production worked for the same group. I can’t work for them now that I am working for TNA and we can’t work for groups that run PPV’s. I miss the staff, locker room and most important the fans.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Along with WEW you have made some trips back to California. If memory serves you managed PWG star Joey Ryan. How do you think he has changed from your days working with him, besides being “the highest drawing champion in PWG history,” I mean is he as good as he says?

 

$o Cal Val: I think he is a good as he says he is. The Florida fans found that out during the last JPC (2006 Jeff Peterson Memorial Cup.) Fans in California get to see him and Scott Lost all the time and know they are the men. They have made California wrestling great again. If the fans weren’t PWG (Pro Wrestling Guerilla) before he worked here they are now. Joey is finally allowed to be funny. The best gimmick is Joey amped up by ten. That seems to be the best kind of character that gets across to the fans.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Great stuff so far, now the fun is over. Let’s address some rumors. The most talked one about on message boards was the “offer” from Playboy Magazine.

 

$o Cal Val: That one was truth and that’s why I addressed it on my page. I couldn’t use the word Playboy without people immediately thinking I was going to pose. Yes I received an offer but declined it and it was a hard decision. At the same time it wasn’t hard because I don’t feel ready. I am 20 years old and that can come later in life. I talked to my family and they were supportive, all weren’t thrilled but they were supportive. It came down to my personal decision. I wouldn’t have said yes or no for one person. It was because I was not ready. Religion or financial stuff had nothing to do with it. I am not a huge fan of nudity even though I have done some sexy modeling shoots. Some women talk about loving Playboy since they were little, that’s not me. I think it’s classy but I am not ready.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Another rumor is your inclusion in the Raven-Serotonin faction (that includes Frankie Kazarian, Mat Bentley and Johnny Devine.)

 

$o Cal Val: The only place I heard or read that was online. It would be a great thing but not something that was locked in stone. I don’t believe everything read online and neither should you.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You have been rumored to be dating several different wrestlers in TNA and even the WWE. How do you handle this kind of attention because I am tired of people asking me who you are dating?

 

$o Cal Val: My friends have asked me about the outlandish ones and usually I laugh them off. But then when they are rumors I am dating friends then it hurts a little. In this business you are around men all the time so your friends become men. I laugh because I am so girly yet most of my friends are men. I don’t like the fact I can’t go out after a show or go somewhere with my friends and people automatically assume that is my boyfriend or I am sleeping with him. People hang out and you get closer then other people. I have heard some doozies but when it’s a close friend you don’t want awkwardness to set in.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Last night during the PPV Christy Hemme cut a promo about how women are treated in wrestling and VKM ignoring Joanie Lauer’s role in DX. What did you think of her promo which seemed more shoot then work and do you have the same view that women aren’t just eye candy?

 

$o Cal Val: Yeah but it’s hard to know who to blame. I don’t like women who complain about the eye candy thing. All the complaining is going to make you lose focus on what you want to do. If you don’t want to be eye candy don’t be eye candy. I think the girls take it out on women who are hired for their looks and not talent level. They shouldn’t be mad at the women being hired, they should be mad at the people doing the hiring. You think the WWE Diva Search girls are going to turn down a job? Working in wrestling is a great life and a paycheck. They can’t help they were hired. I wish every girl that is hired was as much into wrestling as I am but they aren’t. I liked Christy’s promo but I thought it was negative thinking as much as I agreed with it. I felt what she was feeling and she meant what she said. We talked about it because I went after her right after she was done. Without sounding too women’s libish but women need to be treated with some level of respect and guys forget that.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: Like many WWE and TNA wrestlers you have a Myspace account (www.myspace.com/socalvalerie). How do you handle fan interaction and the posers that probably follow?

 

$o Cal Val: My account is totally run by me. I try to update stuff and rotate the photos nearly every day which is a running joke with my friends. It’s used to promote me I don’t normally talk to my friends on it. Like it says on my page I don’t read Myspace mail but I do read mail when you email me. If you want to contact me my address is listed on the page. I keep my calendar updated and it’s a great tool to find old friends. I don’t like to talk on the phone so Myspace is great so I can leave funny comments on my friend’s pages.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: In addition to myspace fans can check out your website (www.socalval.net). Who designed it and how much interaction with its design did you have?

 

$o Cal Val:  I am always talking to Candice and Katelyn who run it. Actually it started as fan site and it was better then my actual one. So I talked to them and we made it my official one. They have found tons of photos I have never had in my collection or make videos and wallpapers. They update it often so thanks to them.

 

Alan J. Wojcik: You turn 21 this March. Anything you have wanted to do that you have saved for that day?

 

$o Cal Val: My birthday wish would be to manage in TNA and that day will come soon. To go somewhere for my birthday I would go to Las Vegas. I can have all of my friends from California come in and party. For now that might be my plan.

 

Thanks to $o Cal Val for her time after a long PPV weekend. Thanks to Larrsss who assisted me in setting the whole thing up at Universal Studios Orlando.