Source: Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald
When her former indie tag team partner, Neveah, called to relay some news, Madison Rayne was beside herself. After five years on the indie scene and not even a full year on television with TNA Wrestling, Rayne made the Top 20.
Rayne’s name appeared at No. 19 in Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s Top 50 women’s wrestlers of 2009. A TNA Knockout, she can wrestle, and that’s the name of the game.
“[Neveah] called and said, `Buddy, you were in the Top 20; this is awesome,”’ Rayne said. “So I went out and bought the magazine, and I showed my parents, and I showed my brothers, and then my parents went out and bought more copies of the magazine.
“They’re so proud of me anyway, but then to see stuff like that and to see my face in different magazines I used to read when I was little, they couldn’t be more proud of me. I think it’s still surreal to them to turn on the TV and see their daughter, their little sister.”
A Ohio gal, Rayne can be seen weekly on prime-time during TNA iMPACT at 9 p.m. EST Mondays on Spike TV.
That’s primarily where Rayne’s hard work is paying off, being ranked in the Top 20 and recently winning the TNA Knockouts tag team titles as a key member of The Beautiful People (Rayne, Velvet Sky and Lacey Von Erich).
All that, and Rayne is only 24-years-old.
“It’s an awesome feeling to be ranked, and I’m humbled every time something like that happens,” she said. “Everything, whether it’s the PWI Top 50 or some little girl coming up to me and telling me I’m her favorite wrestler, I do this because I remember how I felt when I would watch women wrestle years ago.
“Knowing that I was told for so many years that this is not something you’re able to do. You need to go to college. You need to have a real life.
“I believed in myself, and there were enough other people who believed in me that I just kept going, and I stuck with what was in my heart, and now I’m here in TNA.”
Rayne appeared in TNA in January 2009. She continues to elevate her status.
“Everything that happens I’m so grateful,” Rayne said. “I’m so Blessed to hear the positive and the negative because even the negative means people are watching me and people have an opinion.”
Right place at the right time. Rayne actually made the finals in September to crown the first TNA Knockouts tag team champions. She tagged with Beautiful People teammate Sky against Sarita and Taylor Wilde.
“Initially, I was knocked out of the competition in the first round, teaming with Roxxi, but then everything fell into my lap,” Rayne said.
The original Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Sky) kicked out newcomer Rayne in August, after Love lost the TNA Knockouts title to ODB when Rayne accidentally sprayed hair spray into Sky’s eyes. ODB’s tag partner Cody Deaner rolled up Sky, and the title changed hands, even though Love was not pinned.
Then in the TNA Knockouts tag team tournament, Love and Sky entered, and Rayne teamed with the returning Roxxi. Love and Sky advanced to the finals against Sarita and Wilde, but a legit working visa issue forced Love out of the tournament, and Rayne rejoined The Beautiful People, teaming with Sky.
“It was very unfortunate what happened with Angelina, but I just tried to make a positive out of a negative,” Rayne said. “Velvet and I pulled it together as best we could, and I feel like we did an awesome job. We didn’t come out on top, but we weren’t as experienced at the time as Taylor and Sarita.”
Sarita and Wilde became the first TNA Knockouts tag team champs, but Rayne and Sky worked a good match.
“For the time that we had on this and all the other pressure that we were under, I think we did a really good job,” Rayne said, “and I’m really, really, really proud of us.”
Rayne continued: “It was awesome. It was making history. Before I came to TNA, I specialized in tag team wrestling. So when that opportunity was given to me, I was like, `Heck yea, let’s do this. Let’s do it 100 percent and do awesome with it.”’
They did, and The Beautiful People continued, soon adding a new element to the mix with Lacey Von Erich, daughter of the late, great Kerry Von Erich.
When TNA iMPACT moved to prime-time Monday nights, Rayne and Sky with Von Erich won the TNA Knockouts tag team belts in a three-way battle against former champs Sarita and Wilde and TNA champ Tara and Love.
“Coming into TNA and being brought into The Beautiful People initially was like a godsend for me,” Rayne said. “You couldn’t ask to be put in a better group and be given a better opening into your new career.”
A new experience for Rayne.
“With Angelina and Velvet, it was a little bit more difficult for me to find my place,” Rayne said. “It took me a few months. I feel like once I found myself, and I found who I wanted to be here, I then meshed with everybody. I think I did a good job.”
Rayne continued to progress.
“Teaming with Velvet, her and I together, really gave me the confidence boost that I needed,” she said, “and then bringing Lacey into the mix, she’s a ball of fun. She has just a positive attitude all the time. She’s a sweet girl, and I’m really, really happy to have her around.”
Within a year in TNA, Rayne was good, then bad, then briefly good and bad again.
“Sometimes I can’t make up my mind,” she laughed. “You just got to roll with the punches.
“I did something [via storyline] that [Angelina and Velvet] felt was bad and wrong. I didn’t do it on purpose, but I cost Angelina the TNA Knockouts title.
“I had to keep going. I was still new in TNA, and I wasn’t going to let them being upset with me — for a short period of time — get me down. So I found the best partner that I could with Roxxi.”
Her relationship with Roxxi did not last long as Rayne helped Love and Sky advance to the tag team tournament finals, and then Love had to deal with the visa issues, opening the door for Rayne’s full return to The Beautiful People.
“With The Beautiful People, I felt like we would always get back together,” Rayne said, “but at the same time I just had to stay positive and pick up from where I left off and keep wrestling because wrestling is what I love to do.”
When Love, the wrestler, returned to TNA in January, she attacked The Beautiful People.
“That was totally unexpected,” Rayne said. “When we saw her sitting in the crowd, we were ecstatic. It was like we found our sister.
“She went through a lot. She went through a really, really tough time in her life. We did have to pick up where she left off and keep going, but at the same time, I can understand that she might have been a little hurt and felt betrayed a little bit, but The Beautiful People are still here, and we’re still going.”
In character, Rayne said: “I don’t feel sympathy for [Love] because she kicked me in the face a couple of times. OK. Her message was read, and now we keep going.”
Read the entire interview here:
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Source: Jim Varsallone of the Miami Herald