Taya Valkyrie is getting back into her groove on the independent and international scenes, but she’s still processing her time in WWE as Franky Monet.
Though her run in NXT wasn’t very long — teasers for the Monet character started with her dog running through the Performance Center around WrestleMania 37, and she was released that November — it came at a very eventful time in the show’s history. Taya was there for last summer’s rebranding to NXT 2.0, refocusing of the WWE developmental program, and restructuring of the management team.
That process felt abrupt and stressful from the outside. Taya’s account of experiencing it first-hand backs that up, as she told Chris Van Vliet on his Insight podcast:
“Everything was good. Like, it was hard, it was definitely like ‘Okay, this is a totally different kind of situation than I’ve ever had or been in before, but if I survived all the drills and all the hours I’ve spent in this kind of environment in the other places, I’m sure I can do it here.’
“And that’s what I did. I did abs, I went extra ring time, I was training every day, I was doing promo classes, I was pitching ideas and having creative meetings. Road Dogg and I would sit down and talk about stuff for like, hours and I would just, I would have all these, I would have color charts. I would have movie references. I think about this stuff so much because I just care and I just love it so much. So things were really good. And you know, as you can see what happened, things changed as time went on and then 2.0 came about, and I feel like that is when a really big change happened.
“It was like night and day. It was a very obvious change of energy and a very obvious feeling. We were hearing all sorts of rumors about what they were looking for compared to last week. I was very confused and like well what is going on? This was in the summer and I had debuted in like March. It was so weird, it was the most confusing experience in my entire life. Having worked everywhere, I was left like, ‘What is going on?’
“I can only speak for myself, but I can say that the energy definitely shifted. We were hearing rumors all the time of ‘They are going to be firing people this week.’ So then the whole week everyone is scared. But we are all there busting our asses. I ended up training with Steve Corino and the boys in the tag class. I loved training with MSK and Imperium. They are pushing me and making me do new stuff.
“Everything was good and everyone was working hard, but the shift of how they wanted NXT 2.0 to be literally changed from one day to the next. So I feel it made everyone feel like they are holding their breath.”
The new version of NXT seems to be finding its footing, and time will tell if the show’s makeover was the right decision for WWE’s overall business. But the transition definitely hurt a lot of people who had signed on for the old vision... hopefully they all find their footing the way Taya seems to be doing.
Check out her entire conversation with CVV here.