Another one bites the dust.
Following the departures of Brooke Hogan, Tara, Taeler Hendrix and Madison Rayne, SoCal Val has confirmed that she has left TNA. She tweeted: “Thank u #ImpactWrestling, the lockerroom & esp the fans for 9 wonderful years. No longer w the company. Really excited 2 see what’s NEXT!”
Officially, Val signed with TNA in 2006 – and while you may initially shrug her shoulders at going as most fans at shows see her as being the Impact Wrestling ring girl who returns gear to the locker room or working as a ring announcer for Xplosion, she did a lot more than that, rising through the ranks backstage to become a valued part of their international product.
On-screen, Val’s biggest moment was her relationship with Jay Lethal in 2008 which saw her turn on Black Machismo and align herself with Sonjay Dutt. That storyline ended the following year when Dutt was released from the promotion, and Val returned to her former duties, though also became a backstage interviewer and later a ring announcer.
Primarily, the 27-year old is a manager and not a wrestler so stepping into the ring was never really an option, though in recent years her backstage role has evolved into handling a lot of the promos which are used on the international broadcasts of Impact. She explained her role to Bleacher Report earlier this year:
I started producing backstage about a year or two ago, and it pretty much just entails me helping talent go through different lines that we need for television shows and commercials. A lot of it is international, like we just did some liners today for Germany, and it’s basically just a wrestler coming in and saying, “I’m such-and-such,” saying hello to all of our fans in Germany. So, it’s basically just me running a prompter and knowing the scripts, and just kind of directing the talent, which is really, really cool. If I’m not on camera, I’m usually behind the camera helping them.
Like Christy Hemme, Val has made a lot of contributions to the product which aren’t immediately obvious, but are still valuable. While Hemme is supporting the Knockouts and is designed the website dedicated to them, Val was one of the faces doing the local bumpers for the global broadcasts and doing a lot of the backstage work which helps to keep the machine running smoothly. The likelihood is that someone else will step into the role but considering how the promotion is cutting costs wherever it can, it may be someone who has another job added to their very full list of duties or the international promos could even be binned completely. We’ll see.
Even though she wasn’t a wrestler, she was still one of the dwindling Knockouts roster. We’re now down to seven women – Hemme, Brooke Tessmacher (who returned on last night’s Impact following a four month absence as Bully Ray‘s new squeeze, replacing the departed Brooke Hogan), Gail Kim, Mickie James, ODB, Velvet Sky and Taryn Terrell (who is off-screen at the moment).
– Lee Burton
– Photo by TNA