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December 11, 2017

Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling pins its sights on UMass

This Saturday, the superstars of Total Non-Stop Action (TNA) Wrestling will be at the Mullins Center. Tickets are still available for a 7:30 p.m. performance of “TNA LIVE,” which features the stars of the Spike TV hit show “TNA Wrestling Impact.”       

The prices of the tickets are $53, $38 and $23. University of Massachusetts students, faculty, staff and military personnel can get a $5 discount at the Mullins Center box office with valid ID.

Stars scheduled to appear include Olympic Gold Medalist Kurt Angle, TNA Heavyweight Champion “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles, Desmond Wolfe, “The Blue Print” Matt Morgan, TNA Tag Team Beer Money Incorporated and the Beautiful People: Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky.

The Beautiful People were not shy about showing their beauty to UMass students.

“Students will want to come to this show because we [The Beautiful People] will be there,” Velvet Sky said.

 Two of the most popular female wrestlers in the world, “The Beautiful People,” Madison Rayne and Velvet Sky, discussed women’s wrestling with the Collegian.

Since joining the company in 2007, Velvet Sky has been an integral part of the success of the TNA Wrestling division. She and former TNA Wrestling Knockout Angelina Love formed the Beautiful People when they both came to the company. The Beautiful People added star Madison Rayne into their ranks in early 2009. When Angelina Love was forced to leave the company due to legal reasons, they got a new member, Lacey Von Erich. Von Erich is the daughter of former NWA Heavyweight Champion Kerry Von Erich, who competed in the World Wrestling Federation as “The Texas Tornado.”

“I’m pretty confident in saying that the current day Knockout division has really raised the bar for woman’s wrestling,” said Velvet Sky. “We’ve set a new standard as to what to expect from woman’s wrestling.”

“I think the group of girls that we have work really hard, the Knockouts are the future of woman’s wrestling,” she continued.

“Women’s wrestling has gone through its phases,” said Rayne, “when it was Lita, Trish Status and Victory (known as Tara in TNA) it was awesome.

“But then [WWE] goes through phases when all they are concerned about is models and teaching them to wrestle,” Rayne continued.  “During those phases there were people like us who were being swept under the rug because they weren’t models,”

 “We’ve proven that you don’t have to be a model and roll around in a gravy bowl to be in a woman’s wrestling division on television,” Velvet Sky said, “the knockout division is hard hitting; the punches, the chops, the kicks, and the hair pulling, everything’s real. We don’t sugar coat anything and that is why we are respected.”

Velvet Sky and Madison Rayne then talked about TNA President Dixie Carter. They credit Carter for being the driving force behind the Knockout’s push to change the face of women’s professional wrestling.

“She is our biggest supporter,” Velvet Sky said, “she has been nothing but good to all of us, the entire roster, not just the Knockouts. She really cares about everyone that works with her, she is a great, great person. She has a huge heart, and we’re lucky to have her.”

Sky said Carter is a solid fit for TNA because she understands both the business of wrestling and the dynamics of women’s wrestling.

“She has a mind for business, and a mind for wrestling and she has a mind for women,” she said. “So, she knows how to relate to us and try to do what she can do to make us as the owner of our company to help us feel comfortable, achieve our goals and be the best that we can be.”

“With all professional wrestling there is a risk of serious injury, but the Beautiful People aren’t afraid about wrestling at a style and a pace comparable to their male counterparts,” Sky said.

“There have been injuries here and there, but that is what is to be expected with wrestling,” Velvet Sky explained, “you aren’t going to get off scot-free.”

“We didn’t sign up for any dance class, ballet or model wrestling,” Madison Rayne concluded.

Ryan Damon can be reached at rdamon@student.umass.edu

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