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IMPACT star Madison Rayne discusses her career and her decision to retire [Exclusive]

After a lengthy career with IMPACT as a wrestler, manager, and announcer, Madison Rayne announced that she is stepping away from the world of professional wrestling
After a lengthy career with IMPACT as a wrestler, manager, and announcer, Madison Rayne announced that she is stepping away from the world of professional wrestling
Ryan K Boman
SENIOR ANALYST
Modified 18 Jan 2021
Exclusive

Madison Rayne originally began her IMPACT Wrestling career in 2009. On Saturday night, she ended it at the Hard to Kill pay per view.

Save for a couple of short departures, Rayne spent almost all of those 12 years as part of IMPACT, and was a five-time Knockouts Division Champion. She also added two tag team title reigns to her impressive resume.

During her time with TNA/IMPACT, she was part of an emerging group of talented female performers who helped revolutionize not only the promotion, but the entire wrestling world, as well. In an era when other companies were still having mud wrestling and 'bra and panties' matches in their women's division, Madison Rayne and her fellow IMPACT performers were putting on competitive battles in the ring.

Madison Rayne recently spoke with SK Wrestling in an exclusive interview about her career and what led to her decision to retire

After spending several months alongside her husband, Josh Mathews, on commentary for IMPACT, Rayne is moving on. She recently earned her college degree and is now pursuing other opportunities outside of sports entertainment.

Despite the fact that she's leaving, the Knockouts star says she has no regrets, but is just transitioning into the next phase of her life.

"This business... I have given it so many years of my life, but it has given infinitely more back to me," Madison Rayne said. "In the sense that, for the first seven years of my daughter's life, I haven't been sitting behind a desk, and committed to a structured schedule. And, I spent so much time with her that a lot of parents don't get in those early years."
"But, I think it's time now to pivot, and to... you know, I just graduated from college in December. So, it's time to put those student loan dollars and that degree to use."

Even still, she admits that she will have to adjust to life away from IMPACT Wrestling and being in the 'real world'.

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"It will be uncomfortable, and I think there will be growing pains. I will miss it. I will have to figure out something to do. I will have to pick up - I don't know - rock climbing, or something to get my adrenaline rush fix."

Rayne says that looking back, she was fortunate to have people who helped her along and nurtured her career during her formative years in the ring. She discussed her early years as part of 'The Beautiful People' faction with Angelina Love and Velvet Sky, and talked about the bond that she formed with many performers in the Knockouts division.

"When I started at TNA, and they told me I was going to be part of The Beautiful People, I'm so thankful now, looking back, that I was so ignorant to the opportunity that I was being given," she said of her early days. "And... how big that was, and what an absolute awesome position I was being put in."
"I was still just this starstruck little kid that was in awe of what was happening, and was literally just happy to be there. Then, in the months after when things really started to skyrocket, and I was on the road all time. And, we were doing live events, and we were going overseas. And things really started becoming real."
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"I don't think, at the time I could wrap my head around it. But I'm so thankful that I had that opportunity. I'm so glad that Angelina and Velvet welcomed me in the way that they did. And, they kind of wrapped their arms around me and they guided me through those first few years of my career."
"And, it wasn't just Angelina and Velvet, it was that entire locker room in 2009 and 2010 that really helped me grow in to who Madison Rayne became."

Madison Rayne leaves behind a storied legacy in the IMPACT Knockouts Division, and was a cornerstone of the women's movement within the promotion. Looking back, she says that she appreciates her accomplishments, but ultimately, owes it all to the fans.

"It's so simple and (the fans) deserve so much more, but literally all I can say is, thank you," she emotionally stated. "Because, I have out-lived the 'expiration date' that most people place on a female performer. And, I have gotten to see places in the world that I could never have imagined... and done things and met people that, in my wildest dreams, I could never imagine doing."
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"It's all because the fans kept saying 'yes' to Madison Rayne. They kept booing me when they were supposed to boo me, and lifting me up and cheering for me when they were supposed to cheer for me. And without that? I wouldn't have had the career that I've had."
"I am just forever, forever grateful for all the fans."
Published 18 Jan 2021, 18:33 IST
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