Toni Storm discusses her recent injury & status for NXT TakeOver UK: Cardiff; Kay Lee Ray making things personal & the pressure of being touted as a future star (Exclusive)
I was lucky enough to be able to talk to Toni Storm recently about her upcoming title defence at NXT TakeOver UK: Cardiff and her relatively successful first year and a bit with WWE and the weight of being one of the fastest rising stars in professional wrestling.
One of the main things that became immediately clear after speaking to Storm for just a few minutes is that she is completely dumbstruck and in awe of the achievements in an extremely humbling way.
There is no question that Toni Storm has a huge future ahead of her in professional wrestling, anyone that has seen her in-ring ability at the age of 23 can comfortably predict big things. For example, many would consider the NXT UK Women's Title to be just the first of many titles in a long and illustrious career. However, Storm's feet are so firmly on the ground she doesn't feel her NXT UK Women's Championship reign is real, something she said in a recent interview with Alicia Atout.
At one point during our chat, she said, "people like me don't do things like this" when discussing the success she'd found in WWE so far, winning the second Mae Young Classic and claiming the NXT Women's Title. But achieving success in the wrestling industry is something I feel Storm is going to have to get used to, starting with defending her title on August 31st at TakeOver: Cardiff.
So, without further ado, here's my discussion with Toni Storm about TakeOver: Cardiff, Kay Lee Ray, the pressure of being 'a future star' and her current injury status following recent reports.
You are set to defend your NXT UK Women's Title against Kay Lee Ray at NXT TakeOver UK: Cardiff, how are you feeling about it?
Storm: "I'm feeling quite a lot of things. Obviously this is the biggest defence that I've had so far and it's not just against anyone, it's against Kay Lee Ray who's been one of my best friends, if not family to me for the longest time, ever since moving to the UK. So there's been a lot of emotions going into it, a lot of nerves, even excitement. I just get, you know, quite worked up going into matches this big. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't nervous. Yeah, this is quite a big one!"
The feud between Toni Storm and Kay Lee Ray has been well done.
After Storm complemented several superstars but failed to praise Kay Lee Ray the cracks in their friendship started to show. Then, Kay Lee Ray won the first-ever NXT UK Women's Battle Royal to earn a title shot.
Then her ambition got the better of their friendship and she started to play a series of mind games with Storm until announcing when she'd cash-in her title opportunity. But, she vowed to make Storm's life a living hell until TakeOver: Cardiff when that match would take place.
Storm on Kay Lee Ray breaking kayfabe to bring in personal stuff about her during their feud
Obviously you mentioned that you and Kay Lee Ray were friends. I was at the television tapings in Plymouth so I got to see live her altercation with you and her in the ring. But there was a moment where she said some very personal stuff about you, and how everyone around you eventually leaves you. Were those based on real-life things, or was it all storyline and how does it feel to have personal things like that used by your opponents?
Storm: "To be honest a lot of that was real. The thing that's so unique about this is that there's a lot of real stuff involved. It's kind of bringing out a different side to me I think, going into this because very rarely does it get personal at this level. Especially by someone that I've known and trusted for such a long time. It's brought out a whole different emotion out of me I'm feeling a lot of things all at once. All I can say is that it's going to be one hell of a fight because if you bring up personal stuff it can get a bit different.
Toni Storm on if she thinks her match with Kay Lee Ray at NXT UK TakeOver: Cardiff will be the 'match of the night'
Speaking of your match being 'one hell of a fight', Kay Lee Ray did an interview with GiveMeSport earlier on this month where she said fans can 'expect something spectacular'. How much do you worry about putting on a 'good match' a 'five-star match', you know a match that people will look at and say that was the best match of the night?
Storm: "When I'm there with people like Kay Lee I'm not even worried because for the longest time, as best friends, we would put on incredible matches. I've had the best matches of my life against Kay Lee Ray. But now that we have actual heat now, and personal stuff has gone backwards and forwards I really have a good feeling about this one. I know that I can take it to a whole different level if she could 'push my buttons' you could say!
Coming up on the next page: Toni Storm reveals if she's actually injured, why she dropped out of the wXw show, and what her status for TakeOver: Cardiff actually is.