Madison Rayne is moving on to life after wrestling, but she leaves as one of the most successful and decorated women’s wrestlers ever. Rayne announced her retirement from the wrestling business on Saturday night and spoke with WrestleZone’s Bill Pritchard after the announcement about some career highlights as well as her plans for the future. The five-time Knockouts Champion is leaving for a career outside of the business and while she says she’s still a bit shocked it’s all happening, all good things must come to an end. Rayne says she knew her in-ring career was winding down this year, but it might be a bit longer before the idea of being fully removed from the business sets in.
“I unexpectedly transitioned my role within wrestling—obviously less in-ring—and I was providing the commentary for all IMPACT TVs and pay-per-views, and I was also helping agent and produce matches behind the scenes, so I think that it’s kind of set it, that the wrestling part is over. But in terms of just the whole idea of moving on from an industry that I’ve been in for so long, yeah I mean, it’s gonna take some time,” Rayne said, “When Josh packs his suitcase next and he’s heading out on the road and I’m like oh wait I don’t have to put all my things in a box with wheels and go with you. So I think that’s probably when it’ll set in.”
While there was speculation about her status with IMPACT Wrestling earlier this year, one thing that caught many people by surprise was Josh Mathews, her husband and co-commentator for much of the year, was also leaving the booth for a promotion within the company. Asked if their respective career moves (Rayne is leaving for a job in the business world, Mathews will now serve as Senior Producer) coincided with each other, Rayne said that wasn’t planned out too far in advance and said the past year really gave people a chance to try new things. Rayne took time to credit Mathews for how hard he works off of the air and said she has “zero doubt” he would excel in the next chapter of his professional life.
Rayne says she was first approached about a commentary position in 2016 when Billy Corgan was still with the company. She says he pitched it to them as wanted to try it out and see if anything was there, and she ultimately embraced it and saw it as a new, exciting opportunity. Citing similar words of encouragement from former TNA star Taylor Wilde, Rayne referenced “being on the wrong side of 30” in regards to in-ring careers having a shorter life span, but she’s proud to say she debunked that theory. While she didn’t seek out a commentary role herself, Rayne says she put really high expectations on herself up to the last match she called and remains very thankful for the opportunity she was presented, which in turn opened other doors for her in the business.
.@MadisonRayne has announced her retirement from IMPACT Wrestling.
— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 17, 2021
While she was mainly seen as an on-air and in-ring figure, Rayne was also helping agent and produce matches behind the scenes towards the end of her tenure with IMPACT. When asked how she approached producing IMPACT’s women, Rayne called back to opportunities she got herself early on in her own career. Rayne first came to IMPACT Wrestling as a product of SHIMMER, and explained how the situations where she was encouraged instead of micromanaged help explain her approach today.
“I’m forever grateful for Dave Prazak and everything that he did for women’s wrestling. I was fortunate enough to have an opportunity at SHIMMER long before I probably deserved it. And I say the same thing about my first few months or even my first year at TNA. Somebody saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself at the time but they gave me that opportunity and gave me the ball and I ran with it as fast as I could. And so I thought about those things when I was part of the creative team or recently when I’ve been helping to produce matches,” Rayne explained, “There’s a reason that all of these women, all of these Knockouts are at IMPACT Wrestling right now. And I didn’t create that. They got themselves there.”
Although she says they don’t need much help, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the “Queen Bee” there for advice and guidance. With as many accolades and accomplishments she had, Rayne still says women like Taya Valkyrie, Rosemary, Jordynne Grace and Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz all know what they’re doing, and she just hoped to be there for inspiration and collaboration. When asked what she wants her legacy to be or if she could pick one match that best represents her, Rayne said she just hopes people remember she worked hard and remained humble.