The Rag Mag, Volume #17: An Interview with Tanya Black

Tanya Black.

Arguably one of the pioneers that helped usher in the modern women’s revolution we’re witnessing in the world of professional wrestling today, Tanya suddenly finds herself wading in the rough, muddy waters of the EWA on her own. From pioneer to outcast, the industry shifted and with it came the rise of the bad ass bitches we see today. From Grace Goeren to Maggie McIntyre to Sahara, they’ve broken barriers painfully and openly in a manner we’d not before witnessed. Agree or disagree, they’re changing the game those like Tanya Black once helped create.

While names like Laura Seton, Sinnocence, and Tanya Black come to mind as those that paved the way for the current era, it’s clear this new era doesn’t believe they have a place in the modern wrestling world. Buried beneath a changing landscape of bloody violence, sex, and drugs, we’ll attempt to explore Tanya’s thoughts on what wrestling was, what it’s become, and what she believes it should be.

Tanya, I want to thank you for sitting down with us tonight for what I hope to be an open an informative interview. I apologize for my opening statements as they’re sometimes jarring to my guests. Just keep in mind I’m forthright with my opinions, and I often don’t see things the way my guests see them.

Q: While it’d be easy to just go read your BIO, I’d like my first time readers to get a bit of a glimpse as to who you are, and how you started. Could you give us a brief summary of how you got involved in wrestling?

A: Not much to say. I was a fan as a kid. Did other sports to bide my time and start building my body up to something that can take the grind. When I was 16, I was lucky enough to meet Lady Lola, a teacher and legend on the East Coast Indy circuit. She saw my passion for the business and trained me. She put me through hell and made sure I learned properly what it means to be a wrestler.

Q: You’ve had a somewhat long career to this point, spanning well over a decade. While you’re on the shelf now, injury hasn’t seemed to be a big part of your history. Any advice for the current crop of ladies as to how to stay healthy long term in a landscape that seems to be getting more violent by the minute?

A: (Laughs) I mean two neck surgeries but given the monsters I’ve fought? Yeah I am not as hurt and broken as I should be, as I could be. I mean there are two ideas. The Sahara way which is to avoid fights and have teammates who do the work for you. Or there is my way which is more about conditioning. Men or Women please don’t train based on some meathead’s YouTube video. Listen to your own body and make a workout routine that works for you and the style of wrestling you want to use. Customize your workout, let your body tell you what it needs.

My Reaction: Two neck surgeries vs Sahara’s zero. Maybe Sahara isn’t as dumb as we all think?

Q: This next question kind of goes hand in hand with the previous question. Wrestling as it stands today. Specifically the EWA and the women you see — I want to word this right — changing what you helped create. A world where women were accepted as equals to the men, what do you think of the direction they seem to be taking it? Is it too much? Will it equate to nothing more than shortened careers?

A: The industry always evolves and changes. Some are drastic enough quickly enough that you can easily make division lines for the history books. I never sought to be a revolutionary. I just fought for the opportunity to fight anyone and everyone because I like wrestling. Women’s Divisions still exist some places and if those wrestlers want to focus on wrestling women. Great. As for EWA? Hey equality for genders is cool but the violence….

You have to understand something. You want to Final Solution? Not crazy about the name but Fine. You want to Asylum? Fine. You want to barbed-wire rope C-4 tables surrounded by an electrified cage? Fine. It’s a match, every one is adults. They consent. The fans choose to watch the match. They can leave the arena during a match if they don’t like it. They can not buy tickets or not watch the internet stream. Money Talks. Money Always Talks. So what pisses me off? What I don’t approve of? Bloody group brawls in the parking lot. Bullshit belt whippings on someone who has already wrestled that night and didn’t know you were coming to flay their ass. That is what shortens careers, unnecessary risks and violence that just endorse a lack of civility not badassness.

Wrestling is a Business. Wrestling is a Sport. Wrestling is pride, dignity, honor, and respect. Acting like a wild animal and just doing anything you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. That’s not fun for anyone and doesn’t help anyone’s career in the long term. That’s what I oppose and get angry about. Fuck Genders, douches can have penis or vagina. Both or neither.

My Reaction: As she said, money talks. And right now the money is screaming for more sex, more violence, and more blood.

Q: I appreciate your honesty. So, getting to more current affairs within the EWA, upon entering, you became part of the team of Sex and Violence, which let’s just say didn’t really work for one reason or another. At this point it’s apparent Tanya Black is moving on from that, and now finds herself on her own in dangerous waters. From this point, obviously healing up from injury, what’s next for Tanya Black in the confines of the EWA?

A: I do what I’ve always done. I’ve spent most of my career going solo and still managing to keep my head above water. Yeah I win tag titles but I don’t need tag partners either. I’m a show stealer and a big-mouthed bitch. I tell it like it is because simply having custody of a championship belt or three in your career isn’t respect. Getting in the ring and fighting a good fight that the fans go nuts for. That’s how you earn my respect. Having my respect though still doesn’t mean I’ll kiss your ass. I’ll challenge people to step up and show me they can walk the walk with me. I’ll do my damnedest to win championships and be a fighting champion. I Will Survive. The ultraviolence, the screwjobs, the gang ambushes. I Will Survive.

Q: You’re rather contentious rivalry with Hank, you talk about ultraviolence, but this is a guy that carries around forks, and has no issues using them. Do you plan on evening the score?

A: Well Hank forked me once and I gave him his receipt back before our match. Now if he forks me again? Yeah I’ll give it back to him because that’s the game he wants to play. I’m not after Hank to run him out of EWA, Hank messed up my championship pursuits. He ruined my match. So now he has to make that up to me. That was what the last match was about, penance for sins.

If he wants to use a fork on me during a match then all he has to do is say so. I’ll agree to a Weapons match, bring my lead pipe. Hey no problems. Hank has a certain askew set of ethics compared to most of society. At the end of the day at Champions Summit 2 he beat me fair and square. That’s the key: Hank has the potential to be something more like me or he can be a Monster led around by nice tits and a pretty smile. He has to make the choice though. For now, he’s a challenge that I will overcome. Because I don’t believe in quitting a fight until there is no more reason to fight.

My Reaction: I don’t think it’d be all that hard to get Hank to agree to a match where forks — or other weapons — are legal. As a matter of fact, it sounds like his wet dream.

Q: Passion Never Dies. It’s a slogan attached to your bio on the EWA website, did you come up with that or did they? And what’s the story behind it, if any?

A: I came up with that in my last promotion I was in. 4CW/Uprising. I struggled early on there and folks started claiming they could finish me off because I was old and weak. So I told them the truth: My passion for this sport can’t be snuffed out so easily. Because of that passion, I can’t be snuffed so easily. They cornered me and I started biting back. Was about to get a world title shot when Uprising went belly-up and Jaime said he could use my help here. I kept that philosophy because it helps me stand out here in EWA: Competition for the sake of Competition. It’s a promise to the fans and a challenge to my foes.

My Reaction: Competition for the sake of competition is great and all, but we all know how wrestling works, the more invested you can make the fans in your character, whether they love or hate said character, the bigger and better the payoff will be when the competition part of the equation comes into play.

Q: If there was one message you wanted to get across to the EWA as a whole, now’s the time. If you had one last rant to go on, or one last thing to say, what would it be?

A: Don’t assume that because I don’t aim for a killshot every single show that I’m not dangerous. I’ve been an upfront, angry, bitter bad-girl. Just because I have a happy marriage and a life that is drug and alcohol-free, well except tobacco, doesn’t mean I don’t have that evil and bitter rage inside of me still. I just save it. Never assume I’m dead and done. Never assume I can’t hurt you. Tanya Black is still the patron saint of bad bitches.

Thanks for being so candid. This is the usual name association section of the interview, and like most, I’m sure you know how this portion of the interview works. I’ll name an active wrestler in the EWA, you give us your thoughts or opinions about them. And feel free to not hold back…because they wouldn’t.

Q: How about we start with a name like Azrael Goeren?

A: Twisted Excellence. AzGo has been through hell and all, mostly due to his own bad choices but he always comes out on top somehow. That’s someone to never underestimate.

My Reaction: Couldn’t agree more.

Q: How about his daughter, Grace?

A: Bitter Delusions. God Queen? I said it once before and I’ll say it again. I ain’t down with Idolatry or Nobility. You put yourself on top of the world? Just means the fall is that much farther and harder.

My Reaction: Better having loved and lost than never having loved at all?

Q: Indrid Calder?

A: Corruption. Calder one-on-one would be an epic war that might actually end me. As long as he desires Pillars to stay at his side, I have no desire for a suicide run.

Q: Kharrion, Dietrich and Rockefeller?

A: Two guys who could walk the same path as me. Hard-hitting but straight up most of the time. Lately though, they are more mook than champions. That’s not good business.

My Reaction: A champion is a champion as far as I’m concerned, and they’re the ones carrying the gold at the moment.

Q: Laura Seton?

A: The PG Princess. She’s never understood my world. She’d fit in better with Pageant Queens than me. She’ll quit EWA as soon as it becomes hard work.

My Reaction: Them’s fightin’ words.

Q: Speaking of Laura, how about World Heavyweight Champion, Ray Willmott?

A: Good heart, rotted brain. Ray actually called himself the last savior, the only hero. That’s a slap in the face to me. Still at least I don’t fear him hitting me with a weapon from behind.

My Reaction: I’m not sure Ray meant it to come across that way, but to some degree he has a point. The heroes of this industry are just few and far between these days.

Q: How about the Three Kings of the EWA, Michael Draven, Martin Robertson and Alexander Haven?

A: I don’t do well with abusive authority. Or little boys who think they are men just because that second testicle finally dropped. Alone I can’t topple the Throne but the siege would weaken them for another to kill.

Q: What about the lady that seems to be making the decisions right now, Alyssa Marie Haven?

A: She let me have Hank on the big stage, before I even asked. So either she conspired with Draven to take me out or she simply knows talent and big-money matches. I haven’t decided yet what I think of her.

Q: Minxy Jones, also known as Ainsley Lake?

A: She’s with the right crew. Hedonists and Airheads. I like sex and having a good time but some women don’t realize there’s a time to put the fun aside and go to war. I don’t think she and the rest of the Vice Squad has the demon inside to survive pissing people off enough for heads to be called for. I’d fuck her for the lulz though. If Jaime said it was okay, vows and trust first.

My Reaction: Wouldn’t SHE be the one that has to say it’s okay? 😉

Q: How about a name you might recognize from Shoot Project, Dan Stein?

A: (long pause) No Comment.

Q: How about some low hanging fruit to bash? Thoughts on Sahara?

A: Good kisser. Not GREAT but she’s been slumming for… well whenever she started dating Mirage at least. Story of her life, cheap and easy. I could show her some things that would make her better at wrestling but she has to open her mind up first. Seeing isn’t Believing, Believing Is Seeing.

My Reaction: I’d have to try it first to know … Sahara, please contact The Rag Mag for a test case. For science and all.

Q: Speaking of which, how about newcomer to the EWA, Natalie Burrows who seems to be on Sahara’s radar?

A: She’s got good manners. Got some moves. Cute as a button. Haven’t really seen how bright her fire burns yet. She’s another I’m still deciding if I like her yet.

My Reaction: Burrows seems to come with a bit of baggage from her past life…it’ll be interesting to see when these words collide, that’s for sure.

Q: Last but not least, how about Hank?

A: Power. He’s someone who could rule EWA with an Iron Fist… but he has to want it. He has to set his mind on the goal. Hank can do evil as good as anyone but he fights alone and fights straight up and honest. Hank will never be a hero but he could be a weapon for the side of good. They say the path to hell is paved with good intentions, well then the opposite is true. Heaven’s Road is founded on bad actions. That’s what makes him a challenge. You can’t truly get into his head. Not all the way, no one can.

My Overall Reaction: Tanya Black comes across as misunderstood to some degree. Her long history in the wrestling business has cemented her view of what wrestling should be about — competition — but the reality is as the industry shifts (and it HAS shifted) you have to reinvent yourself to stay at the top. While this thought is noble, I also think it’s a remnant of a different era. As a quick example, Azrael Goeren has reinvented himself and become something of an unlikely hero here in the EWA. Ten years ago, had I told you Azreal would one day be a hero, you’d have laughed in my face. Now, let’s consider a person like Mirage who was unable to adapt…the industry passed him by and then he got front row seats to watch his own wife pass him by along with it.

Tanya Black has the knowledge and experience to make a dent in the EWA, I thoroughly believe that, but the big question is, when will she finally say “enough is enough” and shed this view of “competition for the sake of competition”, and start seeing wrestling here in the EWA for what it currently is?

With that, I want to thank Tanya for her time, I wish her the best of luck in her recovery!