Taylor Wilde has worn a lot of titles. First, she was billed as TNA’s Upset Queen, by fearlessly taking on, and defeating, opponents much larger and stronger than her. Currently, she is billed as a co-holder of TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. In the future, she wants to be known as something else: university graduate.

Taylor Wilde listens to a question from Bob Kapur. Photos by Mike Mastrandrea

Achieving that, through successful completion of her Honours program at Toronto’s York University, might actually be the hardest one to earn, she told SLAM! Wrestling in an exclusive interview. Between hitting opponents in the ring, and hitting the road for TV, pay-per-views, and appearances, like the one for Viewers Choice Canada earlier this month where this interview took place, it doesn’t really leave her a lot of time to hit the books.

“It’s an impossible balance,” she said. “I don’t know if it’s possible to finish an undergrad when you’re actually not present for more than a couple of weeks at a time. I’ve taken every online course that’s available, but now I have to do my research, and I can’t do that on the road.”

While a schedule like that might be too daunting for some people, it’s something that Wilde says she’s used to.

“Even when I was a little kid, I played hockey and I played ringette, so I’ve always have to have my day very structured. Even then, it was be at an arena right after school, come home and do my homework, and then go to my part-time job, and on weekends, go to tournaments. It didn’t leave a lot of time to go and just hang out with your friends.”

Rather, much of her free time was spent in the gym at Toronto’s Squared Circle Training, learning the craft that would ultimately get her into TNA Wrestling. Not that it happened overnight — on the contrary, there were a lot of stops and starts along the way. It took years of toiling in the independent scene before Wilde’s talents caught the eye of WWE, who signed her to a developmental deal. Unfortunately, she was never featured on TV, and ultimately was released from the company. After that, Wilde chose to take a break from the business, focusing on other ventures, such as modeling. It was then that TNA came calling, and the new chapter in Wilde’s life began.

Having had to take so many twists and turns on her way to success, one might expect Wilde to harbour some resentment towards women who have taken a seemingly easier path to TV, such as many of the Divas in WWE, particularly those who are now being featured weekly on NXT. For her part, though, Wilde doesn’t let that bother her.

“It’s all about getting your foot in the door,” she observed, “and there’s no right and wrong way to do it. It’s all about how you look at yourself in the mirror every day when you wake up. When I look in the mirror, I’m happy, because I know I’ve earned my spot every step of the way.”

“I see nothing wrong with doing it the other way, because a lot of people who do it that way don’t know any other way. They don’t know that there’s a ‘before the limelight.’ They don’t know that there’s a hard road that some of us have taken. It’s not their fault.”

She does have some words of advice for those women, however.

“It’s in entertainment industry, so, absolutely, you’ve got to look the part, and that might get your foot in the door. But it won’t (be enough to) keep your job. If you want longevity in the business, get the nuts and bolts, get the experience, and do it.”

One only has to look at Wilde’s TNA career to see how essential it is to have the experience to be able to adapt to anything. In her time with the company, she has competed as both a singles and tag competitor in a variety of gimmick matches, including ladder matches and hardcore battles. Indeed, there aren’t too many types of matches that she hasn’t been in, though she does have one that she’d like to try.

“A dog collar match,” she said emphatically. “I’ve always wanted to do a dog collar match, I think that would be fun.”

Taylor Wilde participates in a fan Q&A session with Angelina Love at a screening of the TNA Knockouts: Mad Sexy vol. 1 pay-per-view.

Conversely, she’s not as keen to participate in matches that downplay the actual wrestling.

“I don’t think I’d ever do an actual bra and panties match. When I get in the ring, I want to wrestle. That kind of match takes away from the wrestling, and associates it with ‘puppies’ and that kind of thing, and puts it in a negative connotation. I want nothing to do with that.”

“Besides,” she laughed, “I don’t think I could actually wrestle in a bra and panties without worrying about … it doesn’t matter how much you tape.”

For now, Wilde is content with being known as a bonafide wrestler. As for her longer term plans, she’s a bit reluctant to say too much.

“I don’t want to jinx anything,” she explained. “There are a couple of things I’d like to do. Education is a huge one, there are a few things I’d like to study. As for wrestling, it very well could be in my plans, or it very well couldn’t be. That’s kind of up to my employers, to be honest.”