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HEADING TOWARDS BIG MILESTONE, ANGELINA LOVE SEEKS TO CONTINUE HER GROUNDBREAKING JOURNEY

By Josh Barnett on 2020-02-04 10:44:00

Angelina Love doesn’t plan on stopping.

With the 20th anniversary of her pro wrestling debut approaching this summer, Love wants to keep doing what she’s always done – putting on high-end performances and collecting championships.

First up for Love, a six-time TNA Knockouts champion, is regaining the Women of Honor title.

“I still want to completely kick ass in the Women of Honor division,” Love told PWInsider.com this week. “I want to be the champion again, obviously.

“I want to show that age -- for men or women, in any kind of athletic business or industry -- it doesn’t matter. If you’re 45 and at the top of your game, that’s awesome. If you’re 25 and at the top of your game, that’s also awesome.”

Love’s veteran presence potentially can help stabilize the Women of Honor division moving forward with the title currently vacant following Ring of Honor’s very public dispute with former champion Kelly Klein, against whom Love worked much of her initial nine months in the company.

Love, Velvet Sky and Mandy Leon debuted as The Allure in April in Madison Square Garden and attacked Klein, who had just won the WOH championship. Love beat Klein for the title at Death Before Dishonor on Sept. 27 and then lost the title at Glory By Honor on Oct. 12.

“Before we went into Glory by Honor, I was supposed to have it for a very long time,” Love said. “With the roster being so thin, some changes were made the day of the show. They had a really cool plan going forward of what we were going to do with the women’s championship between myself and Kelly. After she won it back, everything changed and we are where we are today. …

“With Kelly and I, we were such good competitors for each other. We were going to have really good matches against each other -- me winning it and her winning it and then me winning it and her winning and maybe doing it on smaller shows and not necessarily just pay-per-views to show that we could beat each other anywhere and anytime, but that didn’t happen.”

One thing Love knows about the wrestling business is that things can change at a moment’s notice. The better you are able to adjust, the more likely you will succeed.

Love is excited for what she sees ahead for Ring of Honor in 2020.

“The roster that we have at Ring of Honor is amazing,” she said. “No matter what anyone says or that people want to choose which company they want to like, you just cannot deny the amount of talent on the Ring of Honor roster. The shows are always fun. The guys and the girls give 110 percent at every single show.”

Love spoke with PWInsider.com this week on a number of topics, including her tenure in Ring of Honor, plans for the Allure, the evolution her character from the Beautiful People days and her future.

Q: You are at about nine months with Ring of Honor, so how would you describe your experience so far?

A: It’s been amazing. April 1 will be a year. I’ve been having a blast. It’s been a bit of a different crowd that I’ve been working in front of, but I always appreciate the diversity. My superiors are awesome to work for and the locker room is full of some of the coolest people I’ve met in wrestling and I’m really enjoying myself.

Q: When the Allure came in, it was a group of three with you, Mandy and Velvet. How would the storyline have been different had it been three of you instead of two?

A: Velvet was never going to wrestle anyway. She’s retired from physicality. I love working with her. We've worked together since 2007.  We do what we always do in wrestling, things come up and you always have to keep pressing forward. Mandy and I are having a blast doing what we are doing right now. … We’re always very involved creatively with what we’re doing and with new girls coming in and some girls leaving, things change. You can plan anything you want, but things can change at any second.

Q: How is the Angelina Love character in the Allure different than the Angelina Love of the Beautiful People? Do you feel like the character is in a different place given that time has passed?

A: I do. When we were doing the Beautiful People, we were so much younger then. It was Mean Girls meets The Simple Life, princess, bitchy kind of thing. The Allure is more grown up, ass kicking, badass women. It’s a tougher kind of group than what we were doing. I don’t have a preference in terms of one over the other. I just like to continue to evolve myself.

Q: You are a six-time Knockouts champion and Impact Wrestling is doing a throwback show on April 3, the night before Supercard. Is that something you would be allowed to be part of given your contract situation or interested in being part of if you were allowed?

A:  I would not be able to do that. I can do appearances, but can’t wrestle anywhere else and I’m completely fine with that. I’m content where I am.

I think for them it’s a really good idea. If they were going to bring back people from Impact 2009, we were having a blast then and we were getting crazy ratings and crazy crowds. You’ve got to shake up something that you’re doing weekly to give it something different and open people’s eyes like Ring of Honor is. They’re bringing back the Pure title and in Vegas, it’s Past vs. Present on March 13-14.

Q: What’s your impression of a woman holding what has typically been a men’s world championship in Impact?

A: I think we’re in a day and age in wrestling where that needed to be tried. With all the intergender wrestling, there are so many women wrestling men. I think it was something they wanted to do to be different, and they have been building Tessa up that way. That’s never happened before so it’s a pretty cool title for her to have.

Q: There has been some talk of changes in the creative team at Ring of Honor, with Jonathan Gresham expected to head Women of Honor.

A: I know Marty Scurll had stepped up to help out creatively. Jonathan would be awesome. He helps train at the Ring of Honor dojo. We’re doing a Women of Honor tryout seminar and camp March 27-28. He’s going to be there. I’m going to be there along with Sumie Sakai and Delirious and Todd Sinclair and Ian Riccaboni. There will be a bunch of us looking at potential future Women of Honor talent. I think it’s going to be good to have a perspective from the boys to help everybody on the roster.

Q: What is your plan whenever your time in the ring comes to and end?

A: Once I’m done physically competing, I would love to be a producer. Maybe help creatively as an agent or a trainer.  I would really enjoy that. I have over a decade of TV experience with wrestling. Because I’ve been in the business so long and I’ve worked everywhere, I feel like I have a lot to give to the future of this business.

Upcoming events

Love and ROH will be in Baltimore on Sunday for Free Enterprise, a free show to give back to the community in ROH’s hometown. “I love the Baltimore crowd. That’s going to be amazing,” she said. “It’s really a great idea and a chance for everyone to experience our product if they never have before.”

Love faces Nicole Savoy at Bound by Honor on Feb. 28 in Nashville and meets Session Moth Martina on Feb. 29 at Gateway to Honor in her adopted hometown of St. Louis.  

ROH’s 18th anniversary show is in Las Vegas on March 13, followed Past vs. Present on March 14.

Supercard of Honor is April 4 in Lakeland, Fla., and Love and Leon will appear at the Bullet Club Beach Party earlier that day in Tampa. 

Josh Barnett previously wrote about professional wrestling for USA TODAY Sports and For The Win.   He can be reached at joshabarnett13@gmail.com 

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