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By Mike Johnson on 2023-04-01 13:22:00

Yesterday at WWE Media Day, spoke with The Viking Raiders - Erik and Ivar - and Valhalla ahead of their Wrestlemania debut today as part of the Men's Tag Team Showcase match tonight at Mania 39.

Mike Johnson: Media Day with Ivar, Erik, and Valhalla, the Viking Raiders, who are heading into the WrestleMania Showcase Fatal 4-Way. It's very nice to speak to all of you. Big weekend. Thoughts? Let's do thoughts on the match first. It's never guaranteed that you're ever going to get on a WrestleMania card. Obviously you put in the work in the last couple of years. This is a nice spotlight for all of you. Thoughts on the match? What fans could expect this weekend?

Ivar: This is our first time having a WrestleMania match, so we're just incredibly stoked to have the opportunity to walk out on that stage. And we're trying to breathe the moment in the best we can.

Erik: The same. Ivar and I have been all over the world together, and we've accomplished so much as a tag team together outside of WWE, inside of WWE, but this is our very first WrestleMania. And to be able to share it with Valhalla and come out for our very first time together is something that we'll never forget. It's a moment in time that's going to live forever, and it's a really, really cool thing that, for the very first time, we get to do it together, side by side.

Mike Johnson: There's been so many trials and tribulations between injuries and releases and going to different places and maybe creative not working out the way you hope, or the way they hoped, at the beginning at different points. That's life. What does it mean that, after all of that, the one singular moment all comes down and you're all together for it? I think that's almost more important than the match itself.

Valhalla: Everything in our lives happened exactly the way it's supposed to, and this is the biggest testament to that ever. We have been on this trajectory that just keeps compounding. The universe and the gods have been blessing us over and over again because we're doing what we're supposed to do. We're doing what we're meant to do. And I truly believe that, just because the proof is in the pudding. And we're going to have our WrestleMania match, we're going to have our moment, and, in the wrestling scheme of things, there's nothing greater.

Mike Johnson: Obviously it's a huge weekend. When you look at the work that you've put in over the last year, and even the entire run of WWE, how do you think being part of this bubble, in this machine, has changed you? What's the life experiences like compared to being in other places?

Ivar: I mean, honestly, being in WWE, it's just like being in every other promotion, it's just it's a much bigger, grander scale; and the audience is much bigger and more people get to see you. But it's the same as it was when I was in Chaotic Wrestling in New England. It's the same thing. It's just a much bigger, bigger scale.

Erik: So, wrestlers are wrestlers no matter where we are. However, the thing that changed for me, or the thing that I think was a change, was the opportunity to become friends with people who were heroes before we were here; like when we went to NXT and we got to sit in class with Terry Taylor and learn from him directly. We got to sit in class with Shawn Michaels and learn from him directly. We've developed a personal friendship and relationship with Triple H and with all these guys who are agents, and backstage, and guys who we can go to for advice and ask directly, "Hey, what do you think?" And these are guys that we've been watching... Some of these guys we've been watching for 15-20 years, have all these experiences and all this amazing talent and this experience level to draw from.  So that's the difference for me here as opposed to other places, where other places, it might have been you and I kind of bouncing ideas off each other. And there were definitely people we could talk to, but not with that level of experience, or not that level of expertise, I would say. So to have the access to that has been like an accelerated college course every week. You have the best minds in wrestling history all together, all working together, trying to...

Valhalla: Put on a great show.

Erik: Yeah, put on a great show, but also maximize each minute that you have and that you have the opportunity to perform.

Mike Johnson: Valhalla, I wanted to ask you: When you departed last time, there was a big uproar on the internet over it, and things worked out and now you're back. You're with your husband and his best friend. What does that whole journey mean to you knowing that you're walking into that WrestleMania moment for yourself?

Valhalla: I mean, getting that news that you've been released is always heart-shattering. Especially... I am a wrestler through and through. I did it for five years before I even came to WWE. I wasn't in some other profession that just landed me in WWE. So, when you get that call, it's earth-shattering. But looking at it from where I'm standing now, I got released, but we shuttered our farm, I had our son, and now I'm back with the boys and we're about to go on WrestleMania. That's like a storybook. So it just makes me, again, reiterate that we're doing exactly what we're supposed to be doing and the gods are showing us that by giving us all these opportunities.

Mike Johnson: So I know the work never ends, but once you have that moment and you've got that WrestleMania accomplishment under your belt, what happens? What's in your mind for the next year as you move forward?

Valhalla: Whatever the gods will us to do. We will literally do whatever they say now, because it has been so fruitful that we've been listening.

Mike Johnson: All right. One last question. You guys have put yourself through some wars in a lot of different realms. How are you feeling? I know you've each had some time you had to take off, but how are you feeling these days?

Ivar: Cold plunge. Honestly, I'm feeling great. I'm feeling the best of having a long time. Definitely since neck surgery, for sure. But we discovered cold plunge man, and it's changing our lives, so I feel great.

Erik: So, in addition to cold plunge, we've also been following... I know Sarah and I, every single day, and I know that Ivar's doing it... There's a guy out there named Wim Hof, and Wim Hof has developed a breathing technique that helps your immune system and your recovery and stuff like that. But he has three tenets in the things that he talks about, and it's breath work, it's cold exposure, and then it's mindfulness, so actually using the control of your breath and your mind to heal your body. Sarah and I start every day with a 39 degree ice bath for five to six minutes at a time.

Valhalla: We did it at 5:00 AM before we came here.

Erik: Yeah, 5:00 AM. Yeah. We find places to do it on the road, or we'll take in ice in the hotel shower. I mean, it's something that it's an everyday thing and it's definitely helping to heal our bodies and recover in a way that we weren't able to before this.

Mike Johnson: I got to ask: Does that help with your wind in the ring, as well? Do you see a difference?

Erik: Absolutely. A hundred percent. Yes. Yeah, we've seen increases in performance across the board. Cardiovascular, recovery, sleep, focus. It's really been life-changing.

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