Madison Rayne on almost quitting wrestling, her awesome year and aiming for gold at ROH Final Battle

One of Ring of Honor’s yearly signature events — Final Battle — is rapidly approaching. Madison Rayne has a lot on her mind between her championship match and trying to get situated into her new Ohio home, but that hasn’t stopped her from already being in the holiday spirit.

“I’m one of those people that on the night of Thanksgiving, I want to get my tree up, but we didn’t have the chance to do that,” Rayne explained. “We’re slowly getting things decorated, but as far as the shopping goes, that’s done. I waited until Christmas Eve last year and I vowed never to do that again. I fell victim to Cyber Monday. Santa is making a big stop at our place this year.”

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Rayne will have her hands full at ROH Final Battle as she’ll be facing Sumie Sakai, Kelly Klein, and Karen Q in a Four Corner Survival match for the Women of Honor World Championship. The show airs live on pay-per-view this Friday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m. ET on the Fite TV app and will be available for members of the subscription-based Honor Club streaming network via

MORE: Former ROH champion Dalton Castle on his injury, facing Matt Taven at Final Battle

“While I’ve been in the ring for 13 years, I’m not the veteran in this match and that doesn’t happen to me often,” explained Rayne. “Sumie has wrestled close to 20 years. Kelly Klein and I actually started out together around the same time in the same area so, she and I, we go way back. Collectively, there are decades worth of experience in that ring. Even Karen Q, whose only been wrestling four or five years, she is so incredibly talented.”

It’s a big opportunity for Rayne who has been on a quest to win the Women of Honor Women’s Championship. Plus, it’s another big showcase match for the women and something that she and the others don’t take lightly.

[email protected]_of_Honor Four Corner Survival THIS FRIDAY at #ROHFinalBattle!

8e/5p – LIVE on PPV, FREE for #HonorClub VIP, 50% off for HonorClub Standard, @FiteTV – Order Now:[email protected] @MadisonRayne @karenmeee @RealKellyKlein#WOHWednesday

“It has, over the last couple of weeks, pushed me out of my comfort zone,” said Rayne about training for the match. “It’s put me back in the gym. It’s put me back in the wrestling gym, rolling around in the ring and trying to change things up a little bit and come up with new ideas.”

Rayne announced a few months ago that she signed a one-year deal with Ring of Honor. The 32-year-old had plenty of options, but felt that ROH was the best for her at this point in her life.

“They believe in me and I believe in them,” Rayne said. “There’s life outside of wrestling and that’s always been a motivating factor for me. I’ve been able to live this dream, travel the world, but never be gone so much that I can’t fulfill all of my other dreams of being a mom and a wife and a personal trainer and going back to school. For me, it’s the better fit that allows me that freedom with my schedule. My hope in signing this contract with Ring of Honor is to write another successful chapter for myself, but also I hope in some small way, that I can help grow Women of Honor and make it what it could be and what it’s on track to being.”

This is not Rayne’s first foray with Ring of Honor, as she had a pair of matches with the company a decade ago. Back then, there wasn’t a women’s championship and she was still finding herself as a performer. But that doesn’t mean that she doesn’t still get butterflies before a big match.

“While I’m a little more secure in my in-ring skills and I’m a little more self aware that way, it’s different nerves now and it’s different expectations that I’m putting on myself because I have been very transparent in saying that I want to be Women of Honor Champion,” Rayne said. “I want to leave a legacy now in this company as one of the best performers to ever be part of Women of Honor.”

Rayne is best identified from her nine years with Impact Wrestling where she was a standout in the Knockouts Division. She left the promotion this past July, admitting that it was different to wrestle elsewhere.

“It was uncomfortable in a good way,” Rayne said. “I had the tryout at the WWE Performance Center and that felt way different than anything I had ever done at Impact. I got back out on the indie scene a bit more. I was with Ring of Honor. I went back to Shimmer and all of those places felt good, but it was just different. It’s like the difference in being a freshman in high school to a senior.”

This past year has seen Rayne have the unique opportunity to work for Ring of Honor, Impact Wrestling, and WWE. As she explains, it’s been an awesome year for her and for professional wrestling.

“Personally, I was able to finally, after 13 years of being in this crazy business, wrestle inside a WWE ring at the Mae Young Classic,” Rayne said with delight. “There was a point, a long point in time, where I felt that my career was going to be purely at Impact. And I would have been OK with that. I’ve always been taken care of there. I always had a great locker room full of girls.”

Rayne was also a part of the huge “All In” independent event this past September, competing in an outstanding four-way women’s match with Tessa Blanchard, Britt Baker, and Chelsea Green.

“I still don’t have the words to describe how special ‘All In’ was for me because it was such an unknown,” Rayne said. “Cody and the Young Bucks, they put everything they had into this one show and it had never been done before. To be part of something so big and so special and then to have the entire card, but specifically that match that I was a part of be so amazing, I couldn’t have asked for more. That was the biggest crowd that I have ever wrestled in front of.”

Just before that, Rayne was a part of the second-ever WWE Mae Young Classic tournament. Many wrestlers look at being a part of the WWE as the pinnacle of the business, but she is quite sure that she will never have her own “WrestleMania moment.”

“If I don’t ever see a WWE ring again from now until the time the chapter [closes] on my career, I’m OK with that,” said Rayne. “I’m settled.”

Rayne also admits that there was a point last year when she came “really close” to hanging up her wrestling boots for good.

“I would have been OK with it because, for me, I feel like I had a really successful career at Impact,” she explained. “I feel like I was able to contribute to a division that has been strong for many years and continues to be. I’ve seen places in this world that I didn’t know existed prior to going there.  I came close enough that there was a serious sit-down conversation between my husband (Impact Wrestling broadcast Josh Mathews) and I in our house. I never got to a point in my brain where I said to myself, ‘I’m done.’ I had strong enough thoughts that it was at least a conversation. For me, that’s close enough.”

In the end, she wasn’t done with the business yet and there were plenty of fresh opportunities awaiting her in today’s wrestling landscape.

“I’m humbled this many years in that I’ve able to not only still do this, still do it on a large scale, and to have been able to do everything that I’ve done,” said Rayne. “It’s humbling. It makes me feel good and it confirms for me that decision I made with my husband about a year and a half ago to not quit and to continue writing chapters in this journey.”

Beginning of my road to Final Battle and the @rohwomenofhonor World Championship.

A post shared by Madison/Ashley Rayne (@madisonrayne) on

Now that she is continuing her wrestling journey and has committed to Ring of Honor, Rayne has laid out some big goals for herself.

“My short-term, personal goal after winning the Women of Honor Championship is to be part of that history-making show at Madison Square Garden (in April),” said Rayne. “I joke and say that it’s only natural that Madison Rayne would be at Madison Square Garden, but on more serious note, Ring of Honor is making history in doing this show. I still don’t know that I’ve completely wrapped my brain around how big that’s going to be for wrestling, for Ring of Honor, and for Women of Honor.”

MORE: Former ROH champion Dalton Castle on his injury, facing Matt Taven at Final Battle

And, of course, there’s also the holiday season on her mind.

“It’s a happy balance here between holiday baking shows and Hallmark Christmas movies,” Rayne cheerfully explained. “My husband can’t get out the door quick enough in the morning because he knows if it’s not my daughter watching holiday baking, it’s me sifting through trying to find one of the Christmas movies I haven’t already watched.”

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