Chelsea Green discusses her Impact Wrestling departure
For Chelsea Green, leaving Impact Wrestling is all about exploring her options and taking advantage of the numerous opportunities for women in the wrestling business.
In her first interview since announcing her Impact exit, Green told the Orlando Sentinel on Tuesday that becoming a fully independent wrestler left her with conflicted emotions.
“It’s stressful, it’s crazy, it’s exciting, all at once,” Green said. “…It was a difficult choice to make, and that’s why I’m so split — excited and scared. But it’s going to be a really, really good year for me on the indies, hopefully putting on solid matches and wrestling in more countries.”
Green’s alter ego, Laurel Van Ness, was defeated for her Impact Knockouts championship on the first of six nights of tapings at Universal. She announced on Monday night that she had received a release from her contract.
The things I’ve been able to do — main events, cage matches, all kinds of stipulations – the opportunities there are at an all-time high.— Chelsea Green
Green, an Orlando resident, said she has no plans to sign a contract with a competitor, though she wouldn’t rule it out. Her first big break in the U.S. came via WWE’s “Tough Enough” reality show and her boyfriend, Zack Ryder, is on the Smackdown roster.
“I’d be crazy to say no I haven’t [thought about WWE],” Green said. “It’s always in the back of your mind for any wrestler. It was the only thing in my mind when I started with ‘Tough Enough’ in 2014. But I’ve grown a little more open and found options I never knew I had before.
“Now, if WWE calls tomorrow, that would be amazing. If Ring of Honor calls tomorrow, amazing. But now I have options. … I never thought I’d say that. When I first started out wrestling in front of 100 people, I thought, ‘Chelsea, you’re better than this. You should be working in front of thousands!’ But I was crazy. The things I’ve been able to do — main events, cage matches, all kinds of stipulations – the opportunities there are at an all-time high.”
From December: Laurel Van Ness’s thrill ride from theme-park fan to champion »
Among those opportunities is the chance to wrestle internationally. The native Canadian has worked in half a dozen foreign countries, but she’s eager to do even more. She said opportunities may be opening up in Peru or the Dominican Republic.
“That’s always the bucket list for me: Different countries, different experiences, different food,” Green said. “To be able to do that through work? I’m the luckiest person alive.”
In her final appearance with Impact on Monday, Van Ness was pinned by Kiera Hogan in a match taped for the Xplosion TV series. There was no fanfare, no organized public farewell – just a social-media post from Green after the tapings were over. She said with Bobby Lashley and Ethan Carter III making more public departures, there was a real “last day of school” sense in the locker room.
“It hit everybody in day 2 or 3 [of the tapings] that when everybody comes back it won’t be the same feeling,” Green said. “I tried to keep quiet and private what I was going to do, but everybody knew about Bobby and EC3. They made such an impact in the company for years, and to see them go was a little different feeling.”
Green said it was difficult to leave her Impact Knockouts colleagues behind, but it helped to know she will see most of them during her independent travels.
“We’re such a small group that we feel like sisters, sticking up for each other and sticking up for the company,” Green said. “We all only put out positive vibes, and we’ll always be friends no matter what happens.”
Green built the unkempt, unhinged character of Laurel Van Ness almost from scratch in Impact. She said she is free to take all aspects of the character except the name with her onto the independent circuit – which will provide a contrast to her usual babyface persona.
“The one consistent character in all of this is Chelsea Green, and that’s how people know me, even as all else changes. I can go out and be the hot mess, or go hard in matches or be silly, and that’s still all me,” Green said. “ I feel really lucky.”