It’s Toni time at All Elite Wrestling. The popular Toni Storm became the Interim Women’s AEW Champion by defeating Jamie Hayter, Hikaru Shida and Britt Baker on September 4th All out. The match came after the New Zealander’s original opponent and reigning champion Thunder Rosa was sidelined with injury. Storm, who left WWE late last year hoping for more opportunities, wants to show what she can really do with the proverbial ball.
Next up for the champion is another four-way challenge against Serena Deeb, Athena, and Baker during the September 21 special Dynamite Grand Slam from Arthur Ashe Stadium. For Storm it’s a huge night with a big stage to solidify at the top of the mountain.
“I’m going to be confident about this,” the Kiwi told TV Insider. “I’ll still be champion, ready for the next one.”
Here Storm tells us what the prognosis is for her and the AEW women’s division.
What do you think about the whole structure of the interim champions?
Tony Storm: It’s a bit of a shame. Thunder Rosa is still technically considered a champion, although I would consider myself a champion. This is frustrating me a little right now. I guess when she’s ready to be back, I’ll be champion.
Does it add a chip on your shoulder? As if you had more to prove.
As a champion it will be difficult. I knew not to get too excited if I won because I knew it was going to be tough. I’m not too concerned about that. Thunder Rosa can come back and I’ll beat her. Then we’re all fine. When you become champion, that’s when the real thing starts to happen. I’m thinking about what kind of champion I’m going to be. If you are a good champion, there are obstacles you must overcome. I’ll have to work twice as hard.
You’ve worked all over the world, including WWE. How would you describe the working environment at AEW?
It was really nice. Everyone is really happy. Everyone around me is really proud to be there. I love it. I think it’s a really nice dressing room. i think tony [Khan] has the right idea to bring something fresh, new and exciting to our televisions every Wednesday and Friday. I’m definitely happier. I think it’s a really good atmosphere. I think that spurs me on to work even harder. I’m improving a lot because I have this beautiful environment. We hiccup. Every locker room in pro wrestling has its flaws at times, but I think overall I’m in a good place.
Who are you attracted to? Did someone make your entry into the company particularly easy?
I was initially attracted to William Regal because I know him fairly well. He trained me under NXT UK. He was beautiful to look at. I really started a bond there. Jerry Lynn is one of the guys that’s working with me now that was really cool. I’m really learning a lot from him. Vickie Guerrero is someone I loved having with me backstage. She is such a sweet person. We all consider her our leader backstage.
As a fan of women’s wrestling, you always want to see more. What do you think is the state of women’s wrestling in AEW?
It’s a story as old as time. Women’s wrestling struggles to get equal time with boys. We’re in a different position, but I really believe we’re on the right track. We have a locker room full of really hardworking and talented women who I believe are the future. It will change the whole game. I think we will push ourselves and get more time and value ourselves more. But we do the hard work. I’m very confident in this whole division. I’m proud to be at the top and will do whatever it takes to get it where it needs to be. I’m proud of everyone back there. I choose to be positive. I think gradually more attention will be paid to us at AEW. We just have to keep breaking down that door. I also think consistency will get us there.
Outside the ring you have found tremendous success with OnlyFans. How has it built your brand beyond wrestling and into other ventures?
OnlyFans is the first thing I’ve done that isn’t wrestling. I think it’s going really well. I got a good answer. I really don’t know what else I would do when I’m done wrestling. Wrestling has always been number one. I’m happy to be able to do something as cool as OnlyFans. It’s a great opportunity to make money. As soon as I left WWE, I thought about giving it a try. I think it’s a really great thing that people can use. A way to help people expand on what they are already doing in wrestling. I do my photoshoots. I make my matches. But I separate it from my private life. I don’t actually post my whole life on the internet. I keep a good balance. Although with work, it can be quite tough with a busy schedule. I keep my private life out for the most part.
That’s not stopping a few bad apples on social media. How do you manage them?
At this point I find it stupid. It’s just plain pro wrestling and it attracts some weird guys, let’s say. I’m trying to stay out of it and not be Toni Storm all the time because it’s a fictional concept. It’s on TV, believe me. I don’t really deal with it. It sucks when people mail trading cards to your home, but it’s okay because I saved their addresses. However, it comes with the territory. It’s been 13 years, but it’s all just wrestling.
What to do to escape work?
I’ve created quite a new life at home, which is new to me. I married. i have my dogs I now have my own little life outside of wrestling, whereas in previous years it was all about wrestling. The constant combination of work and private life is not good for the mind. My life outside of wrestling isn’t very exciting. I play around with the dogs and try not to drink too much coffee. I’m pretty boring. I just like to chill because wrestling is really exhausting.
Her husband, Juice Robinson, is a wrestler. Is there a rule at home not to talk about the job?
When we get home we trade fairly, but apart from that we don’t talk about it too much. I watch wrestling with my husband. He is a very good professional wrestler. He trains me and helps me a lot. We talk about wrestling, but it’s not our personal life. We try not to let it consume us.
Who is responsible for the remote control at home?
It’s an even split. We’re not too busy with the TV either. We’re just laughing at the dogs and trying to get out a bit post COVID. We like to go for walks, to the beach. We are very boring. Just the standard stuff.
Do you see yourself working together as a couple on a project?
We like our DIY jobs.
We actually thought a show would be hilarious. Although you would see how boring we actually are, you might not want to watch.
AEW dynamiteWednesdays, 8/7c, TBS
AEW RampageFridays, 10/9c, TNT