Show: Wrestling Epicenter
Guest: Mandy Leon
Your Host: James Walsh
The drop-dead gorgeous ROH Women’s Division mainstay Mandy Leon joins the Wrestling Epicenter for her 3rd interview with us. This one comes just after she was eliminated from the Women’s Division Title Tournament by rival Quinn McKay in what has to be considered an upset. Hear her reaction to the recent loss, her predictions for the future, and how she feels Ring of Honor has handled and bounced back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information on Ring of Honor’s Women’s Division and for information on upcoming events and for their Honor Club streaming service, visit www.ROHWrestling.com!
Check out www.WrestlingEpicenter.com for more great content like this!
- Check Out our January 2018 Interview with Mandy Leon HERE!
- Check Out our April 2019 Interview with Mandy Leon HERE!
- Check Out our August 2021 Interview with Mandy Leon HERE!
On being with ROH during the Global Pandemic:
“It has been crazy! (laughs) I think crazy is probably the best word that you could use. It has been hard because, at least for me, we’ve not really been wrestling. At the beginning, a lot of us kind of lost hope. Like, are we ever going to get to come back? Is this ever going to end? But, when we got the news that we were going to start things up again – no crowd for now but at least we were coming back, it kind of made everyone’s day! It provided that glimmer of hope!”
On what it was like to wrestle without a crowd:
“Every wrestler has had this dream where our music hits and… We’re not ready! (laughs) We don’t have our boots on, we don’t have our gear, but we hear our music playing when we’re backstage and it is just a nightmare. I remember, when we came back and the music hit and I went through the curtain for the first time to no crowd, it felt like one of those dreams! It was like, this is weird! This is off! This isn’t right! There’s no fans here! But, it was OK. Then, just a few weeks ago when we had the pay-per-view in Baltimore and the crowd was back, they were hot and it was great! None of us had that hope that we would hear that crowd again. But, when the first music hit for the first match, everyone cheered and us (in back) were like, “This is what we’ve missed! This is our glimmer of hope! OK, we’re back! We’re slowly getting there!” It was great! And, even though we’re not having fans at the TV tapings yet for safety reasons, it is still fun because we’re working and we’re wrestling and we’re doing what we love!”
On the difference between Women of Honor as it was and the Ring of Honor Women’s Division today:
“When we did have the Women of Honor, it was a women’s division but it was kind of its own brand and separate from the regular show. It was around for a long time! We had multiple champions and there were some great matches. But, again, with the pandemic, we haven’t been able to wrestle. So, when we came back, we wanted to come back with a bang. And, the way to come back with that bang was to have a Ring of Honor Women’s Championship with a brand new belt, which is beautiful by the way, and have a brand new tournament and introduce new women. That is exactly what we’re doing. And, it has been so exciting! It has been great so far!”
On not fairing well in the 2 title tournaments she’s been a part of:
“I’ve got to say, you’re right! There is some conspiracy against me in Ring of Honor! If you remember the last tournament, I had my opponent tapped out and the referee didn’t see it. And, this tournament, Quinn McKay had my tights and my right shoulder was up. And, again, the referee didn’t call it. There is some kind of conspiracy against me here! I don’t know what is going on!”
On her feud with Quinn McKay:
“During the pandemic, there was not a lot of wrestling going on. But, on her YouTube show, Quinn was throwing a lot of shots at us. So, we went in there and made her relevant and gave her some matches. (laughs)”
On the ROH Experience Facebook page having many upset that she was eliminated from the tournament:
“I always say that I’m the bad guy now when it comes to my opponent. But, when it comes to my fans, I’m always going to love my fans! They’ve always supported me through the years and now, they’ve got a point! They’ve got a point! So, maybe one day soon they’ll see me with some gold. We’ll see.”
On the involvement of Maria Kanellis Bennett in Ring of Honor’s Women’s Division:
“Speaking in wrestling terms, she has kind of been a thorn in the Allure’s side and shown favoritism towards Quinn McKay. But, aside from that, she’s been doing a great job. She’s been given an opportunity to help out along with a few others and those people with great minds have helped to create this tournament and it has been excellent so far. If you haven’t been tuning in, please tune in! I think this weekend’s match is Holidead versus Max the Impaler which is a monstrous match – Like, literally scary! The winner of that match faces Angelina Love. I hope Angelina has that because we need to bring the belt back to the Allure! But, the tournament has been great so far!”
On her Allure partners Angelina Love and Velvet Sky:
“Angelina and Velvet are two of the most amazing, down to Earth girls you’ll ever want to meet. I work with a lot of people but these girls’ personalities are awesome. I miss Velvet but she’s been doing great things in the NWA right now – I’m super proud of her! And, Angelina? She’s been killing it! You can say what you want about Angelina but when it comes to wrestling, she kills it! Kills it, kills it, kills it! You’ve got to root for her in this tournament. She brings the experience, she brings the edge, she brings the fire, and she brings things into wrestling that doesn’t exist as much as it used to. It has been a joy to work with her!”
On the overall growth of women’s wrestling on the pro wrestling scene since she started 10 years ago:
“Oh my Gosh! Time flies! It has been amazing. I remember when Women of Honor started in 2014, 2015, I really had to fight to get that. This was about the time of the Evolution, the Give Divas a Chance, and this, that, and a third. People just wanted to see more women’s wrestling! Aside from WWE, Ring of Honor was really the only ones doing that. Now, with the Pandemic, it really has brought that to light. I often say that there are a lot of negatives to the pandemic but for me, the biggest positive has been women’s wrestling because if you look at all the companies out there, they’re all pushing a women’s division. People want to see it! And, it is great! More opportunities for everybody!”
On the “Forbidden Door” first opening at All In and if present day ROH will join in:
“I think what a lot of people don’t realize is that Ring of Honor produced All In almost entirely. So, the start of AEW and that whole brand, in my eyes, was helped by Ring of Honor. A lot of the guys that were here went there and they’re doing great. You never know what is going to happen. As you said, these “Forbidden Doors” are opening all over the place. But, it is different for us. A lot of these companies have been running nonstop during the pandemic. We’re kind of one of the very few companies to entirely shut down and say, “Safety first! Lets think about what we’re doing here. (laughs) Unfortunately, a few months at a time! But, now that we’re back doing TV and having pay-per-views and back in front of live fans, I think anything could happen! I don’t see anything wrong with opening those “Forbidden Doors!” I mean, why not?’
On getting online heat for praising Jim Cornette’s podcast:
“I think Jim Cornette is great! If there is any negative media, which obviously was brought to my attention after my tweet, I didn’t know about any of that. Twitter and social media in general has this bad, toxic… It is just very toxic! No matter what you’ve done several thousand years ago, people will never forgive you and they’ll just keep beating the stone to get attention. For me, I know Jim Cornette isn’t like that. He’s apologized on many occasions. And, I wasn’t even talking about his personal life! I was talking about his podcast! I really enjoy his podcast! I think he has a great wrestling mind. He’s someone who has been in the wrestling business for years and he’s hilarious! (laughs) And, again, the pandemic that haunts us, the one thing that it has taught me is to not take things so seriously. Like, politics and all their beliefs that people try to force upon you… We’re living on a rock floating through space! (laughs) You know what I’m saying? I love Jim. And, if some people got offended, I’m not going to apologize. Anything he’s done in his past, he can apologize for. I’m talking about his podcast and his wrestling mind. I adore him.”
On ROH producing well-done story telling video packages for every match:
“We will continue to do that 100%. Our production team is second to none! Delirious has a wrestling mind that I don’t think anybody can touch. He’s the longest lasting Executive Producer in the history of TV! (laughs) Especially when it comes to wrestling! But, he still keeps things fresh and exciting and has this great booking. It is only up from here and now that we’re slowly easing ourselves back into the wrestling world after the pandemic, I think it is only going to keep getting better and better!”
On getting an original song by legendary rockers Skid Row as the Allure’s theme song:
“We are, yes! It is funny because when this started, we were discussing what we were going to use as our theme song. Bully suggested that we could do this and we were like, “Well, YEAH!” (laughs) “That’ll work!” It is perfect! It is bad ass! Rock and roll rules! Bully Ray rules!”
On her predictions for the rest of the ROH Women’s Division Title Tournament:
“Well, I’m out which stinks so I’m rooting for Angelina Love. As I mentioned, she has to face either Max the Impaler or Holidead next and that is kind of terrifying. But, I’m counting on her over 20 years of experience to help her out. I’m rooting for Angelina to win the tournament!”
On the night she won the Women of Honor Title in Europe only for the decision to be overturned:
“You know, you’re right! There have been a lot of questionable decisions here in Ring of Honor! )laughs) A lot of overturned decisions. I bet if it was Quinn McKay, they wouldn’t have overturned it though! Hmmm! Interesting! But, wrestling aside, I can’t wait for that day to happen (winning the title) but the division is in a great place. No matter who comes in or who goes out, the division now is thriving with people who want to be here and this is their focus. We’re all going to thrive together! And, whoever wins this tournament, whoever that might be, I’m going to go after for the championship!”
On a recent remark suggesting ROH needed that “must see moment” again:
“Honestly, we are not on cable television that is as easily accessible as WWE or AEW. If we were, I have no doubt we would be number one. No doubt. When it comes to Ring of Honor, we focus on pure wrestling. We focus on wrestling, wrestling, wrestling and a little less on the entertainment. We have a good mix. Our champions are amazing, a diverse roster… If we had that platform, forget about it! We would be number one in a second!”