Before the woman known as Taya Valkyrie entered the WWE in 2021, she was one of the top independent talents that helped paved the way for women’s wrestling. Another benchmark in Lucha Underground, Valkyrie also broke barriers for the women’s division, winning DDT Pro-Wrestling’s Ironman Heavymetalweight title and having unforgettable battles against names such as Brian Cage. However, it was Valkyrie’s stints in Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and Impact Wrestling that showcased her properly as one of the top female athletes in the sport. It wasn’t just the impressive display of athleticism that exemplified why she’s one of the best talents in the world, but it was her Lucha royalty gimmick that set her apart from most of the women in professional wrestling.
After having an incredible and long-standing Knockouts title reign in Impact Wrestling, Taya Valkyrie officially made the transition into the company. The former Impact Knockouts Champion had all the tools that WWE would love: brawn, beauty, and being a blonde. Given the strength of the NXT’s women’s division, Valkyrie, who was forced to change her name to Franky Monet, seemed to fit like a glove. However, it didn’t seem as if the company had high hopes for the talent following her debut. Monet instantly teased an NXT Women’s title feud against then-champion Raquel Gonzalez; however, the company seemed to oddly lose interest in her character following her debut. Monet was playing the Hollywood starlet character, but she was showcased as a powerhouse once she entered the ring. It never appeared that creative had a true grasp of what they wanted her character to be. It’s understandable that NXT didn’t necessarily want to push her as another female powerhouse because that was Raquel Gonzalez’s role, but to relegate her into the Robert Stone brand seemed to suggest that the company didn’t see her as main event talent. Here’s a woman who’s been through wars against men and women, an experienced veteran who could be a big contribution to the developmental brand yet she was nothing more than one of Robert Stone’s lackeys. Monet never had a feud to sink her teeth into, thus she wasn’t able to showcase her true personality and characteristics. She was given a few generic squash wins before she randomly lost to Kacy Catanzaro and Kayden Carter. Never mind the fact that the company was seemingly building her for a title showdown against Raquel Gonzalez, they opted for her to take her first loss in a tag team bout.
The change to NXT 2.0 didn’t help her cause whatsoever. It was bad enough that Monet was barely featured on the program, but it only got worse from that period on. Out of nowhere, her once highly anticipated championship match against Raquel Gonzalez was just thrown out there without a solid build backing it. Monet wasn’t even given much of a chance to have a match of the year candidate type match, losing the bout in less than seven minutes. At this point, her brand was tainted. There was no progress in terms of character development, and it didn’t help that she was rarely featured on the developmental brand. It’s unknown exactly why she wasn’t given much of the spotlight that she deserved. Coming in, Monet helped added credibility and prestige to the division, but there just didn’t seem to be much interest in giving Monet some type of momentum to build her as the next big thing. Was it the age? Monet was 37-year-old at the time. Though that wouldn’t have made sense given the fact that talents such as Asuka and Shayna Baszler came into the company in the latter years of their careers. However, given the edict upon the transition to NXT 2.0, that notion seemed to make more sense.
It’s extremely silly because Monet could’ve really helped the stars of tomorrow become better wrestlers. Pitting two green athletes inside the squared circle can only lead to more injuries. At the very least, Monet could’ve been given a stint on RAW and Smackdown. The main roster didn’t necessarily have a powerhouse female character at the time and she would’ve fit in the stacked division. However, Vince McMahon and company just didn’t see any value in the former Impact Knockouts Champion. It’s a shame because Monet could’ve been the type of female talent to fight against Becky Lynch, Ronda Rousey, or Asuka in the main event, but she was essentially dead on arrival as the company clearly didn’t have any plans for her. Was this a case where NXT wanted to keep her away from AEW? That’s certainly possible, but at the end of day, Franky Monet never stood a chance at making in the big leagues.
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