Two years ago, Mandy León took part behind the scenes at Final Battle, assuring that the major event went off without a hitch. Fast-forward two years and the “Exotic Goddess” revealed that that there will be a major announcement regarding the Women of Honor at Ring of Honor’s Final Battle 2017.
“I am extremely excited about Final Battle, it’s one of the events I look forward to the most, along with our anniversary shows. It’s one of the biggest events and the venue alone at Hammerstein Ballroom is absolutely incredible and the lineup is amazing. I can not wait.”
Although she believes that all the matches on the card are exciting, there is one that she is particularly excited for this time around.
“I look forward to all of them , I really do. I love these guys to pieces-they are always just so hard-hitting and amazing. But I’m really looking forward to Cody and Dalton Castle-I really am. I really like Dalton so much-I’m a huge supporter of Dalton Castle. Just to see how far he’s come and now that’s he’s back, it’s going to be a good match. Cody as well, the way he established himself on the independent scene after WWE. He’s really proven himself throughout his career, on the indie scene, in New Japan and now he’s Ring of Honor champion. I’m really excited to see it because of their storylines and backstories coming together, I’m looking forward to that match the most.”
Because of the card being so full, the Women of Honor division, which has been appearing more often on Ring of Honor television and recently was part of the ROH Global Wars live stream, as well as the Survival of the Fittest video on demand shows, will not have a match on the night, but there’s a hint that there is something big in the works.
“Unfortunately there’s no woman’s matches on the card for Final Battle, the lineup right now is looking very strong. I do know there’s going to be a big announcement during the PPV, so everybody should definitely tune in and if they are there live they are going to love it and if they’re watching on PPV they are going to be in awe.”
León has been at the forefront of the resurgence of the division since she and Deonna Purrazzo asked to have a dark match back in 2015. Since then, the women have used the Youtube channel as a platform to showcase their talents, with a number of the matches toppling one million views. The success has led to the division being given more opportunities and it seems to be on the cusp of yet more opportunities.
“We’ve been on live stream befores, but in terms of big events, this was our first big Women of Honor live stream that was a part of the event. We were featured on a few television episodes and video specials and everything like that. So for me to sit here and see the progress of Women of Honor and to see how far we’ve come the past few years it’s really incredible. And to see it continue into Japan is great. Overall, it’s pheneomenal to see where we are.”
The division has come along way since being reignited, but there has yet be any movement towards a Women of Honor championship, but that sits just write with Leon, who believes that there needs to be real meaning attributed to a possible title and not a simple prop handed out in a precursory fashion.
“As far as the Women of Honor go, we go understand it’s simply more of business understanding. I think the fans really want it and we do too. But there’s a way that Ring of Honor is doing it that makes sense to all of us, rather than throw a title out there in everyone’s face.You have to keep in mind that this is something that hasn’t be done in Ring of Honor before. There’s never been a women’s title, there’s never been a crowned charm to the division-so to speak. Instead of throwing it in the fan’s faces, I think they are taking the right route by taking two years to see who they want to be the main girls in the division and see how these characters develop and where this goes and create storylines. That way when we finally do decide whether we want this title or not, everything will makes sense as to what we’re competing for because there’s so much behind it as opposed to saying we have a few girls whoever wins gets the title. It makes complete sense and I’m glad the way they’re going. I have a good feeling about 2018 and I think we are on the right route. The anticipation is killing us all.”
Despite being relatively new to professional wrestling, Leon has seen herself go from trainee to mentor in her short time with the company and within the division.
“It’s emotional. When I was training at ROH DOJO, of course there were female students before me, like Jenny Rose, but when I was training I was the only female student. At all the seminars and camps that’s included in our training, I would take part in those. I was the only female there and I understood that there weren’t a lot of opportunities for women within Ring of Honor, but it still blew my mind that a lot of women didn’t come just for the knowledge and the learning experience.”
“And now all these women are coming to the camps and coming to the tryouts-they want to be here. Not just independent girls who want to be here, but former WWE Divas and TNA Knockouts that want to come work with us because they know we are a tight knit family and we work hard and we are unlike every company out there. SO to see that, and I even gave a little speech at our Women of Honor tryout camp when I got in in the ring, I got a little emotional. I was just so happy to see that many women following their dreams and want to be here. And to see that I helped make that happened and help to develop that was a dream come true.”
León is an integral part of the Women Of Honor division, but she wears many hats within the company behind and in front of the camera. She is featured as a part of ROH recaps, participates in trainings and seminars, actions that speak to her dedication to the business.
“Wrestling is my passion. But I also have a creative side to me, where if I wasn’t wrestling or even while I’m wrestling I want to do everything that there is I can do within the company. And that’s why I always go out of my way to do anything I can-if there’s any job that’s available I always put myself out there. I don’t get paid for what I do, these extra things. I do it out of love and passion and just wanting to learn.”
León has put work into establishing herself a presence in wrestling and in her short time as a professional wrestler, she has been had the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the very same people that she grew up idolizing in the industry, finding herself in situations that she never felt she would before.
“I worked with Jushin Thunder Liger- his first inter-gender tag match was with me. I was the first female that he ever tagged with ever in his whole career. He’s been around forever, he had never had an inter-gender match in his life. I had even been wrestling that long and I was like ‘what?’-it was mind-blowing. I am hundred percent professional, but there’s still the little fan in me that-I don’t show it- but there’s a part of me that’s thankful and in awe. My life is like a movie and I just can’t believe the things I am accomplishing. Again, because of hard work, 100 percent, but it’s still so bizarre. Meeting your idols and working with people you’ve looked up to is an incredible thing.”
At just twenty five years old, it is clear that León will continue to find herself in new and exciting situations as part of the Women of Honor and more.
To listen to the full interview, click below.