Known for her ability in the wrestling ring, Deonna Purrazzo has been on quite a run. At one point she appeared for amost every single major wrestling promotion within a calendar year. Following a short stint with WWE, she was on a mission. Her new path resulted in a lengthy reign as Impact Wrestling Knockouts World Champion. A highlight of Impact Wrestling, she recently lost the title to rival Mickie James, competing in groundbreaking matches, including a Texas Death Match at Hard to Kill.
Now the AAA Reina de Reinas and Ring of Honor Women’s World Champion after beating Rok-C for the latter title, Purrazzo continues to make an impact in pro wrestling. “The Virtuosa” spoke with Sporting News about her feud with Mickie, gaining recognition from a respected wrestler, and what it means to hold the ROH Women’s World Title.
Sporting News: First of all, how does it feel to be a double champion again?
Deonna Purrazzo: It feels great! Unfortunately, I was not able to regain my Knockouts Championship at Hard to Kill, but winning the Ring of Honor Women’s World Championship is really exciting for me, it’s a full-circle feeling. I was really happy to help cross those bridges with Impact and Ring of Honor, but to also represent ROH during this unprecedented time for them.
SN: Despite winning the ROH Women’s World Title, is it a bittersweet victory without the Knockouts Championship? Was the timing and the match itself not in your favor?
DP: I would say a Texas Death Match is not what “The Virtuosa” would say is her strongest style. The match took a lot more studying and preparing compared to what I am used to doing. It might have been dealing with the weapons, but also timing. I think that the story Mickie and I told until the Texas Death Match was incredible. The thing that most people haven’t talked about too much is that I held the Knockouts Championship for nearly 18 months. I had a stronghold on the entire division, and at the end of the Texas Death Match, she had to throw everything at me, from tables to chairs, to take me down. It really symbolized the end of a real, true reign, an evil queen coming to her demise. Losing it was partial timing, and partially not being as prepared as I would like to be going into that type of match.
SN: Your run with the title had great moments, and it felt like you had a true thorn in your side with Mickie. Do you think you and Mickie bring out the best in one another, like yin and yang?
DP: I think we do. I was very vocal that our feud was going to be something long-term where we just found ways to tell the story. I got to go to Mickie’s farm and attack her there, and we got to continue our story through NWA EmPowerrr and at NWA 73. We spent the better half of about 6-7 months trying to tell an interesting story. With all of Mickie’s experience, I learned from her and understood how her mind works when it comes to what is important in storytelling. I definitely think I found the yin to my yang. We are two completely different wrestlers. My strong suits are not Mickie’s strong suits and vice versa. We bounced off one another and created the best story and matches that we could.
SN: Is your rivalry with her over, or is there more to come?
DP: As long as she holds the Knockouts Championship, I think our feud will never be over. I’m always going to want to regain MY Knockouts Championship and be a 3x Knockouts Champion. For right now, I am focusing my energy on defending the titles I do have: the AAA Reina de Renas and the ROH Women’s World Championship.
SN: What is your goal as ROH Women’s World Champion with the promotion in limbo? Would you try and pull a Jonathan Gresham by representing the promotion wherever you go?
DP: Absolutely, especially with the unprecedented times they are in. It’s interesting to have Jonathan Gresham wrestling on Impact, fighting Steve Maclin in a Pure Rules championship match. I love that Ring of Honor is represented, whether on Impact Wrestling, an independent show, wherever it is. It is a brand that means a lot to me personally from my time there. It helped develop who Deonna Purrazzo, “The Virtuosa” was going to be as a wrestler. Now that I have the championship, I don’t know if I will be defending it under Pure Rules, but it does mean the world to me to be the ROH Women’s World Champion. I want to defend it and carry on the ROH brand wherever and however I can.
SN: Speaking of Gresham, he recently called you one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. What does that mean to you to earn that kind of recognition?
DP: Gresham has tweeted that once or twice, and it is quite a feeling. He is the number one wrestler in the entire world. I can’t speak enough praises about him, I think he’s phenomenal and I’m so envious of what he can do out there. I wish that I can be like Jonathan Gresham. For him to give me that kind of recognition, it means the entire world to me. I fought so hard to be at Impact Wrestling and also be able to do stuff with ROH, and Gresham was one of those people who were pushing for me. For him to be on my side and give me that recognition is amazing because I always wanted to be considered one of the greatest wrestlers in the world. If someone like that thinks that, then it’s that validation and approval that means everything.
SN: Out in the wrestling world, breaking down the Forbidden Door has been a big theme the last few years. Who would you like to face if given the opportunity?
DP: I’ve been very vocal about (AEW Women’s World Champion) Britt Baker being my best friend. I would obviously love the idea of potentially facing her. My dream Forbidden Door match is a triple threat between myself, Britt, and Chelsea Green. I think we bring out the best in one another. They are two of my best friends, so there would be a lot of meaning behind it. If you hit your friends harder, they’re going to try and top that competitive edge you have. They are two people that when they succeed, I feel like I’ve succeeded. I would love to step across an Impact ring with them, an AEW ring, an NWA ring. The Forbidden Door has crossed all companies. It would hold a special meaning to the three of us.
SN: There have been companies that have invested in women’s wrestling, and Impact has been consistent when promoting its Knockouts division. You have main evented several shows for Impact recently, and history was made at Hard to Kill with a Texas Death Match and an Ultimate X Knockouts match. Is there anything you believe that needs improvement regarding women’s wrestling?
DP: There is always room for improvement. It comes from an entire locker room mindset, dating back where the guys used to be upset that women main evented. I feel like when everyone can finally accept the fact that women can be put in that position, that they are worthy, because they are, that’s when real change happens. I have been in the main event, especially with Mickie, Britt on AEW consistently main events, and Chelsea main evented NWA EmPowerrr. The more women we can put in those roles the more women will be inspired to work for those roles. There are a lot of women in wrestling. There are also a lot of other women in Impact worthy of those main event spots. We will have to see who can rise to the occasion.
SN: What advice would you give to your rookie self?
DP: I think I would tell my 18-year-old self to not worry and to not plan so much. There have been so many times over the past 10 years where I thought I was going to get the job, or I thought that this or that was going to happen, and I’ve been let down and disappointed. Had I not planned every aspect of the way I think it would go, I would be a little bit more lenient and not harp so much on what didn’t happen and what could have been, instead embracing what did. I’ve planned to be a wrestler since I was nine. I would also tell my nine-year-old self to live your life. There are so many things now 10 years later outside of wrestling that I’m trying to do, and I’m trying to figure out who I want to be post-wrestling, who I can be outside of just the wrestler. Overall, I would tell myself to live in the moment, realize everything is going to work out the way you want it, and don’t stress so much.