Known for her prowess in the wrestling ring, Deonna Purrazzo has been on a hot streak. At one point, he appeared in nearly every major wrestling promotion within a calendar year. After a brief stint in WWE, he was on a mission. Her new path resulted in a long reign as the 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 Queen of Queens and Ring of Honor Women’s World Champion after beating Rok-C for the latter title, Purrazzo continues to make an impact in professional wrestling. “The Virtuosa” spoke to Sporting News about her feud with Mickie, gaining recognition as a respected wrestler, and what it means to hold the ROH Women’s World Title.
First of all, how does it feel to be a double champion again?
It feels great! Unfortunately, I couldn’t get my Knockouts Championship back at Hard to Kill, but winning the Ring of Honor World Women’s Championship is really exciting for me, it’s a full circle feeling. I was very happy to help cross those bridges with Impact and Ring of Honor, but also to represent ROH during this unprecedented time for them.
Despite winning the ROH Women’s World Title, is it a bittersweet win without the Knockouts Championship? Were the timing and the game itself not in your favour?
I would say that a Texas Death Match is not what “La Virtuosa” would say is her strongest style. The match required much more study and preparation compared to what I am used to doing. He could have been dealing with weapons, but also with time. I think the story that Mickie and I told up until the Texas Death Match was incredible. What most people haven’t talked about too much is that I held the Knockouts Championship for almost 18 months. She had a stronghold on the entire division, and at the end of the Texas Death Match, she had to throw everything from tables to chairs at me to take me down. It really symbolized the end of a real and true reign, an evil queen coming to her death. Losing him was part timing and part not being as prepared as I would like for that kind of match.
Your title run had great moments and I felt like you had a real thorn in Mickie’s side. Do you think you and Mickie bring out the best in each other, like yin and yang?
I think we do. I expressed a lot that our feud would be a long-term thing where we would just find ways to tell the story. I have to go to Mickie’s farm and attack her there, and we were able to continue our story through NWA EmPowerrr and into NWA 73. We spent the best 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’s important in storytelling. I definitely think I found the yin to my yang. We are two completely different fighters. My strengths are not Mickie’s strengths and vice versa. We bounced off each other and created the best story and matches we could.
Is your rivalry with her over or is there more to come?
As long as she holds the Knockouts Championship, I think our feud will never end. I will always want to take back MY Knockouts Championship and be a 3x Knockouts Champion. For now, I am focusing my energy on defending the titles I have: the AAA Reina de Renas and the ROH World Women’s Championship.
What is your goal as the ROH Women’s World Champion with the promotion in limbo? Would you try to do a Jonathan Gresham representing the promotion wherever you go?
Absolutely, especially with the unprecedented times they find themselves in. It’s interesting to have Jonathan Gresham wrestling on Impact, wrestling Steve Maclin in a Pure Rules championship match. I love that Ring of Honor is represented, whether it’s on Impact Wrestling, an independent show, wherever it is. It’s a brand that means a lot to me personally from my time there. She helped develop who Deonna Purrazzo, “La Virtuosa” was going to be as a wrestler. Now that I have the championship, I don’t know if I will defend it under Pure Rules, but it means a lot to me to be the ROH Women’s World Champion. I want to defend it and continue the ROH brand wherever and however I can.
Speaking of Gresham, he recently called you one of the best technical fighters in the world. What does it mean to you to win that kind of recognition?
Gresham has tweeted that a time or two, and it’s a great feeling. He is the number one fighter in the whole world. I can’t say enough good things about him, I think he’s phenomenal and I’m so envious of what he can do out there. I wish I could be like Jonathan Gresham. For him to give me that kind of recognition, it means the whole world to me. I fought very hard to be in Impact Wrestling and also to be able to do things with ROH, and Gresham was one of those people who supported me. That he is on my side and gives me that recognition is incredible because I always wanted to be considered one of the best fighters in the world. If someone like that thinks that, then it’s that validation and approval that means everything.
In the world of wrestling, breaking down the Forbidden Gate has been a big topic in recent years. Who would you want to face off against if you had the chance?
I’ve talked a lot about (AEW Women’s World Champion) Britt Baker being my best friend. Obviously I would love the idea of potentially facing her. The Forbidden Door match of my dreams is a triple threat between Britt, Chelsea Green and myself. I think we get the best out of each other. They are two of my best friends, so there would be a lot of meaning behind it. If you hit your friends harder, they will try to overcome that competitive advantage you have. They are two people that when they succeed, I feel that I have achieved it. I would love to cross an Impact ring with them, an AEW ring, an NWA ring. The Forbidden Door has passed through all companies. It would have a special meaning for the three of us.
There have been companies that have invested in women’s wrestling, and Impact has been consistent in promoting its Knockouts division. You recently appeared on several Impact shows, making history at Hard to Kill with a Texas Death Match and an Ultimate X Knockouts match. Is there anything you think needs improvement regarding women’s wrestling?
There is always room for improvement. It stems from a whole locker room mentality, going back to when guys used to be upset about women starring at events. I feel like when everyone can finally accept the fact that women can be put in that position, that they’re worthy, because they are, that’s when real change happens. I’ve been in the main event, especially with Mickie, Britt in the AEW main events and Chelsea in the NWA EmPowerrr main event. The more women we can put in those roles, the more women will be inspired to work in those roles. There are many women in wrestling. There are also plenty of other women on Impact worthy of those main event spots. We will have to see who can rise to the occasion.
What advice would you give your newbie self?
I think I would tell my 18-year-old self not to worry and not to plan so much. There have been so many times in the last 10 years where I thought I was going to get the job, or I thought this or that was going to happen, and I have been let down and disappointed. If I hadn’t planned every aspect of it the way I think it would be, I would be a little more forgiving and not dwell so much on what didn’t happen and what could have been, but accept what did happen. I have planned to be a wrestler since I was nine years old. I would also tell my nine year old self to live her 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 after wrestling, who I can be outside of wrestling. In general, I would tell myself to live in the moment, to realize that everything is going to turn out the way you want, and not to stress so much.