Deonna Purrazzo was ready to move on from NXT about four months before her release.
Purrazzo was let go in April 2020 among budget cuts from WWE during the Coronavirus pandemic. Outside of a couple of Mae Young Classic wins, Purrazzo was winless in 20 televised appearances on Raw, Smackdown, Main Event, NXT and NXT UK both before and after she was signed. This led to serious frustration on her behalf, and she wasn't afraid to make it known. She didn't feel like there were any higher ups in her corner, either.
"I don’t know that anyone was going to bat for me except me. You know, it’s funny, because just in life, but especially in wrestling, people say one thing but do complete opposite. So you don’t ever really know what people are doing for you. It could help you or it could hurt you. I’ve always felt self-advocation, if anyone is going to stick up for me it needs to be me because I can’t trust anyone else to do it," Purrazzo told Fightful.
By the time Deonna had landed an NXT contract in 2018, she'd worked on TV for TNA, Ring of Honor, WWE Smackdown, and even NXT in the past. When she wasn't utilized to her potential, Deonna wasn't satisfied earning a check, and wasn't satisfied with just being "happy to be there."
"I just feel like NXT is a culture of you’re grateful for what you get and you don’t ask for more, and I wasn’t grateful for what I got," Deonna specified. "Because I feel like I worked my ass off to get to NXT. I worked my ass off to prove I belonged there when I got there. I gave so much of myself to promos and having vignettes filmed on my own dime and my own time. [I] thought out character ideas, vignettes for me as a tag team, for vignettes of me, Chelsea (Green), and Rachel (Evers) as a trio, for myself—I just invested a lot of me in different ways that they could use me and use my potential and it did fall on deaf ears. Because when I got opportunities they were given to other people because “I wasn’t ready,” and I didn’t let it slide."
As far back as December, Purrazzo considered asking for her release. At one point, she even drafted an e-mail asking for it. In March, she let it be known she didn't want to be an enhancement talent, as well. Many of the April 2020 releases had asked for such in the past, but were denied. Purrazzo knows that very well could have contributed to the release.
"So, I don’t know that all of us that expressed creative unhappiness, if that was the reason we were let go. Because there was a few people who were in that group," Purrazzo said. "But, I definitely feel like that’s frowned upon in NXT. For me I feel like, and maybe it’s just making myself feel better, but that was probably a reason why I was let go. Because I said a month ago, “Hey, I’m not happy. If you’re not going to do something with me, let me go. Let me figure this out somewhere else.'"
Deonna remains under WWE contract until late May, at which point she's free to take additional bookings.
You can see our full interview with Deonna Purrazzo above. Check out her upcoming series on Independent Wrestling TV, as well as her Pro Wrestling Tees Store