It looks like Deonna Purrazzo is staying put in IMPACT Wrestling.
After being released by WWE earlier this year, Purrazzo was outspoken about not being used to the best of her abilities. After just a few months in IMPACT, it's hard to disagree with that. Does she feel vindicated?
"A little bit," Purrazzo told Fightful. "But, I also feel like there is a tremendous amount of pressure on me to perform at that level that I said I could perform at. With IMPACT! taking this chance on me and all the things that I said before I really got started in the division, I take this role so seriously. I’m constantly getting time in the ring and working on new things and trying to up my cardio and get in better shape, bring my gear to the next level every time because I want to prove—not only myself right—but the people that believed in me and the people that are giving me these opportunities right. They need to know how heavily it weighs on me and how much I appreciate it. There is so much pressure I felt going into Slammiversary, there’s ten times more pressure that I’ve put on myself going into Bound for Glory now because, not only do I need to retain my championship, but I can’t be a one hit wonder. I can’t be a fluke. I need to bring it to that same level and then some the second time in around."
Fightful reported earlier this year that Purrazzo was working on a per-appearance basis the first few months there, before offering her a long term contract. She says that even she was a little surprised that she was crowned IMPACT Knockouts champion before signing. She didn't outright confirm her contract status, but said she wants to be in IMPACT for quite a while.
"I think going into Slammiversary I was very honest about, ‘I like everything about this. I like the vibe here. I like the girls here. I like how I’m treated. I feel very much a part of all the things I was lacking in a fundamental human basis prior, I feel it at this place.’ I made that known of like, ‘It might just be a one shot thing, but this is where I want to make my home and I want to grow in this place. So, I was surprised, but I was also like, ‘This is a good sign and this is good for me. I’m going to plant some roots here and to be given the trust. Not just to be the champion, but to come in and go right for the champion and getting these storylines and the TV time and the social media stuff that I’ve been able to do. It shows they have equal trust.’ So, as surprising as it was, I feel that we had a mutual understanding of like, ‘I would love to be here long term.’"
Being a free agent didn't initially intimidate Purrazzo. She'd been released from WWE, couldn't travel to Japan, and outside work options were limited.
"Yeah, I don’t think I was as scared until I spoke to my dad and, you know, him just being a dad and being worried for me. He was like, ‘Okay, you’re paid for the next 30 days, but what are you going to do after?’ I was like, ‘Well, I can’t just go get a job tomorrow. I can’t go back to teaching tomorrow.’ So, that was the first moment where I was like, ‘We are in a pandemic and I haven’t had to worry about how am I going to make money in the longest time.’ Even before All In or WWE, I didn’t have a full time job. Wrestling was my full time job," said Purrazzo. "The timing of all of it and IMPACT! welcoming me in from the moment they could, just kinda eased those worries. Even now, transitioning into indy wrestling coming back, it’s just about my safety. It’s about the safety of my others that are close to me. My boyfriend is looking to get back on TV. I can’t go do an indy and come home and we’re both sick and then he gets called to go back to TV and he can’t. There’s so many layers to my decision making process right now that I just have to do what’s right for my family and right by IMPACT! and being present for all of those things and all of my prior obligations is most important. IMPACT! was a match made in heaven. I really, really stand by that. That’s a really good way to put that."
You can see our full interview with Deonna Purrazzo at the top of the page, and check her out on Twitter at this link. She'll be defending her IMPACT Knockouts championship against Kylie Rae at IMPACT Wrestling Bound For Glory on October 24.