As soon as she became a free agent, Impact Wrestling understood very quickly they had to secure a spot for Deonna Purrazzo in the company. If she already appeared on IMPACT in the past, the company’s executives rekindled her passion for wrestling, something she may have lost on the road to stardom. They welcomed her with open arms and allowed her to be exactly what she wants to be, Deonna Purrazzo.
“I am the Virtuosa. Do you even know what that means? Allow me to explain. I express outstanding technical ability. I have a cultivated appreciation for artistic excellence. Unlike the average human, I have been able to declutter my mind and access space previously ignored. To be truly virtuous, I have formulated the perfect equation for success, which I implement with precision. A unique training that not only lies in technique, but in the movements between, allowing my reactions to not be within the stimulus, but to be within my subconscious knowledge. I am Deonna Purrazzo, the Virtuosa.”
On May 26 episode, this promo announcing her upcoming debut created such a buzz you suddenly couldn’t understand why some Creatives somewhere told her one day she was not ready for TV or her character was not something they could understand. This is exactly what Impact Wrestling chose not to do. They let her be The Virtuosa. If, in my language, this word is usually associated with genius musicians. In the ring, Deonna Purrazzo made it a symbol of excellence and success. This Saturday, she will use those exceptional skills to become the new Knockouts Champion when she will compete against Jordynne Grace.
SteelChair Mag had the chance to have a one-on-one conversation with Deonna Purrazzo last week about her decision to come to Impact Wrestling, the Virtuosa character, competing for the Knockouts Title at Slammiversary just seven weeks after her debut, and what the future holds for her on Impact Wrestling.
Your arrival on Impact Wrestling was at the same time so unexpected and so huge it blew everyone’s mind. What are your thoughts on your debut and the way it was broadcasted, and the image that was given of you on TV?
“I was so excited with the idea of coming to Impact Wrestling and being able to make such a grand debut. I was ready for such a long time to just try to make a pun intended impact somewhere, and I’m so happy that I ended up doing it in Impact Wrestling. I was able to go right for the Champion from the get-go, and now we’ve been able to lead this up to Slammiversary, and I have my first big PPV match, probably ever, for the Knockouts championship. It is really amazing. I’m really excited and happy with what we’ve been able to do the last few weeks.”
Like you just said, you have the chance to go straight to the belt and Jordynne Grace. What does this title match mean to you, and which athlete Jordynne Grace is for you?
“I mean, it’s crazy. I’ve only wrestled one match since I’ve been on Impact (against Alisha Edwards), and now with Slammiversary around the corner, I have been trying to prepare the best I can to have this title match and to come out victorious. That said, Jordynne Grace is great. Taya Valkyrie, the Champion she beat, was the longest reigning Knockouts Champion ever. She’s accomplished some really great things on Impact Wrestling thus far. She is an amazing athlete. She calls herself ‘The Hossette’, she’s strong, she’s powerful. She’s just got this brute strength, but with the technical side of my wrestling and how I present myself, every joint can be manipulated the same, no matter how powerful she is. As soon as I wrap the armbar, she’s done for it. I’m excited to step in the ring with her. I’m excited for Slammiversary because I’m going to walk out victorious. I’m going to be the new Knockouts champion.”
How were you welcomed on Impact Wrestling? The company seems to have put a lot of trust in you right from scratch.
“I was just vying for an opportunity to prove myself, and I have just been open to the possibility of doing anything in any capacity. Impact Wrestling has really understood what being a Virtuosa means. They present me in a way that I’ve never been presented before. I was welcomed with open arms. From the jump, they told me as soon as we can have you, they wanted to have me a part of the show. I’ve been so fortunate to work with a creative team that really seems to understand who I am in my point of view, and the legacy I’d like to leave on wrestling thus far. I can’t say any more great things about them. I hit that pocket about how great they are because it’s such a breath of fresh air to be on IMPACT and work with the executives and all the wrestlers in the creative team.”
Impact wrestlers and Knockouts love competition. How did they welcome you?
“The Knockouts division is crazy. I don’t like to say it’s the best of all time, but I’m going to say it. I think that every woman that Impact Wrestling have on their roster right now is diverse and presents themselves in a way that separates them from everyone else. Everyone has something different to bring to the table, and it makes it a really competitive environment. It also makes a really great locker room because everyone wants to work for everyone, everyone wants to put on the best possible show, everyone wants to be on the show. Everyone was just very welcoming to me, what I can bring to this division, and what I bring to the table and how that’s going to make them all a better competitor, so I’m so happy to be a part of this amazing and diverse division.”
Where does this Virtuosa nickname come from? What does it mean to you? What are you trying to say with it?
“The definition of a Virtuosa is an individual with outstanding technical abilities and someone who has a cultivated appreciation for specific excellence. With that definition, earlier in my career, I was trying to find a nickname or a moniker that really encompassed everything. With that, I feel I am, as a person and as a wrestler. It ties in my heritage, my roots, and Italian culture. It also means someone that embraces all cultures, and I’ve been able to travel the world. I’ve been able to spend time in foreign countries and just embrace all of these new experiences. I really think that has helped mould me as a human being, but also me as a wrestler. I chose Virtuosa because it’s more sophisticated than being a technician or a mechanic or like the greatest wrestler of all time. It also ties in a lot of the experiences that I’ve had as a human and have made me a pro wrestler.”
Virtuosa in French is more related to musicians.
“In Italian, it can be used in the same way, and that ties in a lot with the music I had made for my entrance. It’s an orchestra, with the piano, the violin, and all of these instruments to create like a symphony. That is another element of why I have the music I have just to kind of tie it in more. If that’s what it means in French, it very much can be translated the same way into Italian.”
What are your goals on Impact? Where do you see yourself in the future with the company?
“Obviously, with Slammiversary around the corner, I want to see myself as the Knockouts Champion. I want to put this company on my back and bring it wherever it’s going to go as the forefront of the division. That’s my goal, that’s something I’ve never been able to do before. I’ve never been a champion before, so this match coming up is my number one focus right now. I can only speak to what we’re going to do next week, and hopefully, that is to beat Jordynne Grace and become the Knockouts champion.”
If the Knockouts Tag Team belts were brought back, would you be interested to compete for them?
Slammiversary is huge this year, because of the teasers, the card of the PPV and also the Cell-ebration Zoom event. You made your debut in a no-crowd arena, can you tell me about this celebration and also finally being allowed to talk to the fans and have their feedback?
“I think that the world right now is in such a unique position, and we’re all just trying to find ways to engage. This Cell-ebration the morning of Slammiversary is a two-hour virtual party that we can all celebrate Slammiversary and coming together and being able to connect on a different level. There’s a lot of cool things going on, there’s going to be some trivia, some Q&A. There’s a lot of talent that’s going to be coming in and being able to engage the fans that are a part of it, not only myself but Willie Mack, The North, or Ken Shamrock. Madison Rayne and Josh Mathews are hosting it, so there’s an array of people that are going to engage with our fans all over the place and maximize using our cell phones by getting involved with each other because, unfortunately, that’s the world we live in right now. What’s great about the celebration too is it’s unique, it’s different, and it’s going to bring a completely different experience for the fans to be a part of Slammiversary a way maybe we’ve never been able to do before.”
Wasn’t it too strange to start at a moment when there was no fan, and there’s still no fan in the arenas, and when you can’t feel the heat coming from the fans?
“It’s a little strange, but I think, as wrestlers, we’re kind of trained in that environment. I know when I started wrestling years ago, I was learning in a building with no fans. I was learning with just my trainer and maybe one or two other students, so we would have practice matches and things like that where there were no fans. I think with the arenas and fans not being allowed in right now, it just kind of brings everyone back to their roots and kind of makes you focus in other ways of how to engage people.”
What are the matches on the card, except yours, that you’re looking forward to seeing at Slammiversary?
“First and foremost, I’m looking forward to the Knockouts Number One Contender Gauntlet match. Madison Rayne, a former 5-time Knockout Champion just entered into it, and all of the other women, Taya Valkyrie is a former Champion, Su Yung, Rosemary, Havok, Nevaeh, Kiera Hogan, and Tasha Steelz, they all bring something new to the table. Whoever walks out the number one contender for the Knockouts championship is gonna make an impact the same way I did when I debuted. That is what I’m most looking forward to, but we’re going to crown a new World champion, and there’s a mystery opponent to be the fourth member of that match, I’m really excited to find out who that opponent is going be and who our new World champion could be.”
What would be your choice for this mystery opponent because we saw a lot of names, pictures and flags in the teasers?
“There are still so many people that will be available to be a part of Slammiversary, so that is what makes this mystery opponent that much more exciting because it could be anyone. There have been some teasers for Super Eric, and I think, if it was Eric Young, that would be a really cool mystery opponent and someone a lot of these people have never probably wrestled before. I love to see how he gets on in the ring with all of these people for the first time.”
Are you open to wrestling intergender matches as Impact Wrestling have been doing that kind of match on TV and PPV’s?
“I haven’t done a lot of intergender wrestling in my past, but I think it’s really a new avenue for women’s wrestling. It’s new and exciting that Impact Wrestling are giving women that platform, so for me, I’m not sure if that is something that I’d like to do, but I love that it’s an option on the table, and women are limitless on IMPACT.”
You’ve been in the business for seven years, you had ups, you had downs, you are now competing for a major championship in a major company. What advice would you give to a young wrestler, male or female, someone who’s training right now, from your example?
“My biggest advice to someone coming into wrestling male or female is to see the value in yourself and to constantly bet on yourself. Anyone at any line of work is always going to come to a point where you have to decide what’s best for you. I have never been the type of person that is just happy with what I’m doing and is grateful. I want to push the envelope. I want to do more. I’ve always had to advocate for myself, and I’ve always had to see my value. I think anyone coming into wrestling needs to realize what they can bring to the table and not be turned away and taken astray from how they feel about themselves and what they can bring to professional wrestling because, as individuals, we’re so unique, and we’re so different. What we do and what we show is so different and inhuman, we are crazy athletes, and we need to recognize that and see value in that. Any employee or employer needs to see that value and see what you’re willing to put the work in for them. So my advice would be to see the value in yourself and never let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Follow Deonna Purrazzo on Twitter @DeonnaPurrazzo.
IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV in the USA. The show is available to view in the UK from 2 am Wednesdays on the IMPACT Plus app and airs at 9 pm Wednesdays on Fight Network UK (Sky 192/Freesat 161) and repeated on Fight Network UK at 9 pm on Sundays.
Very special thanks to Mr. Deathman. All pics, videos, and screencaps courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Fight Network, and Basil Mahmud