From The Rest To The Best: Deonna Purrazzo Solidified as One of Wrestling’s Best in One Year

Deonna Purrazzo

Anyone who is able to take a moment of uncertainty and make it into a career-defining one is worth talking about. That’s how we get to Deonna Purrazzo. The reigning IMPACT Knockouts Champion is pound-for-pound the best women’s champion in the United States right now. But that doesn’t do “The Virtuosa” justice. Purrazzo is one of the best champions in all of professional wrestling right now. When as a fan you take a step back and think about this fact, you almost have to realize that this past year of Purrazzo has been one of the finest we have seen in all of wrestling over the past decade. And that’s what we begin to take a look at here.

The Year of “The Virtuosa”

Never Being Allowed To Find The Footing in NXT

Deonna Purrazzo WWE
Credit: WWE

On April 15, 2020, Purrazzo was one of many let go from World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), ending a run in the company that never seemingly got off the ground. When Purrazzo originally signed with the company following her appearance in the Mae Young Classic, fans believed that this was going to be Purrazzo’s chance to show the entire world who truly incredible she was. The Fujiwara Armbar master had been one of the top prospects in all of wrestling before her signing with the company. She made a name for herself in Ring of Honor (ROH), Stardom, and SHIMMER. She was certain to be a major part of NXT’s exploding women’s division and had all the potential to be the NXT Women’s Champion and eventually, a champion on the main roster.

But that never happened. Instead, following the Mae Young Classic where she made it to the quarterfinals, Purrazzo had six total televised matches before making her debut on Monday Night Raw, where she lost to Asuka in a singles match. As 2020 rolled around, Purrazzo worked both on NXT and the main roster, participating on Main Event and Raw. Her final match in the company came on April 6, as she suffered a loss to Nia Jax on Raw.

Attempting to understand what was going through the mind of WWE when it came to the handling of Deonna Purrazzo will only leave you puzzled and wondering what they didn’t see. So when she was released from WWE, it was a sense of the chains being off and “The Virtuosa” being able to finally shine.

Signing with IMPACT Wrestling

Deonna Purrazzo IMPACT debut
Credit: IMPACT Wrestling

When the 30-day non-compete clause following her release from WWE was up, it was time for her to shine. Deonna Purrazzo believably had to have everyone calling her phone as she was one of the rare elite talents sitting out there as a free agent. The call, however, that she would answer was one of IMPACT Wrestling. IMPACT was on its way to making something special during this time. They created this impeccable women’s division in their own right with names like Taya Valkyrie, Kylie Rae, and Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace leading the force behind it. On May 26, “The Virtuosa” revealed that she was coming to IMPACT.

Purrazzo would make her first appearance at the conclusion of the June 9 episode of IMPACT on AXS TV. Knockouts Champion Jordynne Grace had defeated Valkyrie in a rematch from their previous encounter to successfully defend her gold. This was the opportunity for “The Virtuosa” to make her impact. Purrazzo got into the face of the champion and laid out Grace, implying that not only was she arriving to the show but she was there to pursue the gold and nothing less. After being left among the rest in her previous company, Purrazzo was never going to be considered an “afterthought” ever again. She was the conversation moving forward and brings eyes to IMPACT to this very day.

Winning The IMPACT Knockouts Championship

Deonna Purrazzo IMPACT Knockouts Champion
Credit: IMPACT Wrestling

In only her third match since joining IMPACT, Deonna Purrazzo won the IMPACT Knockouts Championship from Jordynne Grace at Slammiversary. Not only was the match a fantastic showing by Purrazzo, but it was what really sparked her past year more than anything. With the Knockouts Championship in hand, Purrazzo would go on to have match after match not only worth watching but worthy of respecting and understanding. Purrazzo bills herself as “The Greatest Technical Women’s Wrestler in the World.” She doesn’t need to have the women’s part in there to be a serious consideration. When a performer understands who they are, they become unbeatable. Untouchable. Undeniable.

Purrazzo has had the Knockouts Championship for nearly a combined 300 days in her two reigns over the last year and those days will only continue to go up. She has challengers coming from all worlds and is now representing IMPACT to leave her mark in wrestling. That’s the definition of an ace.

Becoming IMPACT Wrestling’s Ace

Knockouts Champion
Credit: IMPACT Wrestling

Being an ace in professional wrestling is a major honor and a massive weight to carry on your shoulders. Over the last year, no one has been more willing to be that for IMPACT Wrestling than Deonna Purrazzo. As the men’s division watches its championship be taken by the non-contracted talent in Kenny Omega, Purrazzo has a stranglehold on the Knockouts division and her championship. She is the one who goes into every event with the confidence, the ability, and the likelihood to represent IMPACT to the best of her ability. And she’s become that in one year.

When looking to the future, Purrazzo has a number of opponents that excite everyone and anyone. The relationship with AEW has yet to see the women’s talent crossover. With her friend Britt Baker about to challenge for the AEW Women’s World Championship, that could finally be what spikes the interest for Purrazzo to make her way over to Dynamite and show the world of AEW who is boss. But even besides the AEW partnership, Purrazzo’s rise to being among the elite in professional wrestling is clear as she will head to AAA‘s TripleMania to take on Reina de Reinas Champion Faby Apache with an opportunity to walk out as a double champion. Not only is that belief in her as a competitor, but as a representative of IMPACT.

There’s something special going on right now in professional wrestling when it comes to Deonna Purrazzo. There’s no one who has had a more important year than her over the past 365 days. She has, by all accounts, taken it on head first. She’s become the ace of IMPACT Wrestling, the best women’s champion the United States has to offer, and one of the best champions in the world. Not only does what she has done over the last year displayed that wrestlers should welcome the opportunity to bet on themselves, but that you can become the best by believing in yourself. This is only the beginning for Purrazzo as a competitor, and the next year should be even more impressive for her.

It’s “The Virtousa’s” world and we are witnessing it firsthand.

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