Deonna Purrazzo Is Living Out A ‘Fairy Tale’ In AEW

Since Deonna Purrazzo was nine years old, all she’s wanted is to be was a professional wrestler. With nearly 12 years in the game, she’s had various stints across each of the major American promotions. It hasn’t always been easy for Purrazzo, but with each road block, she’s overcome adversity and come out on the other side stronger.

“It’s definitely not been easy,” Purrazzo tells Uproxx Sports ahead of her AEW Women’s World Championship match at AEW Revolution on March 3. “I struggled a few years ago to even know if I wanted to continue to wrestle.”

The ups and downs of the business had gotten to Purrazzo. What helped her bounce back was finding a group of people and developing working relationships that became productive in both her personal and professional life — a great husband, great friends, and people who wanted to see her succeed.

“I think coming out of that really uncomfortable period where I didn’t know what my next steps were and just having that core group of people around me to be like, ‘You’re good at this, put that drama aside, dig down deep and re-evaluate, because you should be doing this.’ Madison Rayne is one of those people. Britt Baker is one of those people who didn’t let me give up on this dream. And now I get to work with them on a weekly basis,” Purrazzo says. “I feel like it’s a fairy tale, really. Just where I was and where I’m at right now. I didn’t imagine it for myself four years ago.”

In 2020, Purrazzo was released from WWE and joined Impact Wrestling/TNA. She went on to become a multi-time world champion and was ready for, as she says, “that next thing that was going to propel me to the next level.” She determined it was joining AEW, and while she’s etched her place among the top wrestlers in the world, getting to join the promotion doubled as an opportunity to do something she turned down in the past.

“Back in 2018, I was supposed to be a part of the very first All In,” Purrazzo says. “I was supposed to do things like the Jericho Cruise, and I chose a different path. So, this time around, I wanted to kind of right those wrongs, and do something that I never thought would be possible, and that was coming to AEW. So to have that opportunity presented to me meant the world.”

Purrazzo says there’s been an adjustment in joining AEW due to the scale of the promotion and the production — things like being on national television every week and having matches that get interrupted by commercial breaks are new to her.

“I don’t think people realize that I’m almost 12 years into my career, and my match with Red Velvet live on TV was nerve wracking for me because I hadn’t done that in so long,” she says. “So I think I’m just trying to reframe what professional wrestling is and how the Virtuosa translates to such a large scale has been career defining in the last month.”

Fresh out of the gates, Purrazzo has been met with a familiar face in her program with AEW Women’s World Champion Toni Storm. The current champ is someone Purrazzo previously lived with — up until recently, the pair had matching tattoos — and is someone she calls a bit of a “saving grace” as she joins AEW and attempts to learn a new company.

When she joined AEW, Purrazzo didn’t know how she’d be involved and certainly didn’t expect to be in the position she’s in right from the start.

“It’s a testament to Tony Khan and how highly he thought of me, and then the product Toni and I have been able to put out thereafter,” Purrazzo says about immediately jumping into a rivalry with Storm.

Purrazzo says she’s been nervous since the day her match with Storm was announced for the upcoming AEW Revolution pay-per-view in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“I think that’s probably one of the largest crowds I’ve ever wrestled in front of up until this point,” Purrazzo says. “Just to have that all culminate, Sting’s last match, we’re in Greensboro, the Coliseum. I am just elated. This is such a huge moment for me, and so many new eyes on me throughout the last few months. Going out there and having an absolute killer match with Toni for the AEW Women’s World Championship is going to help continue to redefine who the Virtuosa is.”

Regardless of what happens in Greensboro, the future is bright for AEW’s women’s division.

Purrazzo is joining AEW in what can be seen as a turning point year for the promotion. She points to rising stars like Queen Aminata as an exciting opponent in the future. There’s first-time matchups like mixing it up with the returning Jamie Hayter, Saraya, Ruby Soho, and so many other women she’s never gotten in the ring with.

And then, there’s the “dream match” after the heavily-expected debut of Mercedes Moné.

“There’s never been a real opportunity for it to happen, so like you said, nothing’s been announced, nothing’s been set in stone, but just that possibility would be very, very cool,” Purrazzo says. “I think to have someone like Mercedes, with all of her accomplishments, and everything she’s done for women’s wrestling across the board would help continue to redefine our AEW women’s division.”