Former NXT talent Deonna Purrazzo was one of many wrestlers who performed during the no-crowd shows in WWE. Her last match before being released was in early April vs. Nia Jax and Purrazzo discussed working in front of no one when she joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
“You know, I think indie people thrive in this environment as silly as it sounds because some of my first matches ever were in front of three people which might be more embarrassing than no people [laughs]. So, it was never really a question of could I wrestle in front of no one because I’ve done it before,” said Purrazzo. “It’s more so the anxiety of, ‘Ok, are they gonna like what we’re doing or are we gonna have to re-shoot it’ because we can re-shoot it.”
Describing the environment at WWE during these times, Purrazzo said there was one designated door to come in where they took your temperature and gave you a questionnaire. She believes WWE did their best to look out for everyone’s health and safety.
“I never felt unsafe because I felt that this was my job and what I have to do and I’m getting paid for it. There’s a lot of people that need a job and aren’t getting paid so I’m grateful for that. But on the flip side, I thought it was very presumptuous to be asking people to make that choice ? do you wanna work or do you not? To say, ‘Oh, it won’t be held against you’ but we all know how wrestling works and it probably will. It was just a really sticky situation for people to navigate,” admitted Purrazzo.
Someone who is not performing at this time is Roman Reigns who hasn’t wrestled on TV in more than three months. Purrazzo was asked if she thinks there is heat on Reigns for not competing.
“Honestly, I don’t know. I feel like, for his health he has to do that because he’s been sick and is very susceptible. That needs to be understood,” said Purrazzo. “I think it’s different if it’s a healthy person saying, ‘Oh, I don’t think it’s safe and I’m not gonna do it.’ But for someone who beat leukemia, you have to not put heat on that person because that’s a real-life, serious disease that this man overcame. He can’t get that again and possibly come out with the same outcome. So, I can’t imagine there would be heat on him for making that choice.”
While Reigns is immunocompromised, Sami Zayn is not but he’s chosen not to perform at this time. Because of that, Zayn was stripped of the Intercontinental Title and Purrazzo shared her thoughts on that.
“That’s the thing ? they tell you it’s not gonna be held against you but things like that happen. I think as wrestlers we’re bred to not take time off. We’re anxious about things like this happening. If I get hurt then the title gets taken off of me. Or if I’m sick then I lose my TV opportunity. Then if I’m off TV for three weeks then I’m off TV for three months. All of these things trickle so you can’t really say it doesn’t get held against you when missing one week of TV could be detrimental to your career,” stated Purrazzo.
Now more than ever would be the perfect time for there to be a pro wrestler’s union and Purrazzo agreed.
“I think it would definitely be beneficial but I don’t know that everyone will be on board,” Purrazzo admitted. “That’s one of the things ? you need 100 percent of the body to be a part of. I feel like it would be a real struggle to get some of those top guys to agree to anything because they’re taken care of. I don’t really have an opinion on it because I’m kinda ignorant to all of that. I just feel that as much as we push, you need 100 percent and if you’re not gonna have 100 percent, it’s never gonna work.
“The bottom is the bottom and the top is the top and there is a big gap in between. To get those people to reconcile and agree on things, it would be hard.”
You can follow Deonna Purrazzo on Twitter @DeonnaPurrazzo. Deonna’s full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of today’s episode of our podcast, The Wrestling Inc. Daily. Subscribe to get the latest episodes as soon as it’s released Monday – Friday afternoon by clicking here.