Dozens of WWE performers and talent were released last month including Lio Rush who found out about his release on the internet. NXT talent Deonna Purrazzo was also among those released and she discussed how she was notified when she joined The Wrestling Inc Daily podcast.
"I did get a phone call before anything was released on the internet. What's interesting is that a lot of the NXT releases weren't released as WWE didn't announce any of the NXT people. So, I got a phone call from Canyon Ceman and then took it upon myself to tweet that I had been released," said Purrazzo.
"There were a lot of people that heard rumors and weren't really sure. They were kinda given a heads-up and then it was a waiting game. I think it happened different for everyone and I'm grateful that I got that phone call and didn't find out on the internet because that must be terrible."
Losing a job is tough on anyone but even more so considering the times we're in. Purrazzo discussed being released in the midst of a pandemic.
"I think there was definitely a relief to it. When the company said earlier in that day that they would be making cuts with furloughs and releases, I kinda felt this was it. I was really nervous all day because I was waiting to find out if it was gonna be me or not," recalled Purrazzo.
"Although it is a weird time, it didn't really hit me that I didn't have a job until my dad was like, 'Ok, you get 30 days pay. What happens after the 30 days?' I was like well I can't just go get a job [laughs]. That made it real when my parents asked what I'm doing moving forward. There isn't a lot of real options. So, that was the scary part when it hit and I got emotional about it. But, getting the phone call, the people I talked to, it was very much, 'I think this is what's gonna make you happy and I wish you happiness moving forward...'
"I saw it through rose-colored glasses and [my dad] was like, 'You need to be realistic here, Deonna.'"
Purrazzo was under contract for two years but started working for WWE as enhancement talent in 2014. She was asked about creative frustrations with her character and why she never reached the next level in NXT.
"I've said it in tons of interviews that I don't know if I maybe shot myself in the foot thinking I was coming in in a better position," admitted Purrazzo. "I was the first of my kind in women that had done so much as enhancement talent before and now had a job. I just thought that all of the struggles and hardships I went through as enhancement talent, doing tryouts, being told no, being told not right now – that the tide had changed now that I had earned a contract. I thought that I was ready to be a Superstar and they had finally seen that in me through everything I did in ROH, Japan, traveling the world and reinventing myself to earn that opportunity. But ultimately, I didn't."
Purrazzo had just one title shot during her two years in NXT and she said every time she pitched something creatively, it often fell on deaf ears.
"It seemed like everything I did was looked upon negatively or I didn't get answers to and they just didn't want to deal with me," stated Purrazzo.
"I think Impact, along with AEW, when people have asked where my sights are set, those are the two biggest places. I think especially with Impact, they've signed so many women over the past 2-3 weeks. Kimber Lee just debuted. Tasha Steelz just debuted. They have Nevaeh and Jordynne Grace is there champion. It's a lot of people I've worked with on the indies before WWE so I would be so excited to meet back up with now," stated Purrazzo.
Not only does Impact have the Knockouts Division, but they also have a Knockout who is currently the World Champion in Tessa Blanchard. Purrazzo was asked about Impact putting the title on a woman.
"I think it's really eye-opening to the rest of the wrestling world. Impact has always – since the beginning of TNA – been so open minded with the way they treat their women's division," said Purrazzo. "So, to do such a historic decision only breaks down those barriers more. Women can only continue to grow from here on out."
You can follow Deonna Purrazzo on Twitter @DeonnaPurrazzo. Deonna's full interview with Wrestling Inc aired as part of a recent 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.