Since November, Deonna Purrazzo has been carrying the banner for the IMPACT Wrestling Knockouts division. This weekend, she will carry that banner into Rebellion to face Tenille Dashwood.
It will be a history-making night for IMPACT, as it will not only feature a huge title vs. title match in the main event, but a fully stacked card, as well.
For Purrazzo, however, the business at hand will be Dashwood, who has emerged as a nemesis in recent weeks. They will settle the score this weekend in a title bout of their own, one that promises to be a classic.
Known worldwide as "The Virtuosa," Purrazzo has had a well-traveled career, wrestling for almost every major company in the United States over the last five years. The 26-year-old female superstar now finds herself as the face of the IMPACT Knockouts division.
In this exclusive interview with Sportskeeda.com, Purrazzo says she has no plans to give up that spot this Sunday at Rebellion. She relishes the challenge.
"It's been a busy week, but I wouldn't want it any other way... to be honest," Purrazzo said. "It's still very surreal. I wanted to be in this position for so long. And now that I'm here? It feels great. It feels validating and heartwarming at the same time," Purrazzo said.
She continued, "I wanted to be a champion in wrestling since I was a little girl. The fact that IMPACT has given me that opportunity - not once, but twice - to be the Knockouts Champion is mind blowing to me."
Clearly for Deonna Purrazzo, the IMPACT Knockouts title is something special, and she says she wants to carry on the legacy set by legendary performers who came before her. Performers like Gail Kim and Taya Valkyrie.
"I guess I hope that people will realize that everything I do (as champion)? I did with the greatest intentions. That I put my entire heart and soul in to my body of work, and I hope that reflects in everything I do," Purrazzo said.
Even though she isn't looking past her opponent this weekend, Purrazzo has also been open about future challengers she would love to defend her title against, including current free agents like former IMPACT Knockouts Champions Chelsea Green and Mickie James.
"I have not been shy for the last couple months about asking for the best competition there is," Purrazzo said. "If that's Chelsea Green? I will welcome her with open arms, because not only is she my best friend, but she's also one of my greatest opponents. If that's Mickie James? Then that's great, because she's a former champion.
"These are just names to add to my list, and my legacy. If I defeat them? What does that mean? That just means I'm the greatest Knockouts Champion of all time. So I welcome all the competition with open arms. We just saw that Taylor Wylde is debuting in the next few weeks... coming soon. Rachel Ellering just debuted on TV (on IMPACT).
"So it's an exciting time for the Knockouts division. I wouldn't want to be a part of a division that doesn't continue to outdo itself and continue to just grow, and grow, and grow."
And while tensions may have run high between she and Dashwood leading up to their championship showdown this Sunday, Purrazzo insists that she has respect for her opponent. Purrazzo promises that the match at IMPACT Rebellion will be a classic.
"I'm excited," Purrazzo said. "Tenille didn't neccesarily 'win' the number one contendership. I think she stole it, a little bit. But, she says she's confident; she says she's prepared.
"I know that I've proved over the past couple of weeks, with title defenses and matches on IMPACT, that I am well-equipped. I'm more than ready for any competitor. So I expect this to me a great match, and I expect Tenille to bring it."