One of the saddest realities in professional wrestling is that not every wrestler can be successful, especially in WWE. Amazing talent are bound to be overshadowed, forgotten about, or when worse comes to worst, even fired. This is exactly what happened on April 15th, 2020, when WWE released over twenty well known employees, most of which were on screen talent. Talents like Kurt Angle, Drake Maverick, EC3, Mike and Maria Kanellis, Lio Rush, Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows were among the released.
As WWE continued to update the list of names, people began to speculate the future of the fired talents. Would EC3 end up back in Impact? Would Kurt Angle wrestle again? Would Gallows and Anderson go back to Japan? The buzz around the released talent only seemed to grow…except for one name who did not even make it onto WWE.com. That name was Deonna Purrazzo.
After competing on the independent scene for five years, Deonna Purrazzo was signed to a WWE contract in 2018. She was immediately announced for WWE’s premier women’s tournament, the Mae Young Classic. Purrazzo would defeat Priscilla Kelly and Xia Li on the road to the quarterfinals, before losing to the eventual runner up, Io Shirai. After that, Purrazzo’s WWE career essentially went dark. She would have sporadic TV appearances, such as a loss to Rhea Ripley on NXT UK and two losses on RAW to both Asuka and Nia Jax, but mainly she was regulated to NXT Florida house shows known as the “Coconut Loop.” At one point she was entered into a short feud with Shotzi Blackheart on NXT, but that lasted about as quick as it began. Quickly after that, she was quietly released from WWE. According to her Matches section on Cagematch.net, Purrazzo only had 17 television matches before her release. Of those 17 matches, she only won 2.
While many fans completely overlooked her release, those who have been watching her performances on Florida’s live event circuit were excited to see her next move. Her technique as a technical wrestler had only improved since her signing, and she was bound to make a big splash in professional wrestling no matter where she went. The wrestling world as a whole however was unaware of what was about to hit them. Not only was she the first to make the jump, but her splash sent ripples throughout the wrestling world more more than anyone could have guessed.
When Purrazzo showed up at Impact Wrestling, she immediately targeted Jordynne Grace, the Impact Knockouts Champion. And, in her third match with the company, she defeated Grace at Slammiversary to become the new Knockouts Champion in what many considered the match of the night. For the first time in years, management and fans alike are beginning to recognize the potential of The Virtuosa. With a new episode of Impact tonight and Kylie Rae gunning for her championship, one thing is for certain: whatever Purrazzo does next, it will display how much potential WWE missed out on.