The wrestler became one of the stars of Ring of Honor after deciding she wanted to wrestle at just 9 years old.
Deonna Purrazzo doesn’t remember all the details, but she definitely knows the exact moment she fell in love with professional wrestling.
“I remember I was watching it with my brother and I saw Stone Cold (Steve Austin) hit someone with a chair and I was mesmerized,” said Purrazzo, who estimates she was 9 when the big blow was delivered. “I knew at that moment that I wanted to be a wrestler, and then when I was 18, I went to wrestling school and became one.”
Purrazzo isn’t just a wrestler, she’s a darn good one.
Purrazzo is now one of the stars of Ring of Honor, but before she became a queen of the ring, she had some detours.
Purrazzo, who hails from North Jersey, played every sport under the sun while she was growing up. The sports she loved the most were gymnastics and competitive cheerleading, and she credits both of them for helping her in the world of wrestling.
“They definitely gave me the tools for wrestling, not just the performance aspect, but the cheerleading helped me with the footwork and the choreography,” Purrazzo said. “You would have anywhere from 14 people to 36 working together as a cohesive unit. It’s the same thing in wrestling.”
Purrazzo’s skills will be on display on Saturday when Ring of Honor returns to its Philly home, the 2300 Arena, formerly known as the ECW Arena, in South Philadelphia.
Matches aren’t announced for the card as of yet, but all of the stars from Ring of Honor, including the Young Bucks, Jay Lethal and Will Ospreay, will be there.
Also appearing will be the Women of Honor, including Purrazzo, Mandy Leon, Kelly Klein, Sumie Sakai, Jenny Rose and Brandi Rhodes.
Ring of Honor is fairly new to women’s wrestling, and while she’s very modest about it, Purrazzo and Leon put on arguably the biggest women’s match in company history last year in Philadelphia during a Women of Honor Wednesday showcase.
“It was amazing that we had that opportunity because we worked really hard and Ring of Honor wasn’t known for (women’s wrestling),” Purrazzo said. “I loved doing it. There are so many things I’d love to accomplish, but that was definitely a big one.”
Now she’s back in the building she loves to perform in.
“If I could only wrestle in one place, it would be in Philadelphia,” said Purrazzo, who is 23. “I’m a huge history buff, so I wasn’t around during ECW, but I’ve read so much about it and know how much history is in that building. And the fans are great. They’re tough fans and they love to yell things at you when you mess up, but they love wrestling. I love wrestling, too, so that’s why I love wrestling in front of them. There and New York are my favorite places to wrestle.”
Philly might be about 100 miles from where she grew up, but she’s gone much farther to ply her trade. And while she’s far from satisfied with her resume, she is proud of what she’s accomplished.
“Being a pioneer in women’s wrestling for Ring of Honor is very cool,” Purrazzo said. “I don’t think I’ve accomplished a lot, but looking at my career, I’ve been able to wrestle in Japan, I’ve wrestled in the United Kingdom and wrestling in Ring of Honor is incredible because it’s great wrestling, and we’ve been able to bring (women’s wrestling) to it.”
Now she wants to be the top one in the promotion.
“We are hoping that Ring of Honor gets a women’s championship,” Purrazzo said. “I would love to be the first one. That’s my biggest goal is to win that. Being the first would be great, but I definitely want to win that at some point.”