Bobby Cruise details how Deonna Purrazzo’s return to ROH came to be.
The reigning ROH Women’s World Champion Rok-C successfully defended the title against Willow Nightingale at Final Battle. As Rok-C was celebrating her win, she was confronted by the current AAA Reina de Reinas Champion and former IMPACT Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo.
Purrazzo told Rok-C that after IMPACT’s Hard To Kill pay-per-view which is where Purrazzo is challenging Mickie James for the Knockouts Title, she wants to go one-on-one with Rok-C in a ‘winner take all’ match.
Longtime ROH ring announcer Bobby Cruise appeared on Busted Open Radio and said he and Maria Kanellis-Bennett had been working on getting Deonna to return to ROH for months. Cruise and Kanellis-Bennett were behind the reboot of ROH’s women’s division.
I say ‘why now’ as well and I, working on the women’s division in 2021, we had been working on getting Deonna there for months. With the booking in the women’s division or just booking in general, I’m a big believer in using reality as much as possible in things. You know, and Deonna in Ring of Honor and the way she exited Ring of Honor previously, it was a real story. She had unfinished business in Ring of Honor and her tenure in Ring of Honor didn’t end well and I wasn’t a fan of it when it happened. So, I remember reaching out to Deonna maybe this time last year and saying, ‘Hey, Maria and I are gonna be involved with the women’s division. I’m gonna try and work out something with IMPACT to get you to do something because it makes sense.’ You know, we could have done that with someone else on Saturday night and it probably would have gotten a reaction and gotten a pop and so forth but it wouldn’t have meant as much as it did with Deonna and so, I actually — it was last Sunday night, just sitting there. My older daughter came home from college and I was just sitting there watching TV and I said — just trying to brainstorm. The women’s division has been so good this year and has so much support from people, so what can we do to create a moment? Because I knew there would be moments on the guys’ side. ‘What can we do to create a moment for the women’s division at Final Battle?’ And it kind of just popped in my head and I text Deonna and ran it by her and then of course, she was all into it because she has had an open-ended thing with Ring of Honor since she had to leave the way she did, so it meant a lot to her. I emailed Scott D’Amore, I think he got back to me within ten minutes and we got the ball rolling.
Cruise sat beside former Ring of Honor owner Cary Silkin for the entirety of Final Battle. Cruise recalled telling Cary, “This should not be happening,” referencing Final Battle being Ring of Honor’s last event before their hiatus. Cruise explained why he said that to Cary:
I’ll keep it as professional as possible and put it this way: So, in my years in Ring of Honor and of course Ring of Honor was going a little bit before I even got there. The one constant and I’ve heard you guys talk about it today and before, work-rate level, quality of the talent. Somebody left, somebody came in and grabbed a spot. Somebody left, someone moved up the card and took the spot and stepped right in and over the past few years, I think the in-arena production with the screens that we use and everything has been awesome. The look, we have a very polished look for everything and the TV, as far as the video packages, there’s a guy by the name of Zane Decker. You wanna talk about an unheralded person in Ring of Honor? Zane Decker puts together these VTR video packages and man, just some of the work that he’s done, of course now being involved in the women’s division, I’m much more involved with that stuff and just seeing the stuff that he would send us, put it in the drop box to take a look at before it even aired. I was just blown away. When you look at that, you look at our roster, you look at how good the stuff is in the ring, you look at the production value and how good that’s gotten and then you look at, you know, the crowd was into it from 7 o’clock until 10:59 and beyond. You know, we had Gresham kind of dark promo that I’m sure they’re gonna put it on social media sometime this week where he addressed the crowd and addressed winning the title. Just the whole package, just that one night, look at everything. This should not be happening.
If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Busted Open Radio with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.