To celebrate a historical year for women’s wrestling, in collaboration with Pro Wrestling Illustrated, Bell To Belles interviewed over 20 women who have ranked on this year’s PWI 500 ranking, creating the “Women of the 2021 PWI 500” Interview Series. To empower women in wrestling even more, some of the interviews were conducted by the talented women who make up wrestling media.
Jordynne Grace, who ranked #179 on the 2021 PWI 500, shared with Kristen Ashly of Bell To Belles details on her last year in wrestling, intergender wrestling for IMPACT, working with Jazz, and her powerlifting career.
KA: First, we want to congratulate you on your first year ranking on the PWI 500! That’s really exciting news. How does it feel to be ranking for the first time on the list?
JG: This is actually my first time hearing about it! I am so excited to see what I ranked, but just making the list for the first time is really awesome. I was extremely pleased when they started adding women to the list, and making the list is really the cherry on top.
KA: Your last year was really successful for other reasons, too. Three different title reigns have been big highlights, for example. You were IMPACT Knockouts Champion, IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champion with Rachael Ellering and you’re the current Zelo Pro Women’s Champion. Are there any moments from your title reigns that register as particularly special?
JG: When I was Knockouts Champion last year, I am particularly fond of my brief feud with Deonna Purrazzo. I think we have something special in terms of wrestling chemistry, and if I was going to lose the belt to anyone, she was definitely the right choice. Both our Emergence match and Slammiversary match made the IMPACT Women’s matches top 10 of all-time list, and that makes me very proud.
KA: Something we’ve always thought is very cool for IMPACT talent, is their ability to work on the independent scene. How important is it for you to work on the indie scene? Do you have any favorite matches from the indie scene this year?
JG: I really love that about Impact. I appreciate having my freedom to do essentially anything that doesn’t interfere with IMPACT’s tapings, and it has been very important for me. I always learn a lot when wrestling on independent shows, and it gives me a chance to travel to places IMPACT might not go. A few of my favorite independent matches this past year have been with Kenzie Paige. She reminds me a lot of myself when I was her age. She’s very passionate and isn’t afraid to “go in”. I also got the chance to tag with Rhino for the first time, and you can imagine how awesome that experience was.
KA: Prior to COVID, you often traveled across seas to wrestle. Do you miss the international scene? Even though you’ve had an incredible year, do you feel that missing the international scene has affected your year at all?
JG: I have started to miss it! Fortunately, I go back to the UK in October with my husband to wrestle for the first time in two years. I don’t necessarily believe not traveling overseas has affected my year negatively in any way. Although I love it and it’s great to have the experience, I don’t necessarily believe it’s fundamental to having a thriving career in wrestling.
KA: Though your time on the indie scene has been great, you’ve also had some pretty awesome moments on IMPACT, as well! How was wrestling with the legend Jazz, during this last year?
JG: Jazz is always a class act. I haven’t ever heard someone say a negative word about her, and I doubt I ever will. I’m incredibly grateful for the time I got to spend with her at Impact.
KA: Another incredible IMPACT moment was your Impact X-Division Title Scramble match at Bound For Glory, last October. IMPACT has a pretty great track record of intergender matches. Are intergender matches an important part of your career, or is it just simply business as usual?
JG: I regard wrestling a man the same as I do wrestling a woman. It might involve telling a different story, but the objective is still the same: to try to win the match. It’s my job to be able to do both, and fortunately I have no issues with doing either. I love that IMPACT incorporates intergender wrestling consistently and doesn’t make a big to-do about it. They’re really the only major promotion to feature intergender wrestling frequently, and I that’s what I think makes us more progressive than anyone else right now.
KA: Let’s pivot for a moment, and talk about your weight lifting! You’ve shared lots of videos and results on Twitter…can you share how the idea to start weight lifting and attending lifting competitions came about? Is that something you plan on making permanent in your life?
JG: I’ve been weight lifting for years, but powerlifting is a different animal. You have to push your body into a point of true discomfort to make “gains” and become stronger than you ever physically thought you could be. I love it because people can’t really have opinions on people who powerlift. In wrestling, people will have so many different opinions about you. Some may not like your style of wrestling, how you move, how you act, etcetera. With powerlifting, you can’t really critique someone like that. Either you can lift the weight or you can’t. You can’t say someone “sucks” as a powerlifter and defend it as your own personal opinion. It doesn’t work that way.
Yes, I will probably be competing in powerlifting even after I retire from wrestling. It gives me something that wrestling can’t, and I think we all need something like that!
KA: We really appreciate you taking the time to answer our questions, and really enjoyed looking over your career for the past year. Are there any future plans you want to share?
JG: As I mentioned before, I’ll be traveling overseas to the UK for Wrestlecircus in October. IMPACT also starts touring again in October for Bound for Glory—back to Vegas! I’ll be defending my Zelo title on the 25th of this month, then I get to see my husband wrestle Alex Shelley at PWG on the 26th, in LA. Very excited to see my first PWG event live!
Be sure to follow Jordynne Grace on Twitter @JordynneGrace, and watch her every week on IMPACT Wrestling TV.
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