Rachael Ellering is on Cloud Nine.
Just days after making her shock debut for IMPACT Wrestling, Ellering teamed with Jordynne Grace to win the Knockouts Tag Team Titles at Rebellion.
An in-ring debut for her new home, combined with a pay-per-view debut and a first Championship in the promotion, and it's clear to see why the Minnesota-born Knockout is relishing life in the IMPACT Zone.
Ahead of this weekend's title defence against Fire 'N Flava at Under Siege, Ellering sat down with Cultaholic's Jack King to discuss life as an IMPACT Champion, adapting to tag-team wrestling, her surprise debut and her future...
How does it feel to not only be a Knockouts Tag Team Champion, but to have won the titles in your first match in IMPACT Wrestling?
You know, it was my pay-per-view debut and my IMPACT debut as well, so it’s been a whirlwind ever since that night. I’m truly, truly so happy, and so proud of Jordynne and myself.
It’s been a very crazy last year for everyone. The last two years, for me, have not been ideal. So to come back and to deliver and to be part of the champs, I’m honoured.
It must be very exciting to not only be teaming with someone as talented as Jordynne Grace, but to also be a part of a women’s division that is considered one of the best in wrestling right now?
That was actually one of the biggest reasons that I chose to come to IMPACT Wrestling! The respect I have for those girls in that locker room and knowing that the division for the last however-many years, just when you think they’ve lost a person or two it just turns around and somehow they find even more stacked talent. So I wanted to be a part of that.
Most of those girls, I’ve wrestled on the indies or outside of IMPACT, and so to now be with them here, we can put our creative juices to work and bring out the best in each other. That’s what I was after, so I definitely made the right choice.
You mentioned the last two years haven't been ideal. What's that journey been like and what have you learned in that time?
Oh my gosh, that’s the understatement of the century! I’ve learned so much about myself, first and foremost, but then about other people. Other people that you think you’re close with but then things happen. Just even what I want out of my career and out of the journey and the type of place that I want to work at. So that has all kind of led me to IMPACT.
That growth that I’ve gone through in the last year has changed my perception on a lot of things. Self growth is a wonderful thing and I truly believe I’m my best self right now, and I’m excited to show that to IMPACT fans.
You've mainly performed as a singles wrestler but you're getting the chance to do something different in being in a tag-team right now. How are you finding that switch in gear?
So this is kind of a new beginning because I usually was a singles performer, but being in a team is a little bit different. But I’ve always loved tag team wrestling, and you have my dad’s connection with tag team wrestling.
I truly just enjoy multi-man and multi-women matches. It’s a different dynamic. People can be so creative with what they come up with for the matches and how they go about it. So I was very eager to dip my toe into that pool. I think it’s been a perfect fit.
Your debut on IMPACT Wrestling was a surprise. What is that moment like for you, as the surprise wrestler?
It was nerve-wracking for sure, but I think that’s because it’s been just such a bizarre year. Things have just not been normal and, maybe if I had been out there doing independent shows and wrestling every week, maybe it wouldn’t have been so nerve-wracking. But I was very, very nervous.
It was just that anticipation of waiting for your music to hit, and then you can forget things like how warm the lights can be when you’re out there, so you just start sweating uncontrollably!
It’s a different environment to what I’ve been in for a hot minute, but it’s funny how the second you slide into a ring, or get into a ring at the pay-per-view, it just feels like home. There’s a comfort about it and I felt so calm and at peace when I ran out there and helped Jordynne. When the dust settled, I just knew that I’m exactly where I should be.
The legendary Jazz, who recently retired at IMPACT Hardcore Justice, had some very kind words to say about you. She was also in your corner for the Knockouts Tag Team Titles win. What does that mean to you?
Having Jazz out there for that night, when I won the titles with Jordynne, that was just the cherry on top. That was so special for me.
Some people know this, and maybe some people don’t, but about a year into my career I got to wrestle Jazz in a singles match. At the time, I was still a baby. And afterwards in the locker room, she sat and she talked with me as if I was her peer. She had no reason to be so kind to me, because she’s Jazz right?! But that has always stuck with me and that will always mean a lot to me.
I hope, later in my career, I can carry myself as well as she carries herself. She truly is a badass and she also has a heart of gold, so it’s extremely flattering when someone like Jazz says anything complimentary. To have her involved in the first steps of my IMPACT career is just remarkable.
If I would have told myself ten years ago ‘hey, believe it or not but you’re going to win the Tag Titles on pay-per-view and Jazz is going to be ringside,’ I never would have believed that. It’s such a treat.
IMPACT Wrestling has received a lot of deserved praise for their handling of the product during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Why do you think IMPACT has been able to navigate these difficult times so well?
I think IMPACT has handled it beautifully. I think, first and foremost, the company looked at it and they wanted to take care of the people behind the show. At the end of the day, we all have families and we’re all individuals outside of being performers. I think IMPACT putting that first, making sure everyone is okay and being taken care of, that makes all the difference in the world.
That little bit of care and little bit of empathy, that goes a long way. I think that was the first piece of building this big puzzle that is pandemic wrestling in IMPACT.
Having Skyway Studios available, and have that closed set, and embracing it...it’s difficult for everybody and every company has had troubles. But at the end of the day, I think IMPACT has just embraced it and made the most of it and found ways to take advantage of it.
A lot of things with Susan, for example, you wouldn’t be able to do with full crowds there. It is just a very cool part of the show that they got to add in because of the pandemic. They have taken advantage of it in the best way they can.
What are your plans going forward in IMPACT Wrestling?
It’s a tricky question and it’s going to sound like such a generic answer but I truly want, every single week, for everyone who watches to see the very best version of Rachael Ellering. Whether that is in an interview or in a tag match or a single match. No matter what it is I want to deliver and be my very best self.
I feel very confident in that and, at the end of the day, I’ll just say it, I want to be one of the very best Knockouts of all time.
Rachael Ellering will be in action at IMPACT Under Siege on Saturday 15 May when she and tag-team partner Jordynne Grace put the Knockouts Tag Team Championships on the line against Fire 'N Flava. You can catch all the action on IMPACT Plus!