Rachael Ellering is excited for the proper chance to prove herself as a wrestler, and it’s already working out in her current run with IMPACT Wrestling.
Rachael Ellering recently spoke with WrestleZone Managing Editor Bill Pritchard ahead of the Under Siege special event where she and Jordynne Grace will defend the Knockouts Tag Team Championship against Fire N Flava on May 15th. Since beginning her career in 2015, Ellering has made appearances throughout the wrestling world, including as a competitor in the 2017 WWE Mae Young Classic. She later signed with WWE in 2019, appearing on NXT until she was unfortunately cut last year as a cost-cutting measure in response to the pandemic.
At the time, she posted a promo video featuring the phrase “don’t call it a comeback” at the end. Ellering says no one should consider her next chapter a comeback at all, because she’s never had a proper chance to prove herself until now.
“I don’t think it’s a comeback because I never really had that proper chance to show what I can do somewhere. My time in WWE was very short, and being part of those COVID cuts last year was difficult. It was difficult for a lot of us to go through, but I never got that chance to shine anywhere. I don’t think it’s a comeback,” Ellering said. “I think it’s just me finally being given that chance and that’s what IMPACT has done. They’re already allowing me to be me and show what I can do and prove that I deserve to be in these spots, and the whole time that’s what I’ve wanted.”
We know who we are, who we’ll always be and we have a choice: we can hide in the shadows or stand in the light pic.twitter.com/DKpF7rafka
— Rachael Ellering (@RachaelEllering) May 13, 2020
Between her WWE departure and IMPACT appearance last month, Ellering had only worked two matches, both for All Elite Wrestling last summer. Ellering had suffered a knee injury in 2019, but later provided an update and said that she had been healthy at the time of her WWE release. During the interview, she once again clarified that her knee was still healthy and had “zero play” into her absence, but she opted to remain home in the interest of her family’s health and safety during the pandemic.
“Really, it was just all the pandemic. We still are in a global pandemic and I just wanted to be as safe as I possibly could, not just for me, but for my family. I never wanted to be that person that was recklessly out and about doing that stuff as if the virus wasn’t a thing that existed,” Ellering said, “so I never wanted to get my family sick or anybody. So I really did just lay low and it was so, so difficult. I can’t even truly put that into words.
“It was so hard to just sit back and watch stuff. Pro wrestling is the love of my life and it’s all I’ve wanted to do, it’s what I live for, so to not be able to do that for a full year other than those two matches,” Ellering explained, “some days it’s just excruciating. You go a little bit crazy in your house and you start [brainstorming] ‘Hey, let me grab my boyfriend Chris and [get him to] try this spot with me in the living room really quick.’ You try to find ways to get through it, but it was really hard.
“Really the deciding factor for this timing-wise was the vaccine has been rolled out, things have been getting a little bit better and we can kinda see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it was time. I was extremely safe, my family is now safe and healthy and taken care of,” Ellering said, “so I thought ‘Here it is. It’s time to get back out there and show what I can do.’”
— Rachael Ellering (@RachaelEllering) May 7, 2021
Rachael Ellering’s IMPACT run isn’t a comeback, but it’s not exactly a return either. While she worked a few matches for the company back in 2017, Ellering noted both she and IMPACT had changed in that time, which includes figuring out where she is and wants to be in the wrestling world. The “Queen Of Strong Smile” said IMPACT was the right place for her now because she believes in the vision of the company, and their belief and trust in her goes a long way as well.
“At that point, I was still figuring everything out, my first match was in November of 2015, so I was still very much a baby in this [business], getting my feet wet and trying to figure out what I wanted, how to be myself and be the best version of myself for any company, any show that I was on. So now, I’ve grown and I’ve learned and figured out exactly who I am. When IMPACT reached out to me and I started talking with Gail [Kim] and Scott [D’Amore], I know all of the girls there—I’ve worked almost all of them outside of IMPACT and had good relationships with them—just hearing their vision of what it could be and how everything is run and handled there,” Ellering explained, “I just loved the idea of having creative freedom and truly being given that ball and told ‘run with it and show us what you can do.’
“Like I said, I never had that chance before and so, hearing that and just the confidence they had in me, even with this weird last year— the whole world’s been weird, but with pro wrestling, it’s been extra weird—them having that confidence in me despite not working every weekend because of the pandemic,” she noted, “that meant a lot to me. People, when they truly believe in you and believe in what you can do, that speaks volumes for me and that was a big deciding factor in me coming to IMPACT.”
Rachael Ellering can be seen weekly on IMPACT Wrestling on AXS TV and Twitch. Under Siege is available on the IMPACT Plus app starting on May 15.