Tenille Dashwood talks to Daily DDT after her IMPACT Wrestling return, her travels around the world, what brought her back, and more.
After a five-month absence, the uber-talented Tenille Dashwood made her highly-anticipated return to IMPACT! Wrestling on the September 1 episode, interrupting Deonna Purrazzo’s “Black Tie Affair” and staking her claim at the Impact Knockouts Championship.
The former Emma in WWE hadn’t been seen on IMPACT TV since April when she beat Taya Valkyrie in a match that was taped prior to the pandemic. That was the only taste of in-ring action she’s had with the company in 2020 to date.
The current circumstances and other endeavors have kept her away from the squared circle, but now that she’s back in the fold again, nothing is stopping her from finally winning the most coveted prize in IMPACT’s stacked Knockouts division.
“It’s awesome being back,” Dashwood told Daily DDT in a phone interview conducted last week. “I missed wrestling, I missed being in the ring and in the spotlight. It’s a little different under the circumstances, but just being around wrestling which I love and I have my whole life, it gives me energy and gives me life. I love being back and taking the spotlight from everyone else.”
Dashwood has been stealing said spotlight since her WWE days when she was claiming that it was all about her. She’s carried that mentality everywhere she’s gone since then, including Ring of Honor and now IMPACT Wrestling.
Soon after her return, she introduced Kaleb (with a K, of course) Konley as her new personal photographer. Konley has spent time in the promotion before, but he’s bound to benefit from being paired off with Dashwood and should be an excellent addition to her act.
As a travel influencer, Dashwood is no stranger to taking selfies, but it makes her life 10 times easier to now have someone doing it for her. When asked about how their business partnership came to be, she said that Konley reached out initially and the offer was too good to pass up.
“Everyone that follows me on social media probably already knows that I’m a travel influencer as well and I love to go on adventures and stay at beautiful resorts and do photo shoots and do all the work, so of course I need a personal photographer,” she said. “Kaleb, with a K, offered his services, and he just kind of gets me. A lot of people don’t get the point of it, but he gets me and we just mesh, so that’s how that started.”
To her credit, Dashwood has continued to evolve in every way possible over the years and her latest character change is proof of that. However, it’s less of a “gimmick” than it is an extension of her actual self, as someone who makes the most of every moment in addition to documenting it through photos and videos.
“I think it’s important to show the real aspects of people’s lives as well and that’s me to a tee,” she said. “I love to have my own time, take care of myself with spa treatments and outdoor adventures, and live my life to the fullest. A lot of people don’t do that, so if they do it themselves because they’ve seen something I’ve done or they’re just living vicariously through me, I want to offer that to my fans and show them the life that I live.”
Needless to say, this is definitely a different Tenille Dashwood compared to when she was last on IMPACT TV many months ago. She originally failed in her quest to become Impact Knockouts Champion when she lost Taya Valkyrie at Bound for Glory 2019 and didn’t have many chances to showcase her skills after that.
She cherrypicked the perfect time to resurface and make a name for herself once again, albeit at the expense of everyone else in the division. The time away, she feels, was ultimately a blessing in disguise.
“There’s a time and a place for everything, so I think now is my time,” Dashwood said. “Staying away sometimes makes things even better. I saw the demand and fans asking where I was wanting me back, so now it’s my time and obviously the Knockouts Championship is in the picture. But it’s time that I show what I can do and incorporating all aspects of my life into showcasing Tenille.”
As great of a get as Dashwood was for IMPACT last year, the company has made equally big moves with its women’s division since then. Kylie Rae, Tasha Steelz, Deonna Purrazzo, and others have joined as well, arguably making IMPACT’s women’s scene the strongest anywhere in wrestling right now.
The Australian beauty was well aware of the women’s wrestling renaissance going on in IMPACT in her absence and was eager to be a part of it.
“[The Knockouts division] just got more and more exciting the more I was away, which is also what drew me back because now’s the time,” she explained. “It’s exciting, the fans are loving the product, I’m loving the product, we’re all excited to be a part of IMPACT Wrestling, which overall makes it better for everyone.
“When everyone working there is excited and loves what they do, it always makes it better,” she continued. “But the fact that IMPACT has made some big moves and signed some of the biggest names possible in the last little while goes to show that IMPACT is a show they should be watching and that there’s so many big things to come still. Just think of all the matchups, the different teams, and I’ve got Kaleb with a K now, so anything and everything can happen. I think it’s getting more and more exciting and gives people more of a reason to tune in to see where things go now.”
The depth of the Knockouts division was on full display during Purrazzo’s Black Tie Affair a few weeks ago on the show. Not only is that where Dashwood returned, but it was also where she made an enemy out of one Jordynne Grace.
The former Impact Knockouts champion took exception to the fact that Dashwood had been away for so long and that she showed up asking for a title opportunity when she did nothing to deserve it. Before they battle one-on-one this week on IMPACT! Wrestling, Dashwood questioned why Grace would be targeting her in the first place.
“Hmm, maybe jealousy? I don’t know,” she speculated. “A lot people I find wish they could do what I do. They can’t, so unfortunately that’s just life, but Jordynne Grace definitely seems to not want to leave me alone right now. Hey, that’s her problem if that’s what she wants to spend her time doing, but I have been working of course. I’m a travel influencer, I’ve been doing a lot of work, but she just doesn’t know. She doesn’t know enough about me, so that’s her problem and if she wants to spend her time chasing that up, then by all means she can do that. She can watch my social media and add me @TenilleDashwood on Instagram and Twitter. She can watch all my videos and pictures and see how hard I work.”
Despite the current circumstances and travel bans being in place for certain countries, Dashwood has continued to travel everywhere that would have her. She’s documented her various journeys on social media and as relaxing as it looks, it’s still work at the end of the day for her.
In her travels, she’s adapted to the environment around her and has continued to enjoy her adventures across the globe.
“Obviously, things are very different right now, but it’s also a good time to travel to the places that allow it and are wanting tourism,” she said. “There’s just certain places you just can’t go right now. There’s definitely safety protocols in place and there’s testing involved and authorizations. No one can just turn up anywhere. People are wearing masks still and social distancing and doing all the right things. Really, I’ve been farther away from people than I have been in a long time, so I’m secluded when I travel and I have my own time, so it’s social distancing to the max.”
Dashwood initially did a ton of traveling while with WWE as part of the company’s hectic road schedule. She continued to travel even after departing the company and has developed a real passion and fondness for it, in addition to making a career out of it.
New Zealand, Austria, and Switzerland are among her favorite places to travel to, largely because of their beautiful scenery.
“I just love going everywhere,” Dashwood revealed. “Some of my favorite places are probably New Zealand, which is absolutely beautiful and the mountains are so nice there, and Iceland. It was like nowhere else I’ve been anywhere in the world. It just has a feel to it and it’s so different. There’s an amazing waterfall and hikes there, too. I went to Austria and Switzerland and the Alps, which were amazing, and an Ecuadorian resort.
“I’m definitely taking advantage of the work I’m doing with this and the opportunities that come to me and making the most of it and documenting it with my social media and my YouTube actually, too,” she said. “Some beautiful places and I’m in Jamaica right now enjoying the cliffs and the beautiful water. I definitely plan to do a lot more travels.”
As far as where she wants to go next, Dashwood has a long list of potential spots she’s eyeing including Norway. She didn’t mention whether Kaleb Konley will be along for the ride, but as her personal photographer, it wouldn’t be surprising in the slightest if he was.
“I would absolutely love to go to Norway,” she said. “I’ve seen a lot of travel pages and everything I’ve seen is just stunning. There’s beautiful waterfalls, mountains, hikes, and a stunning cliff. I also want to do the coast in Italy. I haven’t really done any of that area, but it looks stunning. My ultimate would be Greece. I would absolutely love to go, but I’m kind of holding off on that one because I want it to be special.”
While Dashwood was away exploring these exciting vacation spots, Deonna Purrazzo was busy climbing the ranks in IMPACT’s Knockouts division and vying for the Impact Knockouts Championship. She beat Jordynne Grace for the gold at July’s Slammiversary pay-per-view event.
With both having wrestled for IMPACT, WWE, and Ring of Honor, Dashwood and Purrazzo have plenty in common with each other. Dashwood has taken notice of her recent rise in the Knockouts division and believes that the only reason Purrazzo has been successful has been because of her hiatus.
“Well, I let her have her fun. She obviously got a little big-headed in the process, so she definitely likes to talk herself up and I think we’ve all seen that,” Dashwood said about Purrazzo. “Obviously, she can back it up in the ring too. She’s done well and she’s impressed me, but all the self-love and praise is getting a little much for me, so that’s why I said, ‘I think it’s time I come back now and people a few people in their place.”
Along with Purrazzo, there are a handful of fresh faces Dashwood wants to work with in IMPACT. Claiming the Impact Knockouts Championship as her own is an obvious goal for her, but in order to do that, she may have to pick up a few wins over the rest of IMPACT’s stacked Knockouts division first.
Dashwood mentioned Kylie Rae as someone she’d do battle against eventually, saying, “If I was going to wrestle someone, I would want something new and exciting and something I haven’t done before. Out of all those people, I would say Kylie Rae is someone I’ve never stepped in the ring with and I think it would be quite interesting.”
Her upcoming clash with Grace on IMPACT! Wrestling will give her an opportunity to show the world why she’s among the most skilled women’s wrestlers going today. A win there could even earn her a shot at the title sooner rather than later.
Win or loss, Dashwood is looking forward to ascending to that next level in IMPACT and doing her part to elevate the Knockouts division on the whole. Her travels have gotten her this far, but she assures that the best is yet to come.
“Of course they haven’t [seen everything I’m capable of]. I’m not one of those people that just settled or just complacent,” Dashwood said. “I’m the one who’s constantly growing and reinventing myself and going on to big things. There’s always going to be more to see. I’m always going to be learning more and showing more and that’s all just part of it. I wouldn’t be who I am today if it wasn’t for that drive that I have. Obviously, my background and my experience speaks for itself. I think I’m constantly evolving and there’s going to be a lot more for people to see from myself and IMPACT Wrestling.”
Watch Tenille Dashwood square off with Jordynne Grace this Tuesday night on IMPACT! Wrestling on AXS TV at 8/7c.