Jordynne Grace is excited to see IMPACT’s Knockouts division expand

Impact Wrestling, Jordynne Grace Courtesy: Impact Wrestling
Impact Wrestling, Jordynne Grace Courtesy: Impact Wrestling /

IMPACT’s Knockouts division is arguably stronger now than it’s ever been, and Jordynne Grace is helping lead the charge.

Just when business started to pick up for the women in IMPACT again around 2018/2019, Grace was there to bolster the cause. She’s mixed it up with just about everyone who has come into the company over the last three years and is already one of the promotion’s biggest stars at just 25-years-old.

In early 2020, shortly before the world shut down due to the pandemic, Grace ended Taya Valkyrie’s record-setting reign as Impact Knockouts champion. Although she lost the title later in the year to Deonna Purrazzo, she currently has the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship in her sights, which she hopes to capture along with her debuting partner Rachael Ellering at Sunday’s Rebellion pay-per-view.

Ahead of the event, Grace spoke to Daily DDT about a variety of topics including recently working with Jazz, the growth of the Knockouts division, her biggest inspiration, who she wants to wrestle from AEW, her relationship with social media, and more.

Jordynne Grace discusses working with Jazz and the current state of IMPACT’s Knockouts division

Grace was fresh off feuds with Deonna Purrazzo and Tenille Dashwood in IMPACT when she enlisted the help of former WWE Women’s champion Jazz, who was on the brink of retirement at that point. The two set out to win the Impact Knockouts Tag Team Championship and had several standout matches together, including against each other at Genesis.

Jazz recently announced her official retirement from the ring and is no doubt a future Hall of Famer. Grace has thoroughly enjoyed her experience working with a legend the caliber of Jazz and comes away from their alliance a better all-around performer.

“It’s been an honor,” she said. “She’s an amazing wrestler and she’s been wrestling for so long. I learned a lot from her. I learned to slow down and to hit a little bit harder, but she’s just an amazing person and an amazing wrestler. I didn’t grow up watching Jazz myself, I think that was a little bit before my time and before I started watching wrestling.

“Obviously, once you start watching wrestling, you go back and start studying more stuff and that’s when I discovered Jazz,” she continued. “Ever since I was little and I watched her when I was younger, she was one of the first black women I had seen on WWE TV, so I thought that was so cool. She looked incredible back then. I think she looks amazing now, but back then, she was all muscled-up and looked like she could really kick your ass. I just think she’s a really awesome person.”

It’s been said that IMPACT’s Knockouts division is among the best places anywhere in the world today when it comes to women’s wrestling. Grace not only agrees with that sentiment but is looking forward to who else will be brought in as the roster continues to grow.

“I hope IMPACT is going to be expanding our roster even more,” she said. “That means they’re going to have more girls and more opportunities to partner up with people and more opportunities to get the tag team titles going.”

Jordynne Grace reveals her biggest inspiration and the origin of the Thicc Mama Pump nickname

Growing up watching wrestling, several stars stood out to Grace, but Beth Phoenix was the one person that inspired her to break into the business herself.

“Beth Phoenix was one of the first girls I saw that I was like, ‘I feel like that is an attainable body style for me,'” she said. “I’ve been modeling myself after here every since. She does everything with power and with such grace and poise and I’ve been in love with her all these years. A few years ago, I was training for a power-lifting competition and she liked one of my tweets on Twitter and then followed me. I remember just totally geeking out. That was like the coolest moment ever.”

Those who have followed Grace’s career closely over the years are likely aware of her fandom for Scott Steiner. She’s been using a variation of one of his famous monikers for a while now, though she has never openly discussed her connection to his character with him in person. That’s despite teaming up with him a time or two.

“You know, everything seems to start on Twitter in my world for some reason,” she joked. “A long time ago, maybe 2016 or 2017, I put up a poll, and it was kind of a joke, but it said, ‘What should my new moniker be?’ One of the monikers on there was Thicc Mama Pump. It got an overwhelmingly positive response, so I stated calling myself that. I really thought it was a joke at first, but it’s stuck with me all these years [laughs].”

Steiner wasn’t the only wrestler she was star-struck by upon meeting. She was a big enough fan of Madison Rayne while getting into wrestling that she modeled an online character after her, something she told the self-proclaimed Queen Bee of the Knockouts Division years later.

“I think it’s insane I get to work with Scott Steiner,” Grace admitted. “That was the coolest thing ever. It was me, Petey [Williams] and Scott Steiner. We did like a Triple Threat match on one of the Impact Plus specials. I thought that was so badass.

“Another is Madison Rayne,” she continued. “I don’t know if you know this or not, but back in the day, I used to e-fed, which is like an online wrestling role-play thing. My character that I used to role-play as was Madison Rayne. When I got to IMPACT, I was like, ‘This is so funny. I never thought this would happen.’ When I showed her, she thought it was obviously super weird. She had no idea what e-fedding was.”

Jordynne Grace discusses who she wants to see in IMPACT, who she wants to wrestle from AEW, and her favorite match in recent memory

Per Fightful Select (h/t Cultaholic’s Aidan Gibbons), IMPACT will be adding “several new women” to its roster in the coming weeks and months. It’s already been announced that former Knockouts champ Taylor Wilde is on her way back, and Rachael Ellering made her debut on Thursday’s episode.

Grace has gone on the record several times in saying that she’d love nothing more than to see women’s wrestling legend LuFisto in the Knockouts division eventually.

“I think LuFisto would be incredible for IMPACT,” she said. “I mean, she’s been wrestling forever and I really think she deserves it by this point. She’s an amazing wrestler and I don’t think she’s ever gotten her due. I feel like they’re going to bring LuFisto in whenever I leave and I’ll be like, ‘Wow, really? Y’all couldn’t have brought her in when I was there? Thanks.'”

She also had a short and simple answer for who she’d like to wrestle from AEW if the partnership between the two companies ever allows the women to wage war at some point: “Legit” Leyla Hirsch.

“I would definitely love to wrestle Leyla Hirsch,” she said. “I feel like we have very similar styles.”

Thicc Mama Pump has had her fair share of memorable matches since arriving in IMPACT, most notably with Taya Valkyrie and Tenille Dashwood. However, her championship clash with Deonna Purrazzo from last year’s Slammiversary event is the one she holds in the highest regard.

“In recent memory, during this COVID time, I think I had a great match with Deonna at our Slammiversary pay-per-view last year,” she said. “That was the first time I wrestled with no fans on a live pay-per-view ever, so it was very nerve-wracking, but I think we killed it and that’s been one of my favorite matches at IMPACT ever since.”

The Iron Man rematch that took place on an episode of IMPACT! Wrestling soon after was also excellent, but Grace noted that the fact it was taped hindered her excitement about it ever so slightly. Getting the immediate feedback and sense of satisfaction from the Slammiversary encounter puts it at the top of her list.

“That pay-per-view match [was my favorite], because it was live, it was so cool to come back to the locker room and have my phone be almost dead because everyone’s talking about it,” she added.

Jordynne Graces breaks down the pros and cons of social media in wrestling today

Over the course of her career, Grace has had an interesting relationship with social media to say the least, and in 2018, she wrote an entire book about direct messages she’s received on her various accounts. Some need to be seen to be believed, but the positives tend to outweigh the negatives for her.

“I think it’s cool… it’s a pro and a con that wrestlers can interact with fans because they’re on here sometimes saying some crazy stuff,” she said. “But it really balances itself out. I think it’s really cool that the fans get to interact with the wrestlers and wrestlers get to interact back, but at the same time, it diminishes that aura of mystery we have.”

She proceeded to read off a message she received from a fan who was inspired by a body positivity photo Grace posted earlier that day. That’s the sort of stuff that resonates with her and ensures her that staying on social media is well worth it, even when other messages may indicate otherwise.

The former Knockouts champ believes you can never fully figure out social media, but by this point, she pretty much knows what to expect. Still, she’s shocked when people post outrageous things and send them her way.

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“When you’re posting stuff on social media, you have to know what kind of reaction it’s going to garner,” she said. “It’s very difficult to navigate sometimes and the best thing to do sometimes is to stay completely silent. Timothy Thatcher is obviously an incredible wrestler and he’s one of the only people I know that’s never had social media. And guess what? There have been no rumors about him, he just lives his life and lives his dream and that’s it. I wish I could be like that.”

Catch Grace in action at IMPACT Rebellion on Sunday, April 25th live on pay-per-view.