When Tenille Dashwood (formerly known as Emma) was released by the WWE in October 2017, she felt she still had something to prove. The Australian wrestler had transformed herself from having a goofy dancing gimmick to being one of the most popular heels on the women's roster, and she knew she could do so much more in the ring if given the opportunity. That personal drive led her to sign with Ring of Honor.
"I think what Ring of Honor is known for really spoke to me," Dashwood said in an interview with ComicBook.com on Friday. "The fans, I absolutely love the amount of wrestling and the passion that they see. And, you know, it's less about the huge speaking roles and more about showing what you have to offer inside the ring. And for me, that's something that I had felt like I hadn't been able to do for a number of years. To be able to do what I love and to wrestle and to have those opportunities to show that to the world. So Ring of Honor was the place for me to do that."
Dashwood first appeared at ROH's Honor Reigns Supreme event in February as the final entrant in the company's 16-woman tournament to crown the inaugural Women of Honor Champion. She made it to the semi-finals before losing to Sumie Sakai, who went on to win the title.
She said joining the ROH roster along with touring the world for various independent promotions has helped her grow in leaps and bounds in the past few months.
"Outside of Ring of Honor, I've also been working independent shows throughout the world, and lots of people I've never wrestled before and it's almost a different opponent every match," Dashwood said. "So, it's forcing me to bring out things in me that I haven't seen before or that fans haven't seen me do before, find different counters for moves that I've never been put in before, holds I've never been put in before, and so it's just a whole new thing for me. It's almost exciting in that sense, but it's pushing me to better myself and to learn more. I think that there's obviously so much more I can learn and can continue in that sense as well."
"I feel alive, that there's so much more I can do," she added.
On Friday Dashwood gets her first shot at the WOH Championship when she takes on Sakai at Death Before Dishonor in Las Vegas. But since her six-month contract with the promotion expires that same day, it may be her only shot.
"(My contract is) actually up the night of my championship match," Dashwood said. "So I guess that puts a lot of stress on me and pressure to win that championship because who knows what's going to happen if I don't."
Dashwood said winning the title would mean a great deal to her given she's never held a title in any major company.
"It just would be a huge accomplishment, and a huge moment in my career to add that to my list of achievements," she said. "I'm really excited for this match and, you know, hoping things turn out the way I want them to and expect them to."
ROH Death Before Dishonor airs LIVE from the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas on Friday, September 28, 2018 at 9 p.m. EDT on traditional cable and satellite Pay-Per-View providers, and streaming free for HonorClub VIP, 50% off for HonorClub Standard members, and through FITE TV.