Impact Wrestling will hold its anticipated Under Siege pay-per-view tonight on Impact Plus, and amongst the stellar card is the first title defense for Knockout Tag Team Champions Jordynne Grace and Rachael Ellering, who defeated Fire N Flava at Rebellion to take the titles. Ellering has hit Impact like lightning, making her debut and immediately making a difference as she joined up with Grace, and now they're Tag Team Champs. Ahead of their big match ComicBook.com had the chance to speak to Ellering all about her journey to Impact and Championship gold, what led to her teaming up with Grace, what inspired her Queen of Strong Smile title, and even some Marvel, so let's get started!
One of Ellering's first promos for Impact revealed how she felt a bit out of sight out of mind during her time away from the ring, but when she was ready to return to that spotlight she did so in a big way, so I wanted to know how it felt making such a, pardon the pun, major Impact right off the jump.
"Yeah, I did, and I kind of stand by that, but that was my choice, right? The last year with the pandemic and stuff, I just thought for the health of myself and my family, it was best to stay home. And the timing was just perfect to come back and Impact was the perfect place to come back to," Ellering said. "And so it has been a whirlwind of a last week or two, but it's been absolutely incredible."
"And to answer your first question, how did it feel, it was kind of a 50/50 half relief just to be back and do well and be with someone as great as Jordynne, that was a relief. And then the other half is just kind of determination," Ellering said. "I just feel very determined right now to... Impact's given me the ball, told me to run with it and show what I can do, and I could not be more thrilled for that opportunity. And so I just feel very determined to show everybody the best version of myself. Like I said in that promo that you mentioned, show everyone the best version of me and the best me in every way, promos, in the ring, all of it. So I'm very excited about it."
As for partnering with Grace, it wasn't something she envisioned when she came to Impact, but clearly, it's worked out quite well for both stars to say the least, and it gave Ellering a chance to work with Jazz.
"Yeah, so I didn't initially envision myself in a team, but I, when I heard about the story and whatnot, man, I have so much respect for Jazz. I mean, just an infinite amount," Ellering said. "I originally met her, and I was a baby. I was like a year, a year and a half into my career. And she was so, so nice to me, and she did not have to be, and that has stuck with me ever since. And so I have a lot of love and respect for her, and when I found out she would be involved, how the heck do you say no to that, right? It's Jazz."
"And then in regards to teaming with Jordynne, I absolutely loved the idea because I love her, and my love and respect for her goes back to the first time I wrestled her and got to experience that, right? She could match my strength and my power, and she's deceptively agile and athletic in there, but then also intellectually, she's extremely wrestling smart and business smart, and I have had a lot of respect and admiration for her since that first time that I met with her in a ring," Ellering said. "We just kind of are a perfect pair at the moment, which I'm excited to move forward with and grow together."
Ellering and Grace will be defending their titles at Under Siege, which will also reveal the next chapter of the ongoing story and crossover between Impact Wrestling and AEW. So, would Ellering be up for defending those titles against some AEW Tag Teams as well?
"Absolutely, 100% yes. And I will say that for Jordynne and myself. We both are competitors. We love competition. I love going toe to toe with the best people all around the world to see how you stack up, right? Kind of how I feel about my singles match against Kiera Hogan, she's one of the best girls in the division. I want to see... because it's my first singles match in a hot minute, let me see how I stack up, right? And so I think that would be the case with Jordynne and I facing off with anybody in AEW, really. Any of us girls from Impact I think will give you that same answer, that we welcome the competition, we want that. We thrive off of that, and so that would definitely, definitely be something that we'd be interested in," Ellering said.
Ellering is also known as the Queen of Strong Smile, which yes, is an absolutely amazing title, so we wanted to know what led to the name sticking.
"Oh, thank you. That is one of my favorite things. I truly love that so, so much. So that came about, oh, maybe six months to a year into my career," Ellering said. "I was hanging out with my boyfriend, Chris, and Queen... or King of strong style was obviously a coined phrase and very, very well known. And then everybody kind of always says I have a great smile, and I am always... mostly always smiling. And it's a big trait of mine, I'm quite happy, which I like. And so it just kind of naturally came about and we joked about it for a little bit. And then I got... yeah, that actually is really, really good. And it's just stuck ever since, which I'm so glad it has because I just adore it. I think it fits me very well. And it's just a fun little play on a previously used phrase."
When Ellering isn't throwing down in the ring, she's catching the latest release from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which includes the recent Disney+ shows. She was especially taken with WandaVision, and it doesn't hurt that Scarlet Witch is her favorite superhero ever.
"Oh my gosh, Matt, you're just going right for my heart. Love is like an understatement. I love, love, love, love, love WandaVision. So the thing that resonated the most with me about WandaVision, it initially took me a couple of episodes to get into it, but I just thought the acting was exceptional. But the biggest thing, Wanda Maximoff, who is my favorite superhero," Ellering revealed.
"I absolutely love her, and it's kind of an unconventional answer because most people will choose... 'Oh, I like Thor, I like Iron Man.' And everybody's great, but Wanda is my absolute favorite because Wanda... and this is why I loved WandaVision, Wanda has gone through so much bad stuff, right? She loses her parents, she loses her brother. She's lost Vision, how many times now? And she is still the strongest one. She's still the baddest b****. And that really connects with me because I feel like I have gone through a whole lot of stuff in the last couple of years, and definitely not all great. But still, I stand here and I feel stronger than I ever have. I feel like the best version of myself right now, having gone through all of that stuff, and that's Wanda, right? I'm Wanda. I want to be Wanda," Ellering said. "So I adored that show. I just... it was so different than any other show I had watched. I, over this whole pandemic time, my boyfriend Chris and I, we've watched... he'd seen them all but I had not, we've watched all the Marvel movies in order, and I've just fallen in love with it. I can see why people are so obsessed with it, because I am now getting to that point as well."
"So just unbelievably enjoyable. And the big reveals, and I just thought it was so well done and I can't recommend it enough for people who haven't seen it. I know most people have, just like Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which we finished watching as well," Ellering said. "But if you haven't for some reason watched WandaVision, please, please watch it. And then please send me a tweet or something about how much you loved it, because it'll just make my day, it'll make my day. In terms of what I'm looking forward to, I know they're promoting it hard right now, but I'm very excited to see the Loki series that they're coming out with. I think that'll be a good combo of some comedy bits thrown in there. I'm eager to see what happens with that, and then if they want to make 10 more seasons of WandaVision, I'm so here for it."
You can watch Ellering and Grace take on Fire N Flava on Impact Wrestling's Under Siege event, which will be available to stream at 8 PM EST on Impact Plus.
You can catch all of our coverage of Under Siege right here on ComicBook.com, and you can always talk all things wrestling with me on Twitter @MattAguilarCB!0comments