Ash by Elegance thinks WWE didn’t believe in her, says TJ Wilson was supportive; recalls being booked for NXT No Mercy

The former Dana Brooke opens up. 

This past September, Dana Brooke’s time with WWE came to an end when she was released from the company after 10 years. Brooke had never competed outside of WWE. 

Her first post-WWE venture is going to be with TNA Wrestling. She debuted at their Hard To Kill pay-per-view under the name ‘Ash by Elegance’. She opened up about her debut while chatting with David LaGreca and Bully Ray on Busted Open Radio

It honestly was such an amazing feeling (to debut for TNA at Hard To Kill) because being in Vegas, being at TNA Wrestling Hard To Kill, walking out in front of an amazing, amazing arena with watching the Knockouts division title match with Jordynne (Grace) and Trinity, it was such a great, great feeling to make my presence be known at such an amazing, amazing event.

Speaking about her new ring name, she said the following: 

So ‘Ash by Elegance’ is a different side of me, but I try and live my life every single day as being super elegant. Elegant is a word but I feel like it has a variety and many multiple meanings of it. It’s classiness, it’s elegance, it’s beautiful. It just means so much that I’m definitely gonna bring that element into the ring and show everyone what class and elegance truly means.

The conversation then turned over to her time in WWE. She expressed her feeling that the company did not believe in her. She mentioned that T.J. Wilson was supportive and he advocated for her. 

She said she became content with being on the losing end of matches because she was optimistic that her time would come. Ash recounted pitching the idea of hanging from the Money in the Bank briefcase in the 2019 installment of the match and falling down onto her opponents. She was told the idea was too dangerous. 

I honestly think they (WWE) didn’t believe in me. You know, producers, T.J. (Wilson) was a very big advocate for me and he would always be like, ‘Dana can do it, Dana can do it, Dana can do it’ and it just — it wasn’t happening and I wasn’t that girl. I wasn’t the girl that they were trying to push to that next level. (I) was the one that I was always given to take the pin fall and I was okay with it, thinking in my mind, there’s gonna be a shot. There’s gonna be that next time and there just never was that next time. I fought so hard, I’ll never forget this and I think it was 2018 or ‘19 in the Money in the Bank match where I wanted to hang from the briefcase and swing from it and fall and a pile of girls catch me and they’re like, ‘No, no, no. That’s a little too dangerous.’ I’m like, ‘Do you not know I was in gymnastics for 18 years? And the bar was this high. I would do double backflips and layoffs out from underneath the bars. I promise you, I’m okay. Just let me do it’ and it would be a wow factor and I just don’t think that they had the confidence in me.

When she got the call about her release, she did not let herself sit around and feel bad about it. She knew she wanted to continue wrestling and felt TNA would be the perfect landing spot. 

Ash thinks TNA is going to allow her to bring the version out of herself that she knows exists. She feels there was a certain perception of her as a wrestler in WWE.

When anybody gets released from a company that they have been with for quite some time, it’s like a bomb hit them but I’m a person that — I’m a go-getter, I’m a hustler and I didn’t sit there and be like, oh my God, this is over with. I was like, ‘Okay, what’s next? What is next for me? And how do I go out there? And how do I go and get it?’ And I knew that I didn’t wanna stop wrestling. I wanted to keep going and I knew that this was as one door closes, another opens and I truly believe that TNA is the perfect fit for me and going forward, when I am watching TNA Wrestling, I believe that the Knockouts division is a group of such badass wrestling. I mean it is hardcore wrestling and so many people within WWE for the past 10 years, social media can be a great thing but it can also be a very negative thing and people are all like, ‘Oh my God, she’s just another pretty face. She’s the model type. She’s the blonde in WWE.’ It’s like, no, I truly know what I am capable of doing and TNA is going to let me show that side of myself and the potential that I have, I’m going to bring to the Knockouts division. I promise you that.

Prior to her release, Ash had been a part of the NXT brand. She stated that she was going to be part of NXT No Mercy

With her departure, she now feels that a weight has been lifted off her shoulders. She feels she was in a controlled environment and could not explore the freedom she now has. After the release, Ash spoke to Gail Kim and Tommy Dreamer and they made her feel TNA is the place to be. 

The moment I got the call (that I was being released was when the feeling of freedom hit me). I’m not going to lie to you. It was the moment I got the phone call and I will never forget, it was Thursday that I received the phone call and previously, I’d say that Monday or Tuesday, I had gotten a call that I was going to be booked for a pay-per-view for NXT. So when I had got that phone call, it was a bit of confusion at first. I’m like, ‘Wait a second, I was just told I’m working Sunday.’ But you know what? It’s fine, because I felt a sigh of relief and freedom. I can’t describe this feeling of a weight lifted off of my shoulders of like, wow, I can control my own destiny and that was something that I was battling with for quite some time because I felt as though, man, in my entire life, ever since I was a little girl, I was controlling my destiny. If I wanted to take gymnastics at that next level, I did. Fitness and bodybuilding, if you don’t bust your butt, you’re not gonna get the results that you want and I was grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding and and then I got to a point within WWE which is an amazing, amazing platform to inspire and touch millions of people around the world, but you’re like this, you’re controlled and you can not explore freedom and that’s something that I was yearning for. I wanted that control of I control my own destiny. I wanna get out there and I want to empower women on my own and not be told, ‘Hey, you’re booked to go here this weekend. You have a dot on your calendar. You have to go here, you have to do this. This is what you’re doing on TV, this is what you’re doing on this appearance. You’re needed at NXT’ and I got comfortable and I feel as though that was (the) scary thing coming out of all of this was, man, okay, this is really happening and I need to go and get it and it was a blessing in disguise because my parents, I’m very close to my family and they’re like, ‘Ash, you’re gonna make it. Do not think that WWE defines you as a person because it doesn’t. You define yourself’ and that really touched me and from that moment that I got the call, I felt freedom and you best believe it, after I got off the phone, I started getting on it and hustling to see where was the best fit for me because I knew it was not the time to hang up my boots and WWE was not going to be the one to tell me when I’m stopping my career. So TNA was the perfect fit, it was everything that I was looking for. Talking with Tommy Dreamer and Gail Kim was the best and they made me feel like this is the place to be. This is where I can explore freedom and opportunity all in one.

Although she was moved back to the NXT brand for the backend of her WWE run, she still felt that her time in WWE was coming to an end. 

I’m gonna be honest with you and I’ve never said this before, ever and it’s hard for me to come out here and say it. I felt like it was coming. I really, truly felt like my time was towards the end and I went down to NXT and I was trying to rebrand myself and you know, Scotty was in my corner and he was shocked when he received the news too because I went down to NXT to rebrand myself but also help the new generation and the new group of women that were coming up and I felt like that was my place to help these women and help them move forward while rebranding myself which I was completely fine doing. But on the flip side of it, I’m like, man, I’ve been here for 10 years, 11 years and I’m never going to feel like I am that girl, like ever. So, I need to start reprogramming my mindset of, what if this happens? And that’s what I started doing is I started thinking to myself, what’s next? What other opportunities are out there? And what a lot of people do not know that I feel that are in WWE is there’s a land of opportunity out there. There’s so much potential and so much that you can do if you just allow yourself to let go and move forward because, you know, I’m a perfect example of it.

Closing out the discussion about her WWE run, Ash stated that she always wanted to do more and did not get the chance to show it. She would put herself out there and verbally express what she wanted to do, but it never came to fruition until she got to NXT the second time around.

I had mentioned before to people in the locker room when I was at TNA, I said, ‘I was never given the opportunity to show my true potential.’ The one match that I did, I really felt like I opened up was one of my last matches was the Kendo Stick match and then the match after that with the champion where I really was able bring out a different side of aggression and passion and things that I felt that I was held back from because I was working 90-second matches and Bubba (Bully Ray), you know just as much as I do, what can you do in that 90 seconds? Besides tell the story that you’re given to tell the story with and I feel TNA is going to let me explore this side of me of who I truly am and I wanna go the limits. I was the girl that when we were putting matches together within WWE that I was like, ‘I wanna do this, I wanna go high-flying, I wanna dive onto a table. I wanna be hit in the back with a chair’ and they were like, ‘No, no, no, let’s settle down. We’ll get there. We’ll build to it, we’ll build to it’ but I was the one, ‘Me, put me in coach. I’ll do this, I’ll do that’ and TNA is the place that I will be able to do it. It’s hardcore and I’m ready for it and that’s exactly what I wanna do.

Ash was present at the TNA Snake Eyes television taping after Hard To Kill. The new episodes of TNA Wrestling on AXS are going to begin rolling out on January 18th. 

Currently scheduled for the broadcast is Josh Alexander versus Will Ospreay, KUSHIDA versus newly crowned TNA World Champion Moose and Tasha Steelz versus Xia Brookside. 

If the quotes in this article are used, please credit Busted Open Radio with an H/T to POST Wrestling for the transcriptions.

About Andrew Thompson 8726 Articles
A Washington D.C. native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.