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Top Impact Wrestling star Steve Maclin has hit out at Twitter trolls who attack his wife and fellow wrestler Deonna Purazzo.
Maclin was speaking exclusively to the Daily Star ahead of the biggest match of his career, as he battles Kushida for the vacant Impact World Championship at Rebellion on Sunday (April 16) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Earlier this year, Maclin's wife Deonna spoke to us and hit back at trolls who had been fat shaming her in recent years on social media.
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At the time, she said: “They don't want to be told to shut up, and they don't want to be told like 'I don't give a f**k you have to say', because then when you do say that, then it's like the vast majority then message you and are like 'I'm so sorry, I was just playing around'.”
And now husband Steve Maclin, 35, has defended Deonna – a former multi-time Knockout's Champion.
He said: “I tried to tell her I was like, it's just Twitter. Twitter is not real.
“I go on to Twitter, and I use it as a tool to promote, I try to connect with fans, whether it's sharing photos from independent shows, or stuff with Impact Wrestling – I just promote.
“And that's what it is, is a tool for me, and I tried to tell her that and now it's hard to tell her as well, like these people just try to dig at you just because it's something they have to do.
“There's bullies out there – if we don't acknowledge them, and we leave them alone, they're not going to bother with us, but she also likes to clap back, which makes me laugh because she's very smart witted and very quick with the tongue of just being able to get back at somebody which I love.
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“The best thing to do is ignore it because you just you prove everybody wrong by the hard work that we put in, and if they want to still sit there and s**t on us for whatever it is, body shape, or how we did a certain move or something didn't go well on the ring or they don't like a storyline then screw it – that's where you just change the channel if you don't like something.”
Maclin has become one of the fastest rising stars in Impact Wrestling in recent years.
He joined the company in 2021 after being released from WWE.
He was part of the short-lived group The Forgotten Sons, which turned into the Knights of the Lone Wolf.
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That group lasted around two months, before Maclin was released from his WWE contract after seven years with the company.
It didn't take him long to find a new home, as he joined Impact just four months later.
In the proceeding 18 months, he impressed so much that he was ranked number 268 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's top 500 wrestlers of 2022, and will now battle for the vacant World Championship.
Record-breaking champion Josh Alexander was forced to relinquish the belt after 355 days due to injury.
Maclin said: “I wanted to beat the longest reigning impact world champion in history in his home town, which I chose to have that moment.
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“Maybe down the line, we'll have that when he is back once I am the world champion, and hopefully, I can hold on to that for when he is healthy.
“I've been pretty good throughout my career at adapting to situations, and this is a big opportunity for me.
“This is also a big opportunity for Kushida as well.
“Everybody keeps saying it's the biggest match of my career – it's also the biggest match of his career, because it is for the Impact world title, and he's never had a shot at the that.
Impact has struggled to find a home on UK television in recent years.
However, it signed a deal with streaming service DAZN this year, which has now – as of earlier this month – found a home on Sky channel 429 in the UK and Ireland.
And that, Steve feels, is a huge boost to the roster.
“Impact's locker room from top to bottom is just so hard working,” he said.
“Everybody's an underdog – it's people that like me who haven't been given an opportunity elsewhere, come down and they get to shine.
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“People that bust their ass on the independent scene and then they finally get a moment on TV to show the world who they are, and people get to latch on to their stories.
“And that's the one good thing Impact Wrestling does is it allows people to tell their stories to get their character out there and allow Impact to just be the best wrestling show out there.
“We are the best wrestling show from top to bottom – if you tune in every week, it's just anything and everything you want from a pro wrestling show.”
And, as has become customary with Impact Wrestling, a new UK tour is being rumoured once again.
The company hasn't actually been on tour in this country for nearly a decade.
And this is something Steve is determined to change.
He added: “I cannot wait to come over there, so much.
“I've been before, and the energy from the fans was different – I want to go there and feel that again.”
Watch Steve Maclin battle Kushida at Impact Wrestling's Rebellion on Fite.TV.
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