Jordynne Grace is a phenomenon. The 26-year-old from Austin, TX (real name Patricia Parker) has become a dual-sport superstar, winning titles in both professional wrestling and powerlifting. As one of the most well-known stars currently appearing on IMPACT! "Thick Mama Pump" aired on AXS TV and sat down with Muscle & Fitness to talk about her grappling origins, her love of weightlifting and this historic championship challenge coming up at the 20th annual pay-per-view Slammiversary.
"Growing up, I was really attracted to strong wrestlers, so Beth Phoenix was my number one," says Grace, who was a huge WWE fan and grew up watching wrestling on television. High-performing wrestlers like Chyna and Beth Phoenix helped break the mold and bring a much-needed breath of fresh air to the cover girl look that was prevalent during WWE's Attitude era in the late '90s and early 2000s.
Jordynne Grace knows strong girls rule
"I think (I liked the stronger girls best) because they were so different from what WWE mostly had back then. They had the diva search, which was people who were models who were basically out to model, and [had] never fought at all. I grew up with that. It's great to see these types of women (like Phoenix and Chyna). We should value diversity in terms of race, size and nationality. I think it's important for kids to see that because they can identify with it."
Grace began lifting weights at just 12 years old, knowing that muscle would be necessary if she were to pursue her dream of becoming a professional wrestler. "That was my attitude," she recalls. "For me, the first step into wrestling was to lift weights and get strong." By the time Grace was 14, she had already signed up for amateur and professional wrestling training sessions. "I would use what I learned in amateur wrestling to improve as an amateur [pro] wrestlers,” she says. The now multiple winner remembers stepping into the ring for the very first time just felt right. "I've watched a kid wrestle so much that when I finally got there it felt like second nature." Her debut was set to come in 2011.
Pro wrestling has evolved since WWE's Attitude Era and unlike those old Diva Search days when women were often taught a less aggressive style to present a sexy image to the audience, girls are now learning the basics alongside the boys. “There was no difference in education where I came from,” says Grace. In fact, as a professional wrestler, "Thick Mama Pump" has earned a reputation for being as tough as anyone in the locker room, even taking on the boys in countless intergender matches across the United States. This 5'3" Dynamo has become a social media sensation and one of the most famous wrestlers on the circuit not to have signed a WWE contract. Jordynne Grace doesn't fit into sexist ideas of what a wrestler should look like and her fans are passionate about her for it. With her broad physique and popping quads, this warrior could outperform and surpass most men.
Grace has already achieved many milestones and was the first woman to compete in AEW's "Over Budget Battle Royale" and almost won, eliminating Brian Cage in the process. "That was a really, really big moment for me," she recalls. And. shortly after catching everyone's attention that night, IMPACT! Wrestling announced that it had signed Grace to a two-year contract. A HIT! is the former home of many of today's WWE Superstars, including Drew McIntyre, AJ Styles, Bobby Roode and Xavier Woods. Many critics feel the success of IMPACT! is a good sign that you can make it anywhere. In 2018, Grace won her first knockouts championship. Since then, she has been one of the company's most decorated stars. She says she wants nothing more than to win that title back and she will be given an opportunity at Slammiversary.
Courtesy of Jordynne Grace
Jordynne Grace knows that success takes hard work
"I usually try to go to the gym every day," she says. "If it's not an intense day, I try to do some sort of mobility training, but I try to walk at least once a day. Lately I've been doing twice a day because I really hate doing cardio. I'm sure a lot of people can relate to that, so I'm trying to break it up into a different time of day."
To maintain her flexibility in the ring and to recover from strenuous lifting sets, Grace has also taken up yoga. "It's very difficult to lift heavy weights alongside professional wrestling, so I started doing yoga just because competing in powerlifting wrestling for the last year or so was just crazy. With yoga, I'm trying to get my body feeling better again.” And it's not just the physicality that makes lifting and wrestling difficult to juggle. Our girl has been known to leave the ring after a live event and head straight for a four-hour drive to do the weigh-in at powerlifting competitions at 6am.
So does Grace have a thing for wrestling or powerlifting? “Hard to say because they both mean completely different things to me. Professional wrestling pays and I've been doing it for ages and I love it, but powerlifting is different. There's no if, and, or but, you can either lift the weight or you can't, so I feel a different kind of fulfillment when I'm able to perform in a competition.” And where Speaking of doing "something" in a competition, Grace broke three state and national records in the 165-pound weight class in a World Natural Powerlifting Federation (WNPF) competition last year in Georgia. Incredibly, she squatted 320 pounds (150 kilograms), benched 210 pounds (95 kilograms) and deadlifted 355 pounds (161 kilograms). Then in February at an unsanctioned powerlifting meeting, Grace showed further progress by smashing all those numbers and hitting 1,065 pounds (483 kilograms) total.
Balancing wrestling and lifting continues to present challenges, but Graces takes it all with good...well...Grace! Recently, the grappler had to briefly drop heavy weights after suffering back pain from a bad landing in a match. So she switched to powerbuilding training instead while she recovers. "It's like a program that's a little bit between powerlifting and bodybuilding," says Grace. "It's not really a full-fledged, 100 percent powerlifting exercise." Powerbuilding is a great way to work on building muscle and gaining strength at the same time.
Jordynne Grace hopes to be Queen of the Mountain
As EFFECT! is celebrating its 20th pay-per-view Slammiversary on June 19th, available on FITE.TV, and "Thick Mama Pump" hopes to do her best to crush 4 other opponents in their quest for the Knockouts title in one "Queen of the Mountain" match. While Grace has already achieved so much, there are still many dream matches to look forward to, so who does she have her eye on? "Dakota Kai would be great for wrestling," says Grace. "And I think Rhea Ripley. It's a dream match that a lot of people have chosen and it's one of mine too.” The powerhouse is also excited about the opportunity to reunite with Athena, who last wrestled her around 10 years ago. But right now, there's nothing more important than winning that shiny Knockouts title. "Slammiversary is going to be great," beams Grace, excited at the prospect of being victorious on the historic show.
Jordynne Grace is not only an inspiration when it comes to her athleticism, but she is also a shining light for other people who may feel that they don't fit a certain shape. With a massive following on social media, Grace has to deal with negative comments like many of us, but the star says she's learning that paying attention to trolls means giving them exactly what they're looking for. "One of the most important things to understand is that loving your body is really a process, it's an everyday thing," says Grace. "Look at your body as a whole, as opposed to 'I hate how fat my thighs are' or 'I hate my stomach' and stuff like that. Be aware of all the things your body is doing for you on a daily basis and once you realize loving yourself becomes ten times easier.”
Courtesy of Jordynne Grace
Jordynne Grace's 3 Day Total Body Powerlifting Workout Routine
Day 1 (chest/triceps)
- bench press: 4×5
- Incline Press: 5×8
- Flat Bench Squeeze Press: 4×15
- Tricep Pushdown: 5×8
- Barbell Skull Crusher: 4×15
- Triceps push-ups: 1x AMRAP
Day 2 (quad bikes)
- Squat: 4×5
- Bulgarian squat: 4×10 (each side)
- Walking lunge: 4×20
- Weighted Squat Jump: 4×15
- Leg extension: 4×20
Day 3 (Shoulders)
- military press: 4×5
- Lat Lifts: 5×20
- Arnold Press: 4×15
- Front raise on cable: 4×15
- Wide Grip Upright Row: 4×15
- Dolphin push-ups: 3×12