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After WWE, Tenille Dashwood says Cody model is ‘exactly’ what she wants in ROH, beyond

Tenille Dashwood is in the semifinals of the ROH Women of Honor title tournament Saturday at Supercard of Honor.

NEW ORLEANS — Cody Rhodes is something of a prototype of what wrestlers can do for their careers post WWE. Rhodes has taken his game — and fame — to a new level since departing the promotion, most notably in Ring of Honor.

And Tenille Dashwood has already picked her friend’s brain about her current situation.

“Cody is very passionate about what he does and he’s very smart,” Dashwood told Cageside Seats. “I actually talk to him all the time, he’s a good friend of mine. We actually talked recently about me being in Ring of Honor and basically I think he’s done a great job of going out on his own and doing things his way. That’s exactly what I want to do as well. To still keep that name and keep in the spotlight and continue my regular bookings moving forward.”

Dashwood has certainly done that. Six months after being released from WWE, she has a major opportunity this weekend. Dashwood is in the semifinals of ROH’s Women of Honor championship tournament against Sumie Sakai at Supercard of Honor on Saturday at UNO Lakefront Arena. That will air on the event’s pre-show, streaming at 7:30 p.m. ET on Facebook Live.

If she wins, Dashwood will wrestle for ROH’s first Women of Honor title on the Supercard of Honor main card, which begins at 8:30 p.m. ET on ROH’s Honor Club digital service. Kelly Klein takes on Stardom’s Mayu Iwatani in the other semifinal.

“Ring of Honor creating this women’s championship is an opportunity for all of us to show just how amazing women’s wrestling is,” said Dashwood, who went by the name “Emma” in WWE. “It’s a platform for us and I’m obviously excited going into this weekend.”

Dashwood, 29, has two victories already in the tournament and it’s clear ROH thinks highly of her. Many were surprised when she was released by WWE back in October after six years with the company.

“She is a star,” ROH COO Joe Koff told Cageside Seats. “She’s a star for us and I think she’s a star wherever she wrestles. She’s got that certain factor that you can see. We can gauge a lot by autographs and we can gauge a lot by crowd reaction and we can gauge a lot by her presence. She is definitely a star.”

One of the best things about ROH, Dashwood said, is its commitment to the in-ring product. WWE and Ring of Honor are just different formats, she said. All along, Dashwood said she has thought of herself as a wrestler, going back to her days working indie shows in her native Australia and training with Lance Storm in Canada.

“WWE is a huge product on TV,” said Dashwood (@tenilledashwood on Twitter and Instagram). “It’s all based around that, whereas Ring of Honor is a lot more focused on the actual wrestling. The skills of the wrestlers.”

And wrestling is exactly what Dashwood has been doing since leaving WWE. In addition to ROH, Dashwood has been working the indie circuit and has plans for an overseas tour coming up, including stops in the United Kingdom, Germany, New Zealand, Australia and potentially Japan. That’s not including all the dates she is booked in the U.S. and Canada.

“I’m wrestling more than I have in years,” Dashwood said. “That’s actually because I’m in control now and it’s up to me. So I’m able to say, ‘Yeah, book me on all these shows.’ I’m working with a booking agent and that’s exactly what has happened. The demand is there and all these e-mails came flooding in as soon as I was available to work. I’ve basically committed to wanting to wrestle and wanting to travel and to meet my fans and do things I haven’t done yet.

“Now, I can dictate my own schedule. So, I’m working every weekend, every show there is possible, as far ahead as we can see. Obviously, you can only dictate so much when a storyline is written for you or a spot on TV is written for you.”

Rhodes has reached new heights from a character and financial standpoint since leaving WWE and wrestling in ROH, New Japan and on the indie circuit. His work with the Bullet Club has been critically acclaimed and his match with Kenny Omega is the headliner for Saturday’s Supercard of Honor for a reason.

Rhodes is also an example for the substantial fan interest in wrestling outside of WWE. And Dashwood said she’s already been witness to that — with it extending to women’s wrestling.

“I was very pleasantly surprised,” she said. “When I left and saw what was out there, it’s been amazing. The companies that I’m working for every weekend, they’re putting women in the main event. That’s really special for me to be put in that position. And to be able to showcase women’s wrestling on the main event of the show. That’s awesome. Women’s wrestling is very popular right now. And everyone is going with that trend and that’s why these companies are picking up their game and taking advantage of that, too.”

There are things Dashwood wishes would have went differently in WWE. She didn’t get a chance to win a WWE title and that’s a box she’s always wanted to check. Dashwood isn’t sure what will happen in the future, but this is the kind of weekend coming up that could shape it.

“I love wrestling, so I’m never gonna be able snap out of it,” she said of WWE. “I still follow all of it, I still watch and they’re still friends of mine. There’s definitely things I watch and go, ‘I’d love to do that, I’d love to wrestle Bayley in WWE in a storyline. Or Sasha.’ There’s things like that. That’s always gonna be there, but you never know down the line what can happen. I’m just enjoying doing what I’m doing now and being in control and taking advantages of the opportunities such as the Women of Honor Championship tournament.”

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