Posts Tagged ‘Impact Wrestling’

Madison Rayne spoke with CBS Local Sports: Pittsburgh on her talks with WWE, wanting to face Brandi Rhodes, and wanting to take on Alexa Bliss. Here are some of the highlights:

Voting in a recent ROH poll to take on Brandi Rhodes:

“I actually did vote on that! Well, I voted on it because I wanted to see what the result was. Until the poll on Twitter is over you have to select one to see what the percentages are. I think that I voted for Brandi.

“Here’s why: I’ve been in the ring with Sumie, and I’m hopeful to be in the ring with her again in the very near future, because I loved my time working with her in the ring. She’s just such a fun addition to the locker room. She brings that happy energy that I was just talking about. Kelly, I’ve been in the ring with numerous times. Even before my time at Impact, years ago, in the early years of my career, I worked a lot with Kelly. Jenny I’ve actually never had a one-on-one, a singles match with, but I would love to.

“But there’s just something about Brandi. She’s this really hungry, not up-and-comer, because she’s been around the wrestling business for a long time. There’s this star quality about Brandi, and it makes me excited as a fan to watch her grow and evolve and change. As a competitor, she’s somebody that I really want to get in there with and I want to test her, but I also kind of want to test myself against somebody who’s so young and hungry into being in the ring.”

Her dream opponents:

“I’ve made my little dream list. The one that people talk about a lot, probably for varying reasons, would be me and Alexa Bliss. We’re both from Columbus, we’re both small, we both tend to have a bit of attitude when it comes to our in-ring persona. I’ve met her several times, I knew her years ago, when we both competed in fitness competitions. So, I just think that it would be fun for that to come full circle and for us to meet in the ring. I would love, and I hope that not far down the road it comes to fruition. I would also love to get in the ring one-on-one with Tenille [Dashwood]. I’ve not had that opportunity yet, so I’m really looking forward to that.”

How talks went with WWE and why she didn’t sign with them:

“Conversations between WWE and myself were always positive. I always got great feedback on everything I did, from the tryout a year ago to just recently doing Mae Young. This past year has been the first and only time that I’ve ever worked in any capacity with WWE. So, that was really exciting this many years into my career, to finally have been able to do that.

“But it’s about trying to figure out what was going to be best for me and which company I would flourish the best in. I felt that Ring of Honor was my best option, and that is not saying that WWE offered me something and I said no, I just feel like I was always very honest and upfront about the fact that Columbus was my home and Columbus would remain my home. I understand that they have a system that they put their talent through, regardless of whether you’ve never taken one bump, or you’ve been wrestling for many years, and that system starts in Orlando. While wrestling is still very, very important to me, being a mother and being a wife, those two things are greatly more important.

“There was never that definitive conversation, but just given the fact that I knew and I never wanted there to be any gray area in my communication with WWE, and I made it clear that I could and would not be willing to relocate, I think that probably kind of settled the question there as far as whether or not a contract with WWE was going to be in my future.”


At Sunday’s Impact Wrestling Bound For Glory pay-per-view, something rather strange happened in the aftermath of the World Heavyweight Title clash between Austin Aries and Johnny Impact…

…something Vince Russo strange.

After a worked match that masqueraded as a shoot, featuring moves one would never see in a real fight, Impact (the performer, probably not the promotion) secured the victory and the championship with that bar room staple: the Starship Pain. Aries climbed to his feet well before his opponent, leaving the ring almost immediately without selling the effects of the match. He spat at Johnny on his way out before gesturing furiously to Executive Vice President Don Callis.

Less facetiously, the (unique) match itself was very well-worked and well-received, not that that matters. This incident overshadowed everything. Impact, which has quietly removed its stigma as a joke league in 2018, leant heavily into the dreaded TNA shock tactics of old here.

Or did it?

One of three things has happened here:

1) Austin Aries legitimately broke kayfabe in a sensational scene, presumably furious at having been booked to lose.

2) Impact Wrestling, high on the mild buzz driven by the worked shoot programme, has indulged Aries and taken inspiration from, of all things, WCW Bash At The Beach 2000, thus ruining suspension of disbelief.

3) Vince Russo has his hand back on the pencil.

Option three is not without precedent, incredibly enough; Russo once worked in a clandestine consultant role kept secret from then-TV partner Spike because they hated his work, felt it was objectively worthless, and wanted nothing to do with him.

Dave Meltzer, on last night’s Wrestling Observer Radio, neglected to even mention the post-match scene, much less speculate on its mendacity, from which we can infer that it was all, to quote another old TNA figure in Jeff Jarrett, a big work. But for what purpose? A temporary Twitter trend? Austin Aries Vs. Don Callis?!

In any event, the promotion rehabilitating itself as a serious concern has just brought back old, not particularly great memories.

Recently on The Apter Chat, legendary pro wrestling personality Bill Apter and host Josh Shernoff spoke with WWE Hall Of Famer Sting. Among many other things, Sting talked about why it took him so long to have a WWE run, what WWE Chairman Vince McMahon told Sting about signing with Impact Wrestling, and how long Sting initially planned on staying with Impact Wrestling, then known as TNA Wrestling.

According to Sting, he had a few conversations with McMahon over the years about going to WWE and ‘Stinger’ even came close to leaving WCW a couple of times.

“I had probably had three… on three separate occasions, I had a conversation with Vince [McMahon] and I was close on a couple of those occasions to leaving [WCW].” Sting recalled, “two reasons why I never did, number one, WCW always ended up giving me what I asked for as far as… it wasn’t just financial – it was how much I work – I wanted to have it be in black and white, contractually, ‘I want to work X number of days and blah, blah, blah, only a certain number of house shows that I want to do throughout the year,’ so they gave me what I wanted.”

The man called Sting divulged that the second reason he had for never leaving WCW for WWE was that he always felt that McMahon wanted to sign Sting away from WCW to undermine WCW more than anything else. Interestingly, Sting noted that WWE’s risqué programming would not have stopped him from making a run up north.

“And as far as Vince, Vince and I would always talk and it was great. And then, the attorneys would talk and things would kind of change, but I always thought in the earlier days, I thought that Vince wanted me more to undermine WCW than he did want me as a talent.” Sting continued, “well, in the later years, you could that, yes. I mean, that was definitely a part of it as well, but that wouldn’t have stopped me from going up there, honestly. I mean, I’m a pro wrestlers. This is what I do. And I’m not going to… I mean, I always thought everyone knows who I am. They know what I stand for. They know what I believe. And if I go up there and they ask me to do something that’s maybe against my conscience and I just can’t do it, then, I just won’t do it. And if it’s ‘goodbye’ at that point, I was ready to say, ‘goodbye’. I mean, that’s all there is to it.”

Apparently, when Sting informed McMahon that the former was signing with Impact Wrestling, ‘The Genetic Jackhammer’ suggested that going there would have ruined Sting’s legacy.

“I ended up going to TNA and I’ll never forget having that conversation with Vince.” Sting remembered, “he’s on the phone with me and he says, ‘you know, Sting,’ he said, ‘I find this hard to believe. The legacy that you leave behind and the thought of you going to TNA is just, blah.’ That’s exactly what he said, ‘blah!’ And so then you fast forward to me coming back to do WrestleMania, I sent out a text to Vince and Triple H, and I simply said, ‘have you guys turned the page on Sting yet?’ because I honestly didn’t know. Did they turn the page? Are they done or would they consider a run up there?”

Notably, Sting shared that he planned on being with Impact for only one or two years and that he was there to help attract other stars.

“Yeah, I thought, ‘let’s try TNA.’ And, again, they kind of gave me what I wanted. Obviously, it wasn’t all about money with TNA, but the schedule though that I ended up having, that I could attain and they were very agreeable. And so, we did that and the rest is history. I planned on doing it for a year maybe or a couple of years. But they brought me in in hopes that other bigger name guys might want to come in and I thought that worked because, quite frankly, quite a few of them ended up coming in. Kurt Angle was the first. Mick Foley was there. [Scott] Hall and [Kevin] Nash, they were there. Scotty Steiner was there. Hulk Hogan was there.” Sting professed, “a lot of guys ended up coming in and it was a lot of fun. It really was.”

It’s now confirmed that Mia Yim has signed with WWE.

The 2018 Mae Young Classic competitor started with WWE back on Sunday, September 16, according to PWInsider. We noted before that there was speculation on Yim, a former TNA Knockouts Champion, signing after she appeared in a WWE NXT Twitter video from the WWE Performance Center in Orlando.

Yim recently revealed on Twitter that she’s dating NXT Superstar Keith Lee. She also revealed she’s roommates with Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke.

Impact Wrestling superstar Rebel was recently interviewed by Andy Malnoske of Wrestling Inc. During the conversation, Rebel discussed her cheerleading background and how it has helped her in her wrestling career.

Rebel, born Tanea Brooks, became a cheerleader for the Dallas Cowboys at the age of 18. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders are one of the most recognizable and popular cheerleading groups in the history of major American sports, so that is a huge accomplishment for her. Even though she knows it’s a major transition to go from cheerleader to professional wrestler, Rebel also sees her time as a cheerleader as advantageous to her in-ring performance.

“It is a big transformation but also my cheerleading background has helped me a lot with the flexibility and my cardio and my athleticism,” she said. “I feel like it’s actually helped me against my opponents when it comes to wrestling.”

Rebel is also known for her acrobatic ring entrance, in which she does a full split on the bottom rope. She said it all goes back to her cheerleading experience and her desire to “wow” audiences with everything she does.

“I think that goes back to my Dallas Cowboys cheerleader days. I am a performer and that is part of my background, an entrance is kind of to show your background and show you, so for me, I’m all about the entrance,” she said. “I’m here to make a statement. I’m here to perform, I’m here to entertain, and I’m here to fight as well and win! So for me that’s just part of my whole thing, the whole shebang.”

Tessa Blanchard has received plenty of attention for her intergender matches on the independent wrestling circuit, and she wants to bring that hard-hitting action to ImpactWrestling.

The idea of facing someone like Brian Cage might intimidate some, but Blanchard attacked the challenge head-on at a Wrestle Circus event on February 21st. Both were praised for the match’s storytelling as Blanchard gave it her all, but ultimately fell to The Machine.

Blanchard’s wrestling lineage and work ethic make her a difficult opponent in the Knockouts Division. The third-generation professional wrestler recently participated in a media call where she discussed the idea of some men receiving her punishing Hammerlock DDT in Impact Wrestling.

“This might be my favorite question of the day,” Blanchard replied when I asked who she wanted to wrestle on the male side of the roster. “I was actually just looking through some rolls of pictures of intergender matches I’ve had.”

She mentioned some of her favorite previous male opponents and expressed a great interest in locking up with them once again.

“One person that I really love to wrestle again is AR Fox and Brian Cage again too because those are two of my most favorite matches.”

As her star continues to climb in Impact Wrestling, Blanchard has her eyes set on breaking new ground. She continued discussing the idea of bringing intergender matches to Impact Wrestling, a style of match she has become very comfortable with.

“I am a huge fan of intergender wrestling,” Blanchard said. “It’s something that I would love to see Impact evolve to one day.

“My match against Brian Cage is one of my favorites and my match against Scorpio Sky at Bar Wrestling in Los Angeles. I would love to wrestle Scorpio Sky again, that’s one of my most favorite matches.”

Blanchard also said she is very fond of her matches against Britt Baker who she will get another chance to wrestle at All In in a four-way contest with Chelsea Green and Madison Rayne. Blanchard continued saying how much she enjoys working with some of her opponents as it has less to do with herself but more with the combination of all parts combined.

“I think that all goes to… some of my opponents I just really really enjoy working with them,” Blanchard continued. “I don’t think it really has as much to do with me but I really enjoy working with them.”


Impact Wrestling superstar Tessa Blanchard recently spoke with Wrestling Inc. president Raj Giri. As the daughter of wrestling legend Tully Blanchard, Tessa was asked about her experiences growing up in a wrestling household. Blanchard told Giri that her father retired before she was born, but she did see him wrestle once and admitted it was a scary experience. She also had the opportunity to meet other wrestlers when she attended WWE shows.

“Well, I’m 22 years old now. My dad was out of wrestling before I was even born. Then, when I was younger my dad had come out of retirement so I was present for one of his matches. We were in New Bern, North Carolina, and I don’t even remember how old I was, but I was a little girl,” Blanchard said. “I remember being scared because my dad had bled in that match and that was my first–I think that was my first experience to see my dad in the ring, which scared me considering I was a little girl, but I also remember going backstage to a RAW and SmackDown meeting Hulk Hogan and Triple H. I didn’t really understand because I was so young, but looking back now, those were amazing memories.”

Blanchard revealed that she initially didn’t tell her father or any of her family that she planned on pursuing a professional wrestling career. She was estranged from them at the time and admits that she wasn’t in a good place in her life. Finding a wrestling school to join was her outlet, and she instantly fell in love. Her stepfather Magnum T.A. was the first to see her wrestle and he gave her advice that she still follows to this day.

“I actually got into pro wrestling without even telling my dad or anyone in my family for that matter. It was probably around 2012, the year that my dad was inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame. I think that trip to Miami, Florida planted the seed that perhaps this is the thing that I wanted to do. My brothers and sisters all went to Miami with my dad, but they were all interested in checking out the beaches, or cool restaurants, but I was like, Dad, can I wake up at 5 a.m. and go check out WWE Axxess with you? That stuff intrigued me and being around people that work for WWE at the time, and being around people who are part of the roster, just being exposed to that was very unique for me. That was the trip that planted the seed,” Blanchard said. “Fast forward to when I turned 18 and I got kicked out of my house and I lived on my own for a year and during that year I didn’t speak to my family too often – in fact, I did not speak to them at all. I was probably heading down to a not-so-awesome path. I remember waking up and I asked myself what I was doing. I don’t know what it was exactly, I don’t really remember but something made me look up a wrestling school. I found out that Highspots was about 20-25 minutes to where I was living at the time. I went there and spoke with the owner of Highspots, and I told them that I wanted to be a pro wrestler. They had me watch a training that day with Cedric Alexander and George South were all in the ring, and they ended up pulling me into the ring and had me run the ropes and taking bumps. I remember it hurt so bad but I loved it, I loved it so much.

“I remember it was like three or four months in they came back and said that I couldn’t train here anymore because I know who your dad is and that he doesn’t know you were training,” she continued. “I didn’t want him to think that we were hiding something from him, so I was like, no, I will handle it, don’t worry about it. I remember calling my dad and my stepdad [Magnum T.A.]. I remember telling my step-dad because he lived in Charlotte, North Carolina–well, they still live there, but I told him, ‘hey, I am training to wrestle. It’s about 20 minutes to where you guys live and I wanted him to come and check it out.’ That week he didn’t come, but the week after that he did, and I got super excited to when he came in, as well as my brother. I told Cedric [Alexander] that let’s do our thing, to get in the ring and train and to do our spots. I remember my step-dad coming through the turnbuckle and we were talking for a moment; he was like, ‘Okay Tessa, you are not good, but you have got it. You just have to go out there and become undeniable.’ That is where my #Undeniable hashtag came along, but also that was how I told my family that I was wrestling.”

Giri also asked Blanchard about whether coming from such a rich wrestling pedigree raises expectations for her. She explained that while she embraces the pressure of living up to her family name, she also wants create her own legacy.

“Yes and no. I always say that it is a blessing and a curse. I am very–I feel very honored and blessed to carry on our family name and legacy in the business, but also, I want to forge my own path at the same time,” she said. “I always say, it does add pressure and that extra weight on my shoulders to be the best to do my grandpa [Joe Blanchard], my dad and stepdad proud. That type of pressure is what drives me. It drives me toward my purpose if that makes sense.”