Posts Tagged ‘Mae Young Classic’

Impact Wrestling superstar Tessa Blanchard was recently a guest on Busted Open Radio. During the interview, she discussed not being signed by the WWE after her tryout in 2014.

As the daughter of wrestling legend Tully Blanchard, Tessa got her start in professional wrestling at an early age. Blanchard was just 19 when she had her tryout with WWE. When she didn’t get signed, she worked the independent circuit to hone her skills. Blanchard said she expected to make it to the WWE, but she doesn’t have any ill-feelings about not making it because it led to her traveling around the world and gaining new experiences.

“After my WWE tryout in 2014, I thought for sure that I was going to get signed and that it is finally happening and that I was going to finally be there. Then, when it didn’t happen I was heartbroken. I always think it is because God had a plan for me,” Blanchard said. “If I had gone and they would have signed me right away, I don’t think that I would have had the life experiences, and that I wouldn’t have been able to of traveled where I went and became the Pro Wrestler that I became that I am today, or the woman I am today if I had been signed back then.”

Blanchard did appear in WWE as one of Adam Rose’s rosebuds and as an extra in a segment with Sheamus and Cesaro. She also worked a few matches in NXT before she got the call to be a part of last year’s Mae Young Classic. Blanchard lost in the first round to Kairi Sane, who eventually won the whole tournament. Despite her early exit, Blanchard said she enjoyed being a part of the tournament and has no regrets.

“Honestly, I have zero negative feelings towards it. Everyone has their spot; whether you are happy with it or not somebody had to do it. I honestly was not upset at all,” she said. “I saw on the dirt sheets that ‘Tessa has a bad attitude.’ I think that I am misunderstood because people perceive me to be a certain way because I am generational. They expect me to be entitled and expect me to have things early on. I think people misconstrued that honestly. I was so excited for my spot on the Mae Young Classic.”

Blanchard said she was especially grateful for the chance to work with Sane because they had two previous opportunities to wrestle each other but they never came to fruition. Blanchard called being part of the Mae Young Classic one of the best experiences of her life.

“Kairi Sane and I had two tours in Japan together. She ended up having to come off of the shows because of her injury in Japan so we didn’t have a match. I remember walking into the dressing room at the Performance Center and her coming up to me and saying, ‘Guess what? Guess what? Me and you!’ She almost had tears in her eyes,” Blanchard said. “She was just so happy. Honestly, it was one of the best experiences in my life. A lot of those women are really great wrestlers. It was really cool to be part of it. Really, being eliminated in the first round didn’t bother me at all. I had a great experience being a part of it.”

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In a recent, sobering interview with Fightful, Tessa Blanchard revealed her heartache at failing to secure a WWE contract following a 2014 tryout.

“‘After my WWE tryout in 2014, I was like ‘alright, I’m getting signed. I’m going to be there. I’m ready, let’s do this. It’s happening. Everything is happening right now.’ When it didn’t happen, I was heartbroken. I think it’s because God had a plan for me. If I would have gone and they would have signed me right away, I don’t think I would have had the life experiences or the experiences in wrestling.”

The revelation comes as little surprise, especially when once considers her various qualifications for WWE stardom. Second generation stars are usually sought-after, Tessa is a prodigal talent, and 2014 was the year in which WWE went into overdrive in its self-professed progressive portrayal of women’s wrestling. This sense of rejection must have been compounded upon learning that she was signed only as fodder for 2017’s Mae Young Classic, and not signed to a full-time deal in the aftermath. This sense of rejection must have tripled when WWE’s premature measure to bolster the ranks ahead of the first-ever Women’s Royal Rumble match manifested as the two worst factions in recent memory.

Regardless, her evident talent has been recognised elsewhere; Tessa is All In, and thus has a chance to make genuine history on September 1st. There’s something poetic about this, given that the company that has strangely passed over her on more than one occasion has become a parody of that proclamation.

Chelsea Green, f.k.a. Laurel Van Ness in Impact Wrestling, was the special guest on Women’s Pro Wrestling Weekly with TK Trinidad and Evan T Match. They sent us these highlights:

If she goes back to train with Lance Storm:

“At first, since I have been wrestling for about 4 years now. For the first couple of years, I would go back often, even if it was just for a day to help out another girl to help out in his class, or to brush up on a move that I wanted to learn. Now, because I am based in Orlando, Florida compared to being based out in Canada, I don’t have that opportunity as much. However, whenever I do have a chance to go back to Calgary, I go back and visit him because honestly, as many lessons as I have learned, travelling and meeting new people [to train with], Lance Storm knows everything. I swear to you, any question you can have about moves, psychology, gimmicks, the history of pro wrestling, he knows. Lance Storm is an encyclopedia of wrestling knowledge. He really drills the necessities into you so that when you go out there you won’t do stupid things. You just start from the basics, which is amazing.”

Influences after leaving Storm’s wrestling academy:

“I would say, because people don’t know this about me, but I knew nothing about pro wrestling. Not a thing. I had never seen a pro wrestling ring until I was maybe around grade 11. Lance Storm taught me everything that I know. Then, when leaving ‘Storm’s Wrestling Academy,’ I would say that the person who taught me the most after leaving the school would be Billy Gunn because he influenced me on Tough Enough, and now I am really close with his family. He always gives me great advice. The other person would be Gail Kim because she helped me get the job from Impact Wrestling. She trusted and supported me, as well as elevated me along the way as I went.”

Being kicked off of Tough Enough:

“What happened was, I did Tough Enough, and when I got kicked off and didn’t get a contract, I thought – and this was naive of me, but I assumed that they would see how much that I loved this and how quickly I learned, and that no matter what even when I left I would be receiving a contract. So when I left Tough Enough and sat on my couch for about a month or two as I waited and waited and never received a call, I kind of had to think outside the box and had to think, ‘okay, now what?’ I am now stuck in Canada. I am not legally allowed to work in the United States. I really don’t know what I am doing, and for the amount of time that I spent being on Tough Enough, I really wasn’t wrestling. I had to come up with something different. I asked myself where are people going to generate a buzz to make a name for themselves? The two places I thought of were Mexico or Japan. I worked on trying to get to Mexico, which was the first thing that I really wanted to do, but a couple of my girlfriends thought that I should learn how to wrestle before I go to Mexico, so I should try out in Japan. That is how I kind of got over there in Japan. I still didn’t really know what I was doing, but with the language barrier over in Japan, they don’t know that you don’t know what you are doing, so every crazy move that I wanted to try, they were like, okay, let’s try it. That is how my confidence and movesets grew by trying things that I wouldn’t have tried had I been here in the United States.”

If WWE has reached out to her regarding the second inaugural Mae Young Classic:

“I have not been contacted yet. I don’t know if you know who Britt Baker and Santana Garrett are. We stay in contact and there are no secrets with us girls. We tell each other exactly what is happening. What conversations we have had with WWE, but none of us have heard anything. I know that a lot of girls, a lot of buzz about it, where they have heard from people in the Performance Center, but I have not heard anything about it. I am keeping myself really busy at the moment, and it is really full. That way, if they don’t call, I am not worried about it, and if they do call I would be totally excited, but either way, I’m happy because I am busy.”

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Source: Orlando Sentinel

Tessa Blanchard spoke with the Orlando Sentinel on a number of wrestling topics. Here are some of the highlights:

205 Live Star, Cedric Alexander, being instrumental in helping her with training:

“If I ever needed anything, they would help me. After hours, I would train, train, train, six or seven days a week, until 2 or 3 in the morning sometimes. After a long day, Cedric [Alexander] would say, ‘Hey Tessa, let’s get in there and have a 45-minute match and call it on the fly.’ That’s helped turn me into the athlete I am today. I’m so grateful for all of those hardships.”

Training in Japan:

“It’s very strong style in there. You’ve got to get in there and hang or you’re going to get your ass kicked. It has toughened me up. You have to develop this mental strength to just be there and be all in.”

Advice from former WWE Superstar, Carlito, when she felt like fans weren’t interested in her:

“I was going through this time where I thought, ‘Why don’t people like me? Why is it so tough right now? Why do people think I’m only here because of [my family ties]?’ Carlito looked at me and he was like, ‘Tessa, you don’t need to apologize for who your dad is, you don’t need to apologize for what family you’re in. You were born that way. But you do need to work hard and you do need to back it up.’ That stuck with me and that’s what I’ve been doing the last four years.”

You can read the full interview by clicking here.

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The long-awaited transferal of one of MMA’s biggest stars to the squared-circle is edging ever closer, as Ronda Rousey appeared at WWE’s Mae Young classic to issue a challenge to the organisation’s elite group of female grapplers.

Rousey and fellow ‘Horsewomen’ Marina Shafir and Jessamyn Duke were on hand in support of the fourth spoke to their wheel, Shayna Baszler, as she progressed to the tournament’s third round. Whilst speaking about the pride in their colleague’s victory after the show, the trio were suddenly interrupted by three of WWE’s own ‘Four Horsewomen’, Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Bayley.

The six then stood around awkwardly for a little while until Rousey laid down the gauntlet, telling the interlopers, “Name the time, name the place.” The prevailing theory is that the two quartets will collide in a traditional 4-vs-4 contest at November’s Survivor Series.

Rousey and co. are long admirers of the wrestling business – their ‘Four Horsewomen’ moniker derives from Ric Flair’s famous stable of the ’80s – and so the transition from the Octagon to the ring has seemed inevitable for a while. Ronda appeared at WrestleMania 31 where she vaulted the barricade to share the spotlight with The Rock in a high-profile angle opposite Triple H and Stephanie McMahon, whilst Shafir is currently engaged to NXT standout Bobby Roode. Baszler herself has obviously already made the switch, with WWE said to be extremely positive about her performances so far.

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Source: Busted Open

WWE Mae Young Classic competitor Tessa Blanchard joined Busted Open with Dave Lagreca and Larry Dallas to promote the first four episodes of the tournament being released on the WWE Network. You can check out some highlights below:

Her match with Kairi Sane:

“It was honestly, it still doesn’t feel real really. It was just such an honor to be out there with Kairi, of all people, because her and I were supposed to have a singles match in Japan on two different occasions over the past two or three years and it didn’t happen due to just circumstance and the card changing or whatnot. So her and I were talking and we were like, of all places in America and in a WWE ring, finally we get to have our singles match. So that was just really really special for us.”

Embracing with Sane after the match and the emotion of it all:

“You know I was just overcome with emotion. Just watching it back I was just completely overcome with emotion. The crowd was absolutely unreal, they were with us the entire time and the response we got was awesome. And Kairi, she’s such a superstar, she really deserves to be seen by the world. She’s such a phenomenal talent, she’s honestly probably one of the best in the world and for her to be over here and have an opportunity with WWE, I’m just very very proud of her.

If this has been the match of her career so far:

“I think it might be so far, might be my favorite match I’ve had so far in my career. And it’s saying a lot because some of my favorite matches are against Mickie James and – ugh it’s just crazy the platform we had and to go out there and show what you can do and show that women are not just women’s wrestlers, we’re wrestlers. It was just so special.”

Did she always want to be in wrestling despite her family’s legacy, and if her family supported her:

“When I started wrestling I didn’t tell my family that I was starting to train about four or five months in to my training. I never told them. But I had to tell them or I wouldn’t be able to continue training where I was training, because Michael, who owns High Spot, thought it might be like a conflict and I ended up telling my parents. They came to watch me and it was great. Things kind of just took off from there. I never really thought they would take off the way they did. I started off driving the 14 hours for $50 no hotel, then turning around and driving the 14 hours right back to North Carolina and just so I could learn, go everywhere, and get my name out there. I’ve had a lot of people tell me that ‘You are where you are because of your name, or because of your boyfriend, or because of -‘ anything but hard work. And I was never going to let that be true. I went out there and I did everything I could to make a name for myself.”

Her last name helping or hurting her in her career:

“I think it’s a blessing and a curse a little bit. I’m so so proud to be a Blanchard. I just wish my grandpa was around to see me in the ring just one time and that would just make my life. But also I knew when I was starting out that it would be hard and I didn’t quite anticipate how difficult it would be, starting out, because locker rooms – ugh, they were some of the toughest things to be in. It was absolutely difficult, but one thing I’ve always prided myself on is I have unbelievable mental strength. And I don’t let that kind of thing get to me, it just motivates me. Cause I’ve been beat down verbally and – I don’t let that get in my way I guess. I still, I do everything I can to make sure ‘Hey, you can say Blanchard, that got my foot in the door, that got me in front of the right people, that got me a shot – but once I step in the ring it doesn’t do jack sh*t for me.’ Once I’m in there it doesn’t take the bumps for me, it doesn’t drive the miles for me, it doesn’t do any of that. So I ought to be able to back it up.”