Posts Tagged ‘Tessa Blanchard’

Intergender Wrestling has always been a hot-button issue in the world of pro wrestling. From Andy Kaufman to Chyna winning the Intercontinental Title, the topic has always been controversial. However, Impact Wrestling star Tessa Blanchard welcomes it.

During a recent Impact media call, Blanchard was asked about intergender wrestling, including her recent match with Joey Ryan.

“I love wrestling, no matter if it is guys, girls or whatever it may be,” Blanchard said. “I’m not really sure what is in store for me. I would like to face everyone on the Impact roster. It is filled with amazing performers, I would be honored to share the ring with any of them.”

Impact Wrestling has one man that welcomes intergender wrestling. Glenn Gilbertti, f.k.a. Disco Inferno, has spent time deriding women’s wrestling both on his podcast and on Impact Wrestling. Blanchard was quite frank about her feelings on Gilbertti’s statements and him competing in the Knockouts Division. 

“I think Glenn is a piece of s–t,” Blanchard exclaimed. “I think Glenn coming down and inserting himself into the Knockouts battle royale made it clearer he is a piece of s–t. To get on the microphone to downplay us as women as talents are just embarrassing and couldn’t be further from the truth. I feel like any one of us women, contracted or not, could have beaten his ass.”

Blanchard did not stop there, and issued a warning to Gilbertti. 

“If the time and place is right, I would be more than happy to get in the ring with him and show him what a piece of s–t he is,” Blanchard said. 

Last month, Tessa Blanchard continued her rise in the world of women’s professional wrestling by taking on women’s wrestling legend Gail Kim at Impact Wrestling’s Rebellion. Blanchard, the daughter of Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard and step-daughter of Magnum T.A. Tessa, was recently on a media call about her victory over with Kim. For Blanchard, it is a moment not only she, but fans will remember.

Rebellion was amazing, there was a lot of anticipation leading up to that event,” said Blanchard. “It was cool to have my dad there and Gail’s husband there. It was always a dream match, but a match that I never thought would be a reality. It was a cool moment for my career, a moment people will remember, really pivotal to my career.”

Leading up to that matchup, both Kim and Blanchard traded verbal barbs with each other. Blanchard accused Kim of holding the division back. A major moment that stood out was an angle when Blanchard went on a rampage in Kim’s husband’s restaurant. Blanchard noted that she had a new respect for Kim following their storyline.

“I do not regret anything I do,” exclaimed Blanchard. “Gail had disrespected me at that time and it came down to the ring, that match. All the stuff between us, fighting it out in the ring. And I have a newfound respect for Gail because of that.”

Tessa Blanchard is one of the wrestling world’s top stars and though she’s only been active in the industry for five years, she’s had a lifetime of experiences. In a recent interview on Talk is Jericho, Blanchard discussed her career, telling Jericho about her start in wrestling, her WWEtryout and subsequent workings with WWE in a small capacity. 

She began by detailing how backstage politics — ranging from nepotism (her father is one of the Original Four Horseman) to dating rumors — initially made wrestling locker rooms an alienating place for her. 

“I think when I started in wrestling, I hadn’t realized how difficult locker rooms were going to be,” Blanchard said. “I thought they were going to be more inviting than they were. On numerous different occasions I have had people tell me that I am only booked because of my dad, because of who I was dating, or any other exceptions other than my hard work, so in my mind I wanted to put in the extra hours in the ring. 

“That way, I put in the time and I was able to back it up. So that way, when someone would say something like that, next time there would be no validity to it. I can say, ‘No, f**k you, I work hard.'” 

Locker rooms proved not to be a problem for Blanchard in her career as she’s one of the industry’s best talents– she’s a former Impact Knockouts champion, current Women of Wrestling champion and has even been had a taste of the big leagues with WWE. 

“WWE contacted me to do one of those Raw and SmackDown extra spots, which I thought was really cool,” she said. “I went to Monday’s Raw, I got there and William Regal talked to us telling us that we are going to do promos and matches tomorrow, anyone who wants to have one can, which I thought was great. 

“It was me and my friend Chasity Taylor and a few other girls, there were only 4 girls there. Her and I were really green. We talked to them and asked that maybe we could pair up and have a pretty decent match and it’ll be great, but they were like, ‘Well, actually we want to work with each other and you guys can work with each other because we have worked with each other before,’ So we were like, okay. Chasity and I stayed up all night, pushing our mattresses together trying to come up with some match; I didn’t even have gear or anything. I never lifted a weight in my life or nothing. This was going to be my first match. What is funny about this– and I haven’t shared this story with many people because it’s how everything comes full circle for me. So, my dad and my step-dad [Magnum TA] had their ‘I Quit Match’ at Starrcade ’85 at the Greensboro Coliseum in the same arena that I had my first match in. In the moment I hadn’t even realized that until after the fact and I thought, wow, the world has a weird way of playing out.”

“I didn’t tell them that it was my first match. I didn’t tell them that I was borrowing another woman’s gear, I didn’t tell them anything. When they called me back to do extra spots, Scott Armstrong and Joey Mercury were in catering and they were like, ‘Tessa, come talk to us for a second.’ I was like, Hey guys, just so you know that was my first match. They were like, ‘Why didn’t you tell us that? That explains so much, thank you for telling us.’ 

“Scott Armstrong got me my tryout at the WWE Performance Center. I went there and got my tryout and it was one of the most physically trying things in my life. I literally think they blow you up where you can only work on instinct and see how far you can go from there. It was insane, but I thought I did a great job. Mind you, looking back, I hadn’t lifted a single weight in my life. I’m not the athlete that I am today at this point, but I thought that I was going to get signed and that it was going to happen to me now and then it didn’t, I didn’t get signed. There were so many times I was called to go do a match and drive 8 or 9 hours from North Carolina to Orlando, Florida just to go do the NXT extra spots and then nothing, which would break my heart every time, but I was just very young then.” 

Asked if she had any regrets due to failing to get into the WWE, Blanchard responded she had none. 

“I think where I am now I am grateful that things didn’t happen for me that quickly because I don’t think I would be the woman I am today, nor the athlete that I am today if I had gone and got signed right away,” she said. “I am really glad that I didn’t because I have been able to go down and make history in my own way and have the freedom to make history in ways that matter to me, like, me and Barbi Hayden were able to go to China and have the first ever women’s match to be televised on TV in China in history. 

“We have had the opportunity to go down to China and Mexico and Japan and wrestle some of the best people in the world, which I think has helped me. I learned a lot from these people. My dad always says that if I want to be great, I have to wrestle people that are great and be around people and travel around people that are great and have only a select few to be able to pour into your mind and you listen.” 

While she wrestles on the indies now, Blanchard did, however, get the opportunity to work with WWE and The Rock– she stunt-doubled for Paige in Paige’s autobiographical film ‘Wrestling with My Family’, produced by The Rock. 

She filmed her parts after a WWE show at the Staples Center in front of a live audience.

“The Rock got on the mic and said that we are going to bring Tessa Blanchard and Thea Trinidad out, and I’m like, this is so cool,” she said. “We were there until 3 in the morning. After we filmed the match, they left and then we did the close-ups and the basic shots. That whole experience was really neat. The Rock trained with us, went to the studio, got into the ring and rolled around with us. He is such a down to earth guy who really cares about details. He was so invested in each one of us, which was really neat.”

Blanchard says the experience, considering her past dealings with WWE and their tryouts, was an amusing surprise. 

The company reached out to Blanchard, saying they were sending her a plane ticket and they’d tell her more when she got there. 

“I was like, Okay, I am there. They told me to pack for 3 days or 3 weeks but didn’t tell me nothing. I get there; a car picks me up and I go to my hotel and they tell me an address to be there and at what time. I go there, it is a studio and there is, like, a WWE ring set up.”

In the ring, Blanchard’s life came full-circle– she was in a WWE ring, 4 girls total.

“Dave Taylor is there, Thea Trinidad was already there, and it was me and two other girls. They had asked us to roll around in the ring. At that point, they told us what it was for. We rolled around and asked us a few little moves, if we knew how to take the moves and whether we were comfortable. Then, in about three hours, they told me to stay and told the other two to go. They set me up with a person to find a place where I was going to stay and I ended up staying there much longer than three weeks but it was cool. 

“We were in the studio every day and working on this one match that we were going to have at the Staples Center, but then it turned into me having to learn 8 matches because they weren’t originally going to use me in the UK, they were going to use someone else in the UK. But after the Staples Center, they were like, hey, we need you to fly to the UK, so I stayed there for a few months and I did everything else there. It was a long process, but it was really cool. They dyed my hair black, I just looked like an average girl, but it was so random. 

“Right after filming Thea Trinidad got signed to WWE, and I thought something was going to happen for me then as well, but then it didn’t, actually, everything worked out the way it was supposed to.”

Tessa Blanchard joined Chris Jericho’s Talk is Jerichobefore her upcoming match against Gail Kim at this Sunday’s Impact Rebellion PPV. During the conversion, Blanchard spoke about her time in Lucha Underground when she was told by one of the other women’s wrestlers that she was only there because of her last name. Tessa is a third-generation wrestler, daughter of Tully Blanchard and granddaughter of Joe Blanchard.

Tessa had commented in March on Twitter about what Ivelisee had once said to her, “Her exact words to me were ‘I never had a family name, I had to work for everything I have from the streets.'” 

Although not said by name, this is likely who Blanchard is referencing in her conversation with Jericho as Blanchard had a dark match against Ivelisee in Lucha Underground in January of 2016. According to FightDB, Blanchard’s only other bout with the promotion was a dark tag match with Prince Puma (aka Ricochet) vs. Marisposa and Marty Martinez. To be clear, in a 2016 interview with Busted Open Radio, Blanchard called the injury a “freak accident.”

“I broke my shoulder, or my collarbone, I shouldn’t say my shoulder, and I had surgery, six screws and a plate in here,” Blanchard said. “I was wrestling a girl at Lucha Underground and the girl that did this to me told me, ‘Tessa, I didn’t have a last name in this business. I had to work for everything that I had.’ And that’s what she told me. Things like that would happen quite often where a girl in Japan told me, ‘Tessa, you’re only here because of your dad.’ And that would happen to me left and right, left and right and one thing that I pride myself on is my mental strength.”

Blanchard continued that she’s very aware her last name will potentially open doors for her, but once she is in the ring, it’s up to her to impress those watching. She also felt paying her dues along the way was equally as important to building her mental strength and legacy.

“I think that a lot of females can’t hold a candle to me when it comes to mental strength because that kind of s— doesn’t even go in one ear to go out the other,” Blanchard said. “And I believe that if you have that mental strength, you can take any situation and change it into the way that you think about it and make it a positive thing, and I had to find that because those are the kind of things that would really eat you up and I feel like having a name sometimes is a little bit harder because I never wanted to disappoint my grandpa, or my dad, or my step-dad. 

“I wanna carry on their legacy and do them proud, but also create my own at the same time and that’s really a difficult thing, because there’s plenty of generational wrestlers who people say that about. ‘You’re only where you are because of this or because of this, not because of hard work,’ and I was never gonna let that be the case. I wanted to go and I wanted to drive the miles for no pay, I wanted to set up the rings, I wanted to set up the chairs, I wanted to go to training six-seven days a week for hours upon hours and blow myself up to where I can only work on instinct. I wanted to sleep in my car. I wanted to do all of that.

“No matter what it is, I wanna be great. I wanna be be the best at it. My last name, I’ve always said, it might get my foot in the door, it might get me in front of the right people, it might get an opportunity, but at the end of the day when I get in the ring it doesn’t do jack s— for me. It doesn’t take the bumps, it doesn’t drive the miles, it doesn’t do any of that.”

Outside of WrestleMania 35 and the G1 Supercard last week, another big wrestling event took place at Impact’s United We Stand. Before the event, Tessa Blanchard was part of a media Q&A where she talked about her role at Women of Wrestling (WOW) and the promotion possibly working with Impact.

“Who knows? WOW and Impact are both different brands, but Tessa Blanchard never changes. I’m the same Tessa Blanchard there as with Impact,” Blanchard told Wrestling Inc.’s Nick Hausman.

“One thing about WOW that I love is that we’re taking women from all different parts of life. We have girls from jiu jitsu and an MMA background. We have mothers. We have students. We have people from everyday life who found this love for professional wrestling.”

Blanchard is the current WOW champion but she’s more than just an in-ring performer as she also helps train the other WOW wrestlers.

“I live in Long Beach now and I train those girls for five days a week when I’m not on the road,” revealed Blanchard. “To watch them grow from scratch, it’s just a really cool thing for me.

“Some people think they’re just actresses and not professional wrestlers. But that just shows how close-minded people are because they can do it.”

Blanchard’s father is Tully Blanchard of the Four Horseman and her stepfather is former wrestler Magnum T.A. so she was privy to lots of advice while growing up. She is now in the role of giving advice and relayed what she tells young and aspiring wrestlers.

“To always stay hungry. My stepdad told me one day, probably about five years ago when I was just starting my training, to go out there and become undeniable. That’s something that’s always stuck with me over the years and I feel like I’ve done that,” Blanchard said before adding that she has accomplished things that no other woman has such as being a part of the first ever televised women’s match in China.

Apart from Impact and WOW, Blanchard is also working for Lucha Libre AAA and they recently announced they will be coming to Madison Square Garden in September. Blanchard talked about being in a hotel in New York five years ago, looking at MSG and saying I’m gonna wrestle there one day. With AAA, she will finally get her chance.

“Never did I think it would actually happen realistically, so it still feels crazy to me. Just standing in The Garden today, there’s an aura about that building that’s second to none,” said Blanchard.

Blanchard also teased that her Impact feud with Taya Valkyrie could spill over at the AAA show and that Valkyrie wouldn’t be Knockouts Champion without some help.

“She wouldn’t be [champion] if it wasn’t because of Gail Kim. Taya has never beaten me in a fair fight one-on-one. Taya has always needed a stipulation or a special guest referee or something that puts the odds in her favor,” stated Blanchard. “Because I am a top athlete and one of the best, if not the best professional wrestler in Impact Wrestling, I feel like they have stacked the odds against me a little bit in Taya’s favor. So, maybe Madison Square Garden’s the place I take that title back.”

Blanchard has experienced lots of success in Impact in a short amount of time. She revealed that her ability to have control over herself and her character is a big reason for that.

“I’ve gone places where they’ve told me what I need to do, what I need to say, who I need to be, what moves I need to perform,” said Blanchard. “And at Impact I get to just be me. I have creative control to be me and do what I want. To show people this is what Tessa Blanchard’s about and if you don’t like it, tough sh**.”

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Tessa Blanchard spoke with WWEHall Of Famer Jim Ross on The Jim Ross Report. Among many other things, Blanchard revealed when her current Impact contract expires. Additionally, Blanchard shared her thoughts on the formation of All Elite Wrestling.

According to Blanchard, she will be with Impact till 2020. ‘The Queen Of The Carolinas’ shared that she has made difficult decisions for the development of her craft, though she is not motivated by money.

“Over this past year, I’ve had to make some really hard business decisions, say ‘no’ to some certain things, and I decided to go to Impact, sign there for two years, so I’ll be there until 2020,” Blanchard divulged. “And I think it [has] been the best thing for me. I’ve really grown to find myself. I’ve started to learn the TV style, if you would. And with WOW, I’ve been able to meet some of the best people. And one thing for me is I’ve never been motivated by money. That [has] never driven me. I care more about who people are as a person and being around good people because when you leave the world, you’re not going to be able to take the money. You’re only going to take the memories and the people you keep around you plays a huge part in it.”

On the subject of AEW, Blanchard indicated that she has not looked into whether existing her contractual obligations would prevent her from working with AEW. With that said, ‘The Diamond Of Professional Wrestling’ said that she thinks AEW will be successful as Cody [Rhodes] and The Young Bucks are intelligent and driven.

“We haven’t really looked too far into contractually, but I think it’s going to be successful,” Blanchard said. “Cody’s like a brother to me and The Young Bucks are very, very, very smart people. Cody as well. And if they want something, they’re the type of people that are going to tackle it and dive head first into it.”

In Blanchard’s view, AEW like WOW does not need to compete with any other professional wrestling promotions and will showcase a different style of professional wrestling.

“Progress only happens with change and people love something different,” Blanchard explained. “And they don’t have to compete with anyone. Just like WOW, I don’t think they’re looking to compete with anyone, it’s just an alternative, which is really cool because I think they’re going to showcase a different type of wrestling, a different style.”

Blanchard approved of AEW’s signing of the wrestling dentist not named Yankem, Britt Baker.

“I know that they signed a few females, I believe, already. Britt Baker being one of them and I love sharing the ring with her. I think that she’s going to be a star one day. She’s athletic and she has everything going for her.” Blanchard added, “so it’s exciting that she gets to be a part of AEW.”

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Former Impact Wrestling Knockouts Champion and daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard, Tessa Blanchard had an undeniably successful 2018. Blanchard secured her first Knockouts Championship on August 12, 2018 and would hold the title in a dominant reign over the Impact women’s division for the remainder of the year. Impact Wrestling even awarded Blanchard their “Knockout Of The Year 2018” award for her contributions to the company.

Blanchard recently took time for an interview with TheGorillaPosition.com and while discussing various topics, she credited the last five years of training in pro wrestling for molding her in to the well-rounded competitor audiences see today. Blanchard recounted some of her most inspiring accomplishments and explained how learning all sorts of wrestling styles from around the globe allows her to adapt to different competitors in the ring.

“I just hit my five-year mark since I first began my training,” Blanchard said. “And right now, I feel like I’ve really, finally come full circle. At that point, if someone had asked me, where do you think you’d be in five years? There’s no way I could have imagined I’d be here. I’ve wrestled some of the best wrestlers in the world – both male and female. I’ve had the longest women’s match in [pro wrestling] history. I got to travel to Australia and I got to main event at Korakuen Hall. I got to be a part the first women’s match in the history of China.

“Everywhere I go, the styles are different,” Blanchard continued. “When you wrestle in Japan, it’s more strong style. When I go to Mexico, it’s definitely more high-flying. And in my matches I’ve had with Taya in Impact, it’s been a lot more ground-based. So, I basically have to be ready for anything, and be able to adapt depending on where I’m wrestling, or who I’m in the ring with.”

Blanchard is a third generation superstar, being the daughter of Four Horsemen member and WWE Hall of Famer, the aforementioned Tully Blanchard. She’s inspired to step out from the shadow of her father’s legendary career and create a legacy that is completely her own.

“I’ve said since day one that my last name might get my foot in the door, and give me an opportunity,” Blanchard admitted. “I’m not denying that. But, once you step in that ring, you’ve got to be able to back it up. You got to be able to work hard. And that’s what I do. I work hard, because that’s what’s necessary. You have to go that extra mile. Everybody can look at me, and make all the excuses they want. Like, ‘Oh, it’s because of her Dad or, it’s her last name.’ But if you work hard, none of that matters… it’s all just bulls–t.”