Tessa Blanchard possesses some of the most undeniable talents in wrestling today. At only 26 years old, she has done more in the world of professional wrestling than most people do in decades-long careers. Daily, she trains extremely hard to maintain these talents, and it’s without a doubt that she has the drive and motivation to be one of the best.
While she may be a million-dollar talent, she certainly doesn’t have a million-dollar attitude.
Every major promotion in the world is well aware of the talent she has, but refuses to take a risk on her. The reason for that is pretty simple: Tessa Blanchard exclusively cares about Tessa Blanchard.
Blanchard has built up a rather unique reputation. Setting aside her history of abusing other performers, and being a racist, Blanchard doesn’t care about the promotion she is in, as long as they are putting her name front and center. She has a noticeable history of not doing what was best for the promotion, and the most shining example is with the promotion that arguably gave her the biggest spotlight she maybe will ever see again.
In 2018, Tessa Blanchard debuted for Impact Wrestling, and within four months, she defeated Su Yung and Allie to become the Knockouts champion. Seeing how incredibly talented she was, Impact had bigger plans for Tessa, and by 2019, she began feuding with talent from the men’s division.
As 2019 began to come to a close, Blanchard found herself in an X-Division ladder match against Ace Austin, Jake Crist, Acey Romero, and her off-screen fiance Daga. While unsuccessful in becoming the champion of that division, things were about to look up for the third-generation wrestler.
Six days after this loss, Blanchard would become the number one contender for the Impact World Championship, ultimately winning the belt at the beginning of the new year. Tessa Blanchard had become the first female to win a male world championship in a nationally syndicated wrestling promotion.
Following her only world championship defense, which was against Taya Valkyrie, Blanchard would make a few more appearances for Impact, until ultimately things started going downhill very fast.
Allegedly living in Mexico at the time, she felt that it was unsafe for her to travel. To be accommodating, Impact asked her to shoot some promo material to continue her on-screen rivalries, in lieu of her lack of appearances. For whatever reason, she chose not to do what was asked of her as champion of the promotion, leaving Impact with no viable options.
To prevent her impending unemployment, she offered a solution she was comfortable with; pay her a large sum of money to make one last appearance to drop the championship. Not wanting to be held up for ransom, Impact counted their losses, and fired their history-making champion.
One of the most talented wrestlers of this era was unemployed.
In 2021, Lakers owner, and Women of Wrestling (WOW) president Jeanie Buss announced that WOW was making its long-awaited return, after inking a deal with ViacomCBS. Three-time WWE Divas champion AJ Mendes was brought in to be an executive producer for the promotion.
It appeared that WOW was set for a really smooth, almost successful comeback. Almost.
What was promoted as a groundbreaking relaunch of an all-women’s promotion, more closely resembles something like a resurrection and vanity project for Blanchard. Implanted directly in the main event, opposite WOW Champion, The Beast, WOW appears to be picking up right where they left off, problematic allegations be damned.
But, can you really blame WOW? Despite garnering a lot of really bad press, for a promotion that is trying to make a name for itself, this is a situation where bad press could be good press. If you want to get eyes on a product, and prove that women’s wrestling can be marketable, then you want to enlist exceptionally talented performers, and Tessa is the peak of that mountain.
If Jeanie Buss and WOW can “rehabilitate” Blanchard, then that’s a bigger accomplishment than rivaling the WWE.
But, if reports are to be believed, it doesn’t appear to be working well for the promotion.
According to a report released by Fightful, there have been some issues between WOW and Blanchard. The report states that “during a class in mid-April, Blanchard cut a promo on wrestler Samantha Sage, who is known as Americana.” Fightful reports “the promo saw Blanchard “tear apart” Sage, leading to many (WOW) trainees speaking up.” The acting classes would then be canceled until further notice.
The report goes on to say “At least one trainee was told Blanchard would be less involved moving forward.” Continuing in the report, Blanchard is “no longer in charge of training talents”, wrestling veteran Selina Majors would be brought in to fill the now-vacant role.
Another WOW trainee speculated that “they believe Tessa is gone from the company” but that report could not be verified. In response to these reports, Blanchard posted a quote on her Instagram stating “When standing up for your beliefs becomes a matter of great inconvenience, will you stand…” which is a quote by Pastor Matt Hagee.
According to WOW’s own website, Live TV tapings were announced as being filmed on May 5th through May 7th, though it has not been confirmed if filming actually took place.
With WOW hoping to return in the fall of 2022, and their relationship in jeopardy with their biggest star, their return might not be as smooth as initially thought. And maybe that’s a good thing.
For as great as Tessa Blanchard is, she has proven herself to be unreliable, and an even harder person to work with. Banking your promotion on someone like that could only lead to downfall. If this promotion had the vision to bring AJ Mendes out of wrestling retirement, then there has to be something incredible in the works.
The current WOW champion, The Beast (despite Tessa Blanchard being promoted with the championship on advertisements), is a proven talent. Granted, she is no Tessa Blanchard, and has only competed in WOW, but she very clearly has the work ethic, and drive to have the best match on the card.
Having watched the majority of WOW on PlutoTV, It’s clear to see that The Beast is a natural talent, who works damn hard to be as great as she is. Add Alex Gracia, AJ Mendes, and Danni Bee into the mix, and you have a really solid group of people that have a passion for wrestling, but more importantly women’s wrestling.
It’s too early to know what the future holds for WOW, and Tessa Blanchard, but relaunching a promotion with the intent to center it around a problematic performer isn’t a great way to kick things off. There is a veritable ocean of women’s talent that are free to work with WOW, including Allie Katch, Kasey Owens, Big Swole, and Billie Starks, to name a few. Better yet, take a look at the Black Wrecellence Top 500, and exclusively hire from that list every year.
WOW bills itself as promoting real and talented women’s wrestling, but books itself into a corner with someone who doesn’t care about anything that doesn’t have her name on it. You can’t speak highly of women’s wrestling when the face of your company has a history of disrespecting women. It doesn’t add up to a positive outcome, and Tessa Blanchard could spell disaster for WOW if something isn’t fixed immediately.
The WOW return has indeed been nuclear.