To say that life has changed recently for Tessa Blanchard would be an understatement. January 12th, 2020 at the Bomb Factory in Dallas, Tx. Tessa Blanchard etched her name in the history books of professional wrestling as she became the IMPACT world champion.
Do not confuse this with the Knockouts title, which is for the women’s division. Blanchard defeated the reigning champion, Sami Callihan, in an intergender match to become the IMPACT world champion. One would have thought that this accomplishment would be the crowning moment to cement her as the face of the promotion for years to come. One would be wrong.
Fast forward to June 25th, 2020 and not only is Tessa Blanchard no longer the IMPACT world champion she is no longer with the company. Her contract with IMPACT was reportedly set to expire on June 30th of this year but she was stripped of her title and fired three days prior to the expiration of her contract. IMPACT released the following statement regarding the status of Blanchard.
“IMPACT Wrestling has confirmed that it has terminated its relationship with Tessa Blanchard and stripped her of the IMPACT Wrestling World Championship.”https://impactwrestling.com/statement-from-impact-wrestling-2/
Quite a stunning turn of events in a matter of six short months. IMPACT did not reveal details regarding the decision to terminate the contract of Blanchard and I will not speculate on unsubstantiated rumors with respect to her employment status. Tessa Blanchard was set to defend her title at a five-way match on July 18th at Slammiversary featuring Ace Austin, Eddie Edward, Michael Elgin, and Trey Miguel. Following the termination of both Blanchard and Elgin the match was scrapped. The new match for the vacated title will feature Ace Austin, Eddie Edwards, Trey Miguel and a fourth, yet, unknown competitor all vying for the title. For her part, the 24-year-old former world champion has remained silent on her dismissal from IMPACT as well as her future plans.
So where does this leave Tessa Blanchard now that she is no longer employed with IMPACT wrestling? Her in ring talent is undeniable and her name recognition could draw the interest of fans and her critics alike. Fans of professional wrestling seem divided on Blanchard which only fuels speculation about why she was released and what the future holds for her.
Before we discuss the likely landing spot for Blanchard let us take a brief walk down memory lane highlighting some of her memorable moments on her journey from unknown to IMPACT world champion. Tessa made her professional in ring debut on November 8th, 2014 for Women Superstars Uncensored during this same time she performed for Shine wrestling through 2016. Her big first big break came in NXT in 2016 when she faced off against Alexa Bliss. The following year Blanchard competed in the Mae Young Classic for WWE scoring a victory in a six-man tag team match. In 2018 Tessa Blanchard made her debut with IMPACT wrestling, a relationship which would abruptly end in 2020. In August of 2018 Tessa Blanchard defeated So Yung and Allie in a three-way match to claim the Knockouts title which she held for 147 days before relinquishing the title to Wera Loca aka Taya Valkyrie in 2019. On January 12th, 2020 she defeated Sami Callihan to claim the IMPACT world championship, which she held for 165 days, prior to having the title stripped and her position with the company terminated.
So where will Tessa land now that she is officially a free agent? This is the million-dollar question for wrestling fans. There is no shortage of opinions across social media and wrestling websites. Let’s discuss the three most likely landing spots for the former world champion.
#1) WWE. This seems to be the most likely candidate to sign the top wrestling free agent. She has worked with them before both as part of NXT as well as the main roster. Vince McMahon has never shied away from bringing in controversial figures if he believes they bolster the bottom line. Blanchard is a polarizing figure from a standpoint and, as the expression goes, you can love her or hate her, but she is tough to ignore. From a wrestling perspective she would be a great addition to a roster which includes Charlotte Flair, Asuka, Sasha Banks, and Alexa Bliss. It is no secret that losing Becky Lynch for the foreseeable future is a blow to the women’s division in WWE. Blanchard might be able to step in and help fill the void left by the departure of the man. I am in no way comparing Blanchard to Lynch, all I am saying is that as far as the WWE is concerned bad press is better than no press.
#2) AEW. Let’s face it, family matters. Tully Blanchard is already part of AEW as the mentor to Shawn Spears. Reuniting the father and daughter could make for compelling storylines. AEW could pit father against daughter for example. There is no shortage of opinions across social media proclaiming that AEW has no interest in signing Blanchard due to past behavior incidents. The fact of the matter is that Blanchard is a highly talented wrestler who is just 24 years of age. If her image can be reformed, she could certainly be an asset to AEW’s women’s division who is struggling with injuries to Britt Baker, and Kris Statlander. The upside is potential financial gain for both sides as well as a shot in the arm of the women’s division for AEW.
#3) Independent Circuit. This may sound outlandish but here me out. The former world champion presumably wants to wrestle and compete in a top tier promotion. With all of the chaos surrounding the wrestling profession at the moment some promotions may be less likely to take a perceived risk at this time. If the offers she receives are not acceptable to her I could see Tessa Blanchard willing to work the independent circuit to rehabilitate her image while the fallout of the #SpeakOut movement runs its course. This would allow her to keep wrestling in the short term while not constraining herself to a long-term contract that considers unacceptable. The wrestling community is highly forgiving, perhaps over time Tessa will have established enough goodwill for a major promotion to justify signing her to a major contract.
I would love to read your thoughts on where you think the former world champion will land. Hopefully, despite the turmoil and chaos of the current wrestling landscape a better product will rise. A product that is intent on treating people with dignity and respect. As with all movements, these things take time and require effort by all parties. I hope you will keep watching wrestling and continue to demand better from everyone.
Remember the golden rule: treat others the way you want to be treated.