Tessa Blanchard: “It’s Very Exciting to Shake Things Up” (Interview)

Believe it or not, but 5 years ago, Tess Blanchard wanted to do a musical theatre and be on Broadway. But in 2002, her father Tully Blanchard and the Four Horsemen were inducted into the WWE Hall of Fame and it planted the seed for her new career. One of the hottest free agents in the business is now an Impact Wrestling Knockout. A company with whom she has no contract yet, but a huge desire to change and become the Champion of. Last week, during Impact weekly conference call, a few hours before Under Pressure was aired, Tessa Blanchard talked about her already undeniable career and her present and future with Impact Wrestling. 

Making her way to the top

Being a second or third generation wrestler can be a blessing, like a curse. Natalya or Charlotte Flair told it many times before, the name doesn’t make the wrestler. “Having my dad (Tully Blanchard), my stepdad (Magnum TA) and my grandpa (Joe Blanchard) all be in the business and to carry on their legacy, that adds extra stress on the heir, extra weight on my shoulders. It does and it doesn’t in fact. My dad was the one of the original Four Horsemen, he is a WWE Hall of Famer but also he’s been Dad to me. He’s always been hard on me,  expected the best of me, pushed me to be the best that I can be. He knows what I’m capable of and he believes in me that much. I’ll say that pressure that it adds on my shoulders I use it to motivate me because I have huge respect for my grandpa, my dad, my stepdad and I never wanted to disappoint them. I always want to carry on our name with dignity and with respect but also forge my own path at the same time.” Her dream match would be against Natalya as the two female wrestlers are the only third-generation Superstars in this business. 

Tessa Blanchard took an unusual path to become what she is today. And in a way, she can than WWE for that as in 2014, the company refused to sign her and opened her the gates to something very different. “When I didn’t get signed by WWE, it was hard for me, I was heartbroken I guess in a sense. But I wouldn’t be the person that I am today. I remained on the independent circuit. I travelled. I spent three weeks in China and got to be a part of the very first women’s match to ever be televised in history in China. Nobody can ever take that away from me. I got to do two tours of Japan. The second tour of Japan I believe that I discovered who I am meant to be in the ring, my hair, my gear, my move set, the way I move, the way I think. Everything changed. I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I had been signed by WWE at the time. I got to do 3 months in Canada travelling. I went up and down the Maritimes and worked 27 nights in a row. I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was signed by the WWE at that time.

“I got to go to the UK and work for WCPW and one of my favourite matches of all time was where I and Ricochet wrestled Will Ospreay and Bea Priestley. I learned so much in that one match and I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was signed by the WWE at that time. I got to wrestle Brian Cage, David Starr, AR Fox, Toni Storm, Candice LeRae, Crazy Mary. Girls who are actually signed now but I’ve gotten some of these matches that I genuinely learned from and I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was in WWE at the time because they were all in the independents. I’ve gotten to travel and have these experiences, get the crap pay, work my way up, set up the ring, set up the chairs, travel the 14 hours there and back without a hotel, sleeping in my car. I’ve gotten to do all that. I really have this new-found respect and I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was with the WWE at the time. So these life experiences, these personal experiences through wrestling if I was signed at that time, my whole entire path would be different. Who I am today would be different. If you change even one variable, something would be different and so I’m very, very blessed for things to have played out the way they have. Through the hardships, the good times, the bad times, the trials and tribulations, God’s been on my side and I’m very, very thankful for the way everything has played out so far.”

She has also made a name for herself wrestling men. And like she told me, it seems like it has been the best possible school for her. “I actually love intergender wrestling. I think there’s a way to do it. If it’s done the right way, then it’s a very beautiful form of art. I’ve had some of my favourite matches against men. I’ve fought Brian Cage, AR Fox, David Starr, Tracy Williams. I think that the way that men think in matches, their speed, their timing, their agility, most of them, it kind of forces me to step my game up in the ring. It forces me to hit a little harder and move a little faster, get a little bit quicker on my feet. I think that’s why in the past four years I’ve gotten to where I am today also mentally, I have that mental strength because I’ve shared the ring with some of the best men in the industry in my opinion and it forced me to step up my game all around.”

Taunting Madison Rayne

Undeniably Impact Wrestling

When she was asked about, Tessa Blanchard confesses her delight to make her debut with the company. “I really love Impact. The girls in the locker room are all super competitive, they’re all very talented so it’s a cool locker room to be a part of. Everyone in the back gets along, everyone wants the best for each other, everyone pushes each other to be the best that they can be. The producers are all very brilliant. I love working with Gail Kim and Jimmy Jacobs, they have really great minds for wrestling so it’s cool to learn from them.”

In fact, Tessa and Impact have been trying to find each other for quite a long time. “I think that everything happens for the right reasons at the right time and with Impact, I think that they’ve been making strides over the past maybe 10 or 12 months. They’ve got some of the hottest free agents out there and they’ve locked them down, such as Brian Cage, Pentagon, Fenix, Fantasma, Taya. Just some of the best are out there, so I thought it’d be a better place that Tessa Blanchard should go to.  Since I’ve been in Impact, it’s been an adjustment, it’s been interesting, it’s been fun, it feels right. No matter what decision I make, I usually go with my gut.”

A higher standard has just arrived and Knockouts should be careful. “I don’t take anything away from that, they’re all very talented, they’re great, they have the looks, they’re strong, they’re this and they’re that. But the one thing is none of them is Tessa Blanchard and I think that I bring a whole new dynamic to the Impact Knockouts locker room so it’s  very exciting to shake things up.” After her first match against Kiera Hogan, Madison Rayne interfered in the “statement” she was making on Kiera. The two squared off at Under Pressure but even if Tessa Blanchard is respecting her opponent, she thinks she had nothing to do with her business. “I’m there to make a statement. I’m here because I believe in myself. I think I am the best so I came to impact for that Knockouts Championship and I’m going to go through every single Knockout if I have to get it. The fact that Madison Rayne helped herself to get in the ring and then interrupts me, it really irritated me so honestly I just can’t wait to get my hands on her and show her like Tessa Blanchard isn’t anybody to mess with.” At Under Pressure, she came up short but of course, the best is yet to come. “The fact that I’m in Impact now I think it changes everything else. I think it shakes everything up. I think that the match that I’m going to be tapping with some of these women are going to be absolutely phenomenal. I think that I’m going to bring other women up to my style because they’re capable of that and without me either than the mix some of them are capable of that and the fact that’s why I’m here now, let’s just say things are about to get very interesting.”

Tessa Blanchard made a surprise arrival at Redemption, tried to get a surprising win at Under Pressure. Which surprise is she preparing as we’re now on the Road to Slammiversary? Because she believes in herself and has this faith in her abilities, at only 22, Tessa Blanchard could literally tear the Impact house down. But the fact is she’s only 22, she will win some matches, lose some. She will have to climb the ladder of success step by step. If the name doesn’t make the man or the woman, time is creating and polishing the Champions. And Tessa Blanchard has all the time in the world to be as bright as the Diamonds that are shining on her wrestling gear.

Attacking Kiera Hogan

All pics and screencaps courtesy of Impact Wrestling