It’s an uncommon trait to find in someone as young as the 23-year-old “Uncrowned Knockouts Champion,” Tessa Blanchard. You can see it in the ring, on the mic, and as we got a chance to experience first-hand, in front of the press. Blanchard gives off the air of someone who knows exactly who she is and exactly where she’s going. Her confidence is unwavering, but it comes from hard work. That was on full display when asked about how she’s handling all of the opportunities that have come her way.
“You don’t have to get ready if you stay ready and that’s one thing that I do. I stay ready. I’m in the gym twice a day seven days a week. I’m dieting all the time. I’m keeping my body and my mind right… I’m very confident in myself, I’m very confident in my ability.”
Blanchard calls herself the Uncrowned Knockouts Champion and she fully intends to win the championship in her match against Allie and Su Yung. She’s had a take-no-prisoners approach since arriving on Impact wrestling, laying out Allie and Madison Rayne. As she discussed her journey in wrestling so far and how she plans on proving herself in Impact, it was apparent what makes her special. Though many have been quick to characterize her attitude as arrogance, it was something else. Blanchard is grounded, she’s smart, she knows what she’s up against and she knows what she brings to the table. Perhaps she rubs some people the wrong way because we’re not used to seeing that level of sureness in someone so young. It could also be because she’s claiming Su Yung’s Knockouts Championship before actually facing her in a championship match.
Yet despite that, she was quick and unabashed in giving credit to her peers in the Knockouts locker room. Blanchard’s attitude of “game recognizes game” is always front and center, and she manages to balance it with a sense of confidence in herself and her own abilities. It’s part of what makes her such a compelling performer. When asked to look past the Knockouts Championship that she plans to win and let us know who she saw as competition, Blanchard couldn’t pick just one.
“Every time I’m in the Knockouts locker room I think ‘these women are talented. These women are some of the best women’s wrestlers in the world.’ Some of them have given me a run for my money a few times, but one thing that they’re not is they’re not Tessa Blanchard. I am next level, I’m a different breed…All of them are competition, all of them are phenomenal. But they’re not me.”
Since debuting for Women Superstars Uncensored in 2014 at the age of 19, Blanchard has filled the early years of her career with matches all over the world. Spending time in WWE NXT and “The Mea Young” Classic, Shine, and Queens of Impact, she has undeniably secured herself on everyone’s radar. Her experiences are wide-reaching, so we wanted to know which matches she enjoys watching back purely because they’re good matches. Again, Blanchard recognized her opponents’ role in making a great match.
“My match against Brian Cage is one of my favorites, my match against Scorpio Sky in Los Angeles is one of my favorites…and then my matches against Brit Baker I’m very fond of…Some of my opponents I just really really enjoy working with I don’t think it really has much to do with me as I really enjoy working with them.”
In a stacked roster like this, how does Blanchard remain confident? To her, it’s simple. All of these other women are great, but “they’re not Tessa Blanchard.” She knows that it does her no good to overlook any opponent. Even when it comes to competition that is wildly different than Blanchard, she maintains a strong, if slightly begrudging respect. At one point she was asked if there’s room for “diva type” wrestlers in this women’s revolution, specifically Scarlett Bordeaux. Blanchard is so aware of the fierceness this locker room brings, the idea of taking anyone lightly is out of the question in her mind. She welcomed the competition.
“I think Scarlett Bordeaux is making room for Scarlett Bordeaux in Impact Wrestling… if she wants to step in the ring with me, you know what, in fact, I tell impact please book that match.”
Blanchard is floored by the opportunities ahead of her. She’s not intimidated, she’s ready. She mentioned that despite the craziness, she very much is still enjoying the ride. At 23 years old she is living out a dream and carrying the legacy of her family name. It’s not lost on her how special that is, but she doesn’t let it cloud her either. Among those opportunities is a match at the Bullet Club run “All In”. The event, which sold out in less than 30 minutes, is being touted as a historic and game-changing night. Blanchard thinks for as much hype as it’s gotten, it ought to be getting more.
“Oh I don’t think people quite realize how special this is going to be…What Nick, Matt, and Cody are doing, this is absolutely next level. I don’t think people quite understand the vision that they have, it’s going to be something so big and the platform that they’re giving us women…we have the opportunity to go up there and do very very special and elevate women’s wrestling.”
It’s clear that Blanchard has a lot of fight in her. What’s underneath her toughness in the ring, however, is a sense of self that just radiates off her. There are some that will call it arrogance, but for Blanchard, knowing who she is has gotten her this far. It’s gotten her to “The Mae Young Classic”, to multiple tours of Japan, to the top of the Knockouts division, and to “All In”. Why on earth would she change now?