Here at Border Fuel, we’re always keeping an eye out for fresh news to keep you, our readers, up to date like in Impact Wrestling. Just in the last six months, Tessa Blanchard has moved to San Antonio, started doing wrestling training at HYBRID, and has joined some friends at autograph signings. But we need to talk about the Impact Wrestling situation before we can talk about where she is going.
Haven’t heard that name in a while? It’s understandable; Tessa has not been in the public eye since she was released from Impact in July 2020. It’s Slammiversary time, so we should talk about last year. Let’s break down the path that took us to this destination. In part two, we’ll talk about where she’ll go and where she should go.
Making Wrestling History
Impact Wrestling and Tessa Blanchard had set out together to make history, starting with Tessa’s much-promoted intergender match against Sami Callihan on a major pay-per-view, Slammiversary 2019. Of course, no one knew this was the start of her babyface run, one that would lead to a history-making moment. Tessa would show just because you are a babyface doesn’t mean you can be pushed around at all, and you can be powerful. It also started her downfall in Impact Wrestling.
With that match, Tessa Blanchard and Sami Callihan started telling one of the best pro wrestling stories of 2019. After a rigorous and hard-fought six-month battle with Callihan, Tessa Blanchard made history on January 12th, 2020. She became not only the first woman to hold the Impact World Heavyweight Championship, a title usually associated with the male wrestlers, but also the youngest Impact Champion at 24 years old.
Impact Wrestling had decided to put all their eggs in her basket, even when she didn’t make it easy for them. They backed her to the hilt after allegations of racism came out right before she won their title. They had made it clear to her and the world that she was the future. Little did they know that she wasn’t going to be their future.
Where Did Tessa Go and Why?
Well, from my understanding (feel free to tell me your opinion in comments), Tessa had previously asked for some time off from Impact Wrestling in March. She taped her last match for Impact on March 7th. She went to Mexico where she lived with her now-husband, Daga. At the time, they were in the process of planning their August 2020 wedding.
Covid-19 hit in late February/early March and President Trump immediately closed our borders. Tessa Blanchard was still in Mexico. Impact Wrestling contacted Tessa Blanchard asking when she was coming back because, as an American citizen, she could cross the border and return to the United States. However, then-fiancé Daga could not come with her because he is not an American citizen. She called the American embassy and was told they had no clue when the travel ban would be lifted allowing him to travel or her to go back to Mexico if she entered the United States.
Impact, Tessa Blanchard and Covid-19
At the time, Americans believed Covid-19 would be a short-term issue. Tessa and Impact Wrestling did not see any problems with her making the April 21st Rebellion Night One main event. She was supposed to defend her title against Michael Elgin and Eddie Edwards. This did not happen. Tessa Blanchard issued a tweet stating that she was worried about traveling with Covid-19 being a pandemic and spreading easily.
Was she more worried about getting Covid-19 or about getting back into Mexico? At this time, with some of Daga’s family being older, I believe her when she stated that it was about Covid-19 and her worries. Remember, little was known about the spread of it and we were finding out many new facts all the time. In April 2020, I don’t think her wedding was an issue…yet.
Continuing into May 2020 and June 2020
On May 5th, POST Wrestling wrote that Tessa had missed the May Nashville tapings, where Impact Wrestling had started a tournament to determine her new number-one contender. Bleacher Report stated that Impact Wrestling had asked her to video herself from Mexico. She was supposed to talk about different topics such as her championship goals, her fellow competitors and the tournament. They wanted the videos to be able to show in the late May episodes and especially the June 1st episode. Tessa didn’t send them.
It quickly became apparent that from late May 2020 to early June 2020, Tessa’s concerns had switched. Many fans still thought she was concerned about Covid-19. What many didn’t know, and Impact Wrestling wasn’t saying, was that the ticking clock on Tessa Blanchard’s contract had started. Her contract was set to run out on June 30th. This was putting Impact Wrestling under the gun because their biggest show every year is Slammiversary. In 2020, it was scheduled for July 18th.
The Impact Contract
The negotiations on Tessa’s contract had stalled and it became obvious to Impact Wrestling that Tessa had plans to become a free agent and was going to obtain offers from other promotions. She never ruled out returning to Impact Wrestling. However, Tessa had stated that more money and date availability would need to happen to persuade her. At this point they were pretty much done, Impact Wrestling wanted Tessa Blanchard to agree to return to Impact Wrestling and drop her title.
PW Insider stated that Impact Wrestling also believed that they could do as WWE had started doing to their wrestlers who had injuries. They wanted to add extra time to Tessa’s contract and extend it to keep her. They needed her at Slammiversary. Of course, as it did to MANY WWE wrestlers, this angered Tessa, particularly that Impact would add time because of a global pandemic, especially after Impact Wrestling management had stated that wrestlers did not have to risk themselves. In the meantime, Tessa was asking for a small-time extension and some additional money in order for her to come back for Slammiversary.
Tessa quickly realized that if she entered the United States then there was a possibility of her not making it back to Mexico for her wedding, especially if Impact Wrestling were to add time to her current contract. Her wedding was scheduled for late August. She knew with Slammiversary on July 18th and then additional promotion, she could be cutting it close. Tessa would need to quarantine herself before the wedding to make sure that she did not carry Covid-19 to any guests in Mexico. There was also the issue that Daga may not have been able to come to the US with her.
Part of Tessa, I believe, thought that she would win this battle. She always had with Impact Wrestling. I think she thought that they would give her a three or six-month extension with additional money or bonuses to come back and that they would allow her to leave for her wedding. By late May 2020, though, I think she knew there wasn’t going to be a solution.
Tessa Blanchard and the Shocking Impact Termination
On June 25th, Impact Wrestling terminated Tessa Blanchard’s contract. “When it became increasingly obvious that Blanchard appearing wasn’t going to happen, Impact opted to cut bait, terminate the deal, and move forward,” according to PW Insider. Tessa couldn’t believe that Impact Wrestling had taken this step, but she began to focus on her wedding. She tried not to pay attention to the media. They were painting Tessa as a spoiled brat and as an impulsive troubled star that may not be worth taking a chance on in the future.
What do you think? Is Tessa Blanchard worth taking a chance on for a wrestling promotion? Can she rebound to reach her potential? Or is she really a troubled wrestler that has shot herself in the foot way too many times? Let us know your opinion in the comments! I’ll talk to you soon and see you down the road.
We’ll be bringing you Part Two to tell you about why she didn’t sign right away with any promotion, how she has been maturing and focusing not only on her physical strength but getting stronger mentally. When you see her comeback, it will be the same great wrestler, but a better Tessa. Also, we’ll discuss where will she go?