Last night, Tessa Blanchard defied the odds when she defeated Sami Callihan to become the first woman to hold the IMPACT World Championship. However, what should’ve been the culmination of months of storytelling and groundbreaking booking was much more complicated.
Blanchard vs. Callihan was arguably one of the hottest storylines in wrestling heading into this year. Even more, many revered Tessa Blanchard as one of the best wrestlers in the world and easily the biggest star on IMPACT’s roster. Her world title win should’ve been her crowning achievement and a landmark moment for women’s wrestling.
To be fair, it still is but the fans and her peers hardly heralded it as such. Instead, the occasion has been marred by mixed feelings and animosity.
Over the weekend, many women who have worked with Blanchard took to Twitter to reveal she bullied them in the past. Even worse, Allysin Kay accused her of spitting on La Rosa Negra and calling her a racial slur, which La Rosa later confirmed.
The backlash was swift and in response, Blanchard seemingly denied the claim. She hasn’t addressed the situation directly since, leaving many to believe she isn’t remorseful. It’s entirely possible that she was bombarded by everything and she was too upset to respond rationally.
With that said, it was a poor public relations move to go into Hard to Kill without at least releasing a statement about it. Her fans deserved answers and more importantly, she owes La Rosa and the others an apology. That may not fix everything but it would be a start.
After all, no one is naive enough to think this will end Blanchard’s career. She is still one of the best wrestlers in the industry. Frankly, that’s why this hurt so much.
She represented progress for a lot of people. As a matter of fact, her ascension to the top of IMPACT’s roster was direct proof of it. But if she’s just another talented star, who victimized others behind the scenes, she’s no different than legends of old with tainted legacies.
Tessa Blanchard proved that women are capable of competing for any company’s world title. Unfortunately, she is also dangerously close to proving the ego can be our worse enemy.
We’ve all done things we’re not proud of. Nobody is perfect as Blanchard said last night in her problematic post-match promo. It’s important to acknowledge our flaws and mistakes, but we must also work to correct them. Otherwise, there is no point in recognizing them.
Many people may think the timing of these revelations was suspicion. As Allysin Kay put it in response, “It’s never the ‘right time’ to come forward.” In truth, it’s never a bad time to admit you were wrong either and Blanchard could’ve used this as an opportunity to make things right.
This situation was a litmus test for her and she handled it poorly. It’s not too late though. Yes, everyone will always remember her first response but she could still turn this around.
As Kay went on to say, “She will go down in history regardless, but it’s up to her whether she wants it to be for her talent, or if she wants to be the next Moolah.”
Whether you agree with the timing here or not, it’s hard to disagree with that. Tessa Blanchard has a choice. She can be the progress she seemingly fought for, or she could stand as another polarizing figure in an industry full of tragic stories.
She is only 24 years old and she still has her entire career in front of her. Her IMPACT World Championship win is probably one of many accomplishments to come. So, it would behoove her to learn from this experience and make amends.
What do you think? Drop a comment below and be sure to check back with Bell to Belles for your latest in women’s wrestling news.