Impact Wrestling made several members of their roster available to the media before and after their Hard To Kill PPV this weekend. But the wrestler who emerged from that Sun., Jan. 12 show positioned to be their biggest star didn’t talk to reporters either time.
That’s likely because Impact’s new World champ Tessa Blanchard was at the center of a controversy which didn’t have much to do with her being in the biggest intergender match in recent wrestling history. A generic “support women” tweet from Blanchard on Saturday triggered a long list of female wrestlers accusing her of being a locker room bully, and in one instance, a racist one.
While she didn’t answer any direct questions about the allegations, Blanchard did allude to them while speaking to the Dallas crowd after defeating Sami Callihan for the championship.
"No matter what you say about me... I am now your world champion" - Tessa Blanchard pic.twitter.com/dhLTlWcvck— Stephanie (@theBLHW2) January 13, 2020
“Over the past eight months, this has been my life. Sami and oVe have been a thorn in my side and tonight, we did it.
Nobody, nobody in this life is perfect. We’re all human. And it doesn’t matter what you say about me, it doesn’t matter what you call me. I’ve got one of the strongest minds that I have ever known. So whenever you come for me, you come for all these people. And I am now the standard-bearer of Impact Wrestling and man or woman, pound-for-pound, I am one of the best in the world and I am now your World Champion.”
The sentences which seem to be in response to accusations from people like Allysin Kay, Chelsea Green and La Rosa Negra aren’t an apology. They’re not even an admission of guilt, which is very much in line with Tessa’s tweeted responses to their claims.
Instead, the speech - which can be read as being almost entirely kayfabe - paints Blanchard as the victim who’s overcome everyone who’s come for her. That’ll play well with her supporters, but not with her detractors.
We’ll see how it plays out in general from here. There were some “no you don’t” responses to the “you deserve it” chant last night, but the Texas crowd was largely behind her and Impact still looks to be sticking to their plan to push Blanchard to the moon. One independent promotion (San Antonio’s Heavy Metal Wrestling) dropped her from a scheduled booking after the allegations hit.
For now, Tessa Blanchard’s not perfect, but she’s the champ.