Sunday night at IMPACT Wrestling’s Hard to Kill pay-per-view, Tessa Blanchard had the biggest moment of her career when she defeated Sami Callihan in the main event to become the company’s first ever women’s IMPACT World Champion.
Unfortunately, the result is buried in controversy after allegations surfaced on social media a couple of days before the show, regarding Blanchard’s behavior. The incident started with Blanchard suggesting in a tweet that women support one another, in what could be construed as both innocent or patronizing.
WWE’s Chelsea Green responded by alleging Blanchard belittled and bullied her female peers, questioning if that was supporting one another.
This created a chain reaction of responses from a multitude of female pro wrestlers throughout the industry calling out Blanchard for her alleged hypocritical behavior.
NWA’s Allysin Kay accused Blanchard of spitting in a black female pro wrestlers face (known as ‘La Black Rose’) and calling her the “N-word.”
Blanchard sent a generic tweet, seeming to respond to the allegation originally brought forth by Sienna, stating it wasn’t true.
The silence from Blanchard and IMPACT Wrestling on this issue was deafening. Not only did the company fail to publicly address the issue, they moved forward with plans to make Blanchard the champion as if nothing had happened.
After winning the title, Blanchard spoke to the audience off the air, where she made a statement that seemed to broadly address the allegations:
“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,” she firmly stated. “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’ve ever known. So, whenever you come for me, you come for all these people!”
Blanchard’s speech was defiantly tone deaf in the face of allegations of racism and bullying. She oddly bragged about having one of the strongest minds she’s ever known and generally brushed over the issue while ultimately not denying or taking individual accountability for the allegations. It’s no surprise that a source indicated to me that high profile women within IMPACT Wrestling do not like her.
Whether you agree with the decision to make Blanchard champion or not – and I don’t – the story is now something entirely different than it should be, and that blame largely rests on the shoulders of Blanchard and IMPACT Wrestling.