Promotions hiring Tessa Blanchard would be a big mistake

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Overnight on Jun. 25, news broke that IMPACT! has severed ties with their world champion Tessa Blanchard, effective immediately.

Tessa Blanchard’s contract with the company had been due to expire on Jun. 30 and with the promotion and athlete being unable to come to terms on an extension, IMPACT! had reportedly suggested numerous storylines to Blanchard that would see her drop the World Championship at the upcoming ‘Slammiversary‘ event.

Since she has been isolating along with her fiance Daga due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic,  Blanchard refused to travel to tapings; she was also requested to, and refused to, film some promo material from home to send to IMPACT! so they could use the footage to build up to Slammiversary, where she would, in theory, have made her final appearance for the company.

As one of the biggest names in women’s wrestling, and having gained worldwide industry notoriety as the first women’s division competitor to win a “men’s” world championship, Tessa Blanchard would, it seems, be a massive coup for any promotion that could convince her to sign on the dotted line.

However, I cannot stress this enough; signing Tessa Blanchard would be a terrible, massive mistake for any company that does so.

Back in January, Tessa Blanchard’s rise to the top of the IMPACT! roster, of any gender, was the talk of professional wrestling. The night before the promotion’s Hard To Kill PPV aired, where Blanchard would go on to defeat Sami Callihan for the IMPACT! World Championship, she tweeted “Hey women, try supporting one another. Cool things happen.

What followed was an avalanche of stories from fellow competitors, across multiple promotions, calling Blanchard out, and revealing that, rather than “supporting” her locker room peers, she has a habit of bullying them; in amongst other accusatory replies, current NXT superstar Chelsea Green stepped forward to accuse Blanchard of bullying her and others, and NWA superstar Allysin Kay revealed that Blanchard had engaged in direct racism towards a Black athlete whilst competing in Japan.

Fast forward to June and Blanchard, as discussed, has been fired by IMPACT!, with her World Championship taken away. While IMPACT! might well try to dress up the dismissal as “due to her history of racism and bullying”, it is very apparent that they had no intention of dismissing Blanchard until her contract situation proved itself to be unresolvable.

That, however, doesn’t excuse any circling promotions that might decide Blanchard is worth acquiring for their divisions, women’s only or otherwise.

Right now, world wrestling is in the midst of an upheaval and, hopefully, a complete reset, due to the #SpeakingOut hashtag that has exposed countless people in the industry, from in-ring talent to promoters to promotion owners. Primarily for sexual assault, but also for locker room bullying.

Inside and outside of the wrestling world bubble, the world at large continues to see daily marches and protests as the #BlackLivesMatter movement rightfully continues to demand to be heard and recognized.

Whichever companies are considering hiring Tessa Blanchard, WWE, AEW, NWA, it doesn’t matter; the message that this signing would send out, now more than ever, is “we do not care about ensuring a safe locker room and overall environment for our talent and fans, and anything we have done or said otherwise is blatant, weak lip service”.

These major promotions have a responsibility, maybe now more than ever, to ensure a safe environment for anyone and everyone that works for them and attends their shows. WWE continue to promote their “Be A Star” campaign. All Elite have just suspended Sammy Guevara for speaking about WWE athlete Sasha Banks so disgustingly that I refuse to even link to it here.

The sheer hypocrisy that it would display if either company were to entertain signing Tessa Blanchard, after the industry-wide rejection of her and exposing of her as a bully and a racist, would be a big nail in the proverbial coffin at a time no promotion can afford it.

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Major promotions and indie promotions alike need to do the right thing and not hire Tessa Blanchard.