Tessa Blanchard spoke with Wrestling Epicenter about Impact heading to Pursuit, Chris Jericho (and her step-dad, Magnum TA) being inspirations for her finisher, and her goals for 2019. Here are some of the highlights:
Impact leaving POP TV and heading to Pursuit:
"What is cool is, Impact isn't trying to compete with anyone. Impact is, simply, an alternative. It is such a neat thing because you see talent that is giving, literally, 200% from the beginning of the show until the end. Nothing is just passable, everything is great! That's what I say, I don't want to just be passable. I want to be the best in the world! I don't want to be good, I want to be great! So, I'm taking the time to get there—to learn from the people that are better than me and the people that have done something in the business.
"Nothing is just good enough. We take the time and we make it freaking great! That is the great thing about Impact—they care about each individual talent and everything that we put out on TV has a lot of thought and time put into it. A lot of people that are extremely knowledgeable, like Gail Kim for instance. Gail Kim has done so much and has so much knowledge. I think she's extremely underrated. She wants the product to be great and she doesn't mind taking the extra time to get it there. That is a really invaluable thing to me."
Her goals in 2019:
"You know, I'm not sure what is going to happen in 2019, but I do know that it is going to be better than 2018. That is a huge statement to make because 2018 was absolutely amazing. But, with the WOW Superheroes on AXS TV, which has Mark Cuban and Jeanie Buss behind that. I'm so excited for people to see that air in January. With Impact, I hope to retain my Knockouts championship. I hope for women to main event an Impact [PPV] event which has not been done yet. I hope to share the ring with Gail Kim one day ... I hope that intergender wrestling can make a breakthrough. There are a lot of hopes for 2019. But, you know, I've been going moment by moment, match by match, and it seems to be working out so far!"
The origins of her "Magnum" finish as a tribute to her step-dad, Magnum TA, and Chris Jericho:
"Wow, I don't think I've ever told this story. So, I'm a huge Chris Jericho fan. I've always been a huge Chris Jericho fan. I was in Japan—I believe it was Osaka. I was wrestling a girl and I hit the finish and she kicked out. I'm like, 'Well, fudge! What do I do now?' So, I go to the top rope and I do a move off the top rope. That was the first time that I had ever been to the top rope! From that, it progressed. I was trying to think of something that I could do to anyone that was unique to myself and still showed intensity and still had a little bit of the past in it. So, as I said, I'm a huge Chris Jericho fan—I love his finish, but I wanted to up the ante a little bit. So, I do it off the top rope.
"My step-dad (Magnum TA) is an amazing person. He was an amazing wrestler. But, his career was cut short. He is someone that I look up to and someone that I respect. He is someone that I go to for advice ... I think he is extremely underrated and does not get the recognition that he deserves. I think that he should be a WWE Hall of Famer, to be frank! I wanted to name something after him and I remember one of the commentators coming to me and saying, 'Tessa, I need the name of some of your moves.' I was like, 'Well, this is the Magnum!' [Laughs] I remember my step-dad always telling me to be careful with that move.
"He'd say, 'That ring is unforgiving. That ring hurts.' Every move, every bump! It doesn't feel good. If it was easy, everyone would do it! It is a very taxing thing on your body. So, my step-dad told me to be careful with that move. That move is tough on me. It is a very tough thing on my body."
Blanchard also discussed more on Gail Kim and Taya Valkyrie. You can check out the full interview in the video above or read the highlights by clicking here.