Tessa Blanchard joined Chris Jericho's Talk is Jericho before her upcoming match against Gail Kim at this Sunday's Impact Rebellion PPV. During the conversion, Blanchard spoke about her time in Lucha Underground when she was told by one of the other women's wrestlers that she was only there because of her last name. Tessa is a third-generation wrestler, daughter of Tully Blanchard and granddaughter of Joe Blanchard.
Tessa had commented in March on Twitter about what Ivelisee had once said to her, "Her exact words to me were 'I never had a family name, I had to work for everything I have from the streets.'"
Although not said by name, this is likely who Blanchard is referencing in her conversation with Jericho as Blanchard had a dark match against Ivelisee in Lucha Underground in January of 2016. According to FightDB, Blanchard's only other bout with the promotion was a dark tag match with Prince Puma (aka Ricochet) vs. Marisposa and Marty Martinez. To be clear, in a 2016 interview with Busted Open Radio, Blanchard called the injury a "freak accident."
"I broke my shoulder, or my collarbone, I shouldn't say my shoulder, and I had surgery, six screws and a plate in here," Blanchard said. "I was wrestling a girl at Lucha Underground and the girl that did this to me told me, 'Tessa, I didn't have a last name in this business. I had to work for everything that I had.' And that's what she told me. Things like that would happen quite often where a girl in Japan told me, 'Tessa, you're only here because of your dad.' And that would happen to me left and right, left and right and one thing that I pride myself on is my mental strength."
Blanchard continued that she's very aware her last name will potentially open doors for her, but once she is in the ring, it's up to her to impress those watching. She also felt paying her dues along the way was equally as important to building her mental strength and legacy.
"I think that a lot of females can't hold a candle to me when it comes to mental strength because that kind of s--- doesn't even go in one ear to go out the other," Blanchard said. "And I believe that if you have that mental strength, you can take any situation and change it into the way that you think about it and make it a positive thing, and I had to find that because those are the kind of things that would really eat you up and I feel like having a name sometimes is a little bit harder because I never wanted to disappoint my grandpa, or my dad, or my step-dad.
"I wanna carry on their legacy and do them proud, but also create my own at the same time and that's really a difficult thing, because there's plenty of generational wrestlers who people say that about. 'You're only where you are because of this or because of this, not because of hard work,' and I was never gonna let that be the case. I wanted to go and I wanted to drive the miles for no pay, I wanted to set up the rings, I wanted to set up the chairs, I wanted to go to training six-seven days a week for hours upon hours and blow myself up to where I can only work on instinct. I wanted to sleep in my car. I wanted to do all of that.
"No matter what it is, I wanna be great. I wanna be be the best at it. My last name, I've always said, it might get my foot in the door, it might get me in front of the right people, it might get an opportunity, but at the end of the day when I get in the ring it doesn't do jack s--- for me. It doesn't take the bumps, it doesn't drive the miles, it doesn't do any of that."
You can listen to Tess Blanchard's full interview below.
Himanshu D contributed to this article.