Update on problems between Tessa Blanchard and WOW
Tessa Blanchard is reportedly not factored into WOW Women of Wrestling plans moving forward.
We noted a few weeks back how there were rumblings of issues between Tessa and WOW as they prepared for their first set of TV tapings for the reboot. Now Fightful Select reports that Blanchard is not figured into WOW plans, but it has not been confirmed that she’s been fired.
It was noted that while the issues between Tessa and WOW were first reported in mid-April, people close to the situation witnessed friction as far back as January.
It was noted that Blanchard was “livid” that a planned January tryout was canceled by CBS due to COVID-19, with David McClane getting the finger pointed at him. The tryout had been advertised, and from Blanchard’s side, she was said to have believed that they still could’ve done the tryout via Zoom or at an isolated school, but the situation ended up wasting a lot of money.
Blanchard did not appear at the WOW tapings. Producer AJ Lee was there, and worked commentary.
It’s been indicated to people in WOW that there could be legal recourse between Blanchard and the promotion.
WOW officials were reportedly able to lure back some people that swore they’d never work with Blanchard again, only to see “more of the same.” One person noted that initially the attitude was chalked up to “passion” among higher-ups.
When WOW announced their reboot in 2021, the approach was different from what we’re seeing now. The original plan involved contacting globally-exposed free agents and offering them big money, by WOW standards, to make a visible splash, and to attract a major TV partner. However, part of the plan from the start was also to serve as a rehabilitation project for Blanchard.
This was the plan because there was no interest in Blanchard from WWE, AEW, Impact Wrestling, or even ROH at the time. McClane had long been a fan of Blanchard and was protective of her, going as far as to e-mail WOW talent in January 2020 and ask them to not speak about the Blanchard controversies in the news.
Regarding that business strategy, there was talk last summer that the plan had shifted in a major way for WOW. The focus was put on landing AJ, who met with officials in early September. After some of the rejections WOW had received, several involved didn’t think AJ would actually sign with the promotion, but she did. After that, most of the focus reportedly switched to Blanchard as the primary in-ring name, with AJ being the veteran face of the company, while also working other roles. The idea was that this would be supplemented with extremely low cost talent that they believed they could train to fit the roles they needed.
It was noted by a source close to the situation that things had to have gotten bad between Blanchard and McClane because he was consistently on her side for years, even through multiple controversies.
After the recent WOW reboot tapings in April, a company-wide e-mail was sent out to inform staff that the tapings scheduled for early June were postponed due to a positive COVID-19 test.
Stay tuned for more.