Tessa Blanchard, a third-generation star making waves in Impact Wrestling, made WWE appearances but was never signed to a WWE contract. She was heartbroken after finding out that she would not be offered a WWE contract. In retrospect, though, she was able to gain diverse experiences and knowledge that she never would have acquired if she gotten a deal.

“When I didn’t get signed by the WWE it was hard for me. I remained on the independent circuit. I travelled. I went to China. I spent three weeks in China and got to be a part of the very first women’s match to ever be televised in history in China. Nobody can ever take that away from me,” said Blanchard on Thursday afternoon’s Impact Wrestling conference call.

Tessa Blanchard

Blanchard traveled to Japan to join Stardom, one the best women’s wrestling organizations in the world. “I got to do two tours of Japan. The second tour of Japan I believe that I discovered who I am meant to be in the ring — my hair, my gear, my move set, the way I move, the way I think. Everything changed that second tour of Japan. I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I had been signed by the WWE at the time,” said Blanchard.

In addition to working in China and Japan, Blanchard has worked a dozen small arenas around the Canadian Maritime provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island, as part of the Atlantic Grand Prix Wrestling tour.

“I got to do three months in Canada traveling and went up and down the Maritimes and worked 27 nights in a row, one of them. I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was signed by the WWE at that time. I got to go to the UK and work for What Culture Pro Wrestling and one of my favorite matches of all time was where me and Ricochet wrestled Will Ospreay and Bea Priestley. I learned so much in that one match and I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was signed by the WWE. I got to wrestle Brian Cage, David Starr, AR Fox, Candice LeRae, Crazy Mary. Girls who are actually signed now but I’ve gotten some of these matches that I genuinely, genuinely learned from and I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was in WWE at the time because they were all in the independents.”

From the great matches that Blanchard has created to the grind of the lifestyle of a professional wrestler, it has shaped who she has become. There’s the family connection too: her father is Tully Blanchard, and grandfather the late Joe Blanchard; her stepfather is Magnum T.A.

“I’ve gotten to travel and have these experiences, get the crap pay, work my way up, set up the ring, set up the chairs, travel the 14 hours there and back without a hotel, sleeping in my car. I’ve gotten to do all that. I really have this new found respect and I wouldn’t have gotten to do that if I was with the WWE at the time,” said Blanchard.

“So these life experiences, these personal experiences through wrestling if I was signed at that time, my whole entire path would be different. Who I am today would be different. If you change even one variable something would be different and so I’m very, very blessed for things to have played out the way they have. Through the hardships, the good times, the bad times, the trials and tribulations, God’s been on my side and I’m very, very thankful for the way everything has played out so far.”

Those experiences continue this weekend in southern Ontario, with two days of Impact Wrestling TV tapings at Windsor’s St. Clair College Friday and Saturday night.