Tessa Blanchard is not figured into WOW's plans, although we haven't been told officially she's been fired. Fightful first learned about issues between Tessa Blanchard and WOW in mid-April, but those we've spoken to indicated that they'd witnessed friction as far back as January.
Specifically we were told that Tessa Blanchard was "livid" that a planned January tryout was canceled by CBS due to COVID, with David McClane getting the finger pointed at him. The tryout had been advertised, and from Blanchard's side, was said to have believed they could have done a tryout via Zoom or at an isolated school, but the situation wasted a lot of money.
For those asking, AJ Lee was at the tapings, and worked commentary. Tessa Blanchard did not appear in any capacity.
We noted last week that when Fightful would inquire with WOW talent and staff, they would go silent when Tessa Blanchard was mentioned. After the story was published, multiple reached out to say that it was indicated to them there could be legal recourse between the two sides, and were concerned about possibly being involved in that.
Sources within the company said that WOW was even able to lure back some people that swore they'd never work with Blanchard again only to see "more of the same." One said that initially the attitude was chalked up to "passion" among higher ups.
The WOW project started to kick back into gear in 2021, with a categorically different approach than what we're seeing. We're told that the original business plan involved contacting globally exposed free agents and offering big money -- by the project's standards -- to make a visible splash and garner a major television partner.
However, part of the plan from the jump was to serve as a Tessa Blanchard rehabilitation project, as there was no interest from WWE, AEW, IMPACT or even ROH at the time to bring her in. David McClane had long been a fan and protective of her, going as far as to email WOW talent in January 2020 and ask them to not speak about the Blanchard controversies. However, countless talent associated with WOW spoke to Fightful on the record in the following months about their issues with Blanchard, including some that have remained or returned.
Towards August or September of last year, Fightful was told that the business strategy had shifted huge for WOW. The focus was put on landing AJ Lee, who met with the company in early September. After some of the rejections WOW had received, several involved didn't think Lee would actually come aboard, but it ended up happening. Following that, we're told most of the focus switched to Tessa Blanchard as the primary in-ring name, and AJ Lee as the veteran face of the company. This would supplemented with extremely low cost talent that they believed they could train to fit the roles they needed.
One source that we spoke to said that things had to have got bad between David McClane and Tessa Blanchard because he was consistently on her side for years, even through multiple controversies.
After the tapings, we're told that a company wide email went out informing staff that the scheduled early June tapings were postponed due to a positive COVID test.
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