When Tessa Blanchard became the first woman to win the Impact World Championship at Impact Wrestling‘s Hard to Kill pay-per-view on Sunday, her win was surrounded by controversy, given the recent allegations that she had previously bullied several ex-colleagues and used racist language against an opponent. However, that wasn’t what was on WWE Hall of Famer Booker T’s mind when he criticized her history-making victory on the latest episode of his podcast.
As quoted by Wrestling Inc., Booker explained on this week’s Hall of Fame podcast that he has to respect Blanchard for winning a previously male-only title because she’s a talented wrestler and is “really good” at what she does. However, he went on to stress that he feels giving her the Impact World Championship is the “worst idea” in the promotion’s entire history, as it has the potential of making male wrestlers look and feel inferior in the ring.
“Because now all the men in the company, if they wrestle her and she beats them it diminishes every guy in the company. I mean who’s the top guy in the company now?” Booker was quoted as saying.
Relating Blanchard’s world title win to whether WWE would allow a similar booking decision to take place, the Hall of Famer opined that he doesn’t imagine a top-tier female wrestler like Becky Lynch would face male opponents such as Samoa Joe or Brock Lesnar in an intergender match.
“I mean this is the worst idea in the history of wrestling. It really is. It makes me question and wonder if somebody tried to blow this thing up on purpose like somebody said, ‘let’s see how bad we can mess this up.’”
Angle. Sting. Joe. Foley. Styles. RVD. Hardy. Anderson. Storm. Roode. Aries. Bully Ray. Sabin. Magnus. Young. Lashley. EC3. Hardy. Galloway. Edwards. Patron. Drake. Pentagon. IMPACT. Cage. Callihan.— IMPACT (@IMPACTWRESTLING) January 13, 2020
And now @Tess_Blanchard. #HardToKill pic.twitter.com/mWBbCDkgtY
Wrestling Inc. also quoted Booker’s thoughts on the idea of intergender mixed martial arts fights, as he spoke against the potential dangers of women facing men in unscripted combat. He also expressed concern about whether it’s alright to see male and female competitors fighting each other on television when — in a real-world situation — a man would oftentimes go to jail for hitting a woman.
As further posited by Booker, Impact Wrestling would have to require the other women on its roster to “go out and beat the men” if the company wants to build Blanchard up as a credible world champion. He added that while intergender wrestling may work in independent promotions, he doesn’t see it as something Impact should be doing if it wants to be taken more seriously in the business.
“If they want to be looked at as an indie group, keep doing stuff like this.”
As it’s only been less than a week since Blanchard won the Impact World Championship, it’s still far too early to predict whether or not her reign will turn out to be a success. However, Booker’s comments about the former WWE Mae Young Classic competitor’s quick rise to the top further suggest that her title win — and pioneering status as a female world champion in Impact — has created quite the buzz.