Cheerleader Melissa: TNA's Secret Weapon

Christi LottCorrespondent IJanuary 25, 2009

I have to admit, I don't know much about the independent wrestling scene, nor am I as devoted to following SHIMMER as I am to the WWE and TNA. Thanks to being a member of alot of Divas forums and following the sites, my education in the area is improving.

More importantly, thanks to YouTube, I've been able to watch alot of matches and I can say this: the answer to TNA's Knockout problems is Cheerleader Melissa aka Raisha Saeed.

For those unfamiliar, SHIMMER as a women's wrestling organization, an independent organization focused on developing some great women stars. Some of its alumni include WWE stars Women's Champion Beth Phoenix and Natalya as well as former TNA Knockout Champion Taylor Wilde.

The organization shares its roster with TNA with such stars as Awesome Kong and Roxxi among those who occasionally doing double duty. I highly recommend to those reading to look up their matches. If you're a fan of some quality women's wrestling, this is your best bet in North America.

Cheerleader Melissa is among those doing double duty. A second generation wrestler, Melissa has an amateur wrestling background from high school and started training to professionally wrestle at a young age. She was invited to come wrestle at the now defunct ARSION Japanese Women's Wrestling promotion where she put on a stellar match against Mariko Yoshida, one of the greatest wrestlers of all time, male or female. 

She's been recognized at least three times by two different clubs as a "future Legend", something I agree with. Thanks to the cheerleader gimmick, coming out in a cheerleader inspired gimmick (pom-poms included), Melissa is quite recognizable and has a successful record as a part of SHIMMER and for me, she has one of the best finishers of all time, the Kudo Driver.

Only recently in TNA as Raisha Saeed has she started wrestling. I enjoy this gimmick as Kong should not be the type of monster heel that needs to speak. She has competed in her cheerleader gimmick once on Impact back in May. I am completely dumbfounded as to why TNA has not capitalized on having her as a part of their roster. The gimmick is quite recognizable to those who know the indy scene and those who don't.

As I've said previously, since Gail Kim left the company the Knockouts Division seems completely lost. In recent weeks, they attempted to push Christy Hemme in Gail's place with little success. ODB has become the newest No. 1 contender, which I'm all for.

I've said before that if TNA wants to be truly different from the WWE, they need to push someone the WWE never would, which is why Kong has been and is champion, and now thankfully, ODB is the next contender and hopefully the next champion as it's been a long time coming.

I say that Melissa is their secret weapon for many reasons. One, she's an independent wrestler with little but good ties to the WWE (she participated in WWE workouts with Molly Holly, Ivory, and Jazz, and even wrestled Victoria in 2006 on WWE Heat), but has a solid natural wrestling background with bragging rights of wrestling in Japan.

She's stunningly beautiful which, let's face it, is a big deal in getting causal wrestling fans or non women's wrestling fans to pay attention to your match. She's got a great gimmick-who doesn't love a woman who wrestles in a cheerleading costume?! She's got everything TNA craves in making themselves different from their competition.

Thanks to her I've been exposed and interested in this Indy scene. TNA would be wise to either unmask her or let her do doubly duty in TNA and making that a conflict of interest for herself and Awesome Kong, which could be an interesting storyline. I for one look forward to her being fully exposed to the rest of the wrestling audience because this woman is a talent that shouldn't be ignored...or hidden under a burkha.