Impact Wrestling has terminated its contract with world champion Tessa Blanchard, per a statement from the promotion to Mike Johnson of PWInsider.
“Impact Wrestling confirmed that it has terminated its relationship with Tessa Blanchard and stripped her of the Impact Wrestling World Championship," the statement read.
Blanchard was the first woman to hold the Impact Wrestling World Championship. Her reign has now ended after 159 days.
Impact Wrestling did not provide official reasoning for Blanchard's release, but Johnson reported on why it may have been the case:
"Relations between Blanchard and Impact had become increasingly icy in recent weeks, especially after Blanchard did not send promos from Mexico (where she has been residing) for the 6/1 episode of Impact on AXS. That footage was slated to have been edited into a sit-down interview conducted by Josh Mathews 'via satellite.' When that material was not received, Impact had to re-edit the episode with other content and have host segments of the show changed and new voiceovers cut.
"Impact sources cite that there were attempts made to get Blanchard to return and drop the title but that the two sides were not able to come to terms. Blanchard's deal was slated to expire before the PPV but Impact was hoping that she would return for a final appearance, especially as they were of the belief that they could roll the time she was in Mexico not performing onto the end of her deal, extending it past its original expiration date. When it became increasingly obvious that Blanchard appearing wasn't going to happen, Impact opted to cut bait, terminate the deal and move forward."
PWInsider has contacted Blanchard for comment and is awaiting a response as of Thursday evening.
Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com provided similar reasoning per his own sources:
Blanchard also held Impact Wrestling's Knockouts title and won the promotion's Wrestler of the Year Award in 2019. She is the daughter of WWE Hall of Famer Tully Blanchard.
The 24-year-old was set to face four competitors on the July 18 Slammiversary pay-per-view in Nashville, but that will no longer come to fruition as the promotion looks to move forward without its champion.
The question now for Blanchard is where she goes from here. Impact Wrestling gave her a massive push as the company's primary titleholder, but that is all up in smoke following her release.
It's possible that WWE or AEW could come calling, but an incident of alleged racial abuse could prevent either organization from pursuing that route.
Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet provided further information:
"As we previously reported, ex-Impact star Sienna aka Allysin Kay went public that weekend about an incident that took place in Japan in 2017 involving Tessa and a wrestler named Black Rose. According to Sienna, Tessa called Black Rose the n-word in the locker room and spit in her face. The woman in question backed her claims and other women stepped forward with allegations of bullying.
"Tessa has denied the allegations, saying she’s never used a racial slur of any kind in her life."
Satin followed up with his own take on how the alleged incident could affect Blanchard's future.
"Tessa would've been a great get for AEW prior to the allegations that came out about her in January," Satin wrote. "Now, however, I'm not sure how they get around that when they've made a public stance of banning people like Hulk Hogan and Linda."
Sapp reported that the allegations did not have anything to do with her release.
Blanchard, who began her pro wrestling career in 2014, has worked for NXT, Women of Wrestling, Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide and other independent promotions. She is married to Daga, who wrestles for both Impact Wrestling and Lucha Libre AAA Worldwide.