Friday, August 2, 2013

Enter The Bellatrix Zone: The Female Terminator

Cheerleader Melissa heads back to England for the first time in 5 years.
For years, no one has ever underestimated Cheerleader Melissa; whether she's either Raisha Saeed or Alissa Flash, she brings her brand of intensity and aggressiveness. “I was born into the business. My Father wrestled professionally from 1984-86. I still can remember sitting next to my mother watching Dad wrestle,” Melissa said about her early years in an interview a few years ago. “Since then, we have always kept in contact with our friends and family in the business. Growing up, I was very athletic. I competed in sports such as amateur wrestling and martial arts. Being around the business so much, I too became interested in becoming a professional wrestler. Dad supported me in whatever I wanted to do.”

Trained by not only by Bill Anderson, she learned from Christopher Daniels, Robert Thompson, Bryan Danielson (Known to WWE audiences as Daniel Bryan) and Mariko Yoshida, she brings a technical game while utilizing high-flying moves, brawling, and submission wrestling to her arsenal. "It was a great experience working with all of them, but the best was the very different styles I learned," she said in an interview last year. "In the beginning, Billy Anderson guided me and Christopher Daniels trained me on the fundamentals. During my time training in Japan, Mariko Yoshida trained me on Japanese style with lots of submissions and technical wrestling. When I returned to the US, I trained with Daniel Bryan and Robert Thompson who were both all-around amazing trainers."

Melissa has made a complete name for herself all over the world.
For 13 years, Melissa has made herself a solid name with the help of as well as her home promotion for 7 years, SHIMMER Women Athletes. "The main thing I remember from the early days in Shimmer, was the excitement in the air with having so many talented females in one location. It truly was something very special that was the beginning of a great era for female pro wrestling and I am proud to say that I have been on every Shimmer DVD since the start," she says about the early years of SHIMMER.

In 2008 she made her Total Nonstop Action Wrestling debut as the mysterious Raisha Saeed, manager and speaker for the dominant Awesome Kong. The association between Melissa and Kong go way back before their TNA careers. “That was an idea that was already created in one of the (TNA) writers’ minds,” Melissa said. “They were looking for the right person to fill the role, but the funny thing was that I was actually approached by WWE before the Muhammad Hassan era with almost the exact same Raisha Saeed character. Back then, there were two other people involved so it was supposed to be a tag team with a manager and a female. It was looking really good, but then at the last second they decided to go in a different direction with the Arab-American route instead of the straight Arab route. And when they went in that direction, it cut the possibility of having the female role to that, although I did get to dress up in that character and do a couple of test runs with it.

“…Fast forward a couple of years later and TNA came up with that character by themselves. People want to believe that a monster character like Awesome Kong doesn't have a voice so someone else should speak for her but also be mysterious. Word got back to their creative team that I had done something similar to that character and it just happened to fit.”

A year later in 2009, Alissa Flash took on the TNA scene, but her stay in TNA was not good and left in 2010. “It’s pretty much an extension of Cheerleader Melissa,” she explained. “I don’t think there’s that much difference between the two characters. However, if you remember, I had a match with Daizee Haze on Impact as Cheerleader Melissa and I think TNA creative were a little confused by that. When you hear about Cheerleader Melissa, perhaps you expect to see like a super happy Dallas Cowboys looking cheerleader and instead you get this strong looking brunette coming out and going crazy on people. I just don’t think that translated well with TNA. They liked my style and my aggressiveness, but they were just like ‘That cheerleader thing doesn’t work with your wrestling style.’ So that’s how they eventually came up with the Alissa Flash character for me.”

But how does Melissa tell those two apart from one another?

"Raisha Saeed was a very mysterious character that acted as the voice for Awesome Kong in TNA. Everyone had their own view or opinion about Raisha which was the beauty of the character. Alissa Flash was a tough and strong woman…honestly, she’s Cheerleader Melissa without the pom-poms…"

Melissa appears regularly in River City Wrestling in San Antonio as Alissa Flash.
On November 29, 2009, Melissa appeared as Alissa Flash for the Texas based promotion River City Wrestling, winning their major title legitimately on August 7, 2010. She has won their Tag Team title, and the International Tile; making her the first female to win the triple crown in that promotion. To be wrestling in the city that has legends like Tully Blanchard, WWE Hall of Famer “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels; as well as San Antonio Spurs legends like “The Iceman” George Gervin, “The Admiral” David Robinson, and Tim Duncan; it's an honor. "I really LOVE San Antonio and San Antonio has been very good to me. Not only is it an honor to wrestle in a city with great wrestling history, but the fans are very kind and amazing! San Antonio fans make the trips worth it every time," she says.

Melissa won the SHIMMER Title in 2011 from Madison Eagles.
On October 2, 2011; Melissa finally captured the SHIMMER Title after 44 volumes of trying to win it. "I wouldn’t say it was difficult, as it is a passion for me to keep going no matter what, under any circumstances. If you love what you do, it will never seem like work and all the bruises and struggle was worth it for me," she said.

But in 2012, she lost the belt to none other than Saraya Knight in controversial fashion. As Saraya put it bluntly; "I did what I had to do to get my hands on Melissa, I waited 5 years for that opportunity, It was a bonus she went into my match as a Champion and I was ecstatic when I took her belt, and from a submission!! I think it was well deserved and I patted myself on my back!"

Melissa's story is never complete without the involvement of Saraya Knight.
If anybody didn't know, Saraya and melissa have been going at it for over 5 years, when Melissa nearly ended Saraya's career when a cola can sliced Saraya's kneecap, ending the match right then and there. But their first match between the two was memorable, and showed signs of hatred, kind of like the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry. "Well I was her opponent at Chickfight 7 and we were in the first round, I was knocked out of the competition after I got twisted in the ropes by my neck and was hanging there on the outside until people managed to separate the top and 2nd rope so my head could be released, I was hanging and fighting for breathe for about a minute or so and whilst I was in trouble Melissa was trying to smash my head in and stop the guys from getting me free. The first encounter was memorable," Saraya said.

When asked if she any plans to win the gold again, Melissa replied, "Plans to win it again? Of course I do! I always have a plan up my sleeve and one day that gold will be back around the Cheerleader’s waist!"

One amazing move worked wonders for Melissa.
That plan went to fruition in APril of this year, when Saraya and Melissa battled it out in a steel cage where Melissa broke out a super hurricanrana off the top of the cage as well as landing her missle dropkick and the Air Raid crash to pick up the win as well as the SHIMMER Title for the second time. The girl made no mistake about it...her plan was ultimately successful.

Melissa has had lots of supporters and detractors throughout her career.
A lot of people in the wrestling industry has had a lot to say about Melissa, some negative, some positive.

“I think she’s beautiful and an amazing performer, not many are as good as her. She’s just no match for Perfection,” said Shanna, a fellow female wrestler from Portugal.

Fellow CAC member and legendary announcer Jim Ross had this to say about Melissa; “Shes worked hard to make herself better. Wish she’d get a break.”

When I asked about LuFisto, one of Melissa’s classic opponents…and sometimes tag partners, whether or not she has the highest respect for her, she states, “I always had. She’s an amazing competitor.”

“A pioneer for the Wrestling industry. I came across her from watching a match she had on HEAT against Victoria and have been a fan ever since,” says Jezabeth, a young wrestler out of Great Britain.

Former SHIMMER star Davina Rose, who wrestled with Melissa before and now goes by Bayley in the WWE, says she’s “Very respected in the world of women’s wrestling.”
When I was talking about a match that featured Melissa and Hailey Hatred, the most decorated female wrestler today, I hoped that one day they’ll face off again, and she replied; “me too, she’s a great opponent.”

“Melissa’s technique is so good, and she has power and stamina. She is a smart wrestler. I love Melissa!” Mariko Yoshida, one of her trainers and opponents during her career, said in a Dirty Dirty Sheets interview.

Rebecca Knox has had said this about Melissa; "A tough competitor and a remarkable lady who has done so much for the female wrestling industry."

Current SHINE Champion Rain said that Melissa is "Tough as nails. Also, reminds me of odd shaped cookies."

A rising wrestler from New Zealand named Evie has had her say about the Cheerleader; "Amazing talent, someone I have looked up to. Would love the opportunity to wrestle her."

Even Rhia O'Reilly can never forget that dangerous curbstomp of Melissa's.
Even Bellatrix stars like Rhia O'Reilly has said one thing about her signature Curbstomp; "That curb stomp is lethal!"

And the Queen of Europe Queen Maya has said that Melissa "Was part of the greatest rivalry in recent women's wrestling history with Saraya Knight. Her cage match with her was like an epic field battle. I'm eager for an opportunity to prove my mettle with her."

Melissa brings to Bellatrix prestige.
What Melissa brings to the table is her aggressiveness and her technical prowess. Throughout her 13-year career, Melissa has been in 311 matches with 156 wins under her belt and a solid winning percentage of 50.2%. The best year in her career was her SHIMMER Title campaign in 2011 earning her a 68.4% winning percentage. Her worst? In 2002, with a winning percentage of 35.7%. In SHIMMER, where she has her success, she has a 65.5%, being the only active wrestler to appear on every volume since 2005. In TNA, she has little success, with a winning percentage of 26.2%.

The reigning SHIMMER Champion is always looking good.
What does the future hold for Melissa? "We never know what the future holds…but I’ll tell you one thing…the future looks good!!" she says. Nothing can be sure yet, as the 30-year-old athlete still has lots of mileage to go, she still feels she isn’t finished quite yet. “My journey isn’t over yet,” Melissa says, “it’s just beginning.”

Besides, her fans will still support her, even if she's a heel or a face. "I just want to say how grateful I am to every one of my fans of the support I have received through out the past years of my career. Its the fans that truly keep me motivated and make every bump/bruise worth my love for Professional Wrestling. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

And we couldn't agree more.

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