The wrestling world is flush with incredible talent. Some talents are promoted, pushed and given the spotlight whether they deserve it or not. Others fight, scratch and claw their way to the top where they belong to be. Still others, regardless of how talented they may be, are never granted the chance or presented the opportunity to step up and show us all of the amazing things that they can do. Female wrestlers have an even more difficult ladder to climb with a lot more loose rungs that could deposit them in the basement if they don’t move quickly enough. For some reason female wrestlers have historically not been paid the respect they deserve and, in many cases, are treated as afterthoughts.
WWE has a long history of dismissing female talent and treating them as expendable. TNA / Impact Wrestling has, arguably, treated their female talent a little better at least in respect to granting them time and developing storylines for them. Despite TNA’s efforts, their Knockout division is not as entertaining as it used to be and their direction seems to be mirroring the path WWE followed: less matches and more skin. Even still TNA grants their female talent a lot more time in the limelight than WWE does in its ridiculous one minute Diva battle royals. This is why incredibly talented performers like Gail Kim, for instance, choose to go to TNA for less money. They love the business, they love to wrestle and at least in TNA they’ll get a chance to do that.
Then there are other women. The ones who for some reason don’t fit into the mold of TNA or WWE. Perhaps they don’t appreciate the idea of being pretty bodies first and wrestlers second. Maybe they don’t understand the correlation between putting on fantastic matches and the frequent necessity to wrestle in bikinis or lingerie. For some of them you can’t put your finger on the reason why they aren’t standing at the top of the wrestling world.
One of the most talented, physically dominating and entertaining female wrestlers in the world was in and out of WWE. She was in TNA but never given her due and now exists as one of the most prominent female names on the independent scene. Her name is Melissa Anderson. You may know her as Raisha Saeed. You may have seen her as Alissa Flash. She is best known and at her most electric as Cheerleader Melissa. She is currently the Shimmer Champion.
In an age when mainstream female wrestlers seem to necessitate appearance over skill, Cheerleader Melissa is a standout. Not only is she one of the most beautiful female wrestlers but she is also incredibly gifted in the ring. In 2004 she was the first ever female recipient of the prestigious Cauliflower Alley Club’s “Future Legend” award. She has held major titles in multiple wrestling organizations and was ranked #4 on Pro Wrestling Illustrated’s “Best 50 Female Singles Wrestlers” of 2010.
Cheerleader Melissa has been involved in some truly remarkable matches. Watching her work with MsChif was exciting, her feud with Wesna was awesome and if you haven’t witnessed her in the ring against Mariko Yoshida you’re really missing out. Melissa captured the Shimmer Championship on October 2, 2011 at the tapings for Volume 44 when she defeated Madison Eagles. The “Future Legend” DVD is an excellent way to check out some of her matches, or you could just head over to Youtube where a search for Cheerleader Melissa will pull up not only many awesome matches but fan made music videos and some of her more exciting moments in the ring.
It is exceedingly thrilling to watch Melissa step into that ring. In one match alone you will watch her perform moves not only that you’ve never seen female wrestlers pull off, but ones that men don’t perform either. There is no denying that Cheerleader Melissa is the total package. She possesses everything that you want to see in a wrestler, be they male or female. She has the “it” factor, she has the ability, she has the talent and if I had the option between watching her wrestle a cardboard box or watching some Divas or Knockouts roll around in their underwear I’d take Cheerleader Melissa any day of the week and twice on Sunday.
Cheerleader Melissa gives hope to what women’s wrestling can be. Through her hard word and dedication she represents a large portion of the wrestling industry that is hell bent on showing that women wrestlers aren’t just T&A and they aren’t disposable. Through her matches Melissa exhibits that not only can women compete on the same level as the men but they can also blow the guys out of the water if you give them the chance. Melissa truly is an icon of what a female wrestler can and should try to be.