Impact Knockouts Champion Tessa Blanchard spoke with Wrestling Epicenter about her upcoming title defense against Taya Valkyrie at Impact Homecoming and her thoughts on Gail Kim. Here are some of the highlights:
Gail Kim being special referee of her title defense against Taya Valkyrie at Homecoming:
"Everyone is going to see three of the best women's wrestlers in the world in the ring at the same time, which is very special. Regarding Impact making Gail Kim the special referee ... I have said it before. I get it because not a single person in the Impact locker room has been able to take the title from me so why not stack the odds against the champion, right? Personally and professionally, Gail is able to separate personal and business aside. But, it is no secret that personally, she has never liked me. Professionally, she has always helped all the women. But, personally, she has never liked me. But, that's OK! Personally, I'm not too fond of her either!"
Her true feelings of Gail Kim:
"She is one of the people, aside from my family, that made me want to get into the business. She is one of the best in the world. She is one of the pioneers that was trying to make women's wrestling into what it is now. She fought for the women! She still fights for the women! So, while I respect her, I'm hoping that she is going to go into this match unbiased. But, you know, we really won't know until we get there on Sunday in the ring. I've always done whatever is necessary to retain my Knockouts title by any means necessary. With Gail being the referee, I hope she saw what I did to referee Brandon Tolle the other day. When he got in my business, I made sure there was no more Brandon Tolle. If Gail Kim gets in my business, I'll make sure there is no more Gail Kim."
Facing Taya Valkyrie:
"As far as Taya, Taya has had opportunity after opportunity after opportunity at my title. She always comes up short. But hey, she's married to the champion - The Heavyweight Champion! So, lets keep giving her a shot, right? That's fine. Whatever. She's one of the Knockouts that always takes me to my limits in different ways than I would expect. But while Taya is so good, she is still no diamond. She is still no Tessa Blanchard. I am one of the best in the world! This Sunday, everyone is going to see that."
Performing in the birth place of Impact, the Asylum, at Impact Homecoming:
"You know, I think it is a really special thing. To be back at the Asylum, I've never been there but that is Impact's roots. I think the women, especially, are going to make history this Sunday in something very, very beautiful."
Thoughts as she heads into Sunday's PPV:
"Everything about Impact Wrestling last year was on an upswing. We've been able to lock down talents that are the top independent talents in wrestling right now - Pentagon, Fenix, Sami Callihan, Brian Cage, it has been huge! Impact, right now, is hotter than ever. No matter what station we're on, people go to find Impact Wrestling. The Homecoming card is loaded! You've got Taya and myself, you've got LAX and the Lucha Brothers, Ultimate X is back, Eli Drake is one of the best in the world and he's wrestling Abyss, and then, in the main event, you have got Johnny (Impact) and Brian (Cage). The whole entire card is loaded!"
Blanchard also discussed her 2019 goals, Impact's move to Pursuit, and more. You can check out the full interview in the video above or read the highlights by clicking here. Be sure to join us for complete live coverage of Homecoming on Sunday beginning at 8 pm ET.