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Wrestle Enigma EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Cheerleader Melissa

San Francisco, California has some memorable names in the area. But no one is more memorable than Melissa Anderson, better known as Cheerleader Melissa.

You can call San Francisco, California what you want; Fog City, The Paris of the West, The City that Knows How, or Baghdad by the Bay, but to a lot of people in that area, it will always be “The City by the Bay.” There are many names that are associated with the city, like baseball legend “Joltin;” Joe DiMaggio, rapper Tupac Shakur, and martial arts legend Bruce Lee. But in the city that’s known for fog, there’s a beautiful woman who makes it brighter. And she resides in that area.

In the ring, she’s either the tough woman in a cheerleader outfit, Cheerleader Melissa; the mysterious Raisha Saeed; or the tough girl with an attitude, Alissa Flash. But outside of the ring, she’s Melissa Anderson, who is just as beautiful as her personas. Before we get to the interview portion, let’s get to know her first.

Melissa’s father Doug Anderson and her “uncle” Billy were a tag team in the 1970s and early 80s. Growing up she became a fan of her father’s work and also showed her own flair for sports, particularly soccer, as well as joining Palmdale High School’s athletics and amateur wrestling team as one of only four girls.

“I was born into the business. My Father wrestled professionally from 1984-1986. I still can remember sitting next to my mother watching Dad wrestle,” Melissa said about her early years. “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.”

Melissa also worked hard in the classroom as well. “My senior year of high school was a lot of fun and my teachers were very supportive,” Melissa said in one of her past interviews. “I was trying to get a wrestling career going and keep up with my school work. If I had to travel to a booking and miss school teachers would e-mail me work and I could e-mail assignments in. They were great to me.”

Melissa is not only strong and very athletic…

…But she also strikes a pose like a runway model.

While only 15, she had already become involved in the wrestling business, traveling to San Bernardino frequently to train in and work for the wrestling school of Billy Anderson, her father’s former tag team partner, as well as involving herself in the running of things and before long she made her debut front of stage. Despite touring so young, Anderson still studied and gained her high school diploma largely through the help of e-mailing teachers; she also credits the internet for helping her become famous while only wrestling in front of small crowds.Trained by not only Billy Anderson, but also by TNA wrestler Christopher Daniels, Japanese joshi legend Mariko Yoshida, and “American Dragon” Bryan Danielson (Now known to WWE audiences as Daniel Bryan). She made her debut on her 17th birthday; August 17, 1999; her opponent at the time? Lexie Fyfe to be exact.

As her career got on track she faced off against the toughest names in the world; many of those names includes MsChif, Wesna, Saraya Knight, Awesome Kong, Nicole Matthews, even Madison Eagles faced off against “The Future Legend.” The nickname was based of the Future Legend Award the Cauliflower Alley Club hands out annually. She won it in 2004.

In 2008 she made her Total Nonstop Action Wrestling debut as the mysterious Raisha Saeed, manager and speaker for the dominant Awesome Kong. “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.”

As Alissa Flash in TNA, Melissa was cocky and arrogant. In later years, Melissa modified the character to be more popular and more fan-friendly towards fans.

A year later, Alissa Flash took on the 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.”

Although Melissa plays the heel role to perfection…

…But Melissa LOVES being the fan-favorite!

On November 29, 2009 Melissa appeared as Alissa Flash for the Texas based promotion River City Wrestling (RCW). At Declaration of Champions on July 3, 2010; she wrestled RCW Champion Joey Spector in the main event to become the first female champion of the company. The result was however nullified on July 12, after RCW Commissioner Jeromy Sage announced that the contract for the title match stipulated that the length was supposed to be 15 minutes, but the match was 15 and a half minutes long. A rematch was scheduled on August 7 with no time limits or disqualifications, The fiesty Californian won the match and the championship. On May 5, Alissa teamed with Darci Drake to defeat San Antonio’s Most Wanted in a Fans’ Lumberjack Strap Match match to win the RCW Tag Team Championship. They would hold the title for four months, before being defeated by the Gulf Coast Connection (AJ Summers, Ben Galvan and Rudy Russo) on September 3. As a result of being pinned in the title match, Alissa had to leave RCW for 90 days. On February 4, 2012, “The Female Terminator” became River City Wrestling’s first female Triple Crown Champion, when she defeated Rick David for the RCW International Championship.

Melissa made her music video debut in 2011 in the Smashing Pumpkins’ video “Owata.” Here she’s standing next to Billy Corgan, creative director of RESISTANCE-PRO wrestling and a frontman of the Smashing Pumpkins.

Melissa’s Wonder Woman-Like abilities work out well, as she can lift those who are at the 245 lb limit, and her speed and agility are amazingly fast. Melissa can explode as well; fistfights, cat-fights, or any street fights; there’s no way a girl who’s 5-8 and 142 lbs can be that tough. Some say she’s the real-life “Wonder Woman.” Others say she the modern-day Xena. But she’s the toughest of the tough, and no question about it, she’s very tough, and very beautiful.

A lot of people have a lot to say about Melissa.

“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.

Fellow SHIMMER star Davina Rose, who wrestled with Melissa before, 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.

As we celebrate her 30th birthday as well as 13 years in the wrestling business, this interview of Melissa is 100% honest. She’ll talk about her time training, The early days of SHIMMER, her time in TNA, Her incredible stops at RCW, thoughts of appearing at WSU (Women’s Superstars Uncensored), her take on John Cena, and what the future holds for her.

It’s time for “The Female Terminator” to get vocal for her loyal legion of fans.

Melissa learned the fundamentals from “Big” Billy Anderson (Seen here pinning Jake “The Snake” Roberts)…

…And she learned so much from Christopher Daniels (But never acquired his bizarre antics as of late)…

…Wrestled, trained, and respected fellow Future Legend Award winner Mariko Yoshida (Who innovated the Air Raid Crash, Melissa’s finisher)…

…And of course, she was trained by none other than WWE’s own “YES!” man, Daniel Bryan (She never acquired his antics while he trained her).

Those who trained her may have possibly built one of the most impressive athletes in the world today.

1. You were trained not just by Billy Anderson, but by Christopher Daniels, Bryan Danielson (Known as Daniel Bryan in WWE), and Mariko Yoshida while you were in Japan. What was it like training under these guys?
It was a great experience working with all of them, but the best was the very different styles I learned. 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.

Scraps with the likes of MsChif…

…”The Croatian Panther” Wesna Busic…

…And Madison Eagles are classics in SHIMMER fans’ minds.

2. What do you remember about your earliest appearances in SHIMMER?
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.

All that hard work paid off for Cheerleader Melissa, as she captured the SHIMMER Title for the first time in her 6 years in the promotion.

3.You won the SHIMMER Championship in October of 2011. Can you explain to our readers how difficult it must have been for you to be at the top?
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.

According to Melissa, Raisha Saeed is a very mysterious woman.

Alissa Flash, as Melissa puts it, is an extension of Cheerleader Melissa, but without the pom-poms and the cheerleader outfits.

4. In TNA you played two unique characters; Raisha Saeed and Alissa Flash. Can you describe what those characters were about?
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…

San Antonio has a lot of great legends, starting with “The Iceman” George Gervin…

…And then “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels…

…”The Admiral” David Robinson led the hometown Spurs to their fist NBA Championship…

…As well as Tim Duncan…

…And then there’s “The Female Terminator,” the FIRST woman to win a major championship in a wrestling promotion.

5. You are a fan favorite in River City Wrestling in San Antonio, TX under the Alissa Flash character. What was it like to be wrestling in the city that has legends like WWE Hall of Famer “The Heartbreak Kid” Shawn Michaels; as well as Spurs legends like “The Iceman” George Gervin, “The Admiral” David Robinson, and Tim Duncan?
I really LOVE San Antonio and San Antonio has been very good to me. Not only its 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.

Just because the SHIMMER Championship is at the hands of the vicious Saraya Knight…

…It doesn’t mean that it will be Melissa’s again in the near future.

6. You lost the SHIMMER Championship to Saraya Knight this past March, in a situation based on an incident that happened 5 years ago. What was your memory about that incident and do you have any plans to win it again?
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!

Melissa has done everything during her SHIMMER run, but is her eyes looking topwards a run in WSU?

If so, will she be an enemy…or perhaps an unlikely ally…to the Midwest Militia (L-R: Allysin Kay, Jessicka Havok, Sassy Stephie)?

7. As you know, Beyond Wrestling has purchased Women’s Superstars Uncensored (WSU) this past June. I asked on Twitter if they were willing to book you in one of their shows in the near future, and they said they were willing to do so. Do you wish to appear in a WSU event to expand your fan-base in the East coast?
For sure, I look forward to working with WSU in the future. There is some incredible talent on the East Coast and I would love to go out there sometime and tear it up with the girls.

Before his run in the WWE, John Cena was known as “The Prototype” in UPW. He was featured with Melissa in Wrestle Enigma’s most talked about articles.

8. What is your take on John Cena, a former student of Christopher Daniels?  
John Cena is a great and very nice person. Everyone knew that he had the “it” factor back when we worked in UPW together. Most importantly, I have a huge respect for his immense work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I think he might have the biggest heart in the business.

Although her nickname is “The Future Legend,” Melissa doesn’t know what the future has in store for her…But when the time comes, she’ll be ready.

9. What does the future hold for “The Future Legend?”
We never know what the future holds…but I’ll tell you one thing…the future looks good!!

Melissa may have accomplished almost everything throughout her career, but she still feels she isn’t finished quite yet. “My journey isn’t over yet,” Melissa says, “it’s just beginning.”

10. In closing, would you like to leave a last message for your fans? 
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.
Thank you to Melissa for her time and cooperation,as well as the kind folks at ClickWrestle for helping me out. To learn more about Melissa, check out her Facebook fan page as well as follow her on Twitter @FutureLegendCF. All of her classic matches can be found on clickwrestle.com.
You can follow me @matthewhollie and Wrestle Enigma @WrestleEnigma

About Matthew Hollie

Wrestling fan since day one. Accepts any feedback.