Melissa Marie Anderson (August 17, 1982) is an American professional wrestler, better known by her ring name Cheerleader Melissa. She is best known for her work in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling, where she worked as Alissa Flash and Raisha Saeed.
Anderson's father Doug wrestled professionally in the early 1980s. 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. 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.
Professional wrestling career
While training at Billy Anderson's school, she met the Ballard Brothers (Shannon and Shane) who were using the gimmick of hockey players, similar to the Hanson Brothers from the film Slap Shot. They were looking for a valet and due to their sporting gimmick, Anderson took on the role of a heel and the gimmick of a cheerleader, despite them not playing a part in ice hockey. They toured the West Coast, mostly appearing with All Pro Wrestling (APW) where she would interfere in matches, often using high-flying moves. As Cheerleader Melissa she also received training from Christopher Daniels for a short period of time before moving on to APW where she trained under the tutelage of Robert Thompson and "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson.
After gaining experience from ring side, Cheerleader Melissa eventually had her first proper match on her 17th birthday against Lexie Fyfe in a losing effort at an outdoor carnival event. In 2001 she entered into Ultimate Pro Wrestling and lost a tag team match alongside Looney Lane which led to a feud between the two. The first lost in the tag team match would be her only one with the company as she went on to win a grudge match between the two followed by a succession of mixed tag matches, first with Shannon Ballard and then alongside both Ballard Brothers, beating Lane and Frankie Kazarian in the |mixed tag team match as well as Nova in the final six-person intergender tag match. The following year, in the summer of 2002, Anderson was personally invited to wrestle and train for three months in Japan for the promotion ARSION. She was selected alongside Taylor Matheny who had recently received exposure in World Wrestling Entertainment's Tough Enough program, and thus Anderson received much internet attention by association. Among the rigorous training schedule she wrestled what she claims to be some of her favorite matches, particularly a 15-minute draw against Rie Tamada and her loss to Mariko Yoshida. Also as a present for her 20th birthday, she was allowed to tag team with veteran female wrestler Lioness Asuka.
After Anderson returned from Japan, she became a full-time wrestler. Moving on from her pre-Japan feud with Nikki, she continued to wrestle for APW winning its Above The Law Championship from Robert Thompson in July 2004. Under her reign it was renamed the Future Legends Championship, the title under which she lost it to Daizee Haze the following year before winning it back and retiring the belt. In October, APW associated itself with the newly formed, all-female tournament-cum-promotion ChickFight (CF). In the first event, staged under the APW banner for their Halloween Hell weekend, Anderson made it through two rounds only to be defeated in a steel cage match for the final round by luchadora Princess Sugey.
She would become a staple of ChickFight, appearing at the first ten of their major events, missing the eleventh event due to injury sustained less than a week before the show. She made the final in the first two tournaments but exited the third in the first round after a double disqualification during a match with former rival Nikki, now under her better known name Sara Del Rey. Melissa won ChickFight V tournament, beating Jazz in the final, and she also went on to win ChickFight VII: The UK vs The USA tournament when it moved from the United States over to the United Kingdom pinning "The Jezebel" Eden Black in the last match. However, the focus of ChickFight VII was on the controversial ending to her first match that saw Sweet Saraya's head hung in the ropes, Anderson continued to assault her despite being trapped until the referee ended the match and Saraya was stretchered from ringside. As Anderson celebrated her tournament victory Saraya reappeared and threatened her. The feud was cut short during a pre-match brawl for Real Quality Wrestling (RQW) in June that saw the two brawl both in and outside of the building and ended with Anderson winning shortly after Saraya was thrown on an already utilized aluminum can, tearing through her ligament and leaving her hospitalized. She was forced to forfeit her ChickFight IX: Our Final Chance match the following day and would not wrestle again for six months.
Feud with Wesna (2007–2009)
Melissa using the Kudo Driver on Wesna during their 45-minute draw.Meanwhile, Anderson had begun a new feud. She did not participate in the tournament at ChickFight VIII but instead had a rematch against Eden Black for the newly created Transatlantic Women's Championship, which she won. Later in the show she successfully defended the title against Croatian wrestler Wesna Busic. The two had met years previously when her internet celebrity saw her invited to German Stampede Wrestling to face Wesna in a losing effort at International Impact I. After defending her Transatlantic Championship at ChickFight VII, their next CF meeting saw Wesna defend her RQW Women's Championship fought under ChickFight Rules (no disqualification and falls count anywhere) which saw the two go to a forty-five minute time limit draw. This left the two at 1–1 and so a decisive match was to be held at ChickFight X but this ended in controversy when Wesna claimed that her tap out was merely an attempt to grab the rope for a rope break; their rematch later that night saw Wesna pick up the victory leaving them drawn again at 2–2. CF XI was originally slated to be a two out of three falls match to find a decisive victory until Anderson pulled out due to injury.
Their feud was picked up the following year for Shimmer Women Athletes at Volume 23 in May 2009. The company preluded the match with a video package showing their matches in Europe and announced that the winner would go on to face the Shimmer Champion at a later event. Towards the end of the bout, Annie Social came to the ring to distract Anderson allowing Wesna to use her CB4 Driver to pick up the victory. Wesna lost her championship match at Volume 25 and, owing to the controversy of their previous match, Anderson wrestled Wesna again in Volume 26 in a Knockout/Submission match where Anderson picked up the victory, making them level once more.
SHIMMER Women Athletes
Feuding and Teaming with MsChif (2005-2010)
After the success of ChickFight, Dave Prazak and Allison Danger set up Shimmer Women Athletes, a promotion with ties to Prazak's Ring of Honor intending to raise the credibility of women's wrestling on an international scale. Her first match with the promotion was on November 6, 2005, for Volume 1 in a losing effort to MsChif, starting a wild feud between the two. The loss saw Anderson demand a special attraction rematch—the match would be Shimmer's first hardcore match, fought under Falls Count Anywhere rules and helped Anderson gain the victory after nearly thirty minutes of wrestling on February 12, 2006, at Volume 4. MsChif took her revenge at Volume 5 by distracting Anderson during a match with Allison Danger, causing her to lose the match. Naturally the rivalry was not abated and their next match, main eventing Volume 6 on May 21, was declared a Last Woman Standing match with MsChif eventually coming out on top. Further interferences took an interesting turn at Volume 7 when Anderson came out during MsChif's match against Rain. However, before she could interfere, Rain's partner Lacey pushed her to the ground while trying to distract the referee in order to allow Rain to use an illegal weapon; an incensed Anderson fought back against Lacey in time for the referee to see the foreign object in the ring and declare MsChif the winner via disqualification. After Anderson had won her main event match, Lacey and Rain (The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew), ambushed her with a beat down until MsChif ran out, saving her nemesis before leaving her to celebrate the victory. The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew had threatened Anderson for involving herself in their plans against MsChif and similarly threatened MsChif for being in the way of ambushing Melissa and, after declaring themselves the best tag team in the world, demanded a match with the two for Volume 8 which became the penultimate bout of the evening. The Home Wrecking Crew's experience won out over MsChif and Anderson when a double team maneuver led to MsChif being pinned; after the match Anderson and MsChif shook hands as a sign of respect. The two soon showed they could work as a team though when they beat veterans The Experience (Lexie Fyfe and Malia Hosaka), with MsChif pinning Hosaka.
The two would meet again three months later in England for RQW's 2007 No Pain, No Gain event challenging Eden Black for the RQW Women's Championship but both came up short. The match served to build up interest for the aforementioned ChickFight VII: The UK vs The USA where Melissa would secure a victory against Black. She also beat MsChif in the semi-final. At RQW's Taking On The World the three met again with MsChif and Black teaming up in a losing effort against Anderson and Black's nemesis Jetta. In May 2008 MsChif put her NWA World Women's Championship on the line during Pro Wrestling Revolution's debut show but Anderson did not win the belt.
These series of bouts against each other did not stop them teaming together when they main evented Volume 17 on April 26, 2008, taking on an erstwhile enemy of Anderson again in the form of Sara Del Rey, alongside her Dangerous Angels partner Allison Danger. This time it was Melissa making the pinfall after an Air Raid Crash. Despite these string of successes, the tag team did not compete during the Volume 21 tag team gauntlet for the Shimmer Tag Team Championship, but they reunited when MsChif was threatened by both Kong and Del Rey for her Shimmer Championship. With both Kong and Del Rey wanting title shots, the two tag teams were actually booked for a contendership match for the Tag Team Championship during Volume 24 on May 2, 2009, which Anderson and MsChif lost. After this loss, Anderson went on a four match winning streak, including avenging a loss to Wesna Busic (see above). On April 10, 2010, at the tapings of Volume 29, Anderson and MsChif received a shot at the Shimmer Tag Team Championship, but were defeated by the defending champions Nicole Matthews and Portia Perez. The team's two back-to-back tag team losses led to Melissa dissolving her team with MsChif in order for her to focus on her singles career.
SHIMMER Champion (2010–2013)
On Volume 30, Anderson was defeated by Madison Eagles in a match, where the winner would receive a shot at MsChif's Shimmer Championship. The following day, Anderson defeated Misaki Ohata on Volume 31 and Ayako Hamada in the main event of Volume 32, before demanding a title match from the new Shimmer Champion Eagles. She received her title match on September 11, 2010, on Volume 33, but was defeated by Eagles. The following day on Volume 36, Melissa pinned Eagles to win an eight-woman elimination tag team match, where she, Ayako Hamada, Ayumi Kurihara and Serena Deeb defeated Eagles, Daizee Haze, Sara Del Rey and Tomoka Nakagawa. On October 2, 2011, at Volume 43, Melissa defeated Kana to become the number one contender to the Shimmer Championship. Later that same day on Volume 44, Melissa defeated Madison Eagles to become the fourth Shimmer Champion. During her title celebration, she was attacked from behind by Nicole Matthews.
Melissa made her first two title defenses on March 17, 2012, defeating Nicole Matthews on Volume 45 and Portia Perez on Volume 46. The following day, after successfully defending the Shimmer Championship against Jessie McKay on Volume 47, Melissa lost the title to Saraya Knight on Volume 48. After pinning Knight to win a ten-woman elimination tag team match on October 28 at the tapings of Volume 50, Melissa was granted a rematch for the Shimmer Championship the following day on Volume 52, but was defeated after being hit with the title belt. On April 6, 2013, at the Volume 53 internet pay-per-view in Secaucus, New Jersey, Melissa defeated Knight in a steel cage match to win the Shimmer Championship for the second time.
Heel Turn (2013-present)
Melissa made her first successful title defense a week later on April 13 at Volume 54, where she defeated Mercedes Martinez. Later that same day on Volume 55, Melissa began displaying a heel persona during another successful title defense against Courtney Rush, as well as on the following day on Volume 56, where Melissa made her third and final title defense of the weekend by defeating Kalamity. Later that same day on Volume 57, Melissa took part in Allison Danger's retirement match, where she and Ayako Hamada faced Danger and Leva Bates. Melissa initially submitted Danger for the win, but the decision was reversed when Melissa refused to let go of the hold. Post-match, the evil Melissa attacked Hamada, turning villainous in the process.
At SHIMMER 58 on October 19, Melissa accepted her award for ranking #1 on the PWI Top 50, and then cut a heel promo blasting Allison Danger. She was later challenged by Danger's former partner, Leva Bates, who she defeated to retain her title, Post-match, Melissa attacked both Bates and the retired Allison Danger, before being chased away by LuFisto. Later that same day on Volume 59, Melissa successfully defended her title against Hiroyo Matsumoto, and then attacked her after the match before LuFisto chased her away again. The title match between Melissa and LuFisto took place on the following day's Volume 60 and saw Melissa retain the title. Following the match, Melissa was taken to a local hospital, where she received ten stitches above her left eye. As a result, Volume 61 became the first Volume in Shimmer history, which did not feature a Cheerleader Melissa match. On April 5, 2014, Melissa defeated LuFisto in a 2 Out Of 3 Falls Match at Volume 62 in New Orleans to retain the title.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2008-2013)
Raisha Saeed (2008–2009)
On the January 10 edition of TNA Impact!, Anderson made her Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) debut as a villain; portraying an unknown woman wearing a niqāb, later named Raisha Saeed and billed from Syria. She was in Awesome Kong's corner when Kong defeated Gail Kim to win the Knockouts Championship. Her first pay-per-view appearance with the company was again in Kong's corner at Against All Odds, distracting Kong's opponent ODB to help her retain the Knockouts Championship. The situation with Kim and ODB intensified, leading to Anderson's first match as a competitor with the promotion. At TNA's all-steel cage event Lockdown, she and Kong took on Kim and ODB in a tag team match, where Saeed was pinned by ODB. On the July 3, 2008 edition of Impact!, Saeed lost a match against newcomer Taylor Wilde which saw Wilde become number one contender for the Knockouts Championship despite outside interference from Kong.
In September her costume became a focal point for angles as Saeed became a more regular in-ring performer. On September 4's Impact! ODB pinned her and then chased her backstage, coming out later with the burqa. Kong hit ODB in the back of the head while Saeed ran to reclaim her attire, her face masked by her hair at the time. Later that month. Roxxi used a burqa to disguise herself as Saeed while Kong was facing newcomer Mercedes Steele. After the match Roxxi removed her disguise and attacked Kong with a steel chair, while Saeed appeared at the top of the entrance ramp bound in ropes (implying that she had been abducted by Roxxi prior to the match). Kong took revenge, pinning Roxxi in a tag effort also involving Saeed and Wilde, respectively, but Roxxi would make a return pin on Saeed in a singles match weeks later.
Kong and Saeed would later align themselves with Rhaka Khan. On the November 6 edition of Impact!, Khan voluntarily substituted for Roxxi as Wilde's tag team partner against Kong and Saeed in a match. During the match, the evil Rhaka Khan turned on Wilde during the match to help Kong make the pinfall, but her good luck was short lived as Kong and Saeed, with Khan in their corner, lost to Wilde and Roxxi in a tag team match at Turning Point. Saeed lost to Christy Hemme on the November 27 edition of Impact!, allowing her to challenge for Kong's belt at Final Resolution but Saeed caused a disqualification, giving Hemme the win but retaining the belt for Kong. Through December, Khan and Saeed were joined in their support for Kong by newcomer Sojourner Bolt; the group dubbed themselves the Kongtourage and took on ODB, Roxxi and Hemme in a losing effort during a Street Fight on January 15. Hemme was scheduled for a rematch at Genesis, however, she suffered a legitimate injury prior to the match and the Kongtourage impromptu number one contender match was made at the pay-per-view with ODB picking up the victory, teaming to gain a future title shot. The Kongtourage finally picked up a victory over ODB in a four-on-one handicap match on January 29's Impact!. The Kongtourage rapidly fell into disarray, though, when Bolt won a number one contender battle royal in early February, and a fortnight later Khan expressed her dissatisfaction with the group leading to a tag match that Khan and Bolt, who were being portrayed as fan favorites now, won. Saeed's attempts to interfere in the Knockouts Championship match at Destination X were unsuccessful but Kong still managed to retain her title.
Kong eventually dropped the title to Angelina Love at Lockdown 2009. After this loss, and with Kong unable to regain the championship, the team of Saeed and Kong were entered into the tournament to decide the inaugural Knockouts Tag Team Champions. In the first round, the team beat The Main Event Mafia's team of Sharmell and Traci Brooks. Saeed scored the pin over Brooks, tagging herself in after Kong had done much of the work causing Kong to stare angrily at Saeed. They were less successful in the following round, losing to the eventual tournament winning team of Taylor Wilde and Sarita. After inadvertently costing Kong the Knockouts title at Bound for Glory, the two of them faced off on the October 22 edition of Impact! with Saeed now being referred to as a former manager. Kong won the match and then Awesome Bombed her through the entrance stage.
Alissa Flash (2009, 2011, 2013)
On the May 1, 2008 edition of Impact!, Anderson appeared as her signature Cheerleader Melissa gimmick and defeated Daisy Haze in a singles match that was billed as a "try-out" for both women. However, she reappeared as Saeed later that night. At the May 26, 2009 Impact! taping, Anderson wrestled as "Future Legend" Melissa Anderson in a dark match where she was defeated by Awesome Kong. Her television return occurred on the July 16, 2009 edition of Impact! as she wrestled under the revised name of "Future Legend" Alissa Flash, losing to the debuting Sarita and attacking her afterward, officially taking on another villainous role. Flash's losing streak continued in the first round of the Knockouts Tag Team Championship tournament where she and Daffney lost to Sarita and Taylor Wilde. As Flash, Anderson had a new outfit which included a streaks of make up around her eyes in tribute to Sherri Martel.
She picked up her first victory on the September 17 edition of Impact! by defeating Cody Deaner in an intergender Lumberjack match. The win, though, was largely due to interference from all the other Knockouts who were lumberjacks. Frustrated at her lack of meaningful victories, Flash interrupted an interview with newcomer Hamada by voicing her frustration at the lack of fanfare her arrival in the company received in comparison to foreign Knockouts Sarita and Hamada. Flash then began to brawl with Hamada, throwing her down the bleachers of the empty arena. The two met weeks later on the October 8 Impact! in an eight-woman elimination tag team match; when both were legal members in the ring they brawled out onto the floor until they were counted out and eliminated. The following week on Super Impact! the two met in a Falls Count Anywhere match which Flash lost after taking a moonsault from Hamada through a table. She finally scored an unassisted singles win on November 12 against Traci Brooks. After not being used by the company thereafter, Anderson requested her release which was granted on January 21, 2010. On March 14, 2011, at the tapings of the March 17 edition of Impact!, Anderson, as Alissa Flash, made a one night return to TNA, unsuccessfully challenging Madison Rayne for the Knockouts Championship as part of her open challenge series. On March 17, 2013, Anderson made another one night return to TNA to take part in the taping of the Knockouts Knockdown pay-per-view (aired September 6, 2013), where she, as Alissa Flash, was defeated by Gail Kim.
NCW Femmes Fatales (2010-present)
Anderson debuted for the Quebec-based NCW Femmes Fatales promotion on February 6, 2010, continuing to work under the name Cheerleader Melissa. Working as a babyface, Melissa teamed with LuFisto in a victorious outing against Cat Power and Kalamity in a No Disqualification tag-team match at Femmes Fatales II. Melissa entered a tournament to crown the first-ever NCW Femmes Fatales Champion and defeated Nicole Matthews in the first round at Femmes Fatales III, but lost to Matthews' Canadian NINJAs partner, Portia Perez, at Femmes Fatales IV. Melissa would pick up victories in the next three shows, but her winning streak ended at Femmes Fatales VIII, when she competed to a time-limit draw against Hailey Hatred.
At Part 1 of Femmes Fatales X on November 3, 2012, Melissa was defeated by Athena in a #1 Contender's four-way match that also included Angie Skye and X-Cute Sweet. After the match, Melissa was attacked by Skye in the ring, leading to a grudge match at the second part of the show that Melissa won. At Femmes Fatales XI on March 30, 2013, Melissa defeated Allysin Kay, but would be attacked after the match by Kay and Sassy Stephie. At Femmes Fatales XII on July 6, Melissa turned into a villainess during a #1 Contender's Match against Courtney Rush by resorting to heel tactics and attempting to use a steel chair, which led to a brawl between the two and the match ending in a double disqualification. At Femmes Fatales XIII on October 26, Melissa teamed with Mercedes Martinez in a losing effort to LuFisto and Sweet Cherrie in a No Disqualification tag team match. Melissa and Rush competed in a 30 Minute Iron Woman Match at Femmes Fatales XIV on April 19, 2014, but due to Martinez's interference, the match ended in a 1-1 draw.
At Femmes Fatales XV, Melissa was defeated by Rush in a Four Way Elimination Match for the NCW Femmes Fatales Championship, which also included Martinez and LuFisto.
- Finishing moves
- As Cheerleader Melissa
- Air Raid Crash (Over the shoulder back-to-belly piledriver)
- Kudo Driver (Back-to-back double underhook piledriver)
- Kondo Clutch (Inverted cloverleaf)
- As Alissa Flash
- Fujiwara armbar
- Sitout scoop slam piledriver
- As Raisha Saeed
- Damascus Drop (Elevated Boston crab dropped into a sitout position)
- As Cheerleader Melissa
- Signature moves
- Single Minor (Forward Russian legsweep)
- Curb Stomp (Standing inverted Indian deathlock surfboard followed into a head stomp)
- Missile dropkick
- Multiple suplex variations
- Reverse STO
- Samoan drop
- Wrestlers managed
- The Future Legend
- The Female Terminator
- Theme music
- "#1 Da Woman" by Tricky (ROH, SHIMMER, APW)
- "Firestarter" by The Prodigy (APW)
- "Trouble" by Pink (APW)
- "Get A Beat" by Dale Oliver (TNA; as Cheerleader Melissa)
- "Arabic Dancer" by Dale Oliver (TNA; as Raisha Saeed)
- "Empire March" by Dale Oliver (TNA; used while accompanying Awesome Kong)
- "Let's Go" by Dale Oliver (TNA; as Cheerleader Melissa)
- "Take It Out On You" by Goldy Locks (TNA; as Alissa Flash)
Championships and accomplishments
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated
- PWI ranked her #28 in the 2008 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #12 in the 2009 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #4 in the 2010 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #6 in the 2011 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #3 in the 2012 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #1 in the 2013 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #4 in the 2014 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #14 in the 2015 PWI Top 50 Females
- PWI ranked her #22 in the 2016 PWI Top 50 Females
- River City Wrestling
- RCW Phoenix Championship
- RCW Women's Championship