Some of you might know Melissa Anderson from TNA as Raisha Saeed or Alissa Flash, but she’ll always be Cheerleader Melissa to me. A second generation star whose been involved in the business since the ripe age of 15, Melissa certainly knows what she’s doing inside the squared circle. Although schooled primarily under Billy Anderson, she was also the student of Christopher Daniels and Bryan Danielson at different points in her training days. Their influence can be seen in her matches today.
It’s tough to describe Melissa’s in-ring style, as there isn’t really a clear comparison for her. If forced to compare her to a current WWE diva, I’d have to say Beth Phoenix, although that’s doing Melissa a grave disservice. The fact is that comparing her to any “diva” would be insulting to Melissa’s ability. She’s a powerhouse, that much is sure. She also spent time training in Japan, which shines through in some of her techniques. Some of her moves, like her scoop powerslam, are reminiscent of the British Bulldog. Her numerous suplex variations, including a Northern Lights, often feature a bridge and are likely to put you in mind of Danielson or Mr. Perfect. She can fly, as her arsenal includes moonsaults and missile drop kicks, and she can also force opponents to tap out with an elevated crab or an especially brutal inverted cloverleaf. She even gets hardcore, regularly utilizing steel chairs, guard rails, and ring steps. Her preference, though, is the Air Raid Crash, an over the shoulder driver that looks likely to KO the recipient upon impact.
Cheerleader Melissa adopted the character from which her namesake is derived early on in her career while touring the West Coast. She worked as a valet for a tag team with a hockey gimmick, and given the sports-themed nature of the wrestlers, it was only natural for Melissa to be a cheerleader. She became a fixture in ChickFight, appearing at their first ten events and reigning as the promotion’s only champion. And then, in 2005, Shimmer was launched, and Cheerleader Melissa established herself as one of the premier names in women’s wrestling.
Shimmer is easily the top women’s wrestling promotion in the world, and Melissa is indisputably one of the company’s top performers. Managing to compete in both ChickFight and Shimmer concurrently, Cheerleader Melissa has participated in some instant classics. She’s been a part of a series against MsChif, culminating in an incredible Last Woman Standing match. Melissa & MsChif would eventually put their difference aside and work as a team, collectively known as MelisChif. The alliance has resulted in a slew of excellent matches, among them a tag team affair that pitted MelisChif against Sara Del Rey & Allison Danger at Shimmer Volume 17 and is widely considered to be one of the best matches in Shimmer history.
Cheerleader Melissa’s alter-ego Raisha Saeed debuted in TNA in early 2008 as a partner to Awesome Kong. Saeed, billed as hailing from Syria, stood in the corner of Kong for a number of Knockouts Championship matches, often involving herself on Kong’s behalf. Although it didn’t take long to step into the ring herself, the Saeed character played second fiddle to Kong for the duration of the gimmick. She wrestled alongside Kong (and later Rhaka Khan & Sojourner Bolt) as part of the Kongtourage until the fall of 2009, at which time tension developed between Saeed & Kong when the duo failed to capture the Knockouts Tag Team Titles. Raisha Saeed was written off of television after taking an Awesome Bomb through the Impact Zone stage.
Melissa has also appeared sparingly in TNA as Alissa Flash, most recently in a losing effort to Knockouts Champ Madison Rayne after answering an open challenge. She’s also competed in promotions like IWA Mid-South, the National Wrestling Alliance, and Jersey All Pro Wrestling. She’s yet to win the Shimmer Title, although given what a total package performer she is, I’m sure that’s bound to change. If you’re interested in seeing more of Melissa, feast your eyes on this especially violent highlight reel – it’s pretty awesome, just like her.