REAL NAME: Melissa Anderson
NICKNAMES: Cheerleader Melissa, Wildfire, Raisha Saeed, Alissa Flash
SIZE: 5-foot-8, 142-pounds
BORN: August 17, 1982 in Los Angeles, California
Second generation grappler Melissa Anderson grew up watching her dad Doug wrestle in the 1980s, and by the time she was a teenager, Melissa was in the ring herself. She has since gone on to become one of the most experienced young veterans, male or female, in professional wrestling.
Anderson actually first hit the mats as an amateur when she was one of four females on her high school wrestling team. But the pro game became an irresistible lure, and she began training with her dad's kayfabe brother Billy Anderson around 1998. She also helped sell programs and set up the ring at his shows. At a show father Doug put on, Anderson fatefully met Shannon and Shane Ballard, who worked as the Hanson Brothers-inspired Ballard Brothers. She would become their valet, a heel cheerleader, and a character that proved to have lasting power.
Anderson got further training from Christopher Daniels, and when the Ballard Brothers went down to the San Francisco-based All Pro Wrestling (APW) promotion, she followed and came under the tutelage of "American Dragon" Bryan Danielson.
On her 17th birthday in 1999, Anderson had her first official match, taking on Lexie Fyfe in Douglas, Wyoming. From there on, she started going back and forth from being a valet to a wrestler.
After high school, she got a chance with a start-up women's promotion in California, and there she helped Mando Guerrero train the inexperienced non-wrestling ladies coming in. The promotion, however, failed, but Anderson quickly returned to concentrating on APW and following the Ballards through the West Coast.
Japan came calling in 2002, when the now-defunct ARSION promotion chose Anderson and Taylor from Tough Enough I to train in their dojo for four months. For her 20th birthday, the company gave her the chance to tag with legendary Lioness Aska. Another match there that stood out for Anderson was her tilt against another veteran, Mariko Yoshida.
Upon her return to America, Anderson became a wrestler-only, and thanks to her growing notoriety, (owing in part to the popular ClickWrestle.com website), Anderson got a chance to go overseas and wrestle for German Stampede Wrestling, where she locked horns with Europe's number one female, “The Croatian Panther” Wesna Busic. But that would be just the beginning, as her career was set to skyrocket.
"Japan was the transition, breaking out from wrestler/valet/manager to full-time wrestler, breaking away from the Ballard Brothers," Anderson told SLAM! Wrestling in 2004.
She would try out with the WWE that same year, (and in 2006, have a match against Victoria on Heat), before going on to win the Cauliflower Alley Club's Future Legends Award, and become a staple performer with ChickFight, Shimmer Women Athletes, and Real Quality Wrestling. She would reengage Wesna on several more occasions, while also facing some of the most renowned women on the indy circuit, taking on the likes of MsChif, Allison Danger, Lacey and Rain (The Minnesota Home Wrecking Crew), The Experience (Lexie Fyfe and Malia Hosaka), Sara Del Rey, Daizee Haze, and others.
At the start of 2008, Anderson landed in TNA, assuming the role of Awesome Kong's manager Raisha Saeed. She was in Kong's corner when Kong beat Gail Kim for the TNA Women's Knockout Championship on Impact. As Saeed, Anderson began to become a more regular in-ring performer, and she'd find herself embroiled in feuds against Taylor Wilde, ODB, Roxxi, and Christy Hemme.
Saeed's relationship with her protege would sour in 2009 when the duo were unsuccessful in winning the inaugural Knockout Tag Team Champions Tournament, and later when Saeed inadvertently cost Kong the Knockout title at Bound for Glory. They faced off against one another in October, with Kong defeating her former manager and Awesome Bombing her through the stage entrance.
That, however, wouldn't be the end of Anderson's TNA tenure. She had debuted her other alias, Alissa Flash, in July 2009, and had already developed a feud against Ayako Hamada. Now, the 12th ranked female on Pro Wrestling Illustrated's Female Top 50 list will have the time to further develop her new "Future Legend" character.
-- compiled by Richard Kamchen
Cheerleader Melissa Anderson * Alissa Flash * Raisha Saeed Photo Gallery
June 3, 2014: Ten years later, Cheerleader Melissa far more than a future legend
May 12, 2011: Supporting female wrestling Melissa Anderson's passion
April 29, 2010: Melissa Anderson back on the independent scene
July 26, 2004: Cheerleader Melissa has moved past the pom-poms
Anderson's official webpage
Anderson's MySpace page
MELISSA ANDERSON LINKS