Posted January 6th, 2020 by Bill Apter

PHOTO Courtesy of Tokyo Joshi Pro.

It’s Time To Make Thunder Rosa The Half-Painted Face Of The NWA’s Reboot

by Trapper Tom Leturgey

The National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) has a star in the making in its Women’s Division that will need to come to the forefront if the entire group is to shine anywhere near to the degree of the Men’s Division.

That athlete is Thunder Rosa.

So far under-used and mis-cast, Melissa Cervantes is the female wrestler that the NWA—and Women’s Professional Wrestling in general–needs to let shine. Originally presented as a dark, spooky character with zombie-esque qualities, the (half) face-painted Tijuana, Baja California-born Thunder Rosa is the babyface that the NWA desperately needs to lead that part of its weekly Powerrr broadcast and beyond.

Thunder Rosa was prominently showcased in the Powerrr episode immediately after the Jim Cornette controversy that saw the commentator vanish from the pre-taped schedule. The episode followed Cervantes and coaches as she prepared for her November 8, 2019 MMA Combate San Antonio debut against Nadine Mandiau. The NWA sent a film crew and play-by-play announcer Joe Galli to chronical the Strawweight adventure. Thunder Rosa lost via three-round decision despite coming on strong in a bloodied third round. More importantly for the NWA, the episode revealed a complex backstory for the 33-year-old Cervantes.

During interview segments, Thunder Rosa commented that she wanted to do well in part for her son. For context, this made Cervantes’ athletic canon in similar to WWE’s Lacey Evans’ daughter being featured on television. Both women’s personal and family lives have been highlighted by social media posts. Just like Evans, Cervantes’ likeability has grown exponentially since fans got a sense of who the athlete really is outside of the squared circle.

The charismatic Evans has the billion-dollar network of the WWE documenting her admirable charitable events during the holidays; Thunder Rosa joyfully donned an elf costume, drove herself to a big box store near her San Antonio, Texas, home and collected money while holding a wrestling-themed Salvation Army kettle.

Both Evans and Cervantes are inspirational athletes. Evans is a Marine veteran; Cervantes is a Mexican immigrant who in 2019 proudly became a Naturalized United States Citizen. Both are married, have children (Cervantes may be the most prominent female athlete in the country to get emotional about her son) and in 2014 debuted in professional wrestling. In 2019, Evans ranked #23 in the PWI list of top women in wrestling, while Thunder Rosa came in at a ridiculously low #97.

Thunder Rosa spent her formative wrestling years in Lucha Underground as Kobra Moon, the leader of the Reptile Tribe. Cervantes was the runner-up for the 2015 Southern California Rookie of the Year Award, then upped that by winning the 2016 Southern California Women’s Wrestler of the Year Award. She had a brief stop in Ring of Honor beginning on June 15, 2018, when she shared the ring with ROH stalwarts Kelly Klein, Sumie Sakai and Tenille Dashwood. She later wrestled against Britt Baker and Madison Rayne during other outings.

In 2018, Thunder Rosa worked Women of Wrestling (WOW) dates as her Kobra Moon, but then became a brand-new character, Serpentine. In September, 2018 Serpentine unsuccessfully challenged Tessa Blanchard for the WOW championship.

Throughout 2018 and 2019, Thunder Rosa wrestled for ROH, Shimmer and a litany of other promotions from Georgia to Japan (more on that below), Mexico, Texas and New York.

In late 2019, Thunder Rosa debuted in the NWA. In her first contest on Powerrr, she defeated the similar-sized Ashley Vox. Thunder Rosa soon became part of Melina Perez’s stable that also includes Marti Belle. The three are involved in a rivalry with the NWA Heavyweight Champion Allysin Kay, Vox, ODB and any of the other women wrestling for contracts.

Kay has defended the NWA Women’s championship periodically, but since winning that title in April, 2019, she works far more dates without the NWA strap on the line for promotions like SHINE and Evolve, among others.

Cervantes is arguably the NWA Women’s Division’s premier all-around athlete. Commentator Stu Bennett frequently champions her athleticism. And as the roster currently stands, the Mexican-American success story is Powerrr’s most marketable woman, a likeable Ronda Rousey of sorts.

Most recently, on Sunday, January 5, Thunder Rosa made history by beating Maki Ito for the Tokyo Joshi Pro International Princess Championship. Thunder Rosa became the first foreign competitor to win the promotion’s title.

“I can’t describe how happy I am about being the first non-Japanese champion in this company,” she commented on social media. “I did it because I believe and other people believe in my abilities as a wrestler and as a performer. I will never forget how when I first started coming to this country, they called me the ‘jobber,’ ‘talent enhancement’ and that I had will never become a star! Those words made me work harder to prove that I belong in this ring, that I deserve what I have achieved because of my talent, my in-ring skills, my hard work, and my charisma! All the years I worked not for the gold and the fame, I worked hard because I want to be RECOGNIZED AS ONE OF THE BEST, as a relentless force in this business, as a positive role model in wrestling. Ito felt the wrath and her big mouth got her in trouble. She felt the hammer and I made history.”

The time has never been better to flip the switch and make Thunder Rosa the face of the NWA’s future.

Category: Wrestling.

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