Thunder Rosa

Last updated
Thunder Rosa
Thunder Rosa Wrestlecon March 2017 (cropped).jpg
Rosa in March 2017
Birth nameMelissa Cervantes [1]
Born (1986-07-22) July 22, 1986 (age 35)
Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico [1]
Residence San Antonio, Texas, U.S. [2]
Alma mater University of California, Berkeley
Spouse(s)Brian Cervantes (m. 2006) [3]
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s) Kobra Moon
Serpiente del Mar
Thunder Rosa [1]
Billed height5 ft 3 in (1.60 m) [1]
Billed weight119 lb (54 kg) [1]
Billed fromThe Graveyards of Tijuana, Mexico [4]
Trained byDylan Drake [5]
Matt Carlos [5]
Debut2014 [1]

Melissa Cervantes (born July 22, 1986), known by her ring name Thunder Rosa, is a Mexican-American professional wrestler and mixed martial artist signed to All Elite Wrestling (AEW). She debuted in 2014 and has also appeared in World Wonder Ring Stardom ("Stardom"), Impact Wrestling ("Impact"), and the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). [6]


Cervantes appeared in seasons 2 through 4 of the wrestling-based TV series Lucha Underground as Kobra Moon, leader of the Reptile Tribe; she won the Lucha Underground Trios Championship (with Daga and Jeremiah Snake). After the show ended, she resumed performing on the independent circuit, working in Women of Wrestling (WOW) in 2018 as Serpiente, and won the NWA World Women's Championship in 2019. Cervantes also founded and owns Mission Pro Wrestling (MPW), a Texas-based independent promotion devoted to women’s wrestling. [7]

Cervantes made her mixed martial arts debut in 2019 at Combate Americas.

Professional wrestling career

Early career

Cervantes made her wrestling debut in late 2014, in a Supreme Pro Wrestling battle royal in Sacramento, California. In 2015, she performed regularly throughout California, and on April 12, she made her Japanese debut for World Wonder Ring Stardom (aka "Stardom"), the world's top all-woman wrestling promotion.

Lucha Underground (2015–2019)

Cervantes joined the cast of Lucha Underground in season 2 as Kobra Moon, leader of the Reptile Tribe; she would remain on the show for the remainder of its run. She was nominated for the 2015 Southern California Rookie of the Year Award, and finished second to Douglas James. [8]

In 2016 Cervantes returned to Stardom to take part in its Goddess of Stardom Tag League, teaming with Holidead. She won the 2016 Southern California Women's Wrestler of the Year Award. [9] She was released on March 26, 2019. [10]

Ring of Honor (2018–2019)

On June 15, 2018, Rosa made her Ring of Honor debut on its ROH State Of The Art show, teaming with Kelly Klein against Sumie Sakai and Tenille Dashwood. [11] On November 3 (which aired on tape delay on December 15) episode of ROH's eponymous weekly TV show, Rosa teamed with Holidead as "The Twisted Sisterz," defeating Britt Baker and Madison Rayne. [12]

Women of Wrestling (2018–2019)

Cervantes worked through the October 2018 tapings on Women of Wrestling under her Kobra Moon ring name. Her first televised matched aired on March 1, 2019, where she was managed by Sophia Lopez as she defeated Azteca. [13] With WOW renewed for a second season, Moon's name changed to Serpentine. On the September 14 episode of WOW, Serpentine unsuccessfully challenged Tessa Blanchard for the WOW World Championship. [14]

Tokyo Joshi Pro (2019–2020)

On April 29, 2019, Rosa made her Tokyo Joshi Pro Wrestling debut, teaming with Yuki Aino against Mizuki and Yuka Sakazaki. In winning the International Princess Championship on January 5, 2020 from Maki Itoh, Rosa became the first gaijin titleholder in Tokyo Joshi Pro history. [15] On October 7, Rosa announced she had relinquished the championship as COVID-19 restrictions precluded her from traveling to Japan. [16]

National Wrestling Alliance (2019–2021)

Rosa made her National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) TV debut on the October 29, 2019 episode of NWA Power . After Marti Belle lost to Ashley Vox, Rosa entered the ring and extended her hand to Belle, which Belle declined as she left the ring. [17] On the following episode, Thunder Rosa had her in-ring debut, defeating Ashley Vox and attacking her post-match. Rosa later attacked NWA World Women's Champion Allysin Kay, with Belle also attacking Kay and aligning with Rosa. [18] On the November 19 episode of NWA Power, Belle and Rosa defeated Kay and Vox, after Melina distracted Kay, and aligning herself with Belle and Rosa. [19] At NWA Hard Times on January 24, 2020, Thunder Rosa defeated Allysin Kay to capture the NWA World Women's Championship and also becoming the first Mexican born wrestler to win the championship. [20] She would lose the title against Serena Deeb on October 27, 2020 at UWN Primetime Live. [21] Fightful Select reported on July 22, 2021 that her contract in NWA was bought out by All Elite Wrestling, allowing her to sign with AEW full time. [22] NWA wished her well via their Twitter account. [23]

All Elite Wrestling (2020–present)

Rosa made her All Elite Wrestling (AEW) debut on the August 22, 2020, episode of Dynamite , where she cut a promo on then-AEW Women's World Champion Hikaru Shida, and challenged her to a title match at the All Out pay-per-view show. [24] On the September 2 episode of Dynamite, Rosa made her AEW in-ring debut, where she defeated Serena Deeb. [25] At All Out, Rosa unsuccessfully challenged Shida for the AEW Women's World Championship. [26] On the September 16 episode of Dynamite, Rosa successfully defended her NWA World Women's Championship against Ivelisse. After the match, Rosa was attacked by Diamante and Ivelisse, and was later saved by Shida, turning Rosa face in the process. [27] Week later on Dynamite, Rosa teamed with Shida when they defeated Diamante and Ivelisse in a tag team match. [28] On the November 17, 2020 episode of AEW Dark , Rosa defeated challenger Lindsay Snow. [29] On the November 18 episode of Dynamite, Rosa fought Deeb in a rematch for the NWA Women's Championship, but would lose following outside interference from Dr. Britt Baker. [30] [31] [32] After the match, Rosa brawled with Baker. [32]

On the March 17, 2021, episode of Dynamite, Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker became the first women to main event Dynamite; Rosa defeated Baker in an intense Unsanctioned Lights Out match that was highly praised by critics, and widely viewed as breaking down sexist assumptions that women wrestlers couldn't wrestle a "hardcore" style match. [33] [34] [35] Eleven months after her debut, on her 35th birthday July 22, 2021, it was announced that Rosa had officially signed a full-time deal with AEW. [36] On the November 24 special episode of Dynamite being AEW Thanksgiving EVE, Rosa competed in the AEW TBS women's championship tournament where she faced Jamie Hayter and beat her. [37] On the December 29 special episode of Dynamite being AEW New Year's Smash Rosa faced Jade Cargill in the semi finals of the TBS tournament which Rosa lost due to interference by Mercedes Martinez. [38]

Impact Wrestling (2021)

Thunder Rosa made her Impact debut on July 17, 2021 at its annual Slammiversary PPV as the mystery opponent for Impact Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo.

Professional wrestling style and persona

In keeping with her training (by North Carolina's Matt Carlos and Dylan Drake), Cervantes/Thunder Rosa "wrestles stiff". [39] Her wrestling style is an aggressive, energetic and explosive blend of harsh striking, intense submissions, lucha libre, technical skills and impressive feats of strength. Thunder Rosa has been popular with fans whether presented as a "face" (hero) or a "heel" (villain). Her persona is intentionally nonconformist: fearless; aggressive; supremely self-confident; recalcitrant; outspoken.

Cervantes' "Thunder Rosa" ring name is a tribute to Thunder Road, a rehabilitation center for teenagers Cervantes worked at for over 2 years, which overlapped with the training and launch phases of her wrestling career. It was a collaboration between Cervantes, her husband and a Thunder Road coworker on a car ride home after attending a wrestling show. Cervantes wanted a name that appealed to both Latinos and non-Latino Americans, would honor her work with teens, and be easy for fans to chant during her matches. [40]

Cervantes’ Day of the Dead face paint represents many things at once: rebirth; triumph over personal and family tragedy; and to honor, celebrate and fight for the memory of people’s dead loved ones. The face paint was suggested to Cervantes by a Latino wrestling booker of an indie show she was working in California; he said her face would distract the crowd from her character because it was “too pretty.” Cervantes did not use the Day of the Dead face paint elsewhere, for fear of being typecast by non-Latin promoters/bookers as a “Mexican wrestler” caricature/stereotype.

When Cervantes’ uncle attended one of her matches (at a Lucha Underground taping), he told her it was the first time he had attended a wrestling show in years. Cervantes’ grandfather died of a heart attack at a Tijuana wrestling show; her uncle, then a child who watched wrestling weekly, was sitting on her grandfather’s lap at the time. Due to the close, painful association of wrestling with his father’s death, Cervantes’ uncle had hated wrestling ever since. However, watching Cervantes wrestle rekindled his childhood love of wrestling, and convinced him she had been destined to become a wrestler. The paint also symbolizes the rebirth of Cervantes’ career, after a concussion in Japan put her out of work for a month. Cervantes’ husband suggested that when she resumed performing, she also resume the face paint to stand out from other wrestlers. [40]

Mixed martial arts career

Melissa Cervantes
Born Tijuana, Baja California, Mexico
Weight115 lb (52 kg)
Division Strawweight
Style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu [41]
Team Brazilian Top Team [41]
Years active2019
Mixed martial arts record
By decision1
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Combate Americas/Global (2019)

On September 13, 2019, it was confirmed that Cervantes had signed with Combate Americas. [42] Her first fight took place on November 8 in San Antonio, Texas. [43] She lost the fight by unanimous decision against Nadine Mandiau. [44] On October 10, 2021, Cervantes announced that she had officially retired from MMA when she signed a contract with All Elite Wrestling due to not having the time to commit to training. [45]

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
1 match0 wins1 loss
By knockout00
By submission00
By decision01
Loss0–1Nadine MandiauDecision (unanimous)Combate Americas: San AntonioNovember 8, 201933:00 San Antonio, Texas, United States
Thunder Rosa
YouTube information
Years active2014–present
Genre Vlogging
Subscribers34.7 thousand [46]
(January 15, 2022)
Total views1 million [46]
(January 11, 2022)

Personal life

Cervantes became a US citizen on February 21, 2019. [47] [48]

Cervantes graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 with a Bachelor's Degree in Sociology. [49]

Before wrestling and during the early years of her wrestling career, Cervantes was a professional social worker, doing case work with at-risk young adults struggling with mental illness, homelessness, substance abuse and other life issues. When she realized that season three of Lucha Underground would pay enough to surpass her income as a social worker, Cervantes' husband encouraged her to focus 100% of her time and effort on wrestling. [40]

Lucha Underground Lawsuit

On February 6, 2019 it was reported that Cervantes, Ivelisse Vélez, Joey Ryan, and Jorge Luis Alcantar (aka, El Hijo del Fantasma/King Cuerno) had filed a class-action lawsuit in California against Lucha Underground's coproducers: the El Rey Network and the Baba-G production company. The performers alleged that their Lucha Underground contracts were illegal under California law because they unfairly restricted their ability to work in their chosen profession. [50] [51] In an interview with Chris Van Vliet, Cervantes said that she joined Lucha Underground for season 2 under a 5-year contract. However, production of the series ended after less than 4 full seasons' worth of episodes were made. This left Cervantes, et al. -- who, as professional wrestlers in the U.S., work as independent contractors—trapped in a situation where they were effectively fired yet also contractually blocked from working for any other wrestling companies until their Lucha Underground contracts expired (i.e., at least 1–2 years later), or they each paid a $5,000 (USD) escape clause fee. [40] By March 26, 2019, all lawsuits had been settled in the wrestlers' favor, and they were freed from their LU contracts. [52]

Championships and accomplishments

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