Women’s wrestling: The next big thing? (Part 7)

 

jvarsallone@miamiherald.com

TNA Knockout and former WWE diva Gail Kim discussed women’s wrestling further as well as life with wrestling.

“Pro wrestling has always been a man’s world, and I think it will always continue to be that way, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for females.

“In our company [TNA Impact Wrestling], women have always been given a podium it shine, and that’s because of [TNA President] Dixie Carter. She’s always wanted us to have that respect. I feel like it’s a little bit easier for women in this company. In my personal experiences, I felt more cared about as a female in this company with the storylines and our characters, representing us as to who we want to be. I love wrestling, and I love being in that ring, and I love putting on matches for the fans -- being able to show we can be just as athletic as the guys.

“There were times in my career where we’d be out there, and we could tell the fans didn’t care, and they’d be chanting certain things that were derogatory. So that was really frustrating to deal with. I bring that back to how the company builds you up as a character and as a personality. I found that as the years went by, as your character is being more built and as you have more storylines and more promo time and more wrestling time, [the derogatory remarks] generally do go away, and you feel that respect from the fans. When you go out there, and you work your butts off, the fans know that, and they respect that.

“You’ll see that occasionally, but I think generally as a whole, it’s kind of faded away recently.”

Would the TNA Knockouts be interested in participating in a ‘Total Divas’ type show?

“Christy Hemme has pretty much taken over the TNA Knockouts in terms of everything like that. If you look at our new website, the new Knockouts website on impactwrestling.com, we have a new facelift to the website, and all the Knockouts have new profiles. There’s a Knockout of the Month and fresh interviews and pictures.

“[Hemme’s] mentioned that [reality type show] as well, and I don’t think the Knockouts would be against it. It’s actually been a success for the WWE divas.

“You never know what will happen down the line. I think fans like to see the other side of the girls. They get to see what’s on TV and us playing characters, but I think most fans like to see the real us and see what’s going on in our real lives, and I think most of us would be pretty open to it.”

Kim influenced by women’s wrestling.

“The era that really got me into wanting to be a wrestler was the Golden era of women’s wrestling. Trish [Stratus] was a fellow Canadian. So I always looked at her. She’s beautiful, and she made it to this level after being a fitness model. Then I saw Molly Holly, and the way that she wrestled just fascinated me. I couldn’t believe how graceful she was in the ring. She moved with such athleticism like the guys did. That’s the thing I most admired.

“I had worked with Jason Sensation, who was part of WWF at the time, doing a lot of impersonations. He had wrestled with me at my first wrestling school, and he introduced me to Molly Holly, and she was gracious enough to say, ‘Hey, you have a different look. Why don’t you give me your stuff, and I can bring it to the [WWF] office and see if we can do anything with you.’ That’s how I got my first tryout. Molly Holly turned out to be the greatest person and gave me my first break.”

Kim wrestles internationally.

“I had one opportunity in Korea to wrestle one Japanese girl with two Mexican girls, and that was a great experience, We meshed styles which was awesome. I have always been greatly influenced by Japanese wrestling and Mexican wrestling. I watched a lot of their tapes and studied their styles. I love the Mexican style. There’s a different kind of psychology, if there is any psychology there.

“The Japanese women I love watching them because they’re so physical, and I love physicality. I just wonder how their careers even last because they don’t wear kneepads and jump from the top rope onto the cement floor. It’s just unbelievable the things they do, and you have to give them that respect. I liked to see more international wrestlers come to American and mesh in with our brand. Hopefully we’ll get to see more females make the transition, but until then, I just watch to learn and for entertainment purposes.”

Kim is married to Food Network TV star Chef Robert Irvine.

“Marriage changes your perspective generally on life. When I entered this business in my 20s, you’re generally more selfish in life, It’s all about your career and all about having that success. I’ve been lucky to work for both companies [TNA and WWE] twice and have some longevity. So I’m at a point in my life now that I like to have balance. I love having a successful career, and I’m always going to be passionate about wrestling, and I think people can tell that.

“I’m going to do it for as long as I can, but I do appreciate the balance of having a family.”

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