Kelly Klein is a professional wrestler, currently part of the relaunched Women of Honor roster in Ring of Honor.
Kelly’s background in athletics and theater give her an upper hand which has guided her through the Midwest independent wrestling scene and also on bigger stages like Ring of Honor.
CH: What are your thoughts on Women of Honor being showcased on TV?
KK: “I was really excited that we have the opportunity to showcase the women on TV because it really makes our division stand out. I think it is a really good way to highlight all of the talent that we have, while also with it being something we are building and growing to be able to have this opportunity to help expose the audience to the Women of Honor. I think it’s a really great way to help accelerate our momentum.”
CH: What is it about the Women of Honor that separates itself from the rest of the pack?
KK: “It’s hard to make a generalization because right now there are so many talented women in the wrestling industry. A lot of them being in the independent circuit...then many of them that work with the major companies...so I think that it’s becoming a more difficult question. So many women were being selected for their aesthetic, and their wrestling ability was kind of a secondary factor.
“With Ring of Honor, the wrestling aspect has always been the primary factor. Now, with all of these different companies starting to feature and develop some really talented athletes and really putting that a primary thing, its become a friendly competition and its really making us all better as performers.
“For Women of Honor, that really gives us the opportunity to try and find ways to make ourselves stand out so we really do have to rely on our character, our techniques, and our approach to highlight our different presentations as different and more unique than everyone else.”
CH: Did you grow up watching and being a fan of wrestling?
KK: “I wasn't allowed to watch it growing up. I really had no exposure to it until I attended an independent wrestling event at Heartland Wrestling Association in Ohio. That first event I knew that I wanted to learn how to do it and get in that ring and be a wrestler. I never had a moment where I thought, ‘Oh, I want to come back and be a fan, and watch this and sit in these seats again.’
“Immediately after that show that night, I went around asking questions trying to figure out how I could get in there and how I could get trained and learn to become part of that world.”
CH: Since you weren't given the exposure to wrestling as a kid, did your parents have issue with you wanting to become a part of the business?
KK: “At first they were very hesitant; I do remember when I told them I wanted to become a wrestler they were very concerned, and my mom said something to me along the lines of, ‘Wrestlers run with a rough crowd.’ So she had probably heard the stories of the 80s and 90s wrestlers partying and running around getting into trouble.
“With what little wrestling she had been aware of with DX and Chyna and that kind of over the top Attitude Era stuff, I think it really seems not the most positive thing from the little bit she had been aware of; so when I first started I think they were worried about me being a part of that type of environment.
“We disagreed for a long time, and they are always concerned for my safety. Whether it be actually in the ring or the traveling I do. there is always an inherent risk involved. They will always be concerned about those things, but I know that they see how long I've worked toward what I've achieved; so I know that they are proud of me and my accomplishments. They tell people if there’s an episode on TV or an article. They get copies of the magazine, if I’m in something. They are definitely proud of me, but if they were to choose what route I took, they probably would have preferred the portion of the entertainment business geared more toward the theater and music.”
CH: Have your parents gotten the chance to see you perform in person?
KK: “They have. It’s been a while, and unfortunately there have been a few times recently where just because of the location and scheduling, there have been events they haven't been able to attend.
“There have been a couple of times, when I first started and then a handful over the years, where they could attend. They haven't seen me live very recently, but they do watch if there's an episode on TV, or I’ll send them a video of one of my matches, but my mom doesn’t really like to see me play the bad guy; so she doesn't really like some of those matches. Sometimes I’ll go and take a whole bunch of DVD s that have my matches on them and show them.”
CH: “What was the eye opening aspect of wrestling that really made you want to become a part of it?
KK: “It was both the athleticism and the theatrics of it. I did grow up an athlete and was always very competitive and physical, but I also grew up with a theater background. I actually went to school for a while for musical theater. I did a lot of performance and a lot of work with the fine arts for the majority of my life; so both athletics and fine arts can be very demanding especially if you want to do them well, and I had times throughout my life where they would conflict, and I’d be pulled in different directions.
“So, for me, when I saw that first wrestling event and felt that energy of the crowd and the whole event and the interaction of it all, it brought together for the first time all of those elements in one place where they weren’t competing or putting me in a position to choose one or the other, and that was what I think immediately drew me to it. I realized I can bring together all of the elements and all of the things that I love and also what im interested in getting better at.”
CH: What was something that you were surprised to learn upon getting into the business?
KK: “I don’t know if I was ever really expecting anything exactly, because I really had no exposure prior to my decision to train. So I didn't ever really develop any expectations. I think that because I grew up in theater, I was aware of some of the different ways you have to interact with people and how there’s that type of competition for positions for limited roles; so I already had a lot of experience with that.
“I already had learned a lot just from the aspects of athletics with the work ethic, emotional resilience and mental toughness. Since I had not been exposed to or aware of wrestling, I didn't know there was an independent wrestling scene. The fact that there were wrestling schools and that whole process of training at a school, and that I would basically become an independent contractor and would have to seek out that work, that probably was something I really didn’t know anything about.
“So that would be the best way for me to describe it, in that I knew nothing about the independent scene and having to just go out and find places to work and get that experience, and that it wast common to just go to a wrestling school and have them put you on shows and then graduate through a program that way, where you had to figure out how to put together and develop your own curriculum by piecing it together.”
CH: What direction do you think the future of the division is gonna go?
KK: “I think that the better all of the women do, the better the industry will become overall. The more women can see that there are opportunities for them, that’s where you start to see more women signing up for training and knowing that there is a place for them. So when you get all these women training and you have this larger pool of competition, eventually you’ll have opportunities for a lot of women to be forced to step up each others game and compete with each other.
“It just continues to grow and make our performances and competition better, which makes the fans want to see it and spend more money on it. For the companies to see that there is money in it, they will find a way to give more time and a different platform to the women, which in turn get to the point where we have such amazing elite women who are able to wrestle, perform and entertain and then be able to pass on that knowledge is where the future is. It kind of all started with this boom and just continued to grow into what it is now.”
CH: Do you see the Women of Honor brand partnering with companies like NJPW and CMLL, like the Ring of Honor brand has?
KK: “I know that there are a lot of amazingly talented wrestlers in Mexico and in Japan and really all over the world for that matter, so I think that we’ll start seeing those women come here to compete with the current Women of Honor roster and vice-versa and get some of the women in WOH to be able to go travel to these places, which exposes a broader audience to our product and will garner more worldwide interest.”
CH: What does it mean to you to be apart of Women of Honor?
KK: “One thing that is really exciting for me is that regardless of what happened before this or what happens after, I am a part of history. I am a part of the Women of Honor relaunch; so that’s something I will always be able to say I was a part of. Ideally that means I could be on the ground floor of something that can grow, and I hope I can help it grow and help more women come through and be a part of it.
“Just to have this exclusive opportunity, just as the TNA Knockouts Division got to be a part of that history, that's something that is never going to change and nobody could ever take that away from them. So for me to be a part of this beginning and relaunch of Women of Honor and help carry it forward is something I am extremely proud of.”
- ROH on TV
Ring of Honor is on Comet TV at midnight Wednesdays.
In South Florida, Ring of Honor is also midnight Saturdays on WPEC Ch.12 and WBFS MyTV33.
Plus, Ring of Honor is available through the FITE TV app.
- ROH Anniversary Show
Ring of Honor’s 15th anniversary show is 8:45 p.m. ET Friday, March 10 on pay-per-view from Sam's Town Hotel and Casino - Las Vegas, 5111 Boulder Hwy., Las Vegas 89122.
Main Event: ROH World Champ Adam Cole vs. “Almighty” Christopher Daniels.
Also, in a Vegas Street Fight for the ROH World Tag Team Titles, ROH World Tag Team Champs Matt and Jeff Hardy vs. The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta and Rocky Romero).
ROH World Six Man Tag Team Champs The Kingdom (Matt Taven, Vinny Marseglia and TK O’Ryan) vs. Dalton Castle and The Boys.
Top Contenders Match: Jay Lethal vs. Bobby Fish.
Bully Ray and The Briscoes (Jay and Mark) vs. War Machine (Hanson and Ray Rowe) and Davey Boy Smith Jr.
- Ring of Honor in Lakeland
Ring of Honor presents Festival of Honor at 2 p.m. Saturday, April 1 at the Lakeland Center in Central Florida.
The event features autograph signings, unique photo opportunities, a Q&A session and a special pre-event Women of Honor show.
Then, at 6 p.m., Ring of Honor presents Supercard of Honor XI.
The show will present exclusive stars from ROH as well as many stars from around the globe, including from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Mexico’s CMLL and the United Kingdom
TAG TEAM DREAM MATCH: ROH WORLD TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS THE HARDYS (MATT and JEFF HARDY) vs. THE YOUNG BUCKS (MATT and NICK JACKSON).
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: ADAM COLE (c) vs. DALTON CASTLE.
TEXAS BULL ROPE MATCH: CODY vs. JAY LETHAL.
ROH WORLD SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: THE KINGDOM (MATT TAVEN, TK O’RYAN and VINNY MARSEGLIA) (c) vs. SILAS YOUNG, BEER CITY BRUISER and MYSTERY PARTNER.
ALSO, BULLY RAY, CHRISTOPHER DANIELS, KAZARIAN, MARK and JAY BRISCOE, JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER, MOTOR CITY MACHINE GUNS (ALEX SHELLEY and CHRIS SABIN), JAY WHITE, CMLL LUCHADORAS LA AMAPOLA and MARCELA, MARTY SCURLL, YOSHI-HASHI, WILL OSPREAY, VOLADOR JR, DRAGON LEE, LIO RUSH and more.
ROH officials are working to finalize round trip bus transportation as a convenient and safe option for fans to attend this incredible event.
The Lakeland Center is about 40 miles west of Orlando off Highway I-4.
- Pro Wrestling On The Web