Source: Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald
Recently, former TNA Knockouts Champion Gail Kim talked with Jim Varsallone of The Miami Herald. Topics during the interview included her time wrestling at WWE, the creation of the Knockouts Division in iMPACT Wrestling, and working with Taryn Terrell. You can read the highlights of the interview below, though we encourage you to check out the full interview by clicking here. Enjoy!
On Being a Part of the Women’s Wrestling Boom in WWE
The WWE era with Trish [Stratus], Victoria, Jazz, Molly Holly was a great experience. It was what I always dreamed of, but looking back now I was very green and inexperienced. So for me it was a great learning experience, and it was an honor to be a part of that.
On the Current TNA Knockouts Roster
With the current TNA Knockouts the biggest complaint I’ve heard is we’re losing girls, and we have very few girls, but good things come to those who wait. I always tell everyone to be patient. Things don’t happen overnight. You never want to sacrifice the quality of the show, and we want quality girls in our division, and that is going to happen. Wrestling goes through its ups and downs through the years, and right now I feel like we don’t have a lot of women on our [TNA] roster, but I think we’re still bringing quality wrestling to the table, and we’re going to get better, if everyone is just patient.
On the Creation of The Knockouts Division
The other great era I was a part of was when the Knockouts division was actually born. That came about a year and a half after I came to TNA. We had no women’s division when I initially came there the first time. I begged and begged, after a year of managing. I couldn’t stand to watch the guys doing what I loved. I liked managing, but my talents were in the ring. So when TNA decided to create a women’s division and bring in 10 girls all at once, it was crazy. We didn’t realize there would be huge success virtually overnight. That was actually my favorite time in my career. It was very magical that they could bring in 10 girls and make it work virtually overnight. It was some great wrestling, and we had such different personalities and characters. Everyone just brought something different to the table, different looks, different styles. It was great.
On Battling Taryn Terrell in TNA
In my 14 years of wrestling, I never met a girl who wanted to step it up to that level with me. I’ve been in the ring with many, many talented girls whether they were skilled technically, strong, experienced, and I still never met a girl that wanted to get to that level of craziness. With Taryn, I just knew, and she really stepped it up when it came to that Last Knockout Standing match. We both really wanted to bring it that day. I don’t think anyone had any expectations for that match. The feud was really built up, but the stipulation hadn’t been built up. So I think people were like, ‘OK, it’s a match between Gail and Taryn,’ but we surprised everyone.
I wasn’t that surprised at how far she would go. I think everyone else was surprised about it. Out of all the years in my career, that match was definitely one of my highlights. This past year, those two matches I had with her, the Last Knockout Standing and the ladder match, were definitely highlights for girls to get that kind of reaction. It’s very rare to be a professional wrestler and to get that type of crowd reaction. It’s one of those moments you don’t want to go by too quickly. You want to relish that moment. I only had those magical moments in the past with Kong, and that was a very different kind of feud. It was a David and Goliath thing. With Taryn, a model looking girl that no one expected this from, I’m just happy that nobody had those expectations, because we just knocked it out of the ballpark that day.
With the ladder match, we didn’t know what to expect with that either. We just knew we had this pressure to almost top the other match. We didn’t know if we could, and it ended up being just as magical.
On the Difference Between Wrestling at WWE and TNA
They are two very different companies. I’ve worked for both companies twice now, and for everyone it’s a different experience. My first run with WWE with Trish, Victoria and Jazz and Ivory and Molly, they did give us a lot of time and had the storylines and cared about the work in the ring, and then it kind of faded away once the first diva search happened. That’s when I came to TNA. I had a small role. I was managing, and then we went on to create this great Knockouts division. We have a president, Dixie Carter, who is a female who’s always supported the girls and she’s always cared about us having the respect in the ring to be sexy but also athletic and show our talents in the ring. I think that’s the biggest difference, if you watch the two products. The Knockouts will have great matches consistently, and we’re more about athleticism in the ring, having that whole total package of being sexy and athletic and being able to put on these great matches. One of the biggest differences is this past year with Taryn I had a ladder match and a Last Knockout Standing match. You never say never, but what I’ve seen and what it’s been like the last couple of years, I don’t think you’ll see that in WWE. TNA Impact Wrestling is willing to bring it to the next level with the girls and have faith that we can put on a match that can entertain the fans just as much as the guys can.
On Working for Vince McMahon vs. Working for Dixie Carter
With Dixie, I found it easier to approach her, to talk to her about anything that concerns me in the company. It could be in terms of my character or with the wrestling. Normally, we don’t have to go that far with Dixie because everyone is approachable such as our writers to talk about where we want our characters to be going, where the storyline is going. With Vince, it was a little bit more difficult to reach him. You’d have to set up a meeting or wait for him to talk to him, but the biggest difference, and you’ll see it our product [TNA] is the way that the women are represented. With our women [TNA] we’re more athletic and wrestling based. Right now the big thing is WWE is their reality television show [Total Divas], putting their divas in that certain light, where we’re given that light to that podium to perform at our level in the ring.