Seven years after suffering a career-ending injury and leaving the wrestling business for good, former TNA wrestler Kim Nielsen — better known as Desire — is back in the spotlight. However, this time Kim is in a very different role compared to the athletic and muscular wrestling role we once saw her in. Nielsen is set to be a contestant on NBC’s The Biggest Loser which premieres Tuesday, January 3rd at 8/7c.
The 38-year-old mother of three was one of the most prominently featured female wrestlers during TNA’s early Nashville days. Prior to that, Kim was under a WWE developmental deal but released in 2002 before ever getting called up to television. Going to TNA thereafter, in an era before the word “Knockout” existed, Kim was part of some of TNA’s early boundary-pushing women’s matches including the first ever stretcher match against Trinity.
Breaking her back during a match, Kim soon left TNA and the spotlight all together, and has only just resurfaced over 100lbs overweight.
Below, Kim explains the reason behind her weight gain, why she decided to join The Biggest Loser, her tough journey over the past seven years, breaking her back in TNA, her thoughts on the Knockouts division and more.
What has life been like since your days in the business?
My career kind of ended with breaking my back in the ring. I went back [to TNA] after that, about 10 months later, and that was about it. Things just really weren’t the same for me. I was kind of afraid of being in the ring and trusting people with my body, so that was kind of career-ending for me. I got pregnant soon after that with my third child and have just kind of been home taking care of my kids.
Can you tell us how your back injury happened?
It was during a dark match before the show had started when I was with TNA. She [her opponent] had put me up into a fisherman suplex and she bumped on the very edge of the ring and when I came down, my back… I just heard it crack. I heard it snap. I couldn’t breathe. I didn’t really know what to do. I was just in so much pain. I don’t think she knew that I was hurt, but she said: “Get up, finish the match.” The only thing that really made sense at that moment would be for her to cover me, but I don’t like to lose. I actually got up and I finished the match. She threw me across the ring, I hit the ropes, and I picked her up and slammed her into a Rock Bottom and covered her. I rolled out of the ring and walked to the back, and that’s where I just fell apart. They called the ambulance, [I] got to a hospital, and my back was actually broken.
We haven’t seen you in the spotlight since then. Why did you decide to do The Biggest Loser?
First of all, when I had gotten pregnant with my third child, I think a lot of people can probably relate — I had been on TV every week, I had been at the gym every single day, and I thought: “Well, I’m pregnant. This is my third child. I’ll just go ahead and let myself eat, be pregnant and be happy.” I gave myself leeway to just do whatever I wanted and not really work out, and eat whatever I wanted to. What happened was, I ended up gaining 80lbs being pregnant with my daughter. I had two kids before that and with them, I had gotten right back to the gym, I had worked out [but] with my third child, not really having wrestling to go back to, which is what I love and what really motivated me to stay in shape, I didn’t have that anymore. I didn’t have that passion anymore to go back to. So I find myself not really knowing what I was going to do and just ended up not losing that [baby] weight at all. As a matter of fact, I ended up gaining even more weight than that.
It was Sonny [Siaki] — I had wrestled with him [in TNA] — he’s the father of my smallest child, the one that I was pregnant with, and he’s the one that actually encouraged me to go try out for the show. I really didn’t want to do it. My daughter is like six years old now, so I had been away from the industry, away from my fans and out of the spotlight for those seven years and I had gotten overweight, unhealthy and not happy. I was really hiding from my friends, my fans, my family. My Facebook page still had all my skinny pictures and my wrestling pictures which I was so proud of, but I wasn’t proud of what I had done over the last seven years — hiding, gaining weight and just not being healthy, or a very good role model. When Sonny suggested that I try out for the show, they were actually here in Atlanta where I live. There was an open casting call. It took him a little bit to convince me, but I decided that I would go ahead and try out. I was just tired of living this way, tired of being overweight and not being a good, fit role model for my kids.
Losing weight is such a personal thing. Were you self conscious about doing this on TV?
Oh, my gosh – hugely. It was one of the downfalls for me of doing this show. I would actually have to get on the scale and you’re very out there. You have a sports bra and some shorts on, you know? This is the first time that anyone’s ever seen me [since TNA] and I’m going out there and doing it in a big way. What’s really worse than having been on TV before — I’m there every week, I’m fit and I’m in shape — and now I’m having to get on the scale over 100lbs overweight and just showing the whole world what I’ve done? That was huge for me and that was one of the biggest reasons I didn’t want to do it. But I also feel like I owe it to myself. This is what I did. It’s a huge step for me. A really brave step to actually to do this at all, to let anyone know at all [that she was overweight] was my biggest fear. To do it in this huge of a way, it’s just kind of who I am — I either do it all the way or just not at all.
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