Six time Knockouts Champion Gail Kim recently spoke with Sean “X-Pac” Waltman as part of Afterbuzz TV’s X-Pac 12360 to discuss first starting out in the wrestling business, her Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame Ceremony, her most cherished moments and thoughts on WWE’s Mae Young Classic tournament. Highlights of the interview below.
Training with Fit Finlay: “Whenever people ask me who were my influences or who helped me the most in this business Fit was always one of them. The way he always contributed to who I am today is [through] the aggressiveness. He brought out the aggressiveness out of the girls. When I first started and I was so green, he would say ‘No, you need to be more aggressive’ and so I’d go out there and I’d be more aggressive. Then I’d come back and he’s like ‘No, more aggressive’ and I think he said that maybe three matches in a row until I’m literally safely being very aggressive towards these girls, kind of laying it in. I’ve kept that with me to this day and I try to pass that on to the girls that are coming into the company that work with me.”
First working with Jackie Moore: “Jeff [Jarrett] said ‘Do you think you can work Jackie Moore?’ and I was like ‘Absolutely! I’ll work anyone you got’. Jackie came in and they loved it because you know Jackie, she’ll beat any guy’s ass. She is legitimately, and I’ve wrestled some really strong big girls, the strongest girl I’ve ever been in the ring with. I have to tell this story, which a lot of fans kind of know if they watched back then but we had a street fight one time. Jim Cornette was our agent and was like ‘Have you ever done the Piñata spot?’. You know, with the garbage can over the head and you swing away with the broomstick. I said ‘No’ and he kind of explained it but he didn’t tell me which way to swing, you’re suppose to look at the feet and all that. So I didn’t and I was swung away and I knocked out her two front teeth. We taped another show where she was part of another segment, she says ‘Does anyone have any sugarless gum?’. She chewed it, stuck it up in the space and went back out there, I was like ‘Bless this girl.’
On her Hall of Fame induction ceremony: “They gave me the choice of who I wanted to induct me and it was really a hard decision. I wanted it to be someone female, I think it was a great choice to have the three of them [Christy Hemme, Taryn Terrell and Awesome Kong] because Christy is my best friend in wrestling. I’m the godmother to her child. Then Taryn and Kong were two of my greatest rivalries throughout my career so I just wanted all of them to say a little something. It was great moment for me to have them there, I was really happy.”
Molly Holly helping create an opportunity for her: “She was always different from everyone else. She’s the one who created my opportunity in the business and gave my pictures and my videos back then to the office to get my tryout. She was always so giving and such a kind soul for back then when nobody was giving. I felt like it was more of a selfish business. I was like what other girl is going to say to you ‘Hey, let me try to help you out’. She is one of the people that I always try to model my morale after because I just felt like I want to be that same way and be giving.”
On the success behind her feuds with Awesome Kong and Taryn: “It was a long storyline. They built both of those storylines over the course of six months and now I feel like people rush storylines and it doesn’t last that long. They build to the next PPV which is the next month and its not enough time I feel for the fans to get invested and get emotionally attached. I feel like with both of those, they were built slow and right so that’s a big part of the reason why.”
Being held down in WWE: “I felt held down in WWE. It was just the wrong timing in that company. When I first came into the company the woman’s division was strong with Trish and Jazz with all those girls. When the first diva’s search happen it kinda went away, that’s when I got fired actually, and mind you, it brought me my best friend Christy Hemme. It always felt like it was just never a right fit for me.”
Most cherished moment in wrestling: “I have a couple but I think what will come to mind is being the first TNA Knockouts Champion. We fought for it for so long and I just kept saying ‘I want to wrestle, I want to wrestle’ so it was like the payoff to what I worked so hard for all that time begged for all that time. So that will probably be the top moment.”
Thoughts on the Mae Young Classic: “I love that they’re doing this. I’m excited to watch it because there’s a lot of girls in that tournament that I like and feel that are talented and that I’ve come across in some way or another. Met, wrestled or whatever it is. I’m so happy for them, I think thats its a great opportunity to be seen just beyond the independent scene and hopefully some will get contracts out of it.”
Gail also discusses who she’d like to see inducted next into the GFW Hall of Fame, building a match for GFW compared to WWE, Triple H’s influence of the WWE Women’s Revolution and her relationship with her husband Robert Irvine.
You can listen to the full interview below:
What did you think of the interview? What have been some of your favorite Gail Kim feuds? How would book her final match? Let us know in the comments below!