Impact Wrestling Knockout Kiera Hogan was a recent guest on the Women’s Pro Wrestling Weekly podcast to discuss signing with Impact Wrestling, who is on her wrestling bucket list, dealing with racism in the business and getting to work with Gail Kim. Highlights of the interview below, courtesy of After Buzz.
On what it’s been like getting signed to Impact and passion for wrestling: Honestly, it’s been a dream! I watched TNA back when I was in middle school and high school. So to even be a Knockout is crazy to me. To be a part of the division and to be on TV is still crazy to me. I still can’t even believe when people come up to me, or like my pictures or tell me they watch me, it’s crazy. Because, it’s just like, I’ve only been wrestling for three years, I’ve been in the business almost four or five years, announcing and interviewing, so to even be in my position is still like, not real. I knew at some point when I was like 14 or 15 that I wanted to be a wrestler. Like, that’s all I ever wanted to do. I wanted to go to college to play soccer, just so I could go to a wrestling school in Florida. I wanted that to be my plan to tell my parents so that I could be a wrestler on the side! But I ended up staying in Atlanta and training in WWA4 and five years later here I am in this position!
If she’s ever had issues being a “smaller” (4’11”) wrestler: No, I don’t think I ever thought of it being an issue because I always looked up to girls that were smaller – Mickie James, Melina, AJ Lee, and Trish [Stratus] were all billed at under what, like 5’3”, 5’4”? So I just assume that I was gonna fit right in and even wrestling the tallest girls, I wrestled Madison Eagles, she’s 6’1”, and even to wrestle her is crazy for me because she’s almost two feet taller than me! I never, ever thought that being short would be an issue especially because with girls like Zelina Vega, she’s my height and I used to Tweet at her to tell her “Thank you so much for being your size, because you make me feel like I can do this and I can be normal too!” So, I never thought my size would affect it.
Coming up with the concept of The Girl on Fire: You know what’s funny, my boyfriend actually gave me the idea. He was the one who told me, like at a point I had my first match, I had this big chip on my shoulder. I didn’t have to come to training, I didn’t have to go work out, I didn’t have to do all these things, because I thought I was the “big dog” because I had my first wrestling match. And I was like, “Oh, I can this without the training.” And I kinda felt lost at some point, I kind of got really beside myself and got off track. My boyfriend, Owen Knight, was like, “You need to find your ‘fire.’ You need to have that determination and that strength and that dedication to this because you’re gonna have to be committed to it.” For some reason that just instantly clicked with me, and I was like, “I can be the Girl on Fire! I can be that determination, because, this is, again, all I’ve ever wanted to do. So I knew if anybody was gonna be on fire, it was gonna be me.
On working with Gail Kim: Oh my god, Gail has to be hands down one of the nicest people I have ever met! She is just in love with wrestling! Just to be able to work with her. I feel like I’ve never met somebody that is just so in love with the business. She just loves every single element of it, even though she’s not even wrestling, she is so in love with the business, especially women’s wrestling! She is all down for women empowerment and women getting the same treatment. That’s all she preaches to us Knockouts. I couldn’t be any more grateful to have her in my life at all because I never thought that would happen.
Who is on her bucket list that she’d like to wrestle: Well, number one is Mickie James, obviously, because she is my idol. I don’t know if that’s ever gonna happen because she’s in WWE right now. I’m going to wrestle Mickie James, she wants to wrestle me. I’ve literally been going to her meet and greets since I was 17 years old and the last time I was her was her first appearance at SHIMMER. She was like “When are gonna wrestle?” So, we have to wrestle, it has to be! But, Ivelisse was definitely second. Melina, who I’ve spoken to as well. I would love to wrestle Trish Stratus and Lita, but you know, that’s just, far-fetched. A couple of Indie girls like Mia Yim, I really wanna have a singles match with Mia Yim. I got to wrestle Tessa [Blanchard], who was somebody I met four years ago. So to be in the position that we’re in now, I got to wrestle her too. But there are so many people on the list. I just love to wrestle people for the different aspects and different skill sets and you get to wrestle people that come from different backgrounds, or different religions or ethnicities. To be able to wrestle these people from all these different places is a test, and you can learn so much from wrestling with different people. So I would love to wrestle anybody honestly.
On how her personal experiences with racism in her wrestling career: I have had a situation with me not getting something because of my skin color, but never in the sense of “You should change this or you should do this.” I always do what I felt like I wanted to do. My hair is curly and everything now but if I wanted to wear it straight or short. If I wanted to wear it in black. If I want to wear it red, natural. I’ve never had any issues with my appearance but definitely, I have had experiences with my skin color not getting me a position in wrestling. It was international and it was a tryout that I had and the person that was gonna be picked was me or the white girl and the owner said he would rather have the white girl because she was white and I was black. But we were both pretty but, my skin color didn’t get me the international opportunity. It was in Japan. This was before Impact but yeah that’s okay, you know! It worked out.
The biggest challenges she’s faced in wrestling so far: My personal problem now is I feel like even though I’m on TV I feel as though I’ve plateaued. I feel as though I’m getting a little rise but honestly, not as much as I feel like I should. As me seeing my progress and I definitely have my faults, I’m not going to say that I don’t. I’m definitely still learning. Even with other girls, I feel like there are so many more talents that need to be looked at. There are some many other girls who deserve opportunities that other girls are getting. It’s just the mix and the shuffle and what’s hot now, what people are wanting to watch really. I just feel like I said I’m trying to evolve my character because I feel like I’m just missing something. I feel like I need a spark to really set it off and then I’ll get that big jump. Right now, I feel like I’m just in the mix (on Impact). I’m doing my job, just in the mix. I want to be the main event star, I want to be the reason people turn on the TV. I feel like I am, I get people telling me I’m the reason they watch Impact which is great but I want to be in that main event spot. I want to show why I’m there, I want a story. It’s funny because in high school, middle school, I used to write my own storylines and fanfictions of people that wrestled in WWE when I was watching. But now I can’t think of anything for myself, I find it so weird but again I’m just missing something, I don’t know what it is yet.
Where she would like to see her career go: In the past few months, I’ve looked at my career so differently. When I first started, my dream was to go to the WWE, because ever since I was a little girl that’s always what I wanted to do. But, right now, I want to be able to learn, grow, and be able to the best wrestler I can be before I go to the big stage. I want to be so good that they’re chasing me down! That’s how ready I want to be. I used to always put time stamps on things. But at this point, whatever happens, happens. Just learn, keep growing, keep your ears open. Do what you know and then your time comes, it’ll come.
Kiera Hogan also discusses wanting to wrestle and travel the world, lessons learned in her career so far and which other former Knockouts have served as inspiration.
You can watch the full interview below:
What did you think of the interview? Have you been enjoying ‘The Girl on Fire’ so far? Who would you like to see Kiera Hogan wrestle? Let us know in the comments below!