Before her return match this Sunday at Rebellion, Gail Kim sat down for an exclusive interview with Diva Dirt’s Simon Hannig. She discussed a wide range of topics including Tessa Blanchard, WWE, the John Oliver segment, Sasha Banks, and retirement.
Kim has earned the right to be called one of the most decorated women’s wrestlers of all-time.
IMPACT Wrestling’s pay-per-view event, Rebellion, will be in Toronto, Canada, which is Kim’s hometown. She discussed what it means to wrestle in front of her hometown crowd.
“Yeah, I didn’t expect it,” Kim said. “It’s funny because we announced this match and obviously I knew the match was coming, but I didn’t really know where. I thought maybe Philly because that’s where they are later on this week. It was kind of nerve-racking.”
“I thought, ‘Okay, this is great,’ because my nephew has never watched me wrestle live. Oh, wait, maybe a little bit but nothing of this caliber especially with my opponent being of that caliber. It’s exciting to have my family and friends there and my husband is gonna fly in. It’ll be special, hopefully, and I hope that the fans are really into. I think that we’ve invested a lot of time into it, so I’m ready. Very ready.”
Many fans have been wondering why she came out of retirement to face Blanchard and if there will be more matches later on.
“No, it’s a one-time thing, definitely,” Kim said. “I think people know I had back issues. That’s why I retired. There was a lot of factors that went into making this decision because I was happy in terms of how my career ended and everything.”
“I think everyone who knows me and my work ethic and the kind of matches I like to produce for the fans out there and perform at that level. I want magic. I want them to have that memorable, magical moment that they will cherish and remember for as long as possible.”
She went on to discuss Blanchard and her attitude problem.
“When I saw Tessa and obviously she’s got a little bit of attitude problems here, but she has my respect in terms of her work ethic and who she is in terms of what she wants to be in this business,” Kim said. “Her passion and her dedication to being the best. That’s where her youth and her age maybe plays into her attitude issues. I look back at her and see a lot of myself in her. I just think it’s a great match up. My generation versus her generation, which is right now.”
She also discussed Blanchard’s comments about her where and the claim Kim is holding her back.
“Like I said, that’s a comment that comes out of a 23 year old,” Kim said. “I think I can look back and say I had some attitude problems early in my career and I said this on TV and I meant it, I don’t think anything but getting her in the ring will shut her mouth or teach her a lesson. I’ve been working so hard and waiting for that moment and Sunday will be a culmination of it all. I’m looking forward to it.”
This is her second stint with IMPACT. She came back to the company in 2011 after her second run with WWE ended.
“I never wanted to leave Impact, to be honest,” Kim said. “I think some people know this story. When I left that one time, it was a business decision. I was in the prime of my career. I felt like financially, in terms of where I was in my life, I needed that offer to be something of substantialness and it didn’t come at that time.”
“So, WWE had offered me a substantial offer, which I said, ‘Okay. I’m gonna be optimistic and hope for the best and hope that I’m a stronger woman now and I’ve experienced that and know what I’m walking into.'”
“I went there and it wasn’t what I had hoped. It was basically a repeat of what I experienced the first time. I never had bad feelings towards IMPACT. I never wanted to leave.
“So for me, it was a no-brainer for me to go back. As long as they wanted me back as well, and they did. It just picked up back where we left it, just working with a lot of the same girls and creating that magic. With Impact, they’ve always utilized the women in a really positive way and never stopped.”
“So, I knew I’d be going back to an environment that allowed me to thrive, to the best of my ability. I didn’t feel like that was the case at that time where I was.”
Gail Kim has had many high points in her illustrious career, but she picked two things that were her personal favorites in her career.
“Oh boy. I would say kind of a tie,” Kim said.“I guess the two would be, one, winning the very first Knockout championship. It was special because it was the very first title and not just that, I felt like it was truly fought for and it was all the years of fighting. When you fight for that long and you get what you want, it’s almost like the taste of victory is even better because you know you fought so hard for it.”
“The same with Hall of Fame because that was something that accumulated over time. To have that appreciation and validation from your peers and from the fans and from the company, those were probably the top two that I will always remember and cherish.”