Gail Kim

Gail Kim
Gail Kim Profile

This stunning Diva was born under her namesake in this writer’s hometown of Toronto, Ontario Canada. The now 40-year-old Kim was a kinesiology major at the University of Toronto and eventually earned her degree from Ryerson University in nutrition.

She made her debut in 2000 on the Canadian Independents under a mask as “La Felina”, The Queen of the Cats.
In 2002, Kim had the good fortune of meeting Nora Greenwald (Molly Holly) who eventually led her to get signed to the WWE developmental territory of Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW).

She debuted on Raw in 2003 and won a Diva’s Battle Royal and became the WWE Women’s Champion in the process. After a one-month reign, Kim would drop the strap to old friend Molly Holly.

She was initially a popular face, but soon turned heel after instigating a fight against fellow Torontonian, Trish Stratus. Stratus aligned herself with Lita (Amy Dumas) while Kim joined forces with Holly. The two teams would feud for a few months before Kim fractured her right clavicle and needed time off to recuperate.

On her return, she resumed her feud with Lita and Stratus, eventually competing against them and Victoria in a Fatal 4-Way for the WWE Women’s title which Kim lost. Despite her popularity with the fans, Kim was released by the WWE in November 2004 as a cost cutting measure.

For the next year, Kim would take her show on the road, appearing in the country of her ancestry, Korea and well as in Australia and Mexico.

She then signed up with Total Nonstop Action (TNA) in 2005 as the manager of none other than TNA founder Jeff Jarrett. She also managed America’s Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm). She would partake in some mixed tag team bouts with Harris and Storm and would also engage in some solo matches.
America’s Most Wanted would eventually disband and Storm would fire Kim as manager in place of Jacqueline. This set the wheels in motion for a series of one-on-one bouts with Kim and Jacqueline as well as mixed tag encounters with Kim’s partner of choice, Petey Williams.

Kim and Jacqueline’s feud would become very heated and physical including a Six Sides of Steel match and street fights, both of which Kim won.

In 2007, Kim would win the TNA Women’s Knockout Champion title in a 10-woman gauntlet match. She would engage in memorable encounters against the intimidating Awesome Kong and would eventually drop the strap to Kong on an episode of TNA Impact.

Kim never gave up her championship pursuits and won a Diva’s Makeover Battle Royal followed by a ladder match to become the number one contender for Kong’s title. She would not win her championship match against Kong, but she would defeat the team of Kong and the Beautiful people (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky) with her partners ODB and Roxxi. Her contract with TNA expired in August 2008 and she left the promotion.

She returned to the WWE in 2008 as a fan favorite and soon thereafter won a 25 Diva Battle Royal at WrestleMania XXV. She had two failed attempts to win the WWE Women’s Championship: first against Maryse and then later against champion Mickie James.

Kim would lead her team to victory at the Survivor Series and later entered a tournament to determine the new Diva’s Champion. Kim would make it to the finals of the tourney, but would ultimately lose to Maryse again.

As time went on, Kim would lose a Fatal 4-Way shot for the title against Eve, Alicia Fox and Maryse with Fox emerging the victor.

In 2011, Kim was portrayed as the on-screen girlfriend of Daniel Bryan who was managed by the Bella Twins (Nikki and Brie) at the time. Out of jealousy, the Bellas and Kim would engage in a series of attacks against one another, but would never have a match together in the ring.

She had a short, uneventful feud with Melina after which she was involved in a bizarre circumstance on Raw. She entered a Diva’s Battle Royal to become the number one contender for the Diva’s Championship, but Kim actually voluntarily eliminated herself within the first minute. She would eventually leave the WWE, citing that she felt that they were holding back their female stars and vowed to never return to the promotion.

She would return to TNA in October of 2011 and make history. She debuted as a heel and formed a tag team combination with Madison Rayne to capture the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. Shortly after winning this title, Kim would go on to defeat Velvet Sky to become TNA Knockouts Champion. Not only was she the first female to win the Knockouts title twice, she was also the first female to hold two titles simultaneously in TNA.

After a 4-month run, Kim and Rayne would drop the tag belts to Eric Young and ODB. She would continue to successfully defend the Knockouts title against Brooke Tessmacher (aka Brooke Adams) and Velvet Sky and became the longest reigning Knockouts Champion in TNA history. She would drop the crown to Tessmacher after a 210-day record reign.

In 2013, Kim would challenge then-champion Velvet Sky for the title to a loss, owing to an assault by corrupt referee Tara Terrell. This would sow the seeds for a lengthy feud between Kim and Terrell including “Last Knockout Standing” matches and ladder matches, the latter of which Kim won.

History would repeat itself when Kim lost a shot at the title against Mickie James again owing to the interference of corrupt referee ODB. This would start a feud between herself and ODB including hardcore matches and 2-out-of-3 fall matches, both of which Kim lost.

Kim would get the last laugh however as she won the TNA Knockouts Title for the third time, defeating ODB and Brooke Tessmacher in a 3-Way match up. After nearly three months, Kim would drop the title to former ally Madison Rayne. Rayne and Kim would engage in a street fight thereafter and Kim would lose her shot at the belt in a steel cage match.

She would then be involved in short feuds against her former ally Lei’D Tapa and would turn face and start a feud with the reigning TNA Knockouts Champion Angelina Love.

After a hard fought victory to become number one contender, Kim would lose another shot at the tile, but would eventually win it from Love for a historic fourth run as champion on TNA Impact.

She would resume a feud with the Beautiful People and would win an impressive title defense against Love in a “Last Knockout Standing” match.

She then received a great challenge from newcomer Jessicka Havok who would separate Kim’s shoulder, rupture ligaments and capture the title from her. Kim would be off TNA television for the remainder of 2014 to rehabilitate her injuries.

In January 2015, Kim returned to TNA rings, forming an alliance with old rival Awesome Kong to face “The Dollhouse”, a faction consisting of Terrell, Marti Bell and Jade.

By September 2015, Kim astounded everyone by winning the Knockouts Championship for a fifth time, besting Kong, Lei’D Tapa and Tessmacher in a Fatal 4-Way. After having an impressive standing in the TNA World Title Series tournament, Kim later dropped her Knockouts Title to Jade in April of 2016.
She would unsuccessfully challenge Jade for the title and simultaneously started a feud with former “Celebrity Apprentice” contestant Maria Kanellis. Her feud with Kanellis would spill over into June of 2016 where she would defeat Kanellis for the Knockouts Title for the sixth time. After 4 months of successful defenses, Kim would vacate the title owing to back injuries.

Kim is currently no longer signed to TNA, but was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2016. She has written on social media that she will return to TNA once she is physically able. Kim is truly a groundbreaking trailblazer in women’s wrestling history and will forever be remembered for her remarkable contributions to this sport which has been typically male dominated.

Special thanks to Dr. Stephen Balsky for contributing the above wrestler profile.

Dr. Stephen Balsky is a chiropractor currently in practice in his native Toronto, Ontario, Canada. He has been a wrestling fan since age 13 and is very passionate about the product, especially the “old-school” 80’s – 90’s era. He completed his Masters of Business Administration (MBA) degree in 2015 and currently is also working part-time as a professor in both business and healthcare.

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gail_Kim

http://www.wrestlinginc.com/wi/news/2017/0511/626069/gail-kim-explains-her-tweet-to-stephanie-mcmahon/