Friday, April 13, 2007

TNA: Gail Kim Part 1

Gail Kim grew up as an athlete in Toronto, Ontario Canada and attended secondary school at York Memorial Collegiate Institute, where she played basketball, volleyball, soccer, baseball, badminton, and twice was named female athlete of the year. She went on to enroll at the University of Toronto and majored in kinesology (the science of human movement) before transferring to Ryerson University and changed her major to nutrition.
The 5'4" 120 lb. Asian lady was trained by Ron Hutchinson and made her pro debut in December 2000. "I always loved wrestling and wanted to do something as a career that involved being athletic or physical. Luckily, I fell upon the AWF's web site. I heard of Ron Hutchinson and his great reputation and took a shot. Now I've found a passion and I'm doing what I love." As a proud member of the Canadian Wrestling Hall of Fame, commissioner of "The Apocalypse Wrestling Federation" in southern Ontario, and owner of Ron Hutchinson's Pro Wrestling Gym in Toronto, Ron has trained some of the most popular stars in professional wrestling including Edge, Christian & Trish Stratus.

Gail Kim initially made her wrestling debut as the masked "La Felina." The WWE's newest Diva claims it was to pay homage to the great masked Japanese wrestlers. La Felina touted herself as the "Queen Of The Cats" and used a dominatrix persona in the Apocalypse Wrestling Federation. She eventually lost her mask after losing a match to Tracy Brooks in a hair vs. mask match, but went on to continue her AWF career and was even voted Diva of the Year by a wide margin on that promotions web site. Besides wrestling for the AWF, the fiery newcomer competed in Michigan Championship Wrestling, Maximum Pro Wrestling, Universal Wrestling Alliance, Border City Wrestling, Insane Wrestling Federation & Foxxy Ladies of Wrestling.

Strangely enough it was Molly Holly who had helped Gail get noticed by the WWE. The two met in 2001 at the WWE Fan Axxess fan festival in Toronto. Gail says that "Molly was nice enough to take my video footage and give it to WWE officials" although no one from the WWE contacted her until six months later.

On October 15, 2002 Gail entered a WWE ring, hours before the show at Toronto's Air Canada Centre to wrestle Nidia in a tryout match. That same night Molly Holly stepped into the ring with Gail and was immediately impressed. In the May 2003 WWE RAW Magazine article Molly informed readers that "I wrestled with her in a match that lasted five minutes or so. Within those five minutes, I could tell she had what it takes to be a WWE Superstar. She was very confident and aggressive, and you could tell that she knew what she was doing in there." In the same article WWE agent John Laurinaitis told readers that "Gail Kim not only has the qualifications to be a WWE Diva, but on the wrestling side, she's a very talented, lucha-libre style female wrestler, which we don't see very often."

Just two days later she got a phone call from a WWE agent, offering her a contract which is practically unheard of. After signing the contract, immediately there was a number of Internet rumors of Gail making her TV debut soon thereafter. It didn't quit work out that way as Kim didn't see her first WWE action until December when she defeated Dawn Marie at a house show in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada during a "bra and panties" match. "It went well. I felt like my heart was going to pop out of my chest just before the entrance. But once I got out there, I was okay. Some people get nervous when they come out, but I calm down, especially when I'm in the ring. That's when I'm most confident."

Early 2003 found Gail working in the OVW as the WWE began their "push" to the newest Diva in the roster by including an article and pictorial of Gail in WWE's RAW Magazine. WWE agent Dave "Fit" Finley who works extensively with the women had high praise for the the companies new female prospect. "She's going to lift the Women's Division even higher than it is right now. She's a high-flyer and can do things that you only see coming from Rey Mysterio. She;s totally different than all the girls we've got right now. She can fight and she's as tough as they are, but she's got all these high-flying maneuvers." Look out Lita you may have some high flying competition to look forward to.

June 6, 2003 the WWE began their on-air promotions stating that Gail Kim "is coming." On the June 30 Gail finally made her debut, but to OWOW it was a controversial inauguration. In her first match ever - a Championship Female Battle Royal - that included Championship Title Belt holder Jazz, Molly Holly, Ivory, Jacqueline, Trish Stratus & Victoria, Gail won the title belt. During the match Jazz was helped to the backstage area by WWE officials after being injured, and eventually Victoria and Gail were the only competitors remaining. Gail was able to get Victoria over the top rope by using a head scissors and winning the title.

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