Gail Kim-Irvine (born February 20, 1977) is a Canadian professional wrestler, professional wrestling valet, model and actress of Korean descent, who is best known for her time in Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA), where she held the TNA Knockouts Championship four times and the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship once. Kim is also known for working with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE), where she won the WWE Women's Championship in her first match.
She began her career wrestling as La Felina on the Canadian independent circuit, before joining WWE in 2002 as Gail Kim. In her WWE debut match, she won the WWE Women's Championship, becoming the first WWE Diva in history to win a championship in her first match. After being released by WWE in 2004, Kim joined TNA in September 2005. There, she joined the tag team America's Most Wanted as their valet. After the dissolution of the group, Kim performed as a singles wrestler, eventually going on to become the inaugural TNA Women's Knockout Champion in October 2007. She later left TNA in August 2008, to return to WWE three months later, making her televised return in March 2009. She announced on August 5, 2011 that she had quit WWE via her Twitter account. The following October, she returned to TNA. In 2012, Pro Wrestling Illustrated named Kim the number one female wrestler in the world.
World Wrestling Entertainment (2002–2004)Edit
Kim was introduced to World Wrestling Federation (WWF) employee Nora Greenwald (known on-screen as Molly Holly) by Jason Sensation in 2001; Greenwald encouraged Kim to send her videos and tapes to WWF officials, which eventually led to her contract. In October 2002, she was hired by the WWF, now renamed World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). She spent eight months training in Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW) and appearing in house shows and dark matches before being called up to the main roster. After several weeks of vignettes showcasing Matrix-like effects aired on Raw, Kim debuted on June 30 as a fan favorite, with a Matrix-inspired outfit.
Her first televised WWE match was a seven-woman battle royal in Buffalo, New York on the June 30, 2003 episode of Raw with the WWE Women's Championship, then held by an injured Jazz, on the line. Kim won the match by lastly eliminating Victoria. Kim held the title for four weeks, before losing it to Molly Holly on the July 28, 2003 episode of Raw. The following week, Kim turned villainous by attacking Trish Stratus in the ring. Shortly after her heel turn, the evil Kim aligned with Holly to take on Stratus, who was later assisted by Lita. At WWE's Unforgiven PPV event on September 21, 2003, Stratus and Lita defeated Kim and Holly in a tag match. The four women continued to feud until November, when Kim was sidelined with a broken right collarbone. Kim returned to Raw in April 2004 and immediately reforged her alliance with Holly. At WWE's Bad Blood PPV event on June 13, 2004, she faced Lita, Stratus, and Victoria in a Fatal Four-Way for the WWE Women's Championship, which was won by Stratus.
Kim participated in a battle royal on October 19, 2004 at WWE's Taboo Tuesday PPV event, which was won by Stratus. She, however, was released by WWE on November 3, 2004 as a result of cost cutting. Kim was caught off guard by her release and was told that management wanted to take the women's division in a new direction.
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (2005–2008)Edit
America's Most Wanted (2005-2007)Edit
Following her release and the expiration of her 90-day no-compete clause, Kim made sporadic appearances on the independent circuit, including at Michigan's All World Wrestling League and in Japan. She also competed in Korea and Mexico before being signed by the Total Nonstop Action Wrestling (TNA) promotion on September 6, 2005. She made her TNA debut on the October 8, 2005 episode of TNA's television program TNA Impact!, aligning herself with Jeff Jarrett and America's Most Wanted (AMW) (Chris Harris and James Storm) and taking on the role of AMW's and Jarrett's manager. Kim made her in-ring debut on July 16, 2006 at TNA's Victory Road PPV event in a Six Man Mixed Tag Team match with AMW against A.J. Styles, Christopher Daniels, and Sirelda. However, her team ended up on the losing end of the contest. At TNA's Hard Justice PPV event on August 13, 2006, Kim defeated Sirelda in a standard wrestling match.
In early 2007 after the dissolution of AMW, Kim began a more active role as an in-ring competitor in TNA. This began with an on-screen feud with her former alliance, Storm, and his new manager Jacqueline. The first encounter between the group was on February 11, 2007 at TNA's Against All Odds PPV event in a Mixed Tag Team match, which Kim and her partner, Petey Williams, lost. On March 11, 2007 at TNA's Destination X PPV event, Storm and Jacqueline won a rematch against Williams and Kim in a Double Bullrope match. Kim went on to defeat Jacqueline in a Six Sides of Steel cage match on April 15, 2007 at TNA's Lockdown PPV event. Their feud came to an end on the May 3, 2007 episode of TNA Impact!, when Kim defeated Moore under street fight rules.
Singles competitor (2007-2008)Edit
After the conclusion to her feud with Moore, Kim made two minor TNA PPV appearances before outlasting nine other competitors in a ten-woman gauntlet match to crown the first TNA Women's World Champion on October 14, 2007 at TNA's Bound for Glory PPV event. She made her first title defense on November 11, 2007 at TNA's Genesis PPV event; there she successfully retain the title by defeating Roxxi Laveaux, ODB, and Angel Williams. Kim then began a feud with Awesome Kong over the championship. Their first encounter occurred on December 2, 2007 at TNA's Turning Point PPV event, which resulted in Kim retaining due to a disqualification by Kong. On January 6, 2008 at TNA's Final Resolution PPV event, Kim defeated Kong in their second encounter to retain the championship under no disqualification rules. In their third and final encounter on the January 10, 2008 episode of TNA Impact!, Kong defeated Kim to win the TNA Women's World Championship.
During the January 24, 2008 episode of TNA Impact!, Kim was awarded the 2007 TNA Knockout of the Year award. Kim competed in a three way match on March 9, 2008 at TNA's Destination X PPV event against Kong and ODB, which Kong won. On April 13, 2008 at TNA's Lockdown PPV event, she teamed with ODB to defeat the team of Raisha Saeed and Kong in a tag team match. On May 11, 2008 at TNA's Sacrifice PPV event, Kim won a TNA Knockouts Makeover Battle Royal, which involved a battle royal and then a ladder match, to become new one contender to the renamed TNA Women's Knockout Championship. Kim competed for the championship on the May 15, 2008 episode of TNA Impact!, however failed to win the title.
At TNA's Slammiversary PPV event on June 8, 2008, Kim teamed with ODB and Roxxi to defeat The Beautiful People (Angelina Love and Velvet Sky) and Moose in a Six Woman Tag Team match. Kim defeated Love on July 13, 2008 at TNA's Victory Road PPV event. Kim then teamed with ODB and Taylor Wilde to defeat the team of Kong and The Beautiful People on August 10, 2008 at TNA's Hard Justice PPV event in her last TNA PPV match. Kim's final TNA match aired on the August 21, 2008 episode of TNA Impact! in a losing effort to Kong under street fight rules. Kim left TNA in mid-August 2008 after the terms of her contract expired.
Return to WWE (2009–2011)Edit
After her contract expired with TNA, Kim re-signed the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) promotion in late-2008. She made her return as a babyface on the March 27, 2009 episode of SmackDown, when she interrupted a WWE Divas Championship match between villainous Divas Michelle McCool and Maryse by attacking both competitors. Kim made her in-ring return on the March 30, 2009 episode of Raw on the winning team of an 18-Diva tag team match. Kim participated in a 25-Diva Miss WrestleMania battle royal on April 5, 2009 at WWE's WrestleMania XXV PPV event. On the April 17, 2009 episode of SmackDown, Kim defeated then-Divas Champion Maryse. This earned her a championship match the following week, which she failed to win.
On the June 29, 2009 episode of Raw, Kim was traded to the Raw brand as part of a 15 wrestler tri-brand trade between Raw, SmackDown, and ECW. A few weeks later on the August 10, 2009 episode of Raw, she gained another title shot by winning a Fatal 4-Way match, that also involved Beth Phoenix, Kelly Kelly, and Alicia Fox, to become number one contender. She was unsuccessful in winning the championship on the August 17, 2009 episode of Raw, when she faced then-champion Mickie James. At WWE's Bragging Rights PPV event on October 25, 2009, Kim, with Melina and Kelly Kelly, represented Raw in a losing effort to McCool, Phoenix, and Natalya, representing SmackDown. Kim was on the winning side of a five-on-five Survivor Series Elimination match on November 22, 2009 at WWE's Survivor Series PPV event.
In early-2010, a tournament was held for the newly vacated Divas Championship. Kim defeated Jillian Hall and Fox to make it to the finals, where she faced Maryse for the vacant title. The finals were held on the February 22, 2010 episode of Raw, which Maryse won to become the new champion. The finals were originally to be held on February 21, 2010 at WWE's Elimination Chamber PPV event, but the match was changed to the team of Maryse and Kim versus Team Lay-Cool (McCool and Layla), which was won by the later. Kim was apart of the losing side of a 10-Diva tag team match at WWE's WrestleMania XXVI PPV event on March 28, 2010. At WWE's Fatal 4-Way PPV event on June 20, 2010, Kim challenged for the Divas Championship in a Fatal 4-Way match that also involved then-champion Eve, Maryse, and Fox; however, Fox won the contest.
Kim appeared sporadically on television for the rest of 2010 competing mainly in multiple diva tag matches and wrestling mainly on Superstars. However she was placed in an angle with Daniel Bryan in early 2011 where she was revealed to be his girlfriend of the past six months, much to the ire of The Bella Twins who had been pursuing Bryan. This turned The Bellas heel and they immediately started feuding with Kim and the WWE Divas Champion Eve Torres. Kim's on-screen relationship with Daniel Bryan ended when Bryan was sent to SmackDown as part of the 2011 WWE Draft. On May 23, 2011 Gail kim teamed up with Kelly Kelly, Eve Torres and Beth Phoenix, against The Bella Twins, Maryse and Melina. The match, however ended in a no-contest following an interruption by Kharma.
Gail was later involved in a feud with the evil Melina, due to Melina's accusations that Gail was a "horrible friend." On the June 2 edition of WWE Superstars, Gail defeated Melina in a one-on-one match. On the following edition of WWE Superstars. Gail teamed with Eve Torres in a losing effort to Maryse and Melina. Gail would defeat Melina again on the June 23 edition of WWE Superstars. On the August 1 edition of Raw, Gail Kim participated in a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the Divas Championship, but ended up eliminating herself at the start of the match. She later explained that WWE had ordered her to get out of the match in a minute, so she decided to just eliminate herself. On August 5, Gail Kim announced on her Twitter page that she had quit the WWE following the incident. Kim later indicated that WWE did not grant her release, but would instead force her to stay with the promotion for the remainder of her contract. Kim's WWE.com profile was removed on September 30, indicating that she had officially left the company.
Return to TNAEdit
Championship reigns (2011-2012)Edit
Kim returned to TNA as a villainess on the October 20 episode of Impact Wrestling by attacking new TNA Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky and aligning herself with evil Knockouts VP Karen Jarrett and Madison Rayne. The following week, Jarrett named Kim the #1 Contender to Sky's title, before she went on to defeat Tara in her TNA return match. At the tapings of the November 3 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim and Rayne defeated Brooke Tessmacher and Tara to win the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Championship. The following week, they made their first title defense, defeating Mickie James and Velvet Sky. At TNA's Turning Point PPV event, the villainous Kim defeated Velvet Sky to win the TNA Knockouts Championship for the second time, making her a double champion and only the second woman in TNA history to hold both the Knockouts Championship and the Knockouts Tag Team Championship at the same time. She made her first title defense on December 11 at TNA's Final Resolution PPV event, defeating Mickie James, following interference from Madison Rayne. On the December 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim retained her title against James following another interference from Rayne.
On the January 5, 2012 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim and Rayne retained their tag team title against James and Traci Brooks. Three days later at Genesis, Kim defeated James via disqualification to retain the Knockouts Championship. On February 12 at Against All Odds, Kim successfully defended the Knockouts Championship against Tara in a match, during which Madison Rayne walked out on her Knockouts Tag Team Championship partner. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Rayne won a battle royal to became the number one contender to Kim's TNA Knockouts Championship. In the following weeks, tension between Kim and Rayne began to be teased with the two negatively interfering in each other's matches. On the March 8 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim and Rayne lost the Knockouts Tag Team Championship to Eric Young and ODB. On March 18 at Victory Road, Kim successfully defended the Knockouts Championship against Rayne. On the March 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim and Rayne reconciled and remained together as a team. On April 15 at Lockdown, Kim defeated Velvet Sky in a steel cage match, following a distraction from Rayne, to retain her title. Afterwards, Kim went on a losing streak against Brooke Tessmacher, which led to TNA naming Tessmacher the number one contender to her title. On May 13 at Sacrifice, Kim defeated Tessmacher, pinning her with her feet on the ropes, for another successful title defense. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim successfully defended her title against Tessmacher and Velvet Sky in a three-way match. On May 20, Kim became the longest reigning TNA Knockouts Champion in history by breaking Madison Rayne's previous record of 188 days. On June 10 at Slammiversary, Kim lost the title to Miss Tessmacher, ending her reign at 210 days. Kim received her rematch for the title on the July 12 episode of Impact Wrestling, but was again defeated by Tessmacher.
Feud with Taryn Terrell (2013)Edit
On January 13, 2013, at Genesis, Kim competed in a five woman gauntlet match to determine the number one contender to the Knockouts Championship. Kim eliminated Miss Tessmacher, ODB and Mickie James but was eventually eliminated by Velvet Sky after referee Taryn Terrell failed to notice Kim's foot under the ropes. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim received a rematch for Sky's number one contendership, but was again defeated. Kim received a shot at the Knockouts Championship on the February 21 episode of Impact Wrestling in London, England, in a fatal four–way elimination match against champion Tara, Miss Tessmacher, and Velvet Sky. During the match, Kim eliminated Tara first before being the last woman eliminated by Sky.
At Lockdown, Kim unsuccessfully challenged Sky for her Knockouts Championship, after being attacked by referee Taryn Terrell, who was once again being taunted and eventually slapped by Kim. Afterwards, the evil Gail attacked Terrell backstage during an interview. On the following episode of Impact Wrestling, Terrell was placed on probation due to her actions. Later that night, Kim and Tara were defeated by Mickie James and Velvet Sky, after Terrell violated her probation and slapped Kim. On the March 21 episode of Impact, Terrell was terminated as Knockouts referee by Brooke Hogan. Kim laughed evilly at Terrell, but backtracked when Hogan announced that Terrell would be added to the Knockout Roster and attacked Kim. The following week, Terrell challenged Kim to a match as part of the "Open Fight Night", but Kim refused and the segment ended in a brawl between Kim, Terrell, Tara, and Velvet Sky. On the next episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim and Tara defeated Terrell and Sky, with Kim pinning Taryn for the win due to a fast count by special guest referee Joey Ryan. Kim and Terrell finally faced off in singles competition on the April 11 episode of Impact Wrestling, where Terrell emerged victorious in a match refereed by ODB. On the May 2 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim teamed up with Tara in a losing effort to Terrell and Mickie James. After the match, Kim attacked Terrell and put her in a figure-four on the ringpost. Kim would do the same to Tara and Velvet Sky on the next two episodes of Impact Wrestling.
The rivalry between Kim and Terrell culminated in a Last Knockout Standing match on June 2 at Slammiversary XI, which Terrell won. On the July 11 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim defeated Terrell in a ladder match to become the number one contender to the Knockouts Championship. Kim received her title opportunity on the July 25 episode of Impact Wrestling, against villainous champion Mickie James; Kim lost the match and afterwards, confronted referee ODB after she failed to see a dirty pin, beginning a feud between the two. The following week, Kim fought ODB to double count-out. On August 15 at Impact Wrestling: Hardcore Justice, ODB pinned Kim in a three-way hardcore match, which also included Mickie James. The following week, Kim defeated ODB in singles competition. Kim and ODB faced off once again in a number one contender two out of three falls match on the August 29 episode of Impact Wrestling, which ODB won after making Kim submit for the first time ever in her career, to score the last fall.
Knockouts Champion and Alliance with Lei'D Tapa (2013-2014)Edit
Kim participated in the first Knockouts Knockdown PPV on September 6 and defeated Alissa Flash in a singles match to advance to the Gauntlet Battle Royal, which she won when she pinned Mickie James to be crowned the first ever "Queen of the Knockouts." During that time, Kim was named the Knockout of the Month for the month of September. At Bound For Glory on October 20, Kim defeated Brooke Tessmacher and ODB to win the Knockouts Championship when Lei'D Tapa entered and attacked both ODB and Brooke. After the match, Kim celebrated her victory with Tapa, officially solidifying their alliance. On the October 24 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim and Brooke defeated ODB and Velvet Sky with assistance from Tapa, who attacked Sky in the ring. A week later, Kim successfully defended the Knockouts Championship against ODB.
After she and Tapa attacked Velvet Sky, ODB, and Brooke during their #1 Contender's Match, Kim proclaimed that there was no competition left in TNA and she gave an Open Challenge to any woman outside of TNA to compete against her. In the following weeks, Kim picked up victories against Hannah Blossom and Candice LeRae. On the December 5 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim defeated Laura Dennis via pinfall. After the match, Kim and Tapa attacked Dennis in the ring, but both were run out by ODB. The following week, Kim and Tapa were defeated by ODB and the returning Madison Rayne when the latter pinned Kim. On the January 2, 2014 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim was defeated in a non-title singles match by Rayne. A week later, Kim and Tapa were shown backstage attacking ODB, under the orders of the evil Dixie Carter. At the Genesis edition of Impact Wrestling on January 16, Kim lost the Knockouts Championship to Rayne. On the January 30 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim and Tapa were defeated by Rayne and Velvet Sky. On the February 20 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim defeated Rayne in a Knockout Street Fight. At Lockdown, Kim was defeated by Rayne in a steel cage match for the Knockouts Championship.
On the March 13 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim was defeated by Brittany after Tapa's interference backfired. After the match, Kim and Tapa fought in the ring, severing their alliance. The following week, Kim defeated Tapa in singles action, ending Tapa's career in TNA.
Feud with The Beautiful People (2014-present)Edit
On the April 24 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim turned into a fan favorite by volunteering to team with Madison Rayne against The Beautiful People. Later in the evening, Kim and Rayne were defeated by Angelina Love and Velvet Sky. During the May 15 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim went to the ring to call out The Beautiful People. Angelina Love accepted Kim's challenge only to distract her long enough for Velvet Sky to blindside her. Kim however, still won the match, pinning Sky. On the June 12 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim defeated Brittany and Rayne to become the #1 Contender for the Knockouts Championship. Kim was defeated by Love in a Knockouts Championship match at Slammiversary.
On the July 3 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim defeated Love to win her fourth Knockouts Championship, and successfully defended her title on the following week against Love, Rayne, and Brittany in a four way match. Kim successfully defended her title against the evil Velvet Sky on the July 24 edition of TNA Xplosion. On the July 31 episode of Impact Wrestling, Kim successfully defended her championship against Taryn Terrell after the match went to a no-contest due to interference from The Beautiful People. After choosing them as her opponents the previous week, Kim successfully retained her title against Terrell, Love and Sky in a four-way contest on the August 14 edition of Impact Wrestling. Following a backstage attack by Love, on a special Hardcore Justice edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim ended her feud with The Beautiful People when she defeated Love in a Last Knockout Standing match for the TNA Knockouts Championship.
Kim successfully defended her title against Taryn Terrell on the September 3 episode of Impact Wrestling. After the match, Kim and Terrell were both attacked by the debuting Havok. Kim and Havok brawled on the following edition of Impact Wrestling. In the September tapings, Kim injured her shoulder during a pre-match brawl with Havok. Going against doctors advice, Kim defended her title later that night and lost her Knockouts title to Havok. Soon after it was announced that Kim had suffered a separated shoulder and torn ligaments at the hands of Havok and would be out of action indefinitely. Kim returned to Impact Wrestling in November, however her shoulder was not fully healed. Despite this, she demanded her rematch for the Knockouts title against Havok, which Kim would ultimately lose. Kim appeared at the Knockouts Knockdown 2 PPV on November 7 and competed against Veda Scott in the opening match. Despite Veda turning into a villainess and attacking Kim from behind, Kim won her match and advanced to the Gauntlet Battle Royal, which was won by Madison Rayne. On the November 19 edition of Impact Wrestling, Kim once again competed for Havok's Knockouts Championship, this time losing to Taryn Terrell in a three way match.