Impact Wrestling Hall of Famer Gail Kim spoke with The Mirror ahead of tomorrow's Homecoming pay-per-view discussing her role as referee in the Knockouts Championship match between Tessa Blanchard and Taya Valkyrie. She also paid tribute to Gene Okerlund. Below are the highlights.
Refereeing Knockouts Championship Match At Homecoming:
"I’ve been told in the past that I’m a terrible referee! The first guy who trained me, Ron Hutchinson, had me referee a match and when I got to the back he said “you are a terrible referee” and it always stuck with me. But I hope by now I would have got a little better! Any time I have refereed, I have way more respect for these guys who do it. Obviously as a wrestler you have a natural instinct in the ring, but as a referee you mostly have to stand out of the way and in this match I will call things fairly and down the line."
"I don’t think it’s going to be difficult at all. I feel grounded and feel like, hey, I was a wrestler once too. I don’t feel intimidated by her. I feel really fair about it and everyone knows how invested I am in the Knockouts Division and bringing it to another level. I want to continue with how well the girls are doing and being the backbone of it. I feel like the girls have a level of respect for me and hopefully Tessa will have it that day. I’m really looking forward to the match to be honest, their previous two matches have been unbelievable."
Tessa Blanchard And Taya Valkyrie:
"Taya was the first one on my radar and as a fellow Canadian you have that connection. She was trained by Lance Storm and everyone that has come out of his school has been outstanding and all of them have the potential to succeed. Taya really impressed me and I got to work with her and it was really easy, we had great chemistry. Since she has come back and worked at IMPACT, she has a new attitude and I love this new Taya. In terms of Tessa, it’s so funny because I had never seen her work until shortly before she came to IMPACT. I had heard a lot about her and other females had told me how great she was. I didn’t know until she performed in front of me at IMPACT. This girl is the future, she reminded me in a lot of ways of me. She has a passion to be the best and to do the best for women’s wrestling. You can see it and as long as her attitude stays in check, she will make it. She will be the best in the future."
Future Of Knockouts Division:
"IMPACT had women in the main event in the past quite frequently, I have been trying to tell people that we are in the stage of rebuilding. Literally when I retired, I felt like a stranger in the locker room because they had recruited a whole new generation of Knockouts. It is happening and we are seeing some great potential talent. I feel like it is all coming together."
"It’s so nice that everyone was saying the same thing about him and that was that he was always a pleasure to be around. He was just so fun and approachable and kind and classy, I have so many positive things to say. I truly think everyone’s heart was broken when the news was announced. There will never ever be anyone like him – ever. He truly is irreplaceable and has left such an impression on everyone. It was certainly an emotional day when he passed."