WWE, also known as World Wrestling Entertainment, is not just a wrestling organization; it’s a global entertainment empire. Established by Vince McMahon, WWE has become a colossal force in the world of professional wrestling and sports entertainment. This multimedia juggernaut offers a unique blend of athleticism, drama, and showmanship with weekly television shows like ‘Raw’ and ‘SmackDown!, along with massive annual events like ‘WrestleMania.’ With a rich history and global reach, it ensures that fans are treated to unforgettable moments each week.
WWE has long served as a platform for many wrestling stars to rise and become global icons and Gail Kim is a brilliant example of this phenomenon. She has transcended societal expectations and demands and built herself a career as a successful and empowered wrestler. It has been a long time since she retired from WWE, so if you are curious about knowing what she is up to these days, we have all the details. Let’s begin!
Why Did Gail Kim Leave WWE?
Hailing from Toronto, Canada, Gail Kim’s aspirations of becoming a professional wrestler were ignited after she completed her degree at Ryerson University. To pursue her wrestling dreams, she enrolled at the Ron Hutchison’s School of Pro Wrestling in Toronto, where she underwent training. Additionally, she sought supplementary guidance from Rob Echeverria at the Squared Circle Pro Wrestling Gym. During the years 2000 to 2002, she gained valuable experience in the Canadian independent wrestling circuit. It was during this time that Nora Greenwald, known as Molly Holly in the wrestling world, offered her a pivotal piece of advice which was to submit her audition tapes to WWE.
Following this guidance, Kim secured her place in WWE, officially joining the company’s roster in October 2002. She made her debut in the women’s division and made an impact by winning the WWE Women’s Championship in her very first match, defeating Molly Holly. This victory made her the first woman to win the championship in her debut match, marking a historic achievement in WWE’s women’s division. Gail Kim showcased her incredible wrestling abilities, athleticism, and charisma and engaged in feuds with top women wrestlers of the time, including Trish Stratus and Victoria.
On November 3, 2004, WWE decided to release Gail Kim as part of their cost-cutting measures. The company conveyed that they were looking to reshape and redefine the direction of the women’s division, and unfortunately, Kim didn’t fit into the evolving vision they had in mind. Despite being caught off-guard by her release from WWE, Gail Kim managed to regroup and continue her wrestling career. She made occasional appearances on the independent circuit and competed in various countries, including Japan, Mexico, and South Korea. In September 2005, she signed with TNA (Total Nonstop Action Wrestling) and eventually made her in-ring debut for the promotion on July 16, 2006, at TNA’s ‘Victory Road’ event.
Gail’s wrestling career continued to flourish in TNA, where she received accolades like the 2007 TNA Knockout of the Year award. However, she decided to leave TNA in mid-August 2008 after her contract expired and later re-signed with WWE in late 2008. Upon her return to WWE, she came back as a fan favorite and made her presence felt on the March 27, 2009, episode of SmackDown by interrupting a WWE Divas Championship match between Maryse and Michelle McCool. Kim enjoyed a successful run in WWE for a couple of years. However, her role gradually changed, and she began receiving less screen time starting in early 2011 and she was only portrayed as the on-screen girlfriend of Daniel Bryan.
On the August 1, 2011 episode of ‘Raw,’ Kim participated in a battle royal to determine the number one contender for the Divas Championship. However, shortly after the match began, she chose to eliminate herself, explaining that WWE had instructed her to do so within the first minute. Kim later announced her departure from WWE via Twitter on August 5, 2011, stating that she had quit. Despite WWE initially not granting her release, her WWE profile was removed on September 30, signifying her official departure as her contract had expired.
Where is Gail Kim Now?
Gail Kim made her return to TNA’s ‘Impact Wrestling’ in October 2011, where she continued to have a successful wrestling career, participating in memorable matches. On June 14, 2016, Kim achieved a significant milestone by becoming the first female inductee into the TNA Wrestling Hall of Fame. As a seven-time Knockouts Champion, she announced her retirement from professional wrestling after her seventh championship win and vacated the title. Kim’s farewell match took place on February 3, 2018, in Stevenage, United Kingdom, where she defeated Kasey Owens in the main event, marking the end of her wrestling career.
In June 2018, Kim made her return to ‘Impact Wrestling,’ taking on the role of a producer and agent. Despite her retirement, she participated in another match at ‘Impact Wrestling Rebellion’ on April 28, 2019. Known for being one of the most underrated wrestlers in the industry, wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer praised Kim, noting that she was “so ahead of her time.” Following her departure from ‘Impact Wrestling,’ WWE initially removed her references from their roster.
However, in 2021, they acknowledged Kim by including her in a list of the Top 50 female performers in the history of the company. In March 2020, Kim, along with Lita and Christy Hemme, announced ‘KAYfABE,’ a new wrestling show that blends scripted drama with pro wrestling, inspired by true events. Additionally, in April 2023, it was reported that Kim, alongside Gisele Shaw, would participate in the ninth season of ‘The Amazing Race Canada.’
Kim crossed paths with renowned chef Robert Irvine while working on the set of ‘Dinner: Impossible,’ and an instant connection ignited between them and they started dating. They exchanged vows in a stunning ceremony held on May 11, 2012, and their nuptials were captured for an episode of ‘Irvine’s Restaurant: Impossible’ show. Despite her role as a producer in the wrestling community and her flourishing online presence, Kim’s story epitomizes resilience, showcasing her ability to rise above numerous challenges. She serves as an inspiration not only to wrestlers but to people worldwide, and we eagerly anticipate her continued success in the future, just as she has consistently achieved in the past.