Gail Kim’s time in WWE was, for many fans, largely a disappointment. Despite possessing legitimate in-ring talent, the Canadian wrestler won only one WWE Women’s Championship, and was far more successful during her time in TNA/Impact/Global Force Wrestling, where she still works today. And while there may be many other factors behind her lack of success in WWE, Kim admitted in a recent interview that one of them could be WWE owner and chairman Vince McMahon’s lack of interest in women’s wrestling.
Speaking to The Sporting News‘ Brian Fritz, Gail Kim talked about her second WWE run in particular, which took place from 2008 to 2011. Prior to that, Gail worked for WWE from 2002 to 2004, and won her only Women’s Championship during that stint, but her second run, while longer, wasn’t quite as successful. According to Kim, this might have been due to Vince McMahon’s dislike for women’s wrestling, as WWE started focusing more on female wrestlers’ looks and sex appeal, as opposed to their grappling skills.
“My honest opinion, and this is only my opinion and I don’t know this as fact, I just think Vince McMahon did not like women’s wrestling,” said Kim, 40, who added that the recent “women’s revolution” in WWE was mainly spurred on by demand from the fans.
Gail Kim went on to credit WWE’s increased focus on women’s wrestling to McMahon’s son-in-law, WWE executive Paul “Triple H” Levesque, whose leadership at WWE’s developmental promotion NXT helped mold the careers of present-day female talents such as Charlotte Flair, Sasha Banks, Becky Lynch, Bayley, and Alexa Bliss.
“It was really truly Hunter (Triple H) who created all these great girls in NXT. It wasn’t Vince. It’s almost like, thank God Hunter did it so that Vince could see the reaction that these girls were getting in NXT. Then it was OK, let’s jump on the bandwagon and let’s make it happen. I think he was never a fan of women’s wrestling whether he had talented girls or not and he didn’t want to watch that.”
Talking about her time with the company, Gail Kim said that WWE “really didn’t want (female wrestlers) to do things,” meaning high-risk, athletic moves that are now commonplace in women’s wrestling matches on RAW and SmackDown Live. She claims that female wrestlers had to keep quiet about doing these impressive moves, and had to run them by a backstage agent for approval.
“To me, I always just feel like why would you hire a talent and not use them to the best of their ability? That’s the confusing part for me and that was the most frustrating part for me.”
Although Gail Kim’s recollection of Vince McMahon not liking women’s wrestling might point to why few wrestling fans truly cared about WWE’s Divas Division in the late 2000s, things appear to have changed in recent years. For example, Ringside News (via Wrestling Observer Radio) reported that McMahon was upset over the boos Bayley received from Toronto fans when she announced she would have to pull out of SummerSlam due to an injury. As Bayley has consistently been booked as a wholesome babyface, McMahon felt the boos were out of line, and reportedly had announcer Corey Graves refer to the situation as “bizarro world,” as is often the case when fans have unexpected reactions to certain wrestlers, storylines, or segments.
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