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Wrestling / Gail Kim

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Gail Kim-Irvine (born on February 20, 1977) is a retired female Canadian professional wrestler of Korean descent, known for her high-flying innovative moves. Trained by El Fuego, Ron Hutchison and later, Fit Finlay, La Felina debuted in the year 2000, causing mischief in the Apocalypse Wrestling Federation and then touring for two years across the Canadian circuit after being unmasked. Gail Kim then got a developmental deal with WWE farm league Ohio Valley Wrestling in the USA and stopped by Michigan's All World Wrestling League. She went on to serve on the WWE's active roster for two years after she won the WWE Women's Championship on her very first night on Raw. She was abruptly released with many others in late 2004 and spent a year honing her craft in Mexico, Australia, Japan and South Korea.


She returned to Canada for BSE Pro Wrestling then went back to the USA where she signed with TNA in 2005 to help build up their fledgling women's division. Kim received rave reviews for her in-ring work which paid off in 2007 where she was crowned the first ever TNA Knockouts Champion. A feud with Awesome Kong followed, which was highly praised by critics and helped draw a huge amount of ratings for TNA. She left the company in 2008 over a pay dispute and resigned with WWE for the next three years. She then re-debuted in TNA, regaining the Knockouts Title belt, winning the Knockouts Tag Team Title Belts, again becoming one of their top female talents. Elsewhere she'd become the inaugural holder of Imperial Wrestling Revolution's Diamonds Title Belt and win France based Association Biterroise de Catch's women's title in her debut.


Is married to Chef Robert Irvine (since May 10, 2012) of Dinner: Impossible and Restaurant: Impossible, whom she met while doing an episode of Dinner Impossible as a WWE Diva.

"International Tropes":

  • Aborted Arc
    • There was never any real resolution to her mini-feud with the Bella Twins. It got transitioned into a Divas' Championship feud with Gail in Eve Torres's corner but Gail never really had much of a part in it.
    • Justified in the case of her storyline with Jackie Gayda in TNA because Gayda had to leave because she got pregnant.
    • Interestingly enough, both times she left WWE and TNA she had just begun a possible new storyline. In WWE in 2004 she had done a run-out attack segment on the Raw before she was released. And in TNA she had just begun an angle with her kayfabe sister.
    • Another one was her mini-push against Victoria in 2004. She gained three submission wins over her (while she was Women's Champion) - and was set to challenge her for the title at Bad Blood. Suddenly however she lost to Lita on Raw and the match was suddenly changed to a Fatal 4 Way, including Lita and Trish. This was used to further Trish and Lita's feud and Gail was mostly forgotten about afterwards.
    • Another small one. A friendship of sorts was played up between Gail and Kelly Kelly. The two faced off in a match on Superstars for no real reason. A couple of Raws later, special attention was drawn to the fact that Kelly had allowed Gail to be eliminated from a Divas battle royal. Fans speculated that it was a hint that they might feud with each other (Gail likely going heel) - but it was quickly dropped and forgotten about.
  • Arch-Enemy
    • Back in GLORY it was "Whoever stands between me and the title I'm shooting for."
    • Awesome Kong was built up as this in TNA, going so far as to attack Gail's non wrestling sister. Taryn Terrell became this for a bit in TNA when she thought Taryn was abusing her power as a referee to openly help Velvet beat her. For how that ended up, see Worthy Opponent and Fire-Forged Friends. But then Taryn's Dollhouse pissed off Kong and Kim enough to make them join forces against her and it.
    • Angelina Love and Velvet Sky. Her relationship with them started as relative apathy back when they were still called Talia Madison and Angel Williams but degraded into "hate hate hate" in both of her TNA runs after they dubbed themselves "The Beautiful People". Kong may have been who Kim was more famous for fighting but that feud only became personal when Raisha Saeed urged Kong to become more vindictive. Before then Kim temporarily stopped pursuing Kong and the title belt to settle a personal matter with Love and Sky. Gail dislikes the duo so much that their reunion in 2014 led to her second Heel–Face Turn.
    • Maryse for a bit in WWE.
  • Ascended Extra: Was initially a valet in TNA, but later helped build up their women's division.
  • Badass Longcoat: Early in her WWE career.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Though her ring attires trend toward simplistic more often than not anyway, her WWE entrance attire frequently displayed it as well.
  • Battle Couple: Both with Evan Bourne and Daniel Bryan.
  • Beauty, Brains, and Brawn: One could argue she was the brains with ODB being the Brawn and Roxxi Laveaux being the beauty in TNA (though ODB and Roxxi would argue for a switch). Heel opponents such as Molly Holly and Angelina Love have argued against Gail being "smart" too.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Immediately started getting cheered in the Apocalypse Wrestling Federation after losing her mask to Traci Brooks(who had put her hair on the line).
  • Beware the Nice Ones: While La Felina was hardly "nice", Gail seemed straight laced enough in her WWE debut but then laid out Trish Stratus for making a mistake in a tag match that caused them to lose.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": To the crowd during a match in the UK against "Portugal's Perfect Athlete" Shanna, after Gail slipped while trying to interrupt a cross body attempt. Naturally, Gail failed at quieting them too.
  • Bilingual Backfire: During their feud, Maryse started trash talking in French while pretending to be friendly. Gail then dropped a bombshell that she was a fluent French speaker and hadn't been fooled at all.
  • Bridal Carry: Gets carried this way by Tigre Uno during their match in the World Title Series.
  • Cameo
    • Has served as a referee for Boarder City Wrestling. On the October 5th 2016 show she dropped Rosemary for blatantly trying to cheat the debuting Heidi Katrina out of the CMLL-REINA International belt.
    • Kim showed up at RISE 7 when Bull Nakano was unable to make it. Kim didn't inherit Nakano's feud with Madusa, she was just there for meet, greet and photos. All the same, it was the first time Kim and Madusa had ever been in the same place.
  • Canada, Eh?: She's a Toronto native trained in the city's "School Of Pro Wrestling" and "Squared Circle Gym", and would be billed from there occasionally in WWE. During 2004, WWE decided that Canadian wrestlers would only be billed from their hometowns if they had Canadian gimmicks - so Gail was billed from Korea (although she has Korean ancestry, she's not just born but raised in Toronto) even though Tim Baines of the Ottawa Sun called her a "Canadian Hero". In her second run, she was billed from Tampa, except when she competed in Toronto (to get a hometown pop).
  • Catfight
    • On !BANG! TV while the Knockouts division was building up she got in a brawl with the Funkin Conservatory Women's Champion Claudia "The Claw" Reiff that quickly degenerated into a cat fight that Johnny Magnum, Christopher Daniels and even Dory Funk Jr. were incapable of stopping, partly because the fans told them not to.
    • A few with the Bella Twins. They were sort of upset about Daniel Bryan turning them down for her.
  • Characterization Marches On: During her heel run in WWE, Gail was occasionally implied to be The Vamp - sleeping with Eric Bischoff to get matches for Molly and flirting with Todd Grisham during an interview. These aspects never amounted to anything onscreen.
  • Cool Shades: During her first WWE gimmick.
  • Curbstomp Battle: When Victoria was women's champion she fought off Molly Holly and Gail at once but then later got curbstomed when Gail started using the christo. Gail's first defense of the knockouts title against Kong ended up being successful but Kim hadn't yet figured out how to keep up a sustained offense against her and was beaten up almost the entire match as a result. Kim took advantage early on in her last woman standing match against Angelina Love and only slipped up a few times due to Sky's continual interference.
  • Dark Action Girl: She's actually played one in the movie Royal Kill.
  • Demoted to Extra: Both her WWE runs. The first time she was Women's Champion for five weeks, then turned heel and paired with the woman who took the title from her. The second time, around early 2010 it became fairly obvious that WWE wasn't going to do anything with her.
  • Dragon Lady: Considering how many other ethnic stereotypes Professional Wrestling has chewed up and spit out (Sassy Black Woman with Jacqueline, French Jerk with Maryse, Spicy Latina with... anyone applicable), the fact that she wasn't turned into a Dragon Lady is a notable aversion. They did veer close with her first WWE run, when they played up the "mysterious" and "dangerous" parts of the trope. However, since she debuted during the popularity of The Matrix, the "Asian" part was ignored in favor of giving her sunglasses and a Badass Longcoat and turning her into a kind of Cyberpunk Dragon Lady. Her intro sums it up.note  Even when she was acting as The Vamp that was due to Molly Holly's influence, so it still wasn't very dragon lady like.
  • Enemy Mine
    • Dory Funk Jr. himself had to intervene after Gail basically stole his Conservatory women's title from The Claw but the two ended up working together of their own accord against Lady Kimberly and Miss Vicky, after Kim's attempt to ally with them didn't workout.
    • Tried appealing to Dollhouse but had already planned on joining with Awesome Kong if it didn't work.
  • Epic Fail: She once was meant to throw glitter over Vickie Guerrero. Instead she lost her grip and ended up hitting Vickie with the bucket instead.
  • Evil Is Bigger
    • Inverted during her initial TNA run. After Jim Cornette denied AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels the right to beat Gail Kim for continually screwing them out of America's Most Wanted's tag team titles, they responded by getting the largest woman they could find, Sirelda, to take her out. And she did, forcibly carrying Gail out of the Impact Zone. Once they actually had a match though, Gail won handily.
    • Gail's feud with Voodoo Kin Mafia made her face by default and lead to this trope being played straight the rest of that run with TNA against Voodoo Queen Roxxi Laveaux, Awesome Kong, Raisha Saeed and Moose-especially Kong. They were all gone when Gail came back, leading to a stretch of her mostly wrestling people close to her size. Then came Havok.
  • Evil Minion: When she and Madison Rayne aligned with Karen Jarrett, Traci Brooks became their lackey.
  • Expy: Since her 2014 Heel–Face Turn she's been compared to a TNA Knockout equivalent of John Cena — the ever-present longtime stalwart face of the brand, approaching the record for most championship reigns, nearly never loses clean, can sometimes take multiple enemies at once, and often accused by on-screen rivals of hogging the spotlight away from fresher talent.
  • Face: Although Gail has said she's more natural as a heel, she's primarily a face wherever she goes. She was a heel for her first stint in WWE, and showed up as such in TNA. However respect for her in-ring talent lead to her eventually turning face. She did make a heel run work when she returned to TNA, but she turned back face after a couple of years.
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn: She first feuded with Taryn Terrell as a heel against Taryn's face. Taryn left to give birth to her daughter, during which Gail turned face. Taryn returned to TNA initially as a face but eventually turned heel as the leader of the Dollhouse.
  • Finishing Move: Among the more notable is the Necktie Breaker (like the Regal Cutter with two arms), which she used in TNA. Eat Defeat, an innovative jawbreaker done with the foot which she first did in her second WWE run and then carried to her TNA return(think the Taylors' sole food). Sometimes the Flying Dragon/Christo, a headscissors into an arm barnote . She formerly also had the air raid crash, known to WWE viewers as the Celtic Cross of Fit Finlay or to latter viewers, White Noise of Sheamus.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: She and Taryn Terrell went from hating each other to respecting each other over the course of their fights in 2013, then outright became friends when Taryn came back from pregnancy and helped Gail in her fight against the Beautiful People as a face.
  • Fragile Speedster: More so during her AWF and Canadian indy runs where the likes of Traci Brooks just had to grit their teeth and bide their time for a good shot and she'd be out. Otherwise Gail can be a pretty absorbent damage sponge.
  • Girliness Upgrade: Increasingly gravitated toward fancier gear and hair styles as her career progressed, excepting her long coat and night shades "Matrix" gimmick. She's also gradually made more appearances not related to her next match, something she used to vocally refuse.
  • Girlish Pigtails: She does often like to wrestle with her hair like this and makes the style badass (though they do make her an even easier target for ODB's turnbuckle routine). She even won the Knockouts title with her hair in pigtails.
  • Halloween Cosplay: As Peter Pan during matches at WWE House Shows against Alicia Fox as Bo Peep and Maryse as Cat Woman.
  • Happily Married: To chef Robert Irvine in Real Life.
  • I Have the High Ground: Has planted her feet atop the six sides of steel, pretty high ground. She once defeated Jacqueline with a crossbody off the top of the cage.
  • It's All About Me: Her return storyline in TNA. It was taken to an absurd degree in the match where Velvet Sky won her second Knockouts title. It was a Fatal-4-Way Elimination match (meaning it doesn't matter who gets the pins). And Gail kept breaking up pins, insisting that she be the one to eliminate people.
  • It's the Principle of the Thing: Gail Kim was under no obligation to defend her Knockout's Championship belt after Havok assaulted her from behind and separated Kim's shoulder, but decided to go through with it anyway. It's not everyday the knockouts get to main event, not to mention pride, revenge and all that. Kim would continue to challenge Havok, despite her arm not fully recovering because she refused to "go down without a fight" in protest to insistence she take more time to heal.
  • Kayfabe: La Felina threatened physical violence toward interviewers asking personal questions(like what's your favorite color) and claimed to have no hobbies that didn't involve helping her get better at wrestling in some way(it'd be four years before she relented on that stance). Gail Kim believed in preserving it to the point she was proud that various TNA wrestlers kept approaching her and asking if she and Jackie Moore really hated each other. Ditto for Awesome Kong. She said she was annoyed when Melina admitted on Twitter that the "horrible friend" thing was "just a storyline".
  • Lovely Angels: With both Eve Torres and Kelly Kelly in WWE.
  • Masked Luchador: As La Felina for the first two years of her career.
  • Ms. Fanservice
    • Yes, she is a lot more than just this, but, it's insulting to leave it out. The four WWE tryout matches she left Apocalypse for were all bra and panties matches with Dawn Marie, and then she had three more the next year before they finally decided to see what Kim could do in a standard one fall pin or submission match. These were also all dark matches, for what that's worth. Kim was rarely used this way once WWE decided to put on her on television and has commented on it, saying it was likely because she gave off the impression that she was sexy in her own way.
    • Did a series of photo shoots for an Asian cell phone company...topless.
  • Noodle Incident: We never did find out why she was supposedly "a horrible friend" to Melina. People have suggested it involves Skittles.
  • Older Than They Look: Here's your reminder that Gail Kim didn't retire at 40.
  • Power Stable: Planet Jarret. She, Rayne and Brooks were also part of a pseudo stable ran by Karen Jarrett.
  • Racial Face Blindness: WWE kept pushing her to have an "Asian" gimmick, e.g. a racist stereotype who speaks Engrish, a sexualized Geisha, or something similar, to which she had to remind them that she was Canadian.
  • Rapunzel Hair: Has wrestled with hair down past her back
  • Red Baron: The Queen of the Cats as La Felina.
  • Retcon: She was retconned into being Daniel Bryan's girlfriend of six months after the network felt the Bellas betting to see who could be his "first" (apparently confusing "vegan" with "virgin") was heading in a non-PG direction.
  • The Rival
    • She spent an entire year in Apocalypse wrestling Miss Tracy or Miss Tracy and a tag team partner. Then she met Traci Brooks in Quebec (nCw), Connecticut (WXW), Ontario (BSE), Phoenix butted in back in Toronto to gradually phase Felina out for her WWE tryouts but then she and Brooks were back at each other in Maryland(MCW), Florida (TNA which occasionally included Bobby Roode), Philadelphia (TNA UFW crossover), New Jersey (TNA LSW crossover), New York(Ball Park Brawl)...lets say she spent ten years fighting someone named Tracy or Traci all over North America. However, Brooks worked for Kim while Kim worked for Karen Jarrett.
    • She considers her best WWE matches to be the ones she had with Nidia on Sunday Night Heat. They later met up on opposite sides multiple times in Mexico, Korea and Australia in promotions such as Toryumon, Mid Atlantic Championship Wrestling and World Series Wrestling.
  • Shameful Strip: Angelina Love and Velvet Sky promised to celebrate Love's record setting Knockout title reign by stripping on TNA Impact, only to laugh at all the fans who booed when they went back on their word. Kim then decided to make them keep their promise.
  • Ship Tease: During Evan Bourne and Gail Kim's mini-feud with Zack Ryder and Alicia Fox. People had been shipping them for a while because of their similar movesets and then they were fighting an actual couple.
  • Shout-Out:
    • Her initial outfit and entrance music in her first WWE run were an obvious nod to The Matrix.
    • Her finishing move the Christo was innovated by a wrestler named Dragon Kid. Since 'Christo' didn't fit in with Gail's gimmick, she renamed it the Flying Dragon (Dragon Kid was one of the best high flyers in wrestling at the time Gail was training).
  • Signature Move: A turnbuckle climbing arm drag, an ass kicks you counter to a shoulder ramming opponent, a corner cross chop and the neck tie breaker was downgraded to a signature move called the Happy Ending in WWE. She's taken to a figure four leg lock around the turnbuckle during her second TNA run. In a strange example, she's been known for her failure to fully lock in many experimental stretch muffler variants.
  • Spiteful Spit: During one of TNA's crossover shows with the United Wrestling Federation in 2006, Gail spat in the face of Amber O'Neal, who had earlier tried to prevent Kim from interfering in a James Gang vs America's Most Wanted match.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Gail is called the "John Cena" of the Knockouts Division for a reason. Make no mistake, no matter who the focus was, it always went back to Gail eventually, until her official retirement when TNA was forced to build around someone else for good.
  • Spot Monkey: A rare non-high flying example (though she is a high-flyer). When she started a submission based style in 2004, she would often bust out holds with no rhyme or reason. Ironically when she wrestles as a high flyer she shows more awareness of the story and is able to utilize those moves in the right way. She's since applied the same awareness to submissions after leaving WWE and touring through Mexico and Asia to her eventual TNA debut.
  • Spy Catsuit: La Felina's ring gear was called a catsuit, although it had no sleeves. After un-masking she went with pants a sports bra.
  • Stalker Without a Crush: Went to Japan after learning Jazz was there, as she had never gotten a one on one match with her. When Jazz returned to the USA, Gail Kim followed her there too, eventually catching up with and pinning her.
  • Stepford Smiler: This became apparent in 2011 when she started criticizing how she and her fellow divas were being used on Twitter. On television, she was all the while a smiling face.
  • Stripperiffic: All of her outfits really. She even has TNA attire that can be described as a screened v-neck. Or in this website's terms a cleavage window with a see through screen to ensure what's behind it stays in place. An Absolute Cleavage window.
  • Tag Team: With Molly Holly, where their main role was beating the hell out of Trish Stratus on a weekly basis. Later with Madison Rayne as the Knockout Tag Team Champions.
  • Take That!
    • Coupled with a bit of Leaning on the Fourth Wall where she said to the Bella Twins "since there aren't any guest hosts around, you guys really have nothing to do". Don't get started on her Twitter rants.
    • The best example is her shoot interview after leaving WWE.
    • Another was during a Divas Battle Royal. She walked in to the ring, and immediately jumped back out, disqualifying herself. When she was asked on Twitter later that night, she said she did it just to see if anybody backstage would notice. No one did. They also told her to make sure she was out in the first minute. She was more than happy to her own way.
  • Theatrics of Pain: Unintentionally provided a great demonstration of how this trope often differs from what a person in pain really looks like. She often sells dramatically. Her less than stellar Raw match with Mickie James? It was so off because Kim had actually knocked herself out, not that many spectators could tell at the time.
  • Three Month Rule: All her prior encounters with Tara in TNA were ignored when she and Madison Rayne challenged her and Brooke for the Knockouts Tag Team Titles.
  • Token Minority: The first woman of Korean descent to win the WWE Women's title. In shoot interviews prior to her WWE debut she hoped the fans might take to her being a little different. Besides her lucha moves, there were hardly any Asian women in the company since the late 1990s till she came in mid 2000s. What's more is that there have rarely been two Asian women at a time in WWE. When she was rehired in 2008, another Asian Diva Lena Yada was released (though she barely appeared anyway).
  • Took a Level in Badass: Around 2007-ish. She went from arm wrestling and "double bull rope" matches with James Storm and Jacqueline to being in cage matches, street fights and even a ladder match.
  • Tournament Arc
    • Has came up short in quite a few of them, until she won the 2013 Queen Of The Knockouts though it was more like a series of qualifying matches for a Gauntlet Battle Royal than a tournament in usual sense of the word.
    • Was on "Team Hardy", who won TNA's 2015 World Cup Of Wrestling.
  • The Vamp: Molly Holly may have prided herself on her own wholesomeness and virginity but had no problem degrading Gail Kim's. She made Gail seduce Eric Bischoff into giving into her demands. It didn't work on "Stone Cold" Steve Austin though.
  • Villain of Another Story: A referee for Absolute Intense Wrestling while taking advantage of favoritism from the "Vice President Of The Knockouts" in TNA, which they didn't explicitly mention.
  • Villainous Rescue: Havok had a habit of antagonizing Gail Kim outside of matches. Since her surprise return, Awesome Kong seemed to be seeking an audience with Havok. When these points ran together, Gail finally decided to bail.
  • We Used to Be Friends
    • AJ Styles was her road buddy and tag team partner while touring Australia and Korea. That all came to an end in TNA.
    • America's Most Wanted eventually replaced her with Jacqueline. James Storm ended up being the problem, as Kim and Chris Harris ended up teaming up against him.
    • A minor example. Melina and her had previously teamed together several times in WWE so the first time they faced each other (after Melina's heel turn) Melina screamed out "you were always a horrible friend!" - and it became a small feud on WWE Superstars.
    • Madison Rayne and Gail were good friends when the latter returned to TNA. Madison left to go on maternity leave and then returned as a face to feud with Gail. They put their differences aside at the second Knockouts Knockdown - but Madison turned back heel on TV, thus inverting their roles.
  • Who Wears Short Shorts?: Was once booked in a "Legs Match" (because the Guest Hosts that week were ZZ Top) where all the girls had to wrestle in short shorts, never mind the fact that she wrestled in hot pants normally.
  • Wild Card: Very briefly when she first turned heel. They had a mini feud with Molly going on but Molly quickly prevailed and convinced Gail to become her sidekick under threat of further violence.
  • The Worf Effect: To her benefit during NWA Korea Attack when she got two first year wrestlers to work over. To her detriment when she was first squashed by Awesome Kong in TNA, which disturbed all the other Knockouts.
  • Workaholic: Perhaps it was just to cut the GLORY interview short but she claimed her only interests outside of wrestling was anything that would make her better at pro wrestling.
  • World's Most Beautiful Woman: TNA's crossovers with the United Wrestling Federation came after Gail's Korean photo shoot, leading her to demand she be announced as "The Most Beautiful Woman In All Of Professional Wrestling."
  • Worthy Opponent
    • Six years into their feud, Gail Kim couldn't bring herself to say anything bad about Tracy Brooks and actually thanked her for helping early in her career.
    • Taryn Terrell's transition from referee to Gail's Arch-Enemy resulted in two intense battles which not only earned Terrell the respect of wrestling fans, but Gail's respect as well. She openly admitted this the next time she saw Taryn again after turning face.
    • After being defeated by Kelly Kelly on Superstars she shook Kelly's hand and acknowledged her as such.
  • You Go, Girl!
    • Has never competed in an actual intergender match outside of training demonstrations but she frequently got offense in against men whenever she was in mixed tag matches. The list includes Chavo Guerrero, Tyson Kidd and Primo (who got this in three different matches).
    • Not to mention early in her first run with TNA, when she was helping Jeff Jarrett and America's Most Wanted ("Wildcat" Chris Harris and "The Cowboy" James Storm) - her interference at times would famously include crisp hurricanranas delivered to the likes of AJ Styles.
    • A minor example. On TV she choked out Derrick Bateman when Daniel Bryan suggested she show him her technique.
  • You Have Failed Me: Besides laying out Trish Stratus in WWE, she also made this feeling clear toward her TNA bodyguard, Lei'D Tapa, who had accidentally hit Kim during Brittany's debut, causing Kim to lose. Gail would go on to defeat Tapa twice and send her out of TNA.


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