Gail Kim's retirement lasted about one year as she will be lacing up the boots again to take on Tessa Blanchard at Impact Wrestling Rebellion. But her day job is still that of a producer for Impact and she talked about the transition from the ring to backstage and how the Knockouts division has come along over the last year.
"I started becoming an agent and producing before I retired," Kim told Scott Fishman on our WINCLY podcast. "I was doing double-duty to get my feet wet. I felt like at that point of being in a transition of bringing in a new generation and not maybe finding that groove yet at the beginning because I was learning as a producer."
As Kim gained more experience as a producer, the Knockouts talent gained more comfort with Kim producing their matches and everything is starting to come together now.
"They were just starting to gel and I feel like they've come so far," Kim said of the Knockouts division. "I'm watching this locker room come together, and they really are gelling together. They have really stepped it up. I'm so proud of them. It has been a great experience for me behind the scenes as well. It has been a very natural transition."
The Knockouts division has improved in leaps and bounds since Kim moved to her producer role, but Kim says she doesn't deserve all of the credit. She attributes the credit to the talent in the women's locker room and says everyone has played a role in the overall success.
"Honestly, across the board the girls have improved in some way. Whether the fans notice or not, everyone has been kind of different. Since Taya's come back, she has been on a roll. She looks great and moving amazing. She is just a great champion for us right now. It has been an upward climb for her," said Kim.
"I think people are already impressed with Tessa. Just the girls as a whole I think are really starting to gel with each other. I don't know if that is necessarily coming across onscreen, but I notice it. Jordynne breaking out recently in a single's run. She has been really impressing me in terms of the difference I've been able to see in terms of when she was tagging to singles. I'm liking what I'm seeing a lot, and she is just going to get better and better.
"She is young too. A lot of them are just really young right now. I'm happy to see where they are at this point in their careers. Tessa is 24 years old. I took my first bump at 23. I wasn't on television until 25."
The success of the Knockouts division is just a microcosm of the overall improvement of Impact Wrestling over the last year. They've developed more partnerships with other promotions, landed a new TV deal and are starting to have more pay-per-views.
Kim discussed the recent Impact changes and what fans can expect from them in the rest of 2019.
"Things have really turned around this past year and it's coming from everyone. In terms of internally, our roster, our crew, everyone is just coming together as a family," said Kim. "It's starting to show we are gelling on television - the fans, their response. There was a run there for a couple of years where everyone wanted to hate us and did hate us for a really long time. Now I feel like people are really turned around and invested in the product and really like what they are seeing.
"I think it will be that continued climb. We've lost a lot of valuable talent behind the scenes and in front of the camera, but I feel like everyone is kind of stepping up when that happens. I only see a positive 2019 if we are still going to roll with the momentum we have right now."
Gail Kim will face Tessa Blanchard at Impact Wrestling's Rebellion, available on FITE TV and Pay-Per-View April 28 at 8 p.m. ET.
Kim's full interview with Wrestling Inc was included on Tuesday's episode of our WINCLY podcast. The full audio can be heard in the embedded player at the bottom of this post.