Of her past as a dancer, Kimber Lee kept this poise and attitude when she made her way to the ring. But once in the ring, her opponents know they have to be careful as she has more than a few tricks up her sleeve to win a match. On her very first match in the Impact Zone last May, she used brass knuckles to defeat Jessicka Havok. Ever since, she has formed a powerful and devilish alliance with Impact Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo.
Kimber Lee has been in the business for nearly a decade and everywhere she wrestled, in the USA, Europe, or Japan, she impressed and proved herself as one of the more notable independent female wrestlers currently active, with her willingness to take on any opponent, regardless of size, style or gender. Although she’s already made a prestigious name for herself, here she is now on IMPACT, decided to make her name even more prestigious but on national TV.
SteelChair Magazine had the opportunity to talk to Kimber Lee last week. The new Impact X-Division Champion has a lot to tell us about her debut on Impact Wrestling, her alliance with Deonna Purrazzo, finding back some old friends on IMPACT, the upcoming Bound For Glory PPV, and what the future may hold for her.
You made your debut in the Impact Zone in May, then got signed in August. How did it all happen?
“What kind of made it possible was just kind of the state our world is in right now, with the shutdowns and everything that kind of happened. Some of the people who would regularly be at IMPACT, some of the regular Knockouts of the time weren’t able to make it into town just because flights weren’t running or different circumstances because of the pandemic, and so an opportunity opened up for some women to come down and fill some of those holes, and I was one of the people who was fortunate enough to get asked to come down. I took the opportunity and left my heart and soul in that ring, and the powers that be noticed. I got asked back again, and then I got asked back for Slammiversary. It was at Slammiversary where they actually offered me a contract, and I really think it happened just because when a door opened, I took the ball and ran with it.”
Did the fact that your very first matches on IMPACT were against Nevaeh or Jessicka Havok, people that you have known since the beginning of your career help you show everything that you are able to because you have known them forever?
“Absolutely, that was an advantage. Jessicka Havok and Nevaeh are two people I’ve known pretty much since I started wrestling, and it was awesome that they were the first people I got to share the ring with there. But at the same time; the Knockouts division is so strong, I don’t think I could have had a bad opponent, no matter who I would have wrestled there. Everyone is so unique, everybody is so different, and we all bring something different to the table. That’s one of my favourite things about the Knockouts, there’s no potential for a bad match because we’re all so good.”
Can you tell us a little bit more about this alliance you formed with Deonna Purrazzo, the current Impact Knockouts Champion?
“When it comes to Deonna Purrazzo and me, we’re just simply the best, and the best need to stick together. I am the Crown Jewel, she is the Virtuosa. I’m also the Curator. It was something that was just meant to be, in my opinion, and of course, I will support her, but I am always looking out for myself too, and I’ll just leave it at that.”
How do you work together because you’ve been in the business longer than her, but at the same time, she has had different experiences than you? How do you enrich your relationship through that?
“I think it makes us complement each other better just because we’ve both experienced things differently. I don’t think she’s been wrestling too many years less than me, we’re pretty close, but just being able to come together with my style of wrestling versus her style, we both are very technical, but I have kind of a little bit of Lucha background in there too, and I think it just makes us even more dangerous together because we do have different ways that we see things, and it just gives us more of an edge over our opponent.”
Would you be at ringside or do you plan on letting her fight on her own for the Knockouts title match at Bound For Glory?
“I will be by Deonna’s side if she wants me to be there. If Deonna wants to do this one on her own, she can do that too. It’s up to her, but I will be by her side for as long as I can, if not through the whole match.”
I won’t ask you a prediction on the winner of the match.
“Is that even a question you really have to ask? Obviously the greatest technical women’s professional wrestler in the world, Deonna Purrazzo, will remain Knockout Champion.”
How excited are you for Bound For Glory, the biggest PPV of the year for Impact Wrestling?
“I’m over the moon excited. It’s an honour to be a part of something that has so much history behind it and has created some of Impact’s biggest stars. I believe that’s what it is, the people who are on there are Bound For Glory, and I am too now, and that’s really exciting.”
Jordynne Grace is in the 6-way X-Division Scramble match with five other men. You were the very first woman to become the Champion of a major company, even if not on national TV, you were a World Champion way before other women. Tell us about this experience of being a woman holding a title that is supposed to be held by men?
“It’s amazing to see more and more opportunities come around than from when I first won the CHIKARA Grand Championship. I believe at the time, I was the first woman to ever be the World Champion of a company that was predominantly male, and that was a huge door to slam wide open. Getting to see women just continue to break through more and more glass ceilings is just fantastic, but at the same time, people have to remember that I’ve been there too, and so yes, I am 1,000% behind Jordynne Grace and rooting for her, but what about my opportunity, because I can also go for that X-Division title, or I could go for the World Championship too. I’m not afraid to say that I would, and I’m not afraid to go for them, so hopefully, at some point, I will get the opportunity to go for one of those titles as well at Impact Wrestling.”
Impact Wrestling is such an open-minded company when it comes to intergender wrestling when it comes to showing the Knockouts as the equals of the men. Was it also something that was appealing to you, to be in a promotion that would allow you to be exactly who you are?
“One of the things I love most about Impact Wrestling is that they do give the women equal opportunity, and they give women equal opportunity on an internationally broadcast stage, and that’s an amazing thing, and it’s completely unique to Impact Wrestling, you can’t find that anywhere else. I’m not saying that there aren’t opportunities, but it’s just not the same because it’s just a different feeling when you’re taken seriously as a competitor, that could tangle with the best, and I believe that Impact Wrestling has one of the best set of women on their roster, if not the best. I would bet our soul on any of the competitors that the women could go toe-to-toe with any of the men, and I even say at the same time like even competing just in the women’s division isn’t something to be not, so either at Impact because of how good the women are. It’s really just an honour to get to compete with any of the people that are there, to be perfectly honest.”
What about the Knockouts Tag Team Titles? Would you like to see them come back, and why not, win them with Deonna?
“It would be awesome to the Knockout Tag Team titles come back, and I definitely think that Deonna Purrazzo and I should be the ones to win them too because we both would look better and more gold, let’s be real, and we are simply the best. The Virtuosa and The Curator should have those titles if they were to ever come back.
What are your goals on Impact Wrestling?
“I absolutely want to be a Champion, I don’t care which (laughs). Definitely one of my goals is to become an Impact Champion.”
From the current roster, which Knockout are you really interesting and looking forward to competing against?
“One of the Knockouts I really want to compete against because it’s been like six years at least since we wrestled each other last would be Alisha Edwards, she’s high on my list. I want to wrestle against Taya Valkyrie on TV or Rosemary, like these are all people I’ve gotten to compete with before, but it’s been a few years, and it’s always been under in front of a smaller audience, and I want to bring some of those matches to the big stage, where lots more people could see them, but there’s a lot of people I am looking forward to wrestling, and it’s awesome to be a part of a roster that has so many amazing opponents there.”
What are your thoughts on Impact Wrestling’s new deal in the United Kingdom? Have you ever wrestled there and are you looking forward to coming there with Impact Wrestling?
“I have been fortunate enough to come over and work in the UK a handful of times throughout my career, and it’s one of my favourite places to be, so absolutely I would want to come back to the UK with IMPACT. It’s super cool that we just got a different airing network over there. It’s airing for free every Wednesday now at 10 pm on Free Sports, and I think that one is airing it a lot sooner than it used to be because I know some of the complaints I had heard from some UK fans in the past was that everything would air over here so much longer of a time span before it would air over there. Now it’s less than 24 hours, and I think the pay-per-views are going to be on Premiere Sports and Fite TV in the UK. There’s just lots of opportunities for all of the international fans to get to watch it now too and that just opens up more doors for Impact Wrestling in general. Hopefully, when things kind of settle down from all the craziness we’ve had this year, Impact Wrestling can come back over there and not only will you be able to see it on TV, but you’ll be able to see us live too.”
You are also the SHIMMER Champion. You’re still working the indies, how was it to transition to a national-televised show when you have made most of your career in the indies?
“I wouldn’t even say like the difference between independents and TV company was what was so drastic just with the timing of when I transitioned into Impact Wrestling. I showed up when there were no crowds, and I think that was probably what was the most shocking because then all you’re focusing on is the cameras. Even before then, when I had some TV experience elsewhere, there was still a crowd there, and so there are people, and now there are no people, which is the biggest difference. Hopefully, soon people will be able to come back, and I feel like if anything the independents just prepared me and made me able to connect with people on kind of a more one-on-one basis, then that can also translate to working with a camera and connecting with people through that element instead.”
How are you able to study and wrestling the indies and wrestling on IMPACT at the same time?
“I don’t sleep much (laughs). It hasn’t been too many independent promotions lately, unfortunately, there’s a few coming back here and there, but it’s a juggling act sometimes. I also work full time, and I’m still managing to make it through it, and I’m a straight-A student right now, so hopefully, I can keep it going.”
Would it be a piece of advice you would give to a young wrestler or a young talent that is just starting in the business, to study and not only to focus on wrestling?
“I’d say definitely what’s beautiful about wrestling is that it’s a finite thing. It does come to an end at some point, and that’s something you do have to think about. So I guess my advice definitely would be to study. I’m working on my second degree, but at the same time, you have to be willing to sacrifice a lot of things because if you are going to study or do other things on the side, you have to be able to give just as much time to wrestling because it really is something that you kind of have to focus on as a life-career as well if you want to go all the way to the top. Having a degree or some sort of education behind you as well is invaluable, because like I said, one of the beautiful things about wrestling is that it is finite, and it does have to come to an end, so you should be prepared for that.”
Follow Kimber Lee on Twitter @Kimber_Lee90.
Bound For Glory will air live on this Saturday at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT) worldwide on Fite TV and on Premier Sports 1 in the UK. IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV and Twitch in the USA. The show is available to view in the UK from 2 am Wednesdays on the IMPACT Plus app and airs on FreeSports at 10 PM every Wednesday and 5STAR on Fridays in the late evening (please check local listings weekly).
All pics, videos, and screencaps courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Fight Network, and Basil Mahmud.