When, as the pandemic was just starting, Impact Wrestling announced they signed new Knockouts like Kimber Lee, Tasha Steelz, Nevaeh, and Deonna Purrazzo, not only was the company telling the world that, more than ever, women matter to them, but also a bigger Knockouts roster would mean more competition, why not tag team competition. As soon as Tasha Steelz made her debut, around May 2020, she immediately started to work with Kiera Hogan, the Hottest Flame.
Hogan has been a Knockout for nearly four years and has used this time to make the Impact Zone a place to grow up and blossom as a woman and as a competitor. At the same time, Tasha Steelz was learning her craft at Ring of Honor or NWA. Hogan and Steelz crossed paths multiple times, at Queens of Combat, for example. And they knew their duo would work in the ring the same way it was in real life.
At Hard To Kill, The Boricua Bad Ass and The Hottest Flame took the world by surprise when they became the first IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions of “the new generation.” Their methods may sometimes be questionable, as they know how to conjugate the verb to cheat at all tenses, but no one would question the fact they are made to be a team as they match each other very well.
SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the chance to talk to Kiera Hogan and Tasha Steelz last week. They told us about being Knockouts Tag Team Champions, the recipe of their success, their in-ring alchemy, Impact Wrestling, and what the future may hold for them.
How did you feel when you became IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Champions at Hard To Kill?
Kiera: “It was a dream come true. Honestly, the moment was surreal like, I don’t know if you could see the look on my face and just disbelief that this was the moment that this was happening. I just still can’t believe it. Even looking at the title, every time I look at it, it’s just unbelievable, honestly, and I was happy to do it with Tasha right by my side. We deserve it, man.”
Tasha: “Everything Kiera said, it’s a long time in the making. I feel like we definitely created history, and we started a new chapter. It’s just a lot that girls have to follow suit for us now. It was even more amazing that Gail Kim and Madison Rayne were to like pass the torch to us, it was like one of my favourite parts and, of course, winning it with my homegirl is the best thing ever.”
Kiera, you’ve been on IMPACT for nearly four years now. It seems like with Tasha here by your side now, you are now able to blossom, be more successful. Was there a moment when you doubted yourself because you have never had a World Championship match since your debut? Was there a moment when you thought it was not going to make it?
Kiera: “I’m actually going into my fourth year with Impact, I signed in 2017, so it’s crazy that this is finally happening. Just to enter the new year on this very high note, we’re just on a heatwave to the top, and I’m just looking up from here at this point. I feel like Tasha coming in was definitely something that helped me be more confident to just be myself more and not just be. I feel like, before Tasha, I was just kind of quiet and just kind of going with whatever was handed to me instead of standing up for myself. I feel like Tasha helped kind of boost my confidence because I just feel like Tasha is not really afraid of whatever, she just speaks her mind, and she just wants to get everything done. Tasha’s a hustler. I told her before she got signed with Impact Wrestling to just show up, just come to the show. I promised her if they continued to see her face, they’ll want her here. Lo and behold, look at us now. We’re the Knockouts Tag Team Champions. We made history together. Just two friends, talking about something that could possibly happen, and we made it happen together. I think what’s more beautiful than anything is that we just pushed for something to happen, and it did. So from here on out, I feel like anything is possible, and we can achieve anything together or separately independently because we have the strength to do it. It’s just a beautiful thing. We have awesome chemistry.”
Tasha, you started less than a year ago, coming from NWA. Is Kiera the one who convinced you to come to Impact Wrestling?
Tasha: “It was mainly Kiera. I had a lot going on at the time, before coming to Impact, and it was just coming off of transitioning from Ring Of Honor and NWA. I had a previous time with Impact around May 2019. From there at that time, I wanted to really continue to keep coming back because being backstage at Impact is like being around all of your friends, and you get to just do whatever, hang out, not have to be on your toes all the time, not have to worry about things. You could just feel free and just be able to be yourself, that’s just the atmosphere Impact creates for people. From being there my first time, and then being around Kiera and like us having a ball backstage and having a backstage ball with the rest of the girls, I was like, I definitely got to stay here like, and that’s when I was asking her how do I keep getting these opportunities. Millions of times, I’ve sent D’Lo Brown, Gail Kim, or Tommy Dreamer an E-Mail, and I was like, alright, they’re not getting back to me, what do I do? Kiera was just like, just keep showing up, keep coming through, and they’ll see you, and that’s what I did. I went around all the cities that they were in, like in the Northeast area, in the South. I came, and I was backstage, just letting them see my face.
“Around the time right before the pandemic, around December or January, Gail Kim was saying, “We see you, and we definitely are interested in you.” That just ignited the fire right there. When the pandemic hit, it was like, are they still interested in me because I don’t know what’s going to happen? Around April, I got a phone call from Tommy Dreamer, and he was like, “You don’t have to do this, but it’s up to you.” I couldn’t turn down that opportunity, and right after I got off the phone with him, I immediately texted Kiera. I didn’t really tell her what was really going on from there, and I think she kind of found out a little bit. I wanted it to be a surprise, but she kind of found out. Then, when they saw us together, they were like, all right, we’ve got to put you two together, that’s where the magic happened.”
What struck most of the fans probably immediately when you started teaming up was the alchemy between you, whether in the good things and the bad things you can do in and out of the ring. How do you explain that?
Kiera: “I just feel like we have instant chemistry from the moment we met in wrestling. We met at a tournament, and then we won a tournament together. It’s just crazy, but when we met, we just had instant chemistry. Then, we wrestled on the indies, and when we had our match, we literally set it up, everything was just so natural. It just flowed very freely. We just flow very well together, and we have the same idea, we have the same goal, we see the same way, and I feel like that’s what makes us work so well. That’s what helps us just flow, and honestly, I just feel like we can take over. We can only go up from here. Everything that we’re about to accomplish is just going to make us even better. It’s just going to solidify us even more as a real tag team.”
Tasha: “I agree 100%.”
Were you able to come to the Creatives and say, listen to us guys, we know what we are doing, or did they already have something in mind for you?
Tasha: “That was basically all Kiera. She started to tell people, once she told me to start showing up, she started to put that bug in people’s ears, like you really need to bring Tasha in, and this is the idea I have. She sent emails of the ideas and was telling it by word of mouth, and even though they don’t respond right away, they’re still listening, they’re still having it in their heads because they’re like, all right, maybe this can work, maybe it can’t work, but what’s the worst that can happen. So, with her giving them that plug, and then me keep showing up, it just came full circle. That’s the greatest thing about Impact, you can go to Creative, you can tell them your ideas, you can tell them what will work because they know what we’re doing is to benefit the product, not to hurt it. We want to do things for us to soar and prosper, not to crumble, so that’s the great thing, they listen, and they’ve taken everything that we’ve said to them. Everything that we’ve done so far, it has been ideas from us, the way we talk, the way we are, everything that they’ve done on TV and shown of us is from us pitching that to them.”
Where does the Fire ‘N Flava team name come from? We all know Kiera is a Girl on Fire, and I will change that because you’re now a Woman on Fire, you’re definitely not the same girl that I talked to three years ago or so.
Kiera: “I’m the Hottest Flame. Inside, I stir from fire, fire it’s my passion, my passion is wrestling, and that’s where that comes from. I’m always gonna be the Girl on Fire, but I’m the Hottest Flame. I’m the grown-up version of the Girl on Fire. I’m my authentic self now, I just feel like I’ve shed this girl’s skin, and now I’m a woman. Fire ‘N Flava is literally just a mix of me and Tasha. I’m the Fire, she’s the Flava. We have both, and that’s why that’s our team name because we both bring the fire, which is the passion, and the flavour, which is the juice, the sauce, the drip, the way we dress, the way we talk, the way we come across. It’s just who we are, and that’s all. It is literally fire and flavour, and we bring it in the ring just as much. It’s not just the way we talk, but it’s the way we walk too. We bring fire and flavour.”
‘Hard To Kill’ brought a lot more eyes to Impact Wrestling because of AEW, because of Kenny Omega. Most people were able to watch the product, connect to Impact Plus, be able to find out about what Impact Wrestling is right now because many people are still thinking about the old times of TNA. Impact Plus just did a January Knockouts Special month, what do you think about these devices that allow your voice to be heard on a larger scale?
Kiera: “It’s crazy to have the reach that we have. A year ago or two years ago, I didn’t think my voice even meant anything. In 2019, I found my voice, and I found my true self, and I was like, “Okay Kiera, if you don’t use your voice, you’re never going to get anywhere, you’re just going to keep getting handed things that you don’t really want or you don’t really like because you’re not speaking up for yourself.” The fact that I finally spoke up for myself and I use my voice to help bring in Tasha and to help really elevate both of us means that literally, our voices can be used to bring awareness to even bigger issues. It’s amazing that we have the chance to bring back these titles but also be the first African-American or Afro-Latina Knockouts Tag Team Champions. We’re women of colour who can bring awareness to Impact and diversity to the Knockouts division.
“So I feel like our voices in this generation, in this time, is apparent, and it’s honestly beautiful that we even have the opportunity to use our voice and to use our platform to elevate these things and to elevate our culture. It’s just amazing that Impact is such a place that they just accept us for who we are. I came out in 2019, and the fact that they just accepted everything that I did and everything that I am, they just accept so many diversities and backgrounds. That’s why it’s amazing that more people are able to see that because what’s lost in wrestling is the diversity of people coming from different backgrounds in different places, so I love that now people are being able to see what we actually bring to the table because Impact has always had it, we just didn’t have the eyes on it, and now we do.”
You are the Knockouts Tag Team Champions, but do you allow yourselves to go for the Knockouts title, each by your side? Would you support each other in that?
Tasha: “Good question, I mean definitely. We have the same goals and the same passion. We have so much in common that’s what makes us such a beautiful and dominant tag team. We’re in competition with each other, but in a friendly way because we know what we want at the end of the day. We both want to be Knockouts champion, we both are Knockouts Tag Team Champions, so it’s not going to tear us away because Kiera wants to be a Knockouts Champion, she should go for it. She deserves it. I want to be a Knockouts Champion, I should go for it. I deserve it. But I know my time will come to have that. I would support Kiera a thousand percent if she wanted to go for it because she’s been here for four years. I feel like she should go for it first. My time will come. It’s not going to split us apart like people would think it would. We support each other a thousand percent, and when it comes time for that because it’s who to say that, at the end of the day, our culture still wins because whether I’m the Knockouts Champion or she’s the Knockouts Champion, it would be more history written because it would be a first African-American double Champion, so who doesn’t want to write that history either? We would be happy for each other, period.”
No Surrender will air live on Impact Plus this Saturday night at 8 PM EST (1 AM GMT). IMPACT Wrestling is airing on Tuesday at 8/7c on AXS TV and Twitch in the USA. The show is available to stream on Facebook and YouTube in the UK and Ireland, within hours of the American broadcast (Wednesday 1 AM to 3 AM GMT), with an encore presentation on 5Star late night on Fridays.
All pics, screencaps and videos courtesy of Impact Wrestling, AXS TV, Fight Network and Basil Mahmud