When it comes to 2020, most wrestling promotions have had to make do with making the best of a bad year. IMPACT Wrestling, though, may definitely be able to argue that they’ve generally grown as a company in the face of a pandemic. From new television deals to new faces, the company have donated blood, sweat and tears to best prepare themselves for success no matter what comes their way.
One of those new signings, of course, is Kimber Lee. The Curator to Knockouts Champion Deonna Purrazzo has rounded off an impressive year – which includes signing a contract with IMPACT Wrestling – by being named at #15 in the PWI Women’s 100.
Ahead of one of the biggest events in the wrestling calendar, IMPACT Wrestling’s Bound For Glory, Inside The Ropes‘ Lead Writer Gary Cassidy had the pleasure of chatting with Kimber Lee about signing with the company, Bound For Glory, and The Curator’s role within the Knockouts Division.
Last time we spoke, you’d just signed a contract with IMPACT Wrestling. I believe that was around two months ago. Has there been any change at all for you, between being signed and not being signed, or is it just been business as usual?
I mean, it’s definitely been business as usual but, now that I’m signed to IMPACT, I would say, if anything, I’ve aligned myself with the best since you last talked to me and now I’m the Curator for Deonna Purrazzo. We have a strong direction where we’re headed and that’s to have The Virtuosa herself be the champion for as long as possible. And I don’t see an end coming to that anytime soon.
Well, let’s move on to that match. Bound For Glory sees Deonna Purrazzo defend the Knockouts Championship against Kylie Rae. You’ve been in the ring with both of those ladies. What can we expect from that match?
I personally think it will be match of the night and I think, you know, both of them are such strong competitors – you can’t say anything but good things about Kylie, too. But I still think that Deonna is going to have the edge because she is the greatest women’s technical wrestler in the world – and Kylie is about to find out exactly what happened to her friends Susie too.
On that note, you’ve been in the ring with the best IMPACT has to offer and you’ve definitely proven you can hang with all competitors. Would Kimber Lee not want to be in the title picture herself?
Kimber Lee waits for the opportunity to be right. So, right now, the way things are lined up is Deonna Purrazzo is the one who is the champion, and I am there to support her – but obviously, Kimber Lee would like to be on the pedestal that she deserves to be on at some point, too – so I can see myself in the picture someday.
Last time we spoke, I asked you about intergender wrestling. You said, “Equal rights, equal fights.” With that being said, Jordynne Grace may become the new X-Division Champion at Bound For Glory. Might we see you venture into that scene and challenge Jordynne, or whoever emerges with the title this weekend?
I mean, absolutely.
I am still, and have always been, somebody who wants to take on all comers. I don’t want to be looked at based on what gender I am. I want to be looked at as another competitor.
It’s really exciting to see that Jordynne Grace is getting to go for the X-Division title and I would like to go right after her, too, if she was the one to win it. So, yeah, I would love to be in that picture as well.
Bound For Glory will be on both FITE TV and, here in the UK, on Premier Sports. I’m loving seeing IMPACT trailers run during ad breaks in the UK, but how exciting are things like TV deals for you guys as talents? Is it just cool to be on TV in another country or is it a big thing?
I mean, I think it’s a really big thing.
I’ve spent many years wrestling, I’ve gotten to spend some time in the UK and I’m super excited that people over there have easier access to watching IMPACT now. I believe it’s now free every Wednesday at 10pm on FreeSports. So, you guys get to see it not even 24 hours later [than the US]. I know I’ve heard, like, some complaints in the past, that you have to watch it so much later, but now it’s more on time with when it’s airing in the US and that’s really cool, too.
And we all know why this can’t happen immediately, but I’ve heard there are plans for a return to the UK when the world is open again. Is that something that excites you?
That’s super exciting for me. I know I definitely want to spend more time in the UK. It’s one of my favorite places to be – but, yes, like you said, obviously right now, it’s kind of out of the picture. But, you know, it’s just such an exciting thing, especially when any company gets the opportunity to send people internationally because it’s it’s more people that get to see the live product that may not have gotten that opportunity, and getting to bring things like that to people who may have not gotten the opportunity in the past is something that’s really cool too, just as a performer as well.
We mentioned that you are fully signed to IMPACT. Last time you were signed to a company, you had a different name and you’ve previously mentioned how you felt like a completely different person and that you now get to be you. I think one of the big strengths of IMPACT is not limiting talent. Recently, you were part of SHIMMER during GCW’s The Collective weekend. How important is it to you that IMPACT allows talents to wrestle elsewhere and be as big as they can.
It’s one of the coolest things that IMPACT does is letting us get to still be a part of the independent scene that pretty much all of us came from. I think still getting to be a part of that culture and getting to see those fans, and not having to up and leave – and be stuck in one spot – is something that’s really unique and special. I’m happy that I get to be a part of that.
Well, arguably that helped contribute to you being named at #15 on PWI’s recent Women’s 100 list. How much of that are you happy with, and how much drives you to want to be better and climb those rankings?
I mean, I think we all want to be number one – but I remember when it was just 50 women and I remember when… Because there were women on the PWI 500 this year, and I remember when that wasn’t even an option and was completely out of the question. So, just seeing the women’s list expand and then seeing women make it onto the 500, it is a really cool thing and it’s an honour to be within the top 20.
Some of the names that my name is right next to is kind of like a jaw-dropping thing, still. It’s a list of the most elite women in the world right now, and to be number 15 on that is pretty fantastic – so I’ll take it.
Yeah, 15 is obviously an incredible number – particularly when you look at some of the women joining you in the top 20, so it’s obviously testament to your work. However, knowing how competitive wrestlers can be, I know you’d like to be higher up on some level. What do you think Kimber Lee would have to do to improve on that number next year?
Well, I mean, become an IMPACT champion! Any of them! I’ll take any of them. [Kimber Lee laughs]
Well, I asked you this before, and I know that things have changed – maybe for the better on your end! The IMPACT Knockouts Tag Team Championships have been rumoured to return. Obviously, you’re aligned with someone who has some gold already, you’ve mentioned that you may just be interested in the X-Division Championship. Would the Knockouts Tag Team Championships be something that you and Deonna Purrazzo would want to go after if they returned?
I mean, absolutely! Who doesn’t want more gold?! I believe The Virtuosa and The Curator absolutely deserve it, and those belts would look great around our waists.
Back to Bound For Glory. You mentioned that you think Deonna Purrazzo and Kylie Rae may be match of the night. I would find it very difficult to argue with you – but if they’re not, what would be the other match that would steal the show?
Oh! I’m REALLY looking forward to the Rich Swann. Him and EY, that’s another one that could just completely feel the whole show – but I still want the women to steal the show.
For me, IMPACT’s Knockouts Division may be the best women’s division in the world – but another part of IMPACT I absolutely love is the tag team division. Obviously, you know the Rascalz quite well because you’re married to one of them and the other two walked you down the aisle! For me, those guys are some of the most impressive wrestlers on the planet. What are your thoughts on the Rascalz as an in-ring team?
I mean, not even with any sort of bias – like, they’re one of the greatest teams that are on the tag team scene right now, and what’s super cool about the Rascalz is all three of them can interchange and they all work so well together, and that’s not even biased. I might be a little biased, but that’s just the truth.
One standout line from our last chat, for me was, “I feel like people were starting to forget who I was, and I’m not okay with that.” Do you feel like you’re making people remember who Kimber Lee is, or realise who you are now?
Absolutely! I feel like there has been a shift in the tides and people are kind of going, “Oh, crap! Kimber Lee’s got something coming,” and I do, and I’m not going to stop. I’ve been wrestling for 11 years now, but I can still say this is only the beginning – because I’m just going to keep going further.
I’ve got one final question. You’re one of the more heavily tattooed wrestlers in IMPACT. If you were to give anyone on the IMPACT roster a tattoo, and you can choose the tattoo, who are you picking and what are they getting?
Oh, my gosh, I have no idea! That’s difficult because I don’t know. Like, all of my tattoos have a lot of thought behind them, so I can’t…
I mean, I could see… I don’t know. I really don’t know.
I was hoping you were going to put your name on someone there or get some kind of friendship tattoo with Deonna Purrazzo ahead of a Knockouts Tag Team Championships run!
Thanks so much to Kimber Lee for taking the time, and to IMPACT UK & Ireland for facilitating the interview. IMPACT Wrestling’s Bound For Glory is available via both FITE and Premier Sports in the UK – live on Saturday October 24th. Fans in the UK & Ireland can catch IMPACT! every Wednesday on FreeSports at 10pm.