When Worlds Collide: Hailey Hatred to defend against Gail Kim at AIW
Absolute Intense Wrestling today announced a historic title defence from one of the standout wrestlers of the last twelve months, as the current JWP Triple Champion Hailey Hatred will put her three singles title belts on the line against TNA Knockout Gail Kim. In an intriguing twist, the challenger may well be in possession of the TNA Knockouts Championship by the time the match rolls round, with Kim challenging new Knockouts Champion Velvet Sky on PPV this weekend at Turning Point 2011.
Regardless of whether Kim carries TNA’s strap into battle, the focus rightly remains on Hatred, who currently reigns as the JWP Openweight Champion, TLW Womens Champion and IMW Hybrid Fighting Champion and puts those belts on the line in the contest. Her victory over Leon on June 26th in Osaka (in the finals of the JWP J-1 Grand Prix) made her the first gaijin (foreigner) to win the JWP Title, which she added to her TLW & IMW titles to create a new women’s Triple Crown. Her successful defence against Kaori Yoneyama in August underscored her as a legitimate force on the joshi scene. Last month, Hatred returned to AIW as a conquering hero, successfully defending the three titles against Cherry Bomb at their “They Live” event – the first time the JWP belt, which is the oldest active women’s title in Japan (dating back to 1992), was defended in the USA – having debuted at SHIMMER to great plaudits the night before. Stateside recognition is richly deserved for Ohio native Hatred, who has lived in Japan for the last several years and guested on the Women of Wrestling Podcast earlier this year to discuss her rise to fame in the Land of the Rising Sun.
Gail Kim, on the other hand, has been the recipient of the monster push from TNA since their inaugural Knockouts champion returned to the company following a run in WWE where she was mostly ignored by creative and fans alike. Since her return, she’s been aligned with top heat getter and main event level heel Karen Jarrett and previous top bad girl Madison Rayne – and the promotion has already seemingly rushed the TNA Knockouts Tag Team Titles onto the duo of Rayne & Kim. It remains to be seen what the long term plan for Gail is, but it certainly feels that the tag team titles are pretty incidental to the main point of getting the Knockouts Title back on the division’s founder – whether it happens this weekend or not remains to be seen. The match will be a good test for Kim, who is keen to shed the “failure” impression that her last WWE run left. She’s been vocal about wanting to wrestle, and with all due respect to the ladies in TNA, this is a best opportunity yet for Gail to step up and try to recreate some of the magic of her series with Kharma.
Elsewhere on the card, Mickie Knuckles defends her AIW Womens Championship against another dedicated female wrestler who has been making waves in Japan of late, Mia Yim, in what looks to be another very strong bout. Knuckles has had her best year of late in 2011, and Yim is undoubtedly making leaps and bounds with her wrestling ability.
“Hell on Earth 7″ will take place at Puritas Lutheran Church, located at 13812 Bellaire Rd. in Cleveland, OH on November 25th, 2011 and will be headlined by a first ever “Hell on Earth” match between Mad Man Pondo and Masada. Tickets can be obtained via the AIW website.