The Dollhouse has become one of TNA Impact Wrestling’s most interesting acts — and a focal point of the Knockouts division.
The eclectic group saw some changes in leadership with the exit of Taryn Terrell and, later, Awesome Kong. Through it all, playtime continues for the trio of Jade, Marti Bell and Rebel as they explore their respective identities.
Jade in particular has broken out from the pack. The skilled performer goes for the Knockouts championship against Gail Kim Tuesday at 9/8CT on Pop TV.
“It has been a challenge, because back-to-back stuff has been happening and we didn’t know what was going on,” Jade said.
“We didn’t know what to do. We pretty much had to think on our toes. First, it was Taryn leaving and then we were thinking, who would be the leader. Then it was Kong, which we liked the idea because we all loved her. Not that we didn’t love Taryn, but there was a good connection with Kong. Then she left. The first time we were together was in the UK where we had to step up on our own and show them we didn’t need to depend on anybody else. We felt we could do our own thing and run with it. That’s what we’ve been doing.”
At one point, Jade admittedly worried that TNA would disband the group. The 26-year-old has enjoyed the collaborative creativity that comes with The Dollhouse. Their entrance, which includes Hole’s “Doll Parts,” is an experience in itself. Jade remembers initially thinking the concept was unique.
“When I found out I was being brought in with my legitimate best friend, Marti Bell, I thought it was awesome, because we got to be together in the company we wanted to work for and in this group,” she said. “I thought it was cool. I was told to be the strong and silent type like Gogo in Kill Bill. I thought that was awesome, because she was my favorite character.”
Jade — real name Stephanie Bell, also known as Mia Yim — earned her opportunity wrestling all over the world and for countless independent promotions. She was excited to join the TNA roster and sink her teeth into a full-fledged persona.
“I never in a million years thought I would be in a company that was on TV every week,” Jade said. “I never thought I could do that. So it’s beyond a dream come true. I did get little bits and pieces where I’ve been, like Japan and Europe and internationally in general. But now I really get to show the world what I can do. I like it a lot. My dad still records all the episodes and sends them to me. So it’s really cool.”
The transition into TNA and having to think about the nuances of an onscreen persona was a new challenge for Jade, but he new signing says she’s becoming more comfortable in her role as time passes.
“It’s really difficult for me, as I’ve been wrestling on the independent scene for about eight years or so. There, you just go out there and do your thing,” Jade said. “You cut a promo here and there, but I never had a set character. I was just a wrestler. Now I’m an actual character. I’m Jade. I’m this bad ass and member of the Dollhouse. There are so many things I have to focus on besides wrestling. You have to get your character over and talk on the mic and master mannerisms. It’s a completely different feel than what I’m used to, so I’m still getting help.
“Tyrus has helped me out,” she continues. “Marti has helped me. David Lagana and Pat Kenney have also been there. I’m open to asking questions and looking for help because that is one part I still have trouble learning. No matter how much experience I have on the independents, the character and promos were my biggest issues. So it’s getting easier with experience and having people support me. It also helps that I know who my character is now, so I can play into that. In the beginning maybe I couldn’t pinpoint what they wanted for me or what I should be like.”
Jade’s emergence happens during a renaissance of sorts for women’s wrestling across the board. Female talents are being showcased on American television for their athletic ability for the first time in some time — perhaps like never before. The young performer is proud to be a part of today’s scene.
“When I first started it was still the mindset of, ‘Hey, you’re a pretty face. You’ll definitely be getting a title,’” Jade said. “Ever since I got into the business I’ve wanted to be an equal. I’ve been in inter-gender matches. I’ve been in matches that are crazy. It’s nice now I can finally say that woman wrestlers are looked at once again as actual wrestlers. Not just a special attraction match, or ‘these two girls are pretty, so let’s have them go at it and try to make money off that.’ We aren’t the bathroom-break match. It’s nice to see that women’s wrestling is being taken seriously in that we are not just eye candy. To watch the evolution is freaking awesome.”
Jade is living the dream, working with a veteran such as Gail Kim, who is someone she looked up to before entering the business. If you go to Jade’s Twitter page, there is a specific pinned tweet she looks to for motivation. Someone remarked how Gail Kim and Jade are the first two Asian North American female wrestlers to face off in a televised match.
“A fan made that picture and it blew up,” she said. “I was like a lot of other people, didn’t know about it. Gail mentioned it. It’s really cool to see that now and to be part of the milestone with Gail. Never would I have imagined making history on that level with someone I admire so much in Gail Kim.
The pair’s connection goes back to Jade’s days in the independents.
“…Gail Kim and I met at an independent show before I was anything, and she was really nice. We had a couple of things we’ve done in the ring together and I always thought she was really cool and talented. Because she was Korean although I’m half Korean— it’s nice to see someone of my ethnic background could be successful in this business. It’s inspiring. Lita was another I liked because she was treated as an equal, even back then. She wrestled with the guys, and nobody messed with her. Natalya is another I look to as well. Her coming from Shimmer, where I have worked, it’s nice to follow the route that these other girls have taken. It’s awesome and really cool to see those who have paved the way for girls like myself and giving us the idea that we can do something.”
Spending time in countless locker rooms — often where men greatly outnumber women — Jade has been able to gain valuable advice from her peers. She was told to keep her eyes and ears open and remember the importance of maintaining a good reputation if she wanted to be taken seriously as a women’s wrestler. Jade feels the group of women in TNA has bonded over having the same ultimate goal of excellence for the division.
“It’s a family,” Jade explained. “It’s a legit family. We have each other’s back and support one another. We are all here to help each other do well.”
Among the biggest fans of the Knockouts is company president, Dixie Carter, Jade says.
“It was actually really cool after the Lethal Lockdown — the minute we came back, she was there standing and clapping for us and giving us all hugs. She said, ‘You did it for us women!’ It was really cool to have that personal touch, being a female and knowing what she goes through in her role and then supporting us.”
Jade’s biggest match to date as a singles competitor is facing Gail Kim for the top prize in the Knockouts division.
“We always kill it in the ring,” she said. “We have really good chemistry. This is something not to be missed because viewers are in for a treat.”
Photos Courtesy: TNA Entertainment