Q&A: Kelly Klein Talks Women of Honor, War of the Worlds

The Gatekeeper shares her feelings on Ring of Honor's growing women's division.

She’s never been pinned. She’s never submitted. And yeah, she’s Pretty Badass.

The uncrowned ROH Women’s Champion (because no such title exists…yet) Kelly Klein will be returning to Philadelphia on May 14th for Ring of Honor’s TV tapings. Although no Women of Honor matches have been announced, The Gatekeeper guarantees she’ll be in action and available for autograph signings and photos before the event.

Standing Room Only tickets are available for ROH’s War of the Worlds show in Philly at 2300arena. For a list of matches scheduled and stars available for signings and photos, check out www.rohwrestling.com.

Don’t forget to catch War of the Worlds on pay-per-view this Friday at 9 p.m. EST. Check out the stacked lineup for the NYC spectacle here.

Klein joined Wrestledelphia Radio this week to discuss the growing women’s division, War of the Worlds, Mary Elizabeth Monroe and more. You can listen to that interview here. Below are excerpts from the conversation.

How did you break into pro wrestling?

Kelly Klein: “I was singing in a local rock band and I was also waitressing. I invited people I work with to come see one of my band’s gigs, and one of the other waiters said I’ll come see your band if you bring your band to see me wrestle. I was like, ah, what the heck, I’m not doing anything. So he came to see my band and I went to this indy wrestling event. I had no clue what to expect. Two of my friends and I went and I was instantly hooked.

I immediately started asking people how can I train, how can I get in the ring. What really drew me to it was that I grew up as an athlete but I also grew up performing and doing music and theater. A lot of times those two conflicted because I was very committed to both, and both of those genres wanted my full commitment. There were times when I had to choose one or the other. So when I saw this live wrestling event, it was the first time I saw something where I didn’t have to choose. It brought together all the aspects of things I love to do.”

Your current persona as The Gatekeeper is quite different than your previous bubbly and colorful life. How did the Mary Elizabeth Monroe name come about?

Klein: “When I first knew I would be training to wrestle, I was living in St. Louis at the time but I was training in Cincinnati. There were oftentimes when I was in St. Louis and couldn’t be training so I would do the creative stuff and think about what I could do and who I could be. Without having a ring to get into, I would sit in my room and think about that stuff.

From the beginning, I knew that I wanted my initials to be M.E. It was very marketable and easy to make up different catchphrases.  You could say ‘everybody loves ME’ and all that stuff. I had a few different ideas of where I could go with my persona, but then I settled on the one I felt was most like me: the sort of spirit squad, Catholic school girl athlete character, which is me. I wanted a name that sounded like a Catholic school girl, Catholic nun, so I came up with Mary Elizabeth.

After a year or two, I lightened my hair and wanted a last name. I decided on Monroe because at the time I was playing around with the Marilyn Monroe, pinup, kind of glamour side.”

After years on the indy scene, what was your reaction when you found out you’d be joining Ring of Honor?

Klein: “I was excited because a big part of something that held me back for a long time is I didn’t go out and take chances. I just didn’t think I was ready. But you never think you’re ready. It got to the point where I needed to go do it and just push myself to take the risk. If you never ask the question, the answer is always no. I went and did the tryout and I was proud of myself. I had done what I could do, and I thought I had done well. Whether other people were better or worse than me had nothing to do with it. I went and pushed myself out of my comfort zone and put myself out there. Then I was given another opportunity to do even more and show what I could do at an event and in front of a crowd was a big accomplishment for me.”

How has your experience been?

Klein: “I really enjoy it. I just get antsy and impatient because it does take time for something like the Women of Honor division to build and grow. I wish we could just do it and for all the girls to have matches all the time. But that’s not how it works because that would implode immediately. It’s just being patient right now and getting more girls there who are a good fit, and getting to work with different people has been a lot of fun. It’s been very cool that I’ve had the opportunity to share a locker room with different women.

One example is I wrestled ODB when I was very, very new. I had never worked with her since then, so when I had the opportunity to wrestle her again, it was because of Ring of Honor, and it kind of came full circle. I was able to contribute in a different way. The first time, I was the babe in the woods and she was doing all the work. So it was cool for me to come back and work with her as more of a peer.”

What’s it like backstage during the War of the Worlds tour? Have you ever been to Japan?

Klein: “I’ve not, and of course, I want to wrestle everywhere I can. I want to work with different people and have the experience of wrestling in front of different people. When you have guys from those different groups come into the same locker room, it’s all people that are really passionate about wrestling and being their personal best and putting on a really great show. When all that comes together, the energy really expands. Everybody is like minded and has similar philosophies, we’re all there to push ourselves and do really well. It’s very motivating for me and for a lot of people.”

We know that Women of Honor matches are scheduled for the ROH TV tapings in Philly. But that’s all we know. Do you have a hint for what we can expect?

Klein: “I did see that somebody had tweeted they’d be returning…‘Bonesaw’ Jessie Brooks. I’m very excited to see what happens.”

For the name of the album that Klein collaborated with Brian Asbury and contributed to the compositional aspects of, listen to the full interview below.