Viper, the vixen of violence, has adoring followers around the globe however 26-year-old Kimberley Benson says she has needed to struggle to beat stigma about her measurement.
Kim has secretly been in love with watching wrestling since she was 9 however she did not take it up till she was 16 after a boyfriend informed her a couple of close by coaching faculty.
She says: “It by no means occurred to me that it was one thing you possibly can do.
“I received completely beat up however I beloved it. I went each week for about seven years.”
Kim, from the small North Ayrshire city of Kilbirnie, is now 26 and a star of the wrestling circuit.
She often has bouts across the UK in addition to Japan, the place she is a giant identify.
Viper holds championship belts with quite a few boxing organisers and is in fixed demand however she admits it was a battle at first.
“After I began wrestling, actually in my coaching faculty there wasn’t many different women doing it, and all the ladies wrestlers on tv had been like supermodels,” she tells the BBC documentary Struggle Like a Lady.
“Girls’s wrestling was not revered.
“It was troublesome for me as a result of I am a lady and since I am a giant lady.
“I believe lots of people took a take a look at me and thought ‘she’s not going to final 5 minutes’.”
“I can not categorical a few of the issues I’ve gone by in my wrestling profession.
“Folks wrote me off due to my measurement and what I seem like and thought I used to be some silly, blonde lady who was by no means going to quantity to something.”
However Kim says she discovered to embrace her measurement and donning her trademark leotard and fishnet tights helped her to construct up the character of Viper, the babe of brutality.
Kim says she is proud to have fought the “stigma” and to not have let folks’s “stinging” feedback get to her.
Her wrestling bouts usually are not for the faint-hearted.
Kimberley’s father Niven says he finds it very troublesome to look at his daughter getting crushed up.
She is often thrown from the ring and slammed in to the canvas, to not point out having a chair smashed throughout her again.
She admits she typically seems like she has been hit by a truck however says wrestling is what she lives for.
“I find it irresistible. As quickly as your music hits and also you hear that roar it is sort of a chemical response and that is when the nice feeling comes, all of your endorphins are buzzing,” Kim says.
Regardless of her success, her father says Kim nonetheless struggles to pay the payments and works part-time within the household coach-hire enterprise.
The pliability of working along with her mum and pa permits her to vanish for lengthy durations when she travels overseas.
In America, WWE wrestlers make massive cash and Kimberly has appeared over there at a particular occasion beneath the identify Piper Niven.
One other standard vacation spot for Kim is Japan, the place feminine wrestling – generally known as joshi puroresu – is large.
It has a global status for the standard of its wrestlers.
In Japan, Kim fights with Stardom, an all-female wrestling outfit.
“I really like that in Japan it’s the full wrestler life,” Kim says.
She has travelled there seven occasions and has constructed up a considerable following however she says her first tour was “terrible”.
“The primary time I got here to Japan I almost gave up.
“It was actually onerous. I used to be on the telephone to my mum and pa every single day about how a lot I missed them and the way onerous it was.
“That is once I query possibly I used to be not reduce out for this. ‘Could also be this isn’t for you’.”
She stated that in comparison with the Japanese wrestlers she felt large and the followers made her very acutely aware of her measurement.
“It was the identical factor I’ve had all through my profession, feeling like I used to be written of due to my measurement,” she says.
“However I got here to coaching and I confirmed them I’m actually captivated with this and I am gifted and I am a hard-worker and I gained their respect and ultimately their love.”
The stress of the tour is intense, with followers anticipating to fulfill her after exhibits.
However she says she tries to search out time to “expertise” the nation and there’s a rising camaraderie among the many “foreigners”.
“Being within the highlight is the loneliest place on the earth,” says Kim.
“I’ve nice buddies and we’re all there for one another however it’s onerous to construct relationships when you do not know what facet of the world you’ll be on.
“You belong to all people and no one on the identical time.”
Wrestling promoter Mark Dallas says Viper has succeeded as a result of she is the “full package deal”.
The person behind Scottish wrestling’s ICW championship says: “We do not give anybody a belt in wrestling until they’re a very massive star.
“That you must seem like a wrestler, it is advisable to be menacing, it is advisable to have charisma, you want to have the ability to discuss on the microphone, do all of the wrestling strikes and also you want to have the ability to take the punishment as a result of it’s an extremely powerful job.”
He says: “Viper is relatable, she’s likeable, she’s a constructive position mannequin. She’s received that ‘It’ issue that you simply can not train.”
Kim could have fought to the highest of the UK wrestling world however can she keep there?
She says each wrestler is all the time asking if the bodily ache is price it.
“Is it price strolling round like an outdated decrepit individual when you find yourself simply 26,” she says.
“I assume for some folks the ache wins, they simply surrender.”
“Some occasions I ponder if they’re the smarter ones. Those that see sense and say ‘I will cease killing myself’.
“However what’s a dream price?”
Struggle Like a Lady is on BBC One on Monday 11 June at 19:30.