If you've watched Impact Wrestling recently and thought that Kiera Hogan's "girl on fire" gimmick looked familiar, there's a reason why.
Hogan appeared at a 2015 WWE tryout and pitched her "Hogan with a little bit of fire," persona during a session that also involved eventual NXT Women's Champion and current WWE Raw star Ember Moon. When speaking to Fightful.com ahead of her Ladies Night Out 3 cage match main event with Ivelisse, Kiera says she was the inspiration for a gimmick that Moon took.
"I know for a fact I'm the reason she did it. I try not to look at it in a negative way, but in the end it is negative, because it's something that I did first. Something that I brought to my company first. She debuted it at NXT Takeover Mania weekend. I saw her come out and my heart literally dropped. I knew what was coming after that. I got tweets, DMs, saying 'You're the ripoff version, you're the cheap version of Ember Moon.' Because she's taken something that I've worked so hard to make my own, now I'm the ripoff version. In retrospect, it's like you stole something from me, and doesn't acknowledge she did, but I worked so hard to get to where I am being the "girl on fire," and now I'm the ripoff version of her. It hurts me, and all the work I put into this character. I'm not going to give up," said Hogan
WWE has adopted several references to fire, including calling Becky Lynch "Girl on Fire." Several months after Hogan appeared at the tryout, Moon would appear on WWE TV similarly. Hogan told me about her interactions with Moon during their tryout.
"I think the 'Girl on Fire' thing WWE probably gave to (Becky Lynch), but I bet Ember (pitched hers). She was at my tryout. I saw her sign her contract, she cried when she signed her contract. After the tryout she text me and said 'I wanna help you get booked on shows,' after that I've never spoken to her and that was almost four years ago. I know she got the inspiration from me. It doesn't help that we're two black females, so I'll automatically get compared to her," Kiera said.
Despite the negative experience, Hogan has found success in a run with Impact Wrestling. She was passed over for the first Mae Young Classic tournament, and said that she maintained a loose connection to WWE.
"I don't think it hindered my opportunity. The last time I heard from them was about a year and a half, two years ago. I was at a Raw event and I had emailed someone and didn't get a response back, but someone emailed me saying they needed updated information, promo pictures, updated resume. I sent it in and they were like 'okay, we'll contact you for a future tryout.' Nothing. I did extras maybe a couple of months after that. I just let it fizzle out. If they contact me, awesome, if not, I'm going to keep doing me. Impact knocked on my door first, and I'm happy to be there," said Hogan.
In the full interview, Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com speaks to Impact Wrestling's Kiera Hogan about Ember Moon taking her gimmick, her Impact Wrestling contract and future, Ladies Night Out 3 against Ivelisse in a cage, and Hulk Hogan being back in WWE's good graces!
Kiera appears courtesy of Ladies Night Out 3 - Aug 18th -Bell time 7:30pm - Texas City. Streaming live on TitleMatchNetwork.com . Presented by Title Match Network & Booker T's Reality of Wrestling.