Earning the reputation as one of the toughest, and most fearless women on the independent wrestling circuits, “Princess Palmstrike” Kimber Lee is back and ready for a new challenge. After being signed to NXT on a year-long contract, Kimber admits the experience was definitely life changing, throwing her curve balls — or upper cuts — she wasn’t expecting.

“When you’re on the independent circuit your schedule really depends on yourself,” said Lee. Booking matches for herself, when and where she performs is all up to her. Life in NXT, however, is not the same. “If there are three [NXT] shows on the weekend you can work one or none at all.” Although she was used to working more, that wasn’t the only surprise waiting for her in Orlando, Florida.

“When I first started at NXT I didn’t get to travel as much, I mainly stayed in Florida and trained a lot,” said Lee (real name Kimberly Frankele). For someone who travels every weekend, whether internationally or on home soil, staying put was a strange change for Lee.

On the other hand, staying in Florida gave her the opportunity to train every day which led to another unexpected change for her.

Training at NXT made her evolve as a competitor and for the better. Being around top performing wrestlers is one thing, but it’s the people behind the scenes that make all the difference.

“I got to work with trainers like Robbie Brookside and Norman Smiley,” Lee continued, “you can utilize that time you have with them and learn so much.” She added that she is already able to see what she has learned at NXT being applied to her in-ring performance.

Lee said one thing she has come to appreciate throughout this journey is that you shouldn’t let anyone treat you differently because you are a woman. She admitted that in a way, this has helped form her career and reputation when performing inter-gender matches.

“When I first started training I was the only female in my school, so I had to train with the men,” she said. She believes that not only has this made her a better wrestler, but a possible threat to the men. She says her advice for any female wrestler would be to do your research, work hard and take it seriously. This multi-time title holder says these things helped her get to where she is today. Lee knows that most women don’t earn a paycheque by giving their co-worker a German Suplex. “We get to do something only a handful of people get to experience and that’s pretty awesome, we have to keep that special,” she concluded.

Kimber Lee ties up Ruby Riot during an NXT bout at WWE Fan Axxess at WrestleMania 33 in April 2017. Photo by Ricky Havlik, RickyHavlik.com

One aspect of the Kimber Lee wrestling style will forever stay the same: competing against male opponents. She has been known to be ruthless in the ring when it comes to her male challengers. Lee was defeated by Chris Dickinson in March 2015, destroying her with a powerbomb. She also had a match up in 2016 against hulking American wrestler and current signee to the WWE, Keith Lee.Lee intends to bring these new-found lessons to her upcoming match against Wheeler Yuta at The Northern Tournament put on by Smash Wrestling in Toronto.

Since most of her career has consisted of challenging men, she doesn’t see her match up against Wheeler Yuta being any different. Although this is the very first time that the two will meet in the squared circle, they do share a commonality, one that may influence the match on Sunday, June 3, at the Phoenix Concert Hall.

Both Lee and Yuta were trained by WWE 205 Live’s Drew Gulak. Princess Palmstrike may be able to use this to her advantage. She said that since she has an idea of how he was taught, Kimber can plan for this match accordingly. “He’s going to have a strong technical base because Drew is such a technical mat wrestler,” she said. Coincidentally, so does she. Even though they both have similar wrestling styles, the match may not be what the audience expects.

“It’s going to be more of a grappling battle than people think,” Kimber said. She also has a message for Wheeler before they face each other.

“The Crown Jewel is very much alive, so never count me out,” she said with a laugh. She hopes that Wheeler will bring his A-game, because this hard-hitting princess is not going down without a fight.