Best known in North American circles for her brief appearances in the WWE in 1995, Aja Kong is a decorated Japanese female wrestler with numerous title victories in both singles and tag team competition, primarily in All Japan Women. She graduated from her AJW training in 1986 and wrestled under her real name Erika Shishido to team with the fearsome Dump Matsumoto and her fellow trainee Nobuko Kimura. When Matsumoto retired in 1988 (back then, AJW had a mandatory retirement age) Shishida and Kimura went their separate ways before reforming as the Jungle Jack team in 1990, under new names Aja Kong & Bison Kimura.
Their main rivals were the Gokumon-To faction, led by Bull Nakano and the squads battled many times, including a famous Hair Vs Hair match which Kong & Kimura lost.
Kong had singles matches for the WWWA World Title against Nakano around this time and finally defeated Nakano in November 1992 to lift the belt for the first time and end Nakano’s three year reign.
One of her most intense rivalries was with the excellent Manami Toyota; the two were firm friends outside the ring, having debuted at similar times, but inside the ring they were always full-on and delivered a number of exciting matches. Indeed, it would seem improbable that they could have not delivered in the ring opposite each other. If you’re looking for something to compare it to, perhaps it was similar to the Sting/Vader series in WCW…but with the brutality turned WAY up.
Her 1995 appearances for the WWF were limited to a handful of matches but she certainly made an impression. She pinned all four opponents in her Survivor Series match and broke her opponents nose in a RAW showcase. It was intended she would challenge then Women’s Champion Alundra Blayze in 1996, but Blayze was fired before that could happen. Some say it was a cost-cutting measure from the WWF; others have suggested that Blayze was not exactly overly pleased with having to work opposite the stiff Kong after having been away from the Japanese scene for so long. The two had previously met in a brutal shootboxing match which may or may not have been a work, but was certainly full on in its brutality.
Back in Japan, Kong left AJW to start her own promotion, known as Arison. For four years she led the organisation until dramatically walking out of a televised tag match and announcing that she was leaving the company.
From there she worked freelance for many different Japanese companies; one memorable example was her work with Amazing Kong in the wacky HUSTLE promotion, where they held the Tag Team Titles before dropping them in a three way match including the teams of Bubba Ray & D-Von and Sodom & Gomora. As recently as 2011, Kong worked in America for the Chikara promotion.
Whilst arguably never being THE star behind which the promotional might of a company was pushed, even when holding versions of the world title, the fact that Kong was able to excel in the middle of a boom period for women’s wrestling in Japan and more than hold her own against those considered some of the all-time great wrestlers of any sex shows that she was a very formidable character. As well as being a powerful brawler she was able to work a technical style too. Adaptable, versatile and personable. Kong was one of a kind.
MAJOR TITLES WON: AJW Championship (1 time), AJW Tag Team Championship (1 time), All Pacific Championship (1 time), WWWA World Heavyweight Championship (x 2), WWWA World Tag Team Championship (x4)
RECOMMENDED MATCHES: vs. Bull Nakano (November 15th, 1992), Vs Manami Toyota (June 27th, 1995)
– By Matthew Roberts