Editorial Columns

Unleashing Awesome Kong

Neville Triplett profiles one of the most intimidated members of the AEW roster, Awesome Kong.

The stage is set for the first ever AEW’s women’s title when Nyla Rose faces off against Riho for the coveted women’s championship belt on October 2nd.

This match will feature a major contrast in styles as Nyla Rose will rely on strength and size while Riho will bring her technical skills and agility to the ring. Rose is seven inches taller and nearly 70 pounds heavier so Riho will have her work cut out for herself. With all the excitement of the title match many people seem to have forgotten about the ever powerful Awesome Kong who, I feel, can definitely make a push to face the new champion in the very near future.

So just who is Awesome Kong? She made her surprise AEW debut as in a four way match at Double or Nothing which also featured Nyla Rose, Britt Baker, and Kylie Rae.

This match was won through the use of the technical skills and aerobatic maneuvers of Britt Baker who earned victory with a pinfall over Kylie Rae. Kong made her second appearance as an AEW competitor at All Out as part of the women’s Casino Battle Royale where the winner of the match, Nyla Rose, earned her title shot.

Kia Maria Stevens began her professional wrestling career in October in 2002. She spent time training and performing in Japan working for multiple promotions until 2007. Her high profile matches in Japan afforded her the opportunity to return to the States and work across numerous promotions to further develop her character and refine her craft. She may be best known for her time spent in Total NonStop Action Wrestling (TNA), Ring of Honor (RoH), and as a regular across the independent circuit. Kong had a brief stint with WWE as the character Kharma but eventually ended up going back to the indie circuit and TNA before finding her most current home as a member of the women’s division at AEW. 

Professional wrestlers often find themselves changing promotions for one reason or another. The wrestling promotion may decide to go in a different direction, in which case the performer has no say in the decision. The optimal situation for the performer, is when they have the option to seek employment that best suits their unique situation. Such was the case when the contract of Jon Moxley, aka Dean Ambrose expired in WWE. Moxley was able to carefully consider all his options and ultimately decided on AEW. So just why did Awesome Kong, the vet with nearly two decades of experience, choose AEW? One reason is the security of working with a company that will take care of its talent in the unfortunate case of an injury:

“I feel like if something were to happen to me, they’re going to take care of it I won’t be left with a bag in my hand.  So I feel I have a safety net with AEW.”

The trend in professional wrestling seems to be heading towards allowing the talent to have more creative control over their characters and promos. Kong notes that she is able to give input on her character’s promotions and that, more than anything else, may have enticed her to sign with AEW:

“…with AEW, I’ve gotten to pick and choose all of the great parts of all the great promotions I’ve worked with.”

Awesome Kong brings a high level of physicality and brute strength to the ring with her everytime she steps between the ropes. Kong stands at 5’11’’, weighs 272 pounds and boasts signature moves such as the “Awesome Bomb” and the “Amazing Press”. Few performers in the women’s division can match her from a purely physical standpoint. Her character is often portrayed as a heel due to her imposing size and strength. At 43 years of age Kong is still active in the world of professional wrestling and has the savvy wisdom of a veteran who has been in the business for nearly two decades.

The impressive resume of Kong includes titles from both the singles and tag team divisions. She has held titles in 10 different promotions during her prestigious career from professional wrestling organisations including as TNA, NWA, Impact as well as many others. Throughout her career she has also wrestled under the moniker of Amazing Kong, A. Kong, Kharma, and even used the under the radar name of Margaret.

A perhaps lesser known accolade on her resume is that of actress. Kia Stevens played the character Tamme Dawson, the Welfare Queen, in the Netflix series GLOW (Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling). All three seasons of GLOW are available to stream on Netflix.

AEW champion is certainly a title Awesome Kong would like to add to her vaunted resume. Standing in the way will be the winner of the Nyla Rose v Riho match on October 2nd from the Capital One Arena in Washington DC. The victor in this match will be crowned as the first ever AEW women’s champion and become the face of the women’s division going forward. Kong appears to be on a mission to establish herself as the number one contender to face the newly crowned champion but only time will tell if she is able to obtain the rank of number one contender.

AEW has assembled a roster that is both highly talented and diverse in wrestling style and technique. There  will be no shortage of eager talent seeking to challenge the new AEW champion. The mission for Kong is clear, she must make a statement every time she steps in the ring. That statement must be delivered through brutal physicality and bad intentions to any and all opponents who stand in her way. With her history as a heel I can envision a scenario in which she confronts the newly crowned champ and demands a title shot.

AEW appears hellbent on delivering a women’s division that is more than just eye-candy. This talented division will be full of intrigue and drama rather than a mere afterthought. It is clear that AEW placing an emphasis on otherwise neglected divisions within professional wrestling. The talent assembled in its tag team division, as well as the women’s division, is a testament to their efforts to make all the divisions relevant, and exciting. Tony Khan, president and CEO of AEW, has stated that AEW will feature a women’s tag team division at some point in the future:

“…eventually we will establish a Women’s Tag Team title.” This is yet another indication that AEW is serious about its women’s division, both in terms of singles and tag teams.

Awesome Kong is in the perfect place and time to further cement her legacy as one of the most dominant wrestlers of her era. Her history and success as both a singles and tag team champion should make AEW the perfect stomping ground for Awesome Kong. The rest of the division had better keep their eyes open and watch their backs. Kong is coming for the title and everyone else will be collateral damage as she decimates the division on her title quest.

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You can find me on Twitter @ngtriplett. Thanks for reading.

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