Monday, September 27, 2021

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Guest Blog: ‘Why WWE Needs Awesome Kong’ by John Canton

Having listened to the Awesome Kong interview here at Diva Dirt and read a recent radio recap from her, one thing is perfectly clear to me: Awesome Kong wants to work for World Wrestling Entertainment. She’s not outright campaigning for it, but if you listen to her, you can tell she’s interested. The question is, does WWE have the same interest? I have no idea. The thing is, they definitely should and I’ll be happy to tell you why.

By signing Awesome Kong, WWE would be breaking the mold of what they believe a WWE Diva should be. Look at the women they have under employment. More than half of them had little or no wrestling experience before they were signed by the company. Awesome Kong is not like that. Kong started wrestling eight years ago, she had a lot of success working in Japan and then made a name for herself in 2007 with TNA. Anybody that saw her work with Gail Kim in TNA could see immediately how much talent she had. I had never seen her before that feud and it took my breath away. They told an amazing story by simply having Kong dominate due to her size while Kim came back with her athleticism. A lot of people took notice of her after that feud and it turned out they were a ratings draws too. Kong was unlike anything we’ve seen in American women’s wrestling.

The majority of the WWE Divas are also thin. We all know how shallow the WWE writing team can be if they feel somebody isn’t thin enough. They call them fat. They insult. They act like a bunch of eight year old kids on the playground. Awesome Kong is not thin. She’s a physical force standing in at 5’11” and 270 pounds. When she walks into a room, you notice her.

How do you bring her in? Easy. As a heel monster. On either brand. The easiest story to tell in professional wrestling will always be the bigger wrestler versus the smaller wrestler. The backstory doesn’t even matter. Let the picture do the talking. Big person = mean, small person = heroic. Easy. Done. A five year old kid can understand just as well as a seventy-five year old senior could. Let’s look at the easy way to bring her in on both Raw and SmackDown.

Kong on Raw: The Eve/Maryse feud continues for another month or two. Eve continues to get the better of Maryse, retaining the title every time they face off and frustrating Maryse to the point where she loses her mind. You can have Maryse cut promos (I know that letting a Diva talk for more than 10 seconds is rare for WWE – work with me here) talking about how she has found a new friend to help her. She can make references to this person for weeks. We can think it’s a guy. We can think it’s another girl that looks more like her. Then you cue up some intimidating music and who appears? Awesome Kong. She beats down Eve, Maryse wins her belt and suddenly you’ve got a new force in WWE. Along with Eve, who still has a long way to go before I call her a good worker, you’ve got Melina and Gail Kim on the Raw babyface side. Melina should be back in a couple of months. She can work fairly well. I think she’d be fine as an underdog babyface. In Kim’s case, she’s got incredible chemistry with Kong. Obviously WWE won’t acknowledge their past battles in TNA, but smart fans know. As for Maryse, she could have her own bodyguard in Kong. When the time is right, one of them turns babyface and you’ve got a feud there.

Kong on SmackDown: I think it would work way better on SmackDown. Beth Phoenix is the current Women’s champion with the bubbly Barbie twins Kelly and Tiffany filling out the roster. Beth’s main foes are Michelle, Layla and Vickie Guerrero as the consultant. What they could do is (similar to what I proposed on Raw) have Phoenix continually beat Michelle. Put Beth over as this unbeatable monster. That sets the stage for Kong. You can run a backstage segment with Vickie talking to Teddy Long about signing a new Diva unlike anybody we’ve ever seen before. Teddy asks who? Vickie pulls out a photo, shows it to Long and his eyes bug out. We never see it at home as a viewer, but we learn a couple weeks later that the person is Awesome Kong. Fast forward to either the Fatal Four Way PPV on June 20 or the Money in the Bank PPV on July 18 with the idea that Beth’s going to defend the title against a mystery opponent that Vickie has just signed. Phoenix is in the ring waiting when Kong shows up. She walks into the ring, stares down Phoenix and that visual alone puts over how big Kong is. She’s taller, she’s wider and she’s more of an intimidating presence than Phoenix. They work a match for a few minutes with Kong dominating until Beth is able to counter. She goes for the Glam Slam. Can’t do it. Shocking. No woman has ever been able to block the Glam Slam simply by being too big. Kong counters, pins and wins the Women’s Title. Then, if they want to make it really cheap, have Vickie announce that Kong has to defend the title against Michelle right now. She lays down, Michelle covers, wins the belt and Vickie pays Kong in cash for getting the belt off Beth. Months down the road, they can turn Kong babyface if they want. An easy story to tell.

Wouldn’t those angles be more interesting than the usual fare we get, especially from Raw? I think so. These aren’t stories you can tell with just any woman. You need somebody big like Kong, but also talented like Kong. That’s the key word: talented.

We’ve also heard public comments from very well respected wrestling legends Steve Austin and Jim Ross both endorsing Kong as being somebody WWE should hire. Listen to them, WWE. When Ross was in charge of WWE’s talent relations department (that basically means he was the company’s General Manager) from the late 1990s until 2005 he helped build the most successful roster that the company ever had. There are few people in American wrestling that can judge talent better than Jim Ross. If he’s going out of his way to put somebody over like that, you really should listen to him. As for Austin, he said this on Twitter: “If WWE has any brains they will hire you immediately…GOOD LUCK!!!” That whole “if WWE has any brains” is a big if, but let’s hope they do. After all, he is the “greatest superstar in the history of WWE” according to Vince McMahon. His opinion should matter. Stone Cold’s right. Awesome Kong would be great for WWE.

The addition of Kong would make everybody else better. She knows how to work. Her offense is believable, she sells moves well and when she puts people over, it makes you take notice because she’s the favorite in every match she’s in. There’s no other female they could hire that could elicit that response. Beth Phoenix has lost enough that fans barely believe that she is the “most dominant diva in WWE history” as they like to say. Kong could be that monster, which brings up another point. Doesn’t Vince love wrestlers that are monsters? Look at the men he pushes. The big guys always get the shot before the little guys. Why? Because people take notice of big guys. In Kong’s case, trust me, people would take notice.

The problem is this. Vince doesn’t think of the women as draws. He thinks they’re interchangeable. That’s why Maria and Mickie got fired even though they were clearly the most popular divas in the company. (It’s that plus WWE wasn’t going to be making money off their music aspirations although they’ll tell you of their “diva attitude” being the reason.) Look at the “blonde” spot on the roster. First there was Sable who was more of a model than wrestler, then there was Torrie who was more of a model than wrestler (what’s her record in bikini contests?), now there is Kelly and Tiffany, both of whom got hired through modeling agencies. In many ways he might be right. They are interchangeable. They all did the same thing where they smiled, had no personality and wrestled once in a while. That’s the problem, though. Yes, men want to see beautiful women in wrestling. We also want to see talent.

Why does WWE really need Awesome Kong? Because their group of female performers are as poor as they’ve been in the past decade since they started caring about the women again as workers back in 2001. It’s largely because their hiring practices are poor. Instead of scouring the indy circuit, they’d rather hire models in their early 20s that have a pretty smile. It’s that thinking that leads to no progress in a division that should have changed at least a little bit in a decade. You want progress? Sign Awesome Kong.

The ball is in your court, WWE. Awesome Kong wants to work for you. The solution is simple. Sign Awesome Kong.

John Canton
[email protected]

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