TNA/IMPACT Hall of Famer and one of the most polarizing women in wrestling history, Awesome Kong, recently sat down with Chris Van Vliet to talk about a whole bunch of topics. In it, she spoke about her retirement, AEW, GLOW, her brief moment as Kharma in WWE, and her time with TNA.
Kong’s time in TNA had one of the biggest and most popular rivalries in women’s wrestling history with Gail Kim. At one point she was the most popular talent in wrestling and not just for the Knockouts and in TNA but in the world. She speaks openly about being at the top but being paid way less than the men. She had to ask for 1/10th of what Kurt Angle was making at the time.
“That was definitely a spark to this inferno of women’s wrestling now because they are doing it. It’s just wrestling now, not even women’s wrestling, they are just workers out there now, going out there and doing the deal. It used to be that the women were ‘popcorn matches,’ they always put us in the second match so people would go to the bathroom or get their popcorn. It’s getting much more respect and women are demanding more respect. Outside of Gail and I, our program being successful and that being an influence over wrestling, I’d like to say I had a lot of influence on women advocating for themselves because in TNA, I would not keep my mouth shut.
I just couldn’t understand some of the things that was going on. ‘That’s backward. You can’t tell me that when Kong and Gail pop up on the screen and y’all telling me that the numbers are spiking high all night and I’m not worth X amount of money on paper?’ They would put you through this gauntlet, this maze of asking for a raise or to implement change. One of the times I asked for a raise, I found out what Kurt (Angle) had made. All I wanted was 1/10th of what he was making. You look me in eye and tell me I’m not worth 1/10th of Kurt Angle. Just tell me that. If you can’t tell me that, then pay me that. One or the other. You tell me I’m not worth 1/10th of Kurt Angle, then what am I doing here? I have to figure out some other stuff. If you (can’t) tell me that, then pay me,” she said. (Fightful)
She comments on her frustrations during her brief time with AEW.
“Here’s the thing. We have a lot of leaders that have an idea of a perception, they have a vision, and everyone only gets a piece, a little piece of that vision into the picture, into the art piece. Sometimes it don’t work. And the thing is, I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the crew over there at AEW, especially since we were just up and running. We are all new executives, and we are trying to think outside the box, and really give it to y’all, you know what I mean? Give you something new, something that hasn’t been seen.
“We were trying to give you something you hadn’t seen. But I feel, for me I felt unheard. I wasn’t in control, you know what I mean? All I could do is say hey I have this idea of X, Y, and Z. And I couldn’t get in the room where final decisions are made. And believe me, honey, Kia stalked that room. I would stay there after the big meetings, like pick up the water bottles and the cups like, ‘Huh, Y’all need…you need me to go? Okay.’ I tried to get it to the last meeting where decisions were made. But [I] never had a chance to. And after a while, I’m like okay, so that’s just not gonna happen, so I’m not gonna push it. You know what I mean?”
“When you obviously see that this is who they’re comfortable making decisions, and that’s not a read, that’s not a critique, but that’s who was comfortable making decisions. And so it’s like what do you do? It’s out of my control. If I had control, give me 15 minutes of Kia hour. Kia’s 25 minutes of fame. Go out there and steal me the show from them boys. You, you, and you. Nyla [Rose], go steal the show from the boys.”
You can check out the full interview shown below.