Former AEW Star Says They Felt "Unheard" In The Company

Awesome Kong originally burst onto the All Elite Wrestling scene in grand fashion. The accomplished independent professional wrestler arrived in AEW at the company's inaugural event, AEW Double or Nothing (2019), as a surprise entrant in a four-way bout between herself, Britt Baker, Nyla Rose, and Kylie Rae. Kong was introduced to AEW audiences by Brandi Rhodes, and would go on to appear with the company's former Chief Brand Officer for the remainder of her time with the promotion. Known as The Nightmare Collective, Kong and Brandi would add Mel and Dr. Luther to their ranks before the stable was quietly abandoned in February 2020.

Kong would take a hiatus from AEW to film Netflix series GLOW around the same time that her stable was dropped, and that would end up being the end of her AEW tenure. The former TNA Knockouts Champion's contract expired in June 2021, and would retire from pro wrestling altogether that summer.

While Awesome Kong's name speaks for herself, the former NWA Women's Champion said she felt "unheard" during her time with AEW.

"I felt unheard. I wasn't in control. All I could do was say, 'I have this idea of XYZ.' I couldn't get in the room where final decisions were made," Kong told Chris Van Vliet. "Believe me, Kia [referring to her real name Kia Stevens] stalked that room. I would stay there after big meetings and pick up the water bottles and cups like, 'Huh, y'all need…you need me to go? Okay' (laughs). I tried to get into that last meeting where decisions were made. Never had a chance to."

Kong noted that AEW's small circle of decision makers was apparent from the jump.

"'That's just not going to happen, so I'm not going to push it.' When you see this [makes a box with her hands] is who they are comfortable with making decisions, that's not a read or a critique, that's just who was comfortable making decisions," Kong continued. "What do you do? It's out of my control. If I had control, give me 15 minutes of Kia. Kia's 15 Minutes of Fame. 'Go out there and steal the show from them boys. You, you, you. Nyla (Rose), go steal the show from the boys.'"

Regardless of how her AEW run turned out, Kong stressed that she knows the promotion was in its infancy when she was there.

"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 trying to think outside the box and really give it to y'all," Kong said. "Something new, something that hasn't been seen. We've seen it all. We were trying to give you something that you haven't seen."


Kong capped off her wrestling career by being inducted into the Impact Wrestling Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2021.

(H/T to Fightful for transcriptions)