This past Saturday NWA held their first ever all women’s PPV entitled “NWA Empowerrr.” This PPV featured the return of the NWA Women’s Tag Titles, an IMPACT Knockouts Championship match and an NWA Women’s World Title match.
One of the headlines to come out of the show was when Gail Kim came to the ring. She was joined by her longtime rival, Awesome Kong. It was her that Kong would announce her retirement from professional wrestling.
Now that the career of the “Awesome One” is done let’s look back on her amazing career.
Kia Stevens, better known to the world of professional wrestling as Awesome Kong made her debut in 2002 after appearing on the reality show, Discovery Healthy Body Challenge. She was inspired by former WWE superstar and Hall of Famer, Lita.
Stevens would then join the School of Hard Knocks in California where she was trained by Noah Denker. She would then have her first professional match at Empire Wrestling Federation then wrestle her first five years in Japan.
Stevens during her time in Japan trained in Martial Arts and became fluent in Japanese but ultimately chose professional wrestling. She would go on to wrestle for All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling.
She would get the name of Amazing Kong from Masatsugu Matsunaga who needed a replacement to face Aja Kong in serval matches.
She would go on to wrestle for another promotions before defeating Ayako Hamada to win the WWWA World Single Championship in 2004. She would then return to the states in 2006 and wrestled for promotions such as Shimmer, ROH, AWA and NWA.
Kong made her debut for Total Nonstop Action in October 2007 still using the name Amazing Kong which would later change to Awesome Kong. During her first run with the company she would defeat Gail Kim who along with Angelina Love and ODB would eliminate her from the ten Knockout Gauntlet match to determine the first ever Knockouts Champion.
Kong would then go on a losing streak losing at Turning Point and Final Resolution before finally winning the title on the January 10th edition of iMPACT! with the help of her debuting manager, Raisha Saeed.
After winning the title along would begin to host $25K challenges and picked members of the audience who were planted wrestlers. Kong would remain undefeated until Taylor Wilde’s third attempt on the July 10th edition of iMPACT! when she not only won the $25K but also the Knockouts Championship. Kong would eventually regain the belt on the October 23rd edition of iMPACT!
Kong would then eventually entered a feud with The Beautiful People which would lead to her losing the Knockouts Title in a three way steel cage match involving Angelina Love and Taylor Wilde. Angelina Love with the help of Velvet Sky would pin Taylor Wilde to win the gold.
Kong would then turn her attention to the Knockouts Tag Titles with her manager/partner Raisha Saeed but they would shortly split up after Saeed cost Kong her last Knockouts title match against both Tara and ODB at Bound For Glory. Kong would eventually teamed up with Hamada and they would capture the tag titles on the first episode of iMPACT! in 2010.
Shortly after starting her Knockouts Tag Title reign Kong would leave the company in March 2008 forcing TNA to strip them of the titles. It was later announced in December that Stevens had signed with WWE and would make her debut on May 1st, 2011 at the Extreme Rules PPV attacking Michelle McCool following her lost to Layla in a Loser Leaves WWE match. It was later revealed that her name in WWE would be Kharma and she would continue to attack former Divas Champions.
After taking a break from WWE due to personal reasons she would return in 2012 and become the third women WWE history after Chyna and Beth Phoenix to enter the Men’s Royal Rumble. She would get one elimination before being eliminated by Dolph Ziggler.
Once being released from WWE Stevens would go back to Japan and even return to Shine using the name Amazing Kong. She would team up with Jazz to defeat the team of Mercedes Martinez and Rain. She would later go on to win the vacated Resistance Pro Wrestling Women’s Championship. On March 8th, 2013 she returned to Chikara and lost to current AEW star Eddie Kingston in an intergender main event.
Kong would then make her return to TNA during their Destination America network debut on January 7th, 2015 after a battle royal to go face to face with Havok with lead to a feud with ended in a steel cage on the Lockdown edition of Impact on February 6th which Kong won.
Since being victorious in the cage she turned her attention to Taryn Terrell and the Knockouts Championship. She would get two chances and came up short in both via Disqualification and due to interference from The Dollhouse. She would go onto team up with her longtime rival Gail Kim to feud against the faction ultimately leading to a three way for the Knockouts Title against Brooke and champion Taryn Terrell on July 1st but came up short.
Kong would get another shot at the title at Bound For Glory later that year agains Gail Kim but would once again came up short.
Towards the end of the year TNA held a World Title Series in which Kong and Kim would tie for first place in their block. She would advance to the finals and would lose to Jessie Godderz.
Kong would then align with the Dollhouse faction on the TNA POP debut in 2016 following the departure of Taryn Terrell. But the following month along would exit the company and make one last final appearance at Bound For Glory to help induct Gail Kim into the TNA Hall of Fame.
In 2019 Awesome Kong would make her AEW debut alongside Brandi Rhodes at the Double or Nothing PPV as a surprise entrant in a triple threat match making it a fatal four way.
She would then form the short lived Nightmare Collective with Rhodes, Mel and Dr. Luther but the faction was dropped almost immediately after the poor reaction they got from the fans.
She would later be written out of the Collective to return to the Netflix original series GLOW. Stevens has starred in the show for three seasons and the show was renewed for a final fourth season but was ultimately cancelled due to the pandemic. Stevens’ contract was also not renewed this year.
As stated earlier Awesome Kong would return at NWA Empowerrr alongside Gail Kim and announced her retirement after a career that spanned over 20 years.
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