A former AEW employee who was involved both on camera and backstage has claimed they felt unheard and were unable to get into important meetings “where decisions were made.”
Awesome Kong made her surprise AEW debut at Double or Nothing 2019. The star appeared as an unannounced entrant in a women’s Three-Way match, which quickly became a Fatal-Four-Way.
In the months that followed the veteran joined forces with Brandi Rhodes, Mel and Luther, with the group becoming known as the Nightmare Collective.
However, the angle featuring the faction came to an abrupt halt in early 2020, with Awesome Kong being written off television. She wouldn’t return in an on-screen capacity again before her departure in June the following year.
Although she may not have been wrestling, Kong took up a backstage role with the company which she held until she left.
During an appearance on Insight with Chris Van Vliet, Awesome Kong opened up about her time in AEW. The former IMPACT Wrestling and WWE star explained that she felt unheard during her run with the company.
“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. 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. 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. 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. ‘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. 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.'”
Following her exit from AEW, Awesome Kong never returned to the ring, instead announcing her retirement at NWA EmPowerrrr in August 2021. At IMACT Bound for Glory that October, the star was inducted into the IMPACT Wrestling Hall of Fame by Gail Kim.
H/t to Fightful for the transcription.