Kharma: Breaking Down WWE Star's Upside, Direction and Long-Term Potential
In May of 2011, Kharma made her WWE debut after disturbing vignettes had aired during the weeks prior. She was well-known for her work in other companies and her foray into the WWE was highly anticipated. She destroyed the WWE divas for a month, but that was the extent of her run.
Kharma was surprisingly (legitimately) pregnant and would be forced to take a significant amount of time off before ever wrestling in an official match. Her child was stillborn, however, and it understandably took a toll on her emotionally. Aside from a shocking appearance in the Royal Rumble match, Kharma hasn't been seen in WWE since May of 2011.
There are constantly rumors of her return, though, so it will be interesting to see when, or if, she comes back. Read on for the sixth edition of my 25-superstar countdown in which I analyze the upside, direction and long-term potential of every important WWE superstar.
In sports, a player who has competed on several different teams across many leagues is often called a journeyman. Kharma could accurately be described as a journeywoman based upon where she has been. Kharma first rose to prominence in 2002 as Amazing Kong in All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling. While there, she went on to win several titles.
From 2006 until 2010, Kharma also appeared regularly with Shimmer Women Athletes. That led to her doing some work for Shimmer's sister company, Ring of Honor, as well. Her greatest success came in TNA, however, as Awesome Kong. She was a key cog in the knockout division and went on to win the Knockout Championship twice as well as the Knockout Tag Team Championship on another occasion.
After being released from TNA in 2010, Kharma caught on quickly with the WWE. It took quite some time before she debuted, but it's fair to say that she was the most interesting thing the divas division had seen in years. Unfortunately, extenuating circumstances only allowed fans to catch a brief glimpse of Kharma.
Seeing as Kharma hasn't been reintegrated back into the company yet, she doesn't currently have a storyline to discuss. Prior to her maternity leave, however, Kharma was squashing every diva in sight. She made her debut at Extreme Rules in 2011, as she attacked Michelle McCool following her loss to Layla. For the next few weeks, she would interrupt almost every divas match.
She appeared to be posturing for a feud with Kelly Kelly, as she often let her go in favor of destroying another diva, but that never came to fruition. In order to write Kharma off television, she was made to have an emotional breakdown when it looked like she would attack several divas. She explained the next week that she was pregnant and would have to leave the company for a while.
Her return at the Royal Rumble took everyone by surprise because nobody was sure if she was cleared to wrestle yet. She eliminated both Michael Cole and Hunico before being thrown out by Dolph Ziggler. Kharma has originally told people that she gave birth to a healthy child as a means of coping, but that wasn't the case. Presumably as a means of allowing her to further cope with her distress, the WWE hasn't brought her back since.
There is a lot to like about Kharma, but the best thing about her is the simple fact that she is so different from every other diva. The vast majority of the divas are quite cookie-cutter in that they look like models (most of them are) and that they aren't particularly convincing wrestlers. There are a couple of exceptions to that rule, but most of them don't excel at the wrestling aspect, which should be the most important.
Kharma is billed at 5'11" and 272 lbs., and that is far bigger than any diva on the WWE roster and pretty much any other woman wrestling across the world. She is a rare specimen in the business, and that makes her very valuable. Her intimidating size and look make her the perfect monster heel for the divas division, and that is something that hasn't been utilized in the WWE since Chyna, although even she was much smaller.
On top of that, Kharma's in-ring skills are excellent. Not only can she rag doll the smaller divas around as if she's a female Ryback, but she is also capable of going high risk and jumping off the top rope, which is truly something to behold. In a division that lacks true wrestling, Kharma brings that to the table, and that is why so many are anxious to see her back.
Do you consider Kharma's unique look to be a strength or weakness?
As a performer I'm not sure that Kharma has any real weaknesses other than her mic skills. That isn't to say that she is a terrible speaker, but due to her persona, she has never had to do it much. Seeing as the WWE often tends to favor promos over wrestling matches, that could be problematic. At the same time, though, divas are given very little time to talk as it is, so it may not ultimately matter.
Aside from that, the fact that she looks so different could be construed as a weakness as well. While it helps her get noticed, which is always a good thing, it may also lead to ostracism. Whether we as fans like it or not, the WWE has a very specific idea of what they want to diva to look and act like. Kharma is the total opposite of that, so it wouldn't be surprising to see her return and not receive the push she deserves.
There isn't much other than that to complain about when it comes to Kharma. She has a lot of experience, and I suppose you could call her somewhat old at 34 years of age, but people last in the business much longer than that. Kharma has all the tools to be a star in the divas division, and that hasn't been true of anyone in many years.
Seeing as Kharma has never had a match in the WWE, I had to dip into the archives in order to find an accurate representation of what she can do in the ring. My favorite Kharma match would have to be her battle with Gail Kim at TNA's Final Resolution in 2008. It was a No Disqualification match, so it really allowed Kharma to showcase her strength and overall dominance against the smaller Gail Kim.
The match was absolutely fantastic for a women's bout, and it is something we never see in the WWE or even in present-day TNA. Kharma proved that she can work very well with a more petite woman, especially since Gail is an excellent worker. Kharma ultimately lost the match, but she could be used for so many great David vs. Goliath type matchups.
It also isn't very often that the WWE uses hardcore stipulations in a divas match, but Kharma is the type of woman who can sell such a match. Her presence would instantly spice up the divas division, and I believe her match with Gail at Final Resolution 2008 is the perfect example of what she brings to the table.
It goes without saying that Kharma could return to the WWE and instantly become Divas Champion without anyone objecting. The likes of Beth Phoenix, Natalya, Layla and a couple others have a lot of talent, but they aren't used correctly to begin with, so the division is in shambles. Somebody needs to make it worth caring about again and Kharma is about the only one capable of doing so.
As soon as she returns, whenever that is, she needs to enter into a feud for the Divas Championship and win it in short order. As champion she will be able to run the gauntlet of challengers before finally getting some stiff competition like she did from Gail in TNA. She could even be utilized like Ryback in a way by having her beat two divas at once and things of that nature. Everything possible must be done to show her dominance.
Once she accomplishes everything possible in the divas division, I could also see her getting involved with the men a bit. I would suggest making her a full-time competitor against the males, but in the right situations, it could work. I don't want to see her as a male champion after how big of a flop Chyna's Intercontinental Championship reign was, but I have no problem using her against the men in special circumstances.
How She Gets There
Will Kharma become Divas Champion?
In order to make Kharma a force in the divas division, it would take very little work from the creative team's perspective. All she has to do is return at any point and squash Layla before entering into a feud with her and winning the Divas Championship. The WWE writers generally don't like to put much thought into the diva storylines, so they would probably love for Kharma to return soon.
The big question regarding Kharma is whether she is ready to come back. She may still be trying to get over what happened with her pregnancy, but there have been some whispers that she hasn't returned because the WWE doesn't know how to integrate her back into the divas division. If that is the case, then it's ridiculous, because there have been several opportunities to bring her back already.
Whatever the case, whenever Kharma, the WWE or both are ready, there is a legitimate star in place who can possibly make the divas division relevant. While improving the divas division may not matter to some fans, there is no doubt that adding some depth to the show will only benefit the WWE moving forward.
Check back daily for new entries in this WWE 25-superstar countdown. Here is how the list looks thus far:
25. Damien Sandow
24. Alex Riley
23. Antonio Cesaro
22. Drew McIntyre
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