Former WWE, AEW Star Awesome Kong Announces Retirement from Pro Wrestling

Mike Chiari@@mikechiariFeatured Columnist IVAugust 29, 2021

NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 04:  (EXCLUSIVE COVERAGE) Professional wrestler and actress Kia Stevens, also known as "Awesome Kong" visits SiriusXM Studios on October 4, 2019 in New York City.  (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images)
Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

Longtime professional wrestling star Awesome Kong announced her retirement from professional wrestling on Saturday night.

During the all-women's NWA EmPowerrr pay-per-view, Kong made a surprise appearance when former TNA rival Gail Kim was about to get attacked by Taryn Terrell, Jennacide and Paola Blaze.

Kong made the save, said she wanted her final act in wrestling to be an in-ring segment with Kim, announced her retirement and embraced her greatest opponent, as seen in this photo courtesy of Fightful's Sean Ross Sapp:

Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com @SeanRossSapp

Awesome Kong announces that she's done with wrestling, and wanted to go out with Gail Kim. This was a really special moment. <a href="https://t.co/SYHfQ761NA">pic.twitter.com/SYHfQ761NA</a>

Kim described the emotions she felt when Kong retired during an interview with FITE TV's Josh Shernoff after the fact:

Josh Shernoff @SoSaysShernoff

I caught up with the legendary <a href="https://twitter.com/gailkimITSME?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@gailkimITSME</a> to discuss the emotional moment in the ring with <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AwesomeKong?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AwesomeKong</a> as Kong announced her retirement from the ring.<br>Watch that moment and so much more from <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/NWAEmpowerrr?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#NWAEmpowerrr</a> on <a href="https://twitter.com/FiteTV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@FiteTV</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/nwa?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@nwa</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/EMPOWERRR?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#EMPOWERRR</a> <a href="https://t.co/fIE2YqYN4A">pic.twitter.com/fIE2YqYN4A</a>

The 43-year-old Kong is likely best known for her run in TNA, which later became known as Impact Wrestling. She was part of TNA from 2007-10 and again from 2015-16.

During both stints, Kong had several memorable matches against Kim with the Knockout Championship on the line. All told, Kong was a two-time Knockouts champion and one-time Knockouts Tag Team champion in TNA.

Kong also had a brief but memorable run in WWE under the name Kharma. In May 2011, Kong wreaked havoc on the WWE Divas division, but her run was cut short when she announced she was pregnant.

Her only official match as a WWE wrestler came in January 2012 when she made a surprise appearance in the Royal Rumble match, becoming only the third woman to ever be in a men's Rumble match at that time.

The latter part of Kong's career was spent in AEW where she wrestled a handful of matches in 2019 and early 2020. At Double or Nothing 2019, Kong competed in a four-way match against Britt Baker, Allie and Nyla Rose, which Baker won.

Other major companies Kong worked for include Ring of Honor, NWA, Shimmer and several promotions in Japan.

Kong held both the NWA Women's World Championship and All Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling's top title once, plus she was named the No. 1 women's pro wrestler in the world by Pro Wrestling Illustrated in 2008 as part of its Female 50 list.

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