After a near 20-year career — which included a short stint with WWE as Kharma — Kia Stevens, best known as Amazing Kong or Awesome Kong, announced her retirement from in-ring competition in August 2021 at the all-women pay-per-view Empowerrr, presented by the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). Her last official match, however, came while performing for AEW on an episode of “Dark” in August 2020, where she defeated Skyler Moore in just over three minutes. During her run with All Elite Wrestling between 2019 and 2021, the Impact Hall of Famer was barely used, and she has now delved into the struggles she faced behind the curtain in the promotion.

“Thing is, I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing the crew over there at AEW, especially since, you know, we were just up and running,” Kong told Insight with Chris Van Vliet. “We were trying to give you something you hadn’t seen, you know? But I feel — for me, I felt unheard, you know, I wasn’t in control.”

Although AEW CEO and lead booker Tony Khan is said to be “accessible” at the promotion, Kong further explained how it was for her trying to get ideas out into the open. “All I could do is say, ‘Hey, I have this idea of XYZ.’ And I couldn’t get in the room where final decisions were made, and believe me honey, Kia stalked that room. I would stay there after the big meetings … I tried to get into that last meeting where the decisions were made … Never had a chance to, and after a while I’m like, ‘OK. So, that’s just not gonna happen, so I’m not gonna push it.'”

Kong debuted for AEW at the promotion’s inaugural pay-per-view, Double or Nothing, and was immediately paired with Brandi Rhodes, eventually forming the poorly-received Nightmare Collective. Kong, who found her greatest success with Impact Wrestling as a two-time Knockouts Champion, briefly continued her alliance with Rhodes before stepping away from the company to film scenes for the Netflix series “GLOW.” After failing to appear in storylines following her return, she was let go by the company upon the expiration of her contract in June 2021.

If you use any quotes from this article, please credit Chris Van Vliet with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.

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