Kia Stevens is one of the most prolific wrestlers of the past 20 years. Her size and strength make her a presence to be feared in the ring, and her animated character has helped her to become a standout icon. Her story is a great inspiration, as she got her start after appearing on a TV show called Discovery Health Body Challenge. She professed her goal to lose weight and become a professional wrestler. And after some time training in California, she was invited to wrestle for the legendary joshi promotion All Japan Woman’s Pro-Wrestling (AJW).
In Japan, Stevens was given the name Amazing Kong. She worked as a stand-in for Japanese legend Aja Kong, who had recently left AJW. The training that Stevens received was very tough on her body, as she has elaborated on in interviews. Miscues in the ring caused her to lose part of her tongue and work on a sprained ankle for months. But she stuck with the sport that she loved, and soon found success. Amazing Kong won her first title – the WWWA World Single Championship – only two years into her career.
Soon afterward, Amazing Kong began wrestling alongside Aja Kong at a different joshi promotion, GAEA. They formed the team of W Kong and won the AAAW Tag Team Championship. They then went on to tackle intergender wrestling, winning the Hustle Tag Team Championship from a male-dominated roster. Throughout Stevens’s five-year run in Japan, she made waves everywhere she went. She was even asked to main event GAEA’s final show before the promotion closed.
Stevens then left Japan and returned to the United States to participate in SHIMMER. The women’s promotion became the most important one of its kind in North America. Current WWE stars such as Bayley and Becky Lynch started in SHIMMER, and Amazing Kong played a pivotal role in its success. Many of the promotion’s most renowned matches feature Amazing Kong against other top indie stars. Some are Mercedes Martinez, Serena Deeb, Cheerleader Melissa, and MsChif. MsChif’s rivalry with Amazing Kong also extended past SHIMMER, as the two battled on multiple NWA shows. This success allowed Stevens to branch to other promotions such as Women Superstars Uncensored, Britain’s Real Quality Wrestling, and finally Total Nonstop Action (known today as IMPACT).
In TNA, the newly named Awesome Kong had a legendary feud with Gail Kim. Their No Disqualification match at the Final Resolution pay-per-view in 2008 is described as one that “inspired a whole new generation of women’s wrestling.” Kong cemented herself as a big name in many corners, capturing the IMPACT Knockouts Championship on two occasions. Thus, when Pro Wrestling Illustrated launched its first list of the Top 50 Female Wrestlers, she was ranked number one.
Awesome Kong’s first TNA run featured many other big moments, including a Knockouts Tag Team Championship reign. After consistently stellar work with TNA, WWE took notice and recruited Stevens. Unfortunately, an unplanned pregnancy stopped WWE from moving forward with their plans for Stevens (who they renamed Kharma). However, Kharma still made an iconic appearance in the 2012 Royal Rumble. Michael Cole exited the Rumble after seeing Kharma charging the ring for him. She became the first woman to cause a male competitor to eliminate himself through sheer intimidation.
Stevens’s last few years as a wrestler included another run in the U.S. indies, a second stint with TNA, and another tour of Japan. She wrestled for promotions such as SHINE, SEAdLINNNG, and Oz Academy before making her latest appearance at Bar Wrestling in 2017. The Netflix series GLOW now features Stevens, acting as Tamme “The Welfare Queen” Dawson, as it appears that her long and very successful wrestling career has come to an end.