Kia Stevens (Awesome Kong) talks GLOW, WWE run, dream opponent, more
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Ring Rust Radio: On Friday, June 23, the new Netflix series, Glow, makes its debut with you playing a character named Tamme. For those unfamiliar with the original wrestling company or the new Netflix show, can you explain the premise of the series and what kind of action fans should expect?
Kia Stevens: Well, this is an ensemble cast and it’s a bunch of women led by Ruth, who is a struggling actress at the end of her rope. Ruth takes on one last audition and is desperate to land something. She wants to do something serious, but right now she just wants to work. She ends up in this ragtag show, this low-budget wrestling show, and they don’t know what it is. If they are the actors or if they’re going to be wrestlers involved at the beginning and they are really confused as to what they’re going to do. Once it becomes clear that they know they have to learn how to wrestle and they struggle with that and have to figure out what their characters are going to be and struggle with some of them being very stereotypical. They don’t know if they’re instigating that stereotype or standing up to it, so there’s a lot of that going on. It’s basically about a group of women who come together and work together and build something great.
Ring Rust Radio: As a kid, what kind of exposure did you have to the actual GLOW promotion, and how much of an influence did it have on you being interested in a role on the Netflix series and ultimately taking it?
Kia Stevens: Oh goodness, my brother and I would watch glow every Saturday morning and I actually asked Santa Claus one year if I could be a GLOW girl. My mother said no and then the show got canceled and I said that there was no Santa Claus. Now that I am a GLOW girl, I know that there is a Santa Claus. It’s a total dream come true because all those years I thought that was something that I would never be able to be because the company didn’t really exist anymore. I’d been to Japan, been in TNA, been in WWE, but I didn’t get that one wish and now my bucket list is checked.
Ring Rust Radio: Now that you’re part of such a highly anticipated series like GLOW, I can only assume there’s going to be a lot more acting offers for you moving forward. Do you have interest in pursuing an acting career or are you still looking to accomplish more in the wrestling world?
Kia Stevens: I absolutely want an acting career. I think I’ve done what I’ve done in wrestling. I appreciate what I’ve done in wrestling, but telling the story that we’ve told in GLOW and having the experience I’ve had with the people I’ve had it with leaves me wanting more. Like I said before, this is what I wanted when I got into wrestling, this is what I got into wrestling to do.
Ring Rust Radio: With Netflix airing Glow and Lucha Underground, do you think Netflix’s influence will lead pro wrestling to another boom period and is there anything else you would like to see Netflix do to push pro wrestling’s popularity?
Kia Stevens: I pray that we enter another boom period. I think with the story that we told, people can find that there are different dimensions to wrestling and appreciate it more and not look at it with such a sarcastic tone. I think once they sit and watch all 10 episodes of the first season they are going to walk away and say wow, they really go through something and I can really relate to this person or this character. Now when they see a different character in a wrestling program, if they choose to tune in, maybe it’s a little bit more exploitative. Maybe they think a little bit more about what the wrestlers going through and tune into that, hence making a boom. I hope that Netflix gives us a season two. I think with a season two and more, GLOW, we could really influence the industry.
Ring Rust Radio: While many fans talk about the current women’s revolution, you are one of the true innovators in women’s wrestling. Of all the talented women performing today, who would you most like to square off against?
Kia Stevens: Beth Phoenix and I never happened. The fans have seen Gail and I, and I would always love to face Gail again to bookend our story. The fans would really love to see Beth and I dance in the ring and that never happened. I feel like the fans were cheated out of that so I would love to do that for the fans and for myself.
Ring Rust Radio: Even though your stint with WWE was brief, people still talk about the impact you made there to this very day. Can you provide any insight to your knowledge about what the long-term plans were for you when you were there in terms of a title run or potential feuds that were lined up?
Kia Stevens: I can only speculate, but I would think Karma had a 99.9 percent chance of a title run and then my hope was to bring in a new girl and make a super face who is going to topple Karma. That was my goal and that was something Triple H and I talked about bringing in a girl for a program and making her a super face and us all making money. We never talked about who that would’ve been, we didn’t get that far. I left during my honeymoon with the company.
Ring Rust Radio: A lot of fans are very excited for WWE’s upcoming women’s tournament, the Mae Young Classic. Were you approached at all about participating in the tournament or the presentation of the tournament?
Kia Stevens: Not that I know, but I’m wishing them the best. Not that I know of, no.