TNA News TNA News: Awesome Kong interview - why she left TNA, pay discrepancy, unhappy with changes; talks Bubba, ROH, WWE
Apr 30, 2010 - 3:05:12 PM
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By James Caldwell, Torch assistant editor
Former TNA Knockout Awesome Kong says her TNA departure was because of "monetary issues," changes to TNA management, and concerns over her character losing relevance on TNA programming.
In an interview with Diva Dirt where she talked about her departure, Kong added that she didn't like some of the changes that were occurring internally in TNA compared to when the Knockouts division was launched in 2007.
"I speak my mind, but it was a very different place from when I got there. With those changes and with changes that weren't happening on the monetary side, I would say that it was time to dial back a bit and figure out exactly what I wanted out of wrestling in general," she said. "Kong, my character, wasn't as vicious or as relevant as she was before."
Kong cited former TNA writer Dutch Mantell leaving in 2009 as one of her concerns with the changes and she talked up Mantell taking a professional interest in helping build up the division. She said the door is open for a TNA return, though.
"TNA has offered to leave their door open to me in case I want to come back. As of right now, I have many other things I'm looking at, so I'm taking this time right now to pursue other things," Kong said. "I'm not opposed to (returning), but I don't think they're ready to accept the things they need to take care of."
Kong also addressed the reported pay discrepancy between women on the roster and their male counterparts despite the TNA Knockouts helping draw strong TV ratings on a consistent basis.
"That would be a good question for TNA management. That's a question I've been asking myself. I've been seeking that answer for three years now," Kong said. "As athletes, we do not have the opportunity to retire at the age of 65 like most people do. We have a very short career and it costs a lot of money to maintain a wrestler's body. Therefore, a lot of money should be paid. I don't think any of the people that left TNA - Knockout, X Division, Heavyweight - were probably asking for a lot more; probably just what they felt they deserved."
-- Regarding the Bubba the Love Sponge incident in January, Kong said she didn't leave TNA because of Bubba. She said he was "insignificant" to her departure from TNA.
-- Regarding a potential move to WWE, Kong said she can't disclose any feelers sent out by WWE or if she's had talks with the company. She said she was able to "raise her profile" in TNA, which she hopes will lead to eventually working for WWE.
-- Regarding her return to Ring of Honor next weekend in New York City, Kong said she's working just the one date right now. She said she's unable to appear on ROH's national TV show right now after leaving TNA, which will limit her potential appearances for ROH.
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