A former WWE Superstar who briefly crossed paths with Hulk Hogan when he joined IMPACT Wrestling has wondered whether one of his early appearances after signing for the company was a “senior moment”.
Having spent three years helping to build the Knockouts Division, Awesome Kong was on her way out of IMPACT Wrestling when Hulk Hogan and Eric Bischoff arrived in 2010.
Although their arrival came with much fanfare, many see it as the point that the company took a downward turn in both product and the wrestlers suddenly being signed.
Awesome Kong would leave the company in March that year after suing Bubba The Love Sponge, who alleged that Kong had attacked him for comments on the Haitian earthquakes.
Speaking to Inside The Ropes, Awesome Kong recalled being excited that a legend like Hulk Hogan was joining and hoped that he would have the same drive to help the company succeed that she had shown in recent years.
I think we found out like through maybe a quasi meeting or something, but we found out. It was [common] knowledge of like, ‘Oh, he is coming on this date.’ Then there was this meeting for his first day, I was not at this meeting, I was running late and I got pulled over by the police and I got this ticket that haunted me forever. So I didn’t make that meeting, which is good because I heard that this meeting was BS. Knowing me, I would have probably gotten up and walked out of there being like, ‘This is BS!’
So [Hulk] Hogan came and there was this big hoopla, and I was kind of excited. Okay, Hulk Hogan is coming, and if he is going to buy into TNA the way that I bought into TNA when I first got there, because man, when I first got into TNA, I bought it hook, line, and sinker.
When you’re a wrestler, especially a wrestler at my age, when you first get into wrestling, your goal is, ‘I want to get to WWE.’ That is your goal, so you are working for years and years to go to WWE. Now here I am six years [later], I have been working towards this goal and this company comes along, TNA, and it is like this detour in your career. I was very excited.
So when I got there and if you remember, they hired all of the girls, the Knockouts, at the same time, everybody got there at the same time. We had a meeting back then and there were some disgruntled people back then, and I couldn’t understand that. I’m like, ‘Why are you being like that? We are this new company, taking on WWE, get with the programme.’ And I didn’t get it then, but I get it now. I bought everything that hook, line, and sinker, when Hulk Hogan came in I was like, ‘This is great.’
If he is coming in with the same attitude that I have, it looks like we are going to get back on track and we are going to do some great things and we are going to take over New York. You know, New York is what the outside people call WWE. When I got to TNA, I had this attitude of, ‘F*ck Vince McMahon. If he don’t want to hire fat people, then f*ck him! Let’s just take him over!’ With Hulk Hogan over there, I thought that he was going to have that same attitude that he wanted to build TNA himself from the ground up, I was excited.
Awesome Kong went on to discuss how Hogan then didn’t even mention IMPACT Wrestling, at the time TNA, in his first interview after the big announcement, and that the cracks in the company soon started to form.
So they had a press conference on the steps of Madison Square Garden. They had this big deal and it was like, ‘Yay!’ A few hours later, Hulk Hogan goes on Larry King and he doesn’t even mutter the word, or the initials TNA. He doesn’t mention TNA, nothing, which got my spidey senses up. I’m like, ‘Wait, that’s weird, three hours ago, you just had this big press conference, did he get hit in the head too many times? Was that a senior moment that Hulk Hogan just had?
I just didn’t understand. And then we kept having moments like that. He went on American Idol, and when he went on American Idol, he was being introduced as the former WWE Superstar Hulk Hogan, and he is at TNA. So I don’t understand why we are sacrificing getting raises and whatnot, and you are giving all of this money to Hulk Hogan, and he is not promoting your product, and he is bringing in his friends and his folks and getting paid.
And yet the people who have built your company, you know at this point, Gail [Kim] and I were the highest rated segment on Impact, and I wasn’t seeing any money. There were times where I would come home from a tour, flick on my lights, and be like, ‘Where the lights at?’ So it’s like, ‘What am I sacrificing all of this for?’
I don’t mind sacrificing if we are all in [this] together, and in the beginning of TNA, we were all in it together. But then the people that built up TNA were not getting the dividends that were due, and that was when the cracks started to show.
Awesome Kong joined WWE after her release from IMPACT Wrestling, but would only compete in one match when she participated in the 2012 Royal Rumble, before being granted her release from the company in July of that year.