By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
“Andrew Thompson Interviews” with guest KiLynn King
Host: Andrew Thompson
Full interview available at YouTube.com and PostWrestling.com
KiLynn on the recent conversation surrounding a second NWA EmPowerrr event: I think there’s plenty of talent out there [for a second EmPowerrr show]. I don’t know if everybody who is a part of creating a second EmPowerrr is aware of the talent. I have the ability where I get booked on a lot of all-women shows. So I’m constantly experiencing women from all over the world whether I’m wrestling or I’m just on the same show with them. I don’t run NWA, I don’t have the wherewithal and say in all that stuff but I can’t imagine that there won’t ever be another EmPowerrr.
“We had a lot of women from different companies come in for EmPowerrr to represent and have a really strong roster for that show. So I think it’s just a matter of becoming aware of what’s available and finding an equally strong if not better roster for the next one because you never wanna run a pay-per-view and be like, oh, we need women so just book all these people. You wanna make sure that every booking matters for an event like that so I don’t think it’s a matter of not ever running an EmPowerrr. I think it’s just becoming more aware of what’s available and finding what works. Finding the stories and the talents that make sense.”
On the praise Tony Khan gave her after AEW Dynamite matches in August 2022: That man [Tony Khan] has his eyes on a lot of people so to know he’s paying attention to my work on the independents means a lot. It was one of those things where it’s like, I really enjoy working there but I — and I said it in my promo on [AEW] Dark so I don’t mind re-stating it. It was one of those things where if you’re working at a place for a certain amount of time, you know whether it’s gonna happen or not and as much as I love the stage that AEW has, I could feel it. I was like, they don’t have anything for me right now. I said, they appreciate me, they like my work and they trust me with a lot of things but, main roster-wise, they don’t have anything for me right now and it was kind of like a really hard thing to accept.
“But once I accepted it, I said, this is what you do and this is what I said earlier, if they don’t have a spot for you right now and they don’t have camera time for you right now, go find a camera and show them you’re a TV star. So that’s what I did. I went on the independents and it was kind of crazy. Almost immediately, when I started working independents full-time again, several different promotions wanted to put their titles on me and I said, all right. These promotions that wanna take time and invest in me, I’m going to give them TV quality product. Once I made the decision to back away from AEW a little bit and start doing more on the independents, I just crossed my fingers and I said, I hope the people who are behind the backstage curtains are paying attention and watching because we can sit here and say that, you know, we love wrestling but at the end of the day, we all secretly want to work somewhere permanently, have a contract, have a steady paycheck… That’s my goal for sure. Where I end up? I don’t know.
“Right now, I’ve been doing a lot of incredible work with the NWA and they have blessed me with so many incredible opportunities and put so much faith in me. So that’s where I ended up and I love it. But yeah, you just got to do that for yourself and I really appreciate the fact that Tony was paying attention and saw and I got to come back and have that really cool, special moment two weeks in a row on Dynamite and I got to wrestle Toni Storm which again, a match I never thought would happen because not that long ago, she was in a company that I never saw myself at so, you never know. And then getting to wrestle Britt [Baker] in my hometown, the Browns versus the Steelers whole thing, whole vibe and my parents were in the crowd for that show and believe it or not, they’ve never seen me wrestle live.
“So it was really cool — as quick as that moment was, it was really cool to know — it was kind of like a little blessing because I don’t get booked in Ohio very often so I wasn’t sure when my parents were actually gonna see me wrestle. They go on YouTube and all that stuff and they watch my matches but it’s very, very different when you can look out in the front row and see your mom and dad and brother and his kids just sitting there and you’re like, oh my God, these are the people that’s supported me and they sacrificed this for me and were there for me on my darkest days and now they’re sitting front row watching me on a huge platform. So, it was a very, very cool and a very special moment. I’m always very grateful to Tony for that.”
More on choosing to step back from AEW earlier this year: “It was a very difficult decision to make [stepping back from AEW] because it was a steady paycheck, it was great exposure. Every time I had a match, followers would increase, more interest would increase. But, it got to a point where I felt stuck and not in the manner of I didn’t like being there, it just felt like my work wasn’t progressing and that was the biggest thing because to kind of contradict what I said earlier, yes, we all wanna be a part of a big company and make a good steady paycheck but at the end of the day, I got into wrestling because I love wrestling. So, as somebody who is very passionate and loves wrestling and hopefully one day be considered one of the best, if you don’t feel like you’re progressing, it kind of kills your soul a little bit. I’ve just told myself, I need to go out and experience new bodies and experience new atmospheres and just grow as a performer and as a wrestler and just start having some title defenses and some bangers and just start elevating my product, because I was having a lot of quick matches and they’re always so much fun.
“But I wanted to start experiencing those 20 minute bangers and those stipulation matches that really make you push through and I just wanted to do that for myself and so, I remember the first couple of months after I stepped away, I was in such a panic. I was like, did I make the right choice? Because it took a minute for the bookings to start coming because I don’t think people realized that I was back on the independents and there was a short period of time where I think a lot people thought I was signed and I wasn’t so, I think that’s kind of what happened with the NWA is I had reached out to Mickie James. I was like, ‘Hey, I just recently discovered that people think I’m signed to AEW, I’m not, and I would really like to start experiencing other companies and start getting more work in other places and just, you know, growing my name.’ And she was like, ‘Oh my gosh, yeah, I thought you were signed too. That’s why I never inquired about other stuff with you.’ I was like, ‘Okay’ and then a week later, I was working with NWA so I was like, all right, people do care [King smiled]. They just didn’t know I was available.”
On her desire to have Saraya’s return match and how Saraya inspired her: “It would be so cool [to have Saraya’s return match]. So, this is gonna sound like such a stupid reason to love her. But I remember when she debuted in NXT, I was obsessed with how pale she was. Well, it sounds so stupid but as a woman who goes through mental abuse towards herself because of her looks and things that people always seem to think is wrong with her… My family’s Irish. My dad is a Native-American, he’s Cherokee and Shawnee and my mom’s side of the family, it’s like pure Irish. So I got my mom’s genetics. I got my dad’s height but I got my mom’s coloring. My entire life, I have been super, super pale. Nothing I have done has worked. I did tanners, works terrible. I did tanning beds. I could go to a tanning bed for two, three months and I would never get any darker. It just wasn’t in my genetics.
“I wasn’t meant to be tan. But even before wrestling, I was an entertainer. I did theater, I did dance, musical theater, and I was constantly doing auditions and camps and stuff like that and the comment that I would always get was, ‘You should get tanner. You should use a tanner or something because it just, you know, it’s not a good look. People look better when they’re tan.’ And I always got so frustrated with that comment because I’m like, I’m born the way I was born. Why the hell is being pale such a problem? But that’s just entertainment. They’re always trying to nitpick the things that they think will make you look better and to me, I thought I looked fine pale so I didn’t understand it and I remember when she debuted in NXT and I heard her story about — and I could have misheard this but from what I heard, she tried out for NXT or for WWE and she came looking completely different than she usually looks.
“I think they said she had a different hair color and she had put tanner on and they told her, they’re like, ‘Hey, we don’t know what’s going on, but this isn’t you,’ and the next time she came back, she was herself. She had her dark hair, she was pale and then she got signed. So to me, and the fact that-that was her whole thing, like I’m different and I’m okay with that, I’m a different kind of female wrestler and that’s what’s gonna get me over, I was so obsessed with that because that was the first time — Chyna’s the one who made me feel secure about being big, like being a big, strong girl. Paige is the one who made okay with the way I looked, like coloring-wise. I was just like, okay, I got bright ass red hair and I’m pale as hell and that’s okay and then also too, just tapping into being a little bit different and not being scared to do that so, when I saw her debut at AEW and the question mark was up in the air like, is she here as just a personality? Or is she here as a wrestler? I was like, I’m not gonna waste any time and I’m gonna tweet that and send it out because what an honor it would be to wrestle the person that made me okay with being a pale person… Emotionally, you’d be surprised how much that affects you so the fact that she made me okay with that, it wasn’t a thing that bothered me anymore, it was a big deal to me.”
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