INTERVIEW: KiLynn King chats NWA Hard Times 3, time with AEW, conversation surrounding EmPowerrr

While speaking to KiLynn King, she discussed her title opportunity at Hard Times 3, her time with AEW and many more topics were covered

Photo Courtesy: SP Media Graphics

The next pay-per-view on the docket for the National Wrestling Alliance is Hard Times 3 on November 12th in Chalmette, Louisiana. There are over nine matches scheduled to take place on the show including the World Women’s Championship bout.

Originally, it was set that KiLynn King was going to challenge Kamille for the title but Chelsea Green has been added to the bout and it is now a Triple Threat. I had the opportunity to chat with KiLynn prior to the match being converted into a Triple Threat.

She was asked about the conversation surrounding a second EmPowerrr event and the likes of NWA owner Billy Corgan and Worlds Heavyweight Champion Trevor Murdoch making similar comments about there being a lack of TV quality-ready talents out there to run a second installment of the event. KiLynn thinks it’s a matter of becoming more aware of the talents that are out there but she understands the sentiment of not wanting to book anyone just so the pay-per-view can take place.

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.

For the past several years, KiLynn has done work with All Elite Wrestling. This past August, she wrestled in two matches on Dynamite in the span of two weeks.

KiLynn’s performance(s) drew praise from AEW President Tony Khan who highlighted her work ethic and her work on the independent scene. She is grateful that Khan took the time to say what he said. King went on to state that she opted to take a break from competing for AEW and wanted to focus more on the independents. After March, she did not wrestle for the company until those appearances in August.

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.

She further expanded on taking that break from AEW. It was a difficult decision for KiLynn because of the exposure she was getting on top of steady pay.

Her reason for making that move was because she felt her work was not progressing in the way she saw fit and that the company did not have anything for her on a bigger scale than what she had been doing. KiLynn brought up that it took a bit of time before her independent bookings started to roll in because promoters thought she was exclusive to AEW.

One individual who also thought KiLynn was signed was Mickie James and once she discovered KiLynn was a free agent, that’s when KiLynn made her way into the NWA on a more consistent basis.

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.

At Dynamite Grand Slam, Saraya made her AEW debut. She is currently engaged in an on-screen feud with Britt Baker but it has not been formally addressed if she’ll be an in-ring competitor or not.

When Saraya arrived, KiLynn tweeted that she would like to be the first to wrestle Saraya if she is back as an in-ring performer. King went on to share that she’s always enjoyed Saraya’s work and explained how the former three-time WWE Women’s Champion 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.

During KiLynn’s early days in AEW, she was often paired on-screen with Red Velvet and Big Swole. She detailed how that trio came to be and how much they enjoyed being together on and off-screen.

KiLynn added that she’ll message Velvet from time to time and they’ll chat about the idea of teaming again. She feels they never got to continue the growth that was established and they had more ideas on the table before they went their respective ways.

We [King, Big Swole & Red Velvet] all knew each other from the independents before we found our way to AEW so, we already had a good, strong relationship before that and then, you know, during COVID, being there all the time just sheltered in with each other, we were constantly around each other just hanging out. It wasn’t just when we’re at work. We would hang out in between all of it as well so we all just became really close and then I’m trying to remember how that all came about. I think it was I was just mainly doing singles wrestling and all of a sudden, they were like, ‘Hey, we wanna put you with Velvet.’ ‘Okay, cool…’ Tagged with Velvet and then Velvet tagged with Swole and then eventually, we all just did it together and there was just something really fun and very natural about it. They brought out a different side of me. You don’t usually see me come out and dance in my entrances but I am that girl… It was just a natural thing. I’m kind of bummed we didn’t get to see where it went. It kind of fell apart before it really took off. I think I just had different ideas for us and they experimented with that and before they had any idea what I could be, they had other ideas separate so it ended up ending before it really took off but it was really fun to get to work with them… Getting to do it with two people I knew, respected and trusted, it just made that time really, really special so, I’d do it again. So I always message Velvet, I’m like, ‘Yo, when are we gonna tag again?’ She’s like, ‘I know!’ Because I love the dynamic that her and I have because I’m so big and she’s so small. So there’s just so many things that her and I could do with each other… I just wanted to continue coming up with crazy ideas like that [tag teams spots they put together] so we could make each other look like a couple bad asses but, unfortunately, we never got to continue that growth but, it was so fun and I loved getting to grow with them like that.

Among those working for the NWA as agents and producers are Jazz and Alundra Blayze (Madusa). KiLynn is enjoying being able to pick the brains of both and dove into what she has been able to learn from the former Women’s Champions.

It’s awesome [having Jazz & Madusa backstage with the NWA]. I love picking their brains. Sometimes in my promos, I get caught up in what I’m saying as opposed to how I’m saying it and Madusa, she would always give me really good advice about how to deliver things and I always really, really appreciate that and then sometimes, when I call matches, I love the fact that Madusa will stay by the ring and just kind of eavesdrop a little bit and just kind of insert her idea. Like, ‘Hey, I know you guys are going in this direction but what if…’ And then all of a sudden, that takes our brain in a completely different direction. I’m like, oh my gosh, why didn’t we see that before? So that is really, really cool, just to see those intricate changes that really elevate something and Jazz is just the coolest. I always appreciate her because every single time I finish a match, she always pulls me aside and just gives me honest truth. Like, ‘Hey, this was great. But this part, what the hell?’ She picks it apart and she’s so honest with me which I love, because I’ve always told people I would rather hear critiques than praise because critiques are what help me get better and she’s never hesitated, never to do that and I love her for that. On top of that as well, she’s probably one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. You can tell every time she’s around you, she just wants all of us to do good. It’s not a matter of like, ugh, okay, this is my job, I’m here. Whatever female is given to her that day, she’s gonna pay attention, she’s gonna make sure she brings out the best and whatever you have to offer at the time and then she’ll push you a little bit more and make you even better. So yeah, I love working with them.

The last time Kamille and KiLynn clashed was at the ‘Alwayz Ready’ pay-per-view. On the call for that match was Bully Ray, who played a role in training both Kamille and KiLynn.

She stated that she would love it if Bully was on commentary for the Women’s Title match at Hard Times 3. In storyline, Bully played a role in King getting the opportunity to earn the number one contender spot.

I mean that would be incredible [having Bully Ray on commentary for her match at NWA Hard Times 3] … I’m not gonna say ‘if’, I’m gonna say ‘when’ because I’m a big believer in manifesting. When I beat Kamille for the NWA Women’s Title, if he’s there with us, it’s gonna be a transfer from one mentee to another and you know, to be honest, he’s kind of the reason I got another chance for the title [in storyline]. He was like, ‘Hey, I really believe in her. I believe in her. Give her another chance to win that number one contendership’ and I got that match with Taya [Valkyrie] and I was able to find my hand raised at the end of the night so if he hadn’t have pitched my name, I wouldn’t have gotten that rematch with Taya and I wouldn’t now be able to call myself number one contender so to have him there, knowing that he was pushing for me this entire time, it would be amazing. Not to mention, as trainees, we always wanna make our mentors proud and it was already mind-blowing that he was there for the first match [at Alwayz Ready]. The fact that he wanted to have that full circle moment with us and come back into one of our biggest — well I don’t know if she [Kamille] considers it her biggest match so to me at the time, my biggest match that I’ve had thus far. So the fact that he wanted to be there, not only on commentary but you know, to be there with us and to watch over us and help us with that, I was very, very honored and it was really cool to see him on the other side of things. Not in training anymore but, at work and doing it together. We’re working together… So it was really cool to tap into that part of our relationship together. So to have him there in that moment, it would be so incredible.

POST Wrestling will have written coverage of NWA Hard Times 3. KiLynn King can be found on both Twitter and Instagram @KiLynnKing.

Our full interview can viewed via the player at the beginning of this article or on the Andrew Thompson Interviews YouTube channel.

About Andrew Thompson 5111 Articles
A Maryland native and graduate of Norfolk State University, Andrew Thompson has been covering wrestling since 2017.