Hardly any of the Divas in the history of the WWE industry has been as intimidating and bad-tempered as Kharma, a unique persona with a black leather gladiator-like costume who puts her dojo of joshi puroresu and mixed martial arts skills to good use against her opponents. However, the six-foot-tall Kharma left the scene as suddenly as she arrived, leaving the fans with a lot of questions. So, if you are looking to find out the reasons behind her release from WWE and her current whereabouts, you might be interested in what we have to share. Let’s delve right into the details, shall we?
Why Did Kharma Leave WWE?
Born on September 4, 1977, in Carson, California, Kia Stevens used to work as a social worker and was inspired by Amy Dumas AKA Lita to make it as a professional wrestler. In the quest to realize her dreams, she trained at the School of Hard Knocks and auditioned for ‘Tough Enough 2,’ the winner of which got the golden chance to become a part of the World Wrestling Federation (WWF). However, after being told that she was too fat, she failed her audition.
Having impressed at a number of tryouts, Kia was invited to train in the dojo of joshi puroresu (female Japanese wrestling) promotion All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling (AJW), becoming fluent in Japanese and well-versed in mixed martial arts. Despite all this, she chose to pursue a career in wrestling. Under the ring name of Amazing Kong, she worked for various Japanese women’s promotions. Over the course of a few years, Kia gained a name for herself in Japan, which attracted the attention of Shimmer Women Athletes, a Chicago-based independent women’s wrestling promotion.
Starting in May 2006, Kong got booked for Shimmer Women Athletes’ DVD tapings and was associated with promotion for the next few years. During her tenure, she got involved in several feuds and faced numerous formidable and talented fighters. After that, she had a stint with quite a couple of other promotions, including Ring of Honor and Total Nonstop Action (TNA) Wrestling. Moreover, Kong appeared on the independent circuit for a period of nearly three years, from 2007 to 2010. Wherever she went, success followed her as she won championships around the globe while decimating her opponents.
In December 2010, WWE could no longer ignore her talent and hunger, offering Kia a lucrative contract. Just a few weeks before her official debut in the WWE ring, she gave a signal to other women competitors in the industry that she meant serious business through vignettes in which she dismembered female dolls while laughing maniacally. On May 1, 2011, she made her debut under her new ring name, Kharma, at Extreme Rules, where she left Michelle McCool all battered and broken after a match, just like one of her dismembered dolls.
In the following weeks, Kharma appeared on both Raw and SmackDown, where she brutally beat any woman she got her hands on, especially McCool. Without competing in any official match, she announced that she was pregnant, due to which she was forced to take a leave of absence from WWE for a while. She made a surprise return to the industry at Royal Rumble 2012 in the eponymous event, making her the third female in the history of WWE to participate in a men’s Royal Rumble match. In July of the same year, she was released from her contract by WWE.
Over a year after her release, Kharma revealed that the main reason behind her release from the industry was the fact that she failed to return from her injury in the time allocated. She also hinted towards making a return to the industry, claiming that she was ready now. Given the skills and talent that Kharma possesses, it is a disappointment for many fans that WWE and she could not reach common ground and find a way to get her to compete in WWE again.
Where is Kharma Now?
After getting released from WWE, Kharma returned to the independent circuit and Shimmer, defeating most of the opponents she faced. In August 2015, she went back to where everything started — Japan — and continued competing in wrestling matches there for about a year or so, under her old ring name, Awesome Kong. She also took her explosive wrestling skills to the ring of TNA yet again for a year or so, where she got involved in a number of storylines and feuds.
Then, in May 2019, for the last stint of her professional wrestling career, she debuted in All Elite Wrestling (AEW). Here, she mostly accompanied Brandi Rhodes to the ring and took on several tough opponents, such as the likes of Bea Priestley. After about a couple of decades of wrestling, she announced her decision to retire from in-ring competition in August 2021. A couple of months later, she got inducted into the Impact Hall of Fame at Bound for Glory.
Kia also stars as Tammé Dawson in the comedy-drama series ‘GLOW,’ taking her acting career to new heights. Moreover, she even features as herself in ‘Aunty Donna’s Big Ol’ House of Fun’ and ‘Biography: WWE Legends.’As of now, she has not been active on social media and has kept her private life under wraps, making it difficult to gauge where she is at in her life at the moment. All we can do is wish her great health and success in whatever she does!
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