KiLynn King talks about her time in AEW.
KiLynn King, at one time, was a regular part of AEW’s YouTube programming, Dark and Dark: Elevation. Even having the good fortune of racking up victories. King, along with Red Velvet, even represented AEW at NWA EmPowerrr in 2021. Over time, King’s appearances on AEW programming began to dwindle and she was never officially signed or given an “All Elite” graphic.
Now, speaking with Sean Ross Sapp ahead of NWA Alwayz Ready, King is reflecting on her time with AEW and what it felt like to be given victories over more established names like Lei’D Tapa.
“I’m still not really sure how that came about, like who made those decisions and stuff like that,” King admitted. “But I know that there was a lot of people when I was there, and still wherever I go, I always pride myself—I don’t like to put myself over that much because its just a matter of branding and doing the work—but when I was there, especially I was a workhorse. I was always backstage by the board waiting, ‘Hey, what can I do? You have another thing for me? Okay, cool.’ I wanted to work. I wanted to learn. I wanted to make money. It was business. I was there to work. It was one of those things where I just put my head down and I was doing everything that I had to do to get better and get more eyes on me.
“I think it was Dustin who came up to me—‘cause I had just had my match with Britt Baker on Dynamite and I was still on a high from that, I was like, ‘Ahh, I got to be on Dynamite against Britt,’ they were building her up, it was a really cool moment,” King continued. “Then he came up to me. He’s like, ‘We got a match for you tonight. You’re gonna go against Lei’D Tapa.’ I’m like, ‘Okay, they want to see Lei’D Tapa,’ and all that stuff. He was like, ‘We’re gonna put you over.’ I was like, ‘What?’ It was really, really cool. I didn’t expect it to keep happening, but it did.”
King says it was an honor to be a part of so many moments for AEW and believes that she must have been doing something right to be entrusted so often by the company.
“It was one of those things where I really took it as an honor because they put enhancement talent over before, but not to that extent,” she said. “Not only did they start giving me that, but they started involving me with Swole and Velvet, two people that I have a lot of admiration and love for that I knew before AEW. So that was really cool. That led to me representing them at EmPowerrr for NWA and also being on All Out in the women’s battle royale. There was a lot of things they let me be apart of as an unsigned talent, I was like, ‘That’s incredible. I’m doing something correct because they have a lot of trust in me.’
“Unfortunately my journey with them hasn’t really been going anywhere lately,” she continued. “Which is totally fine, because if you know anything about wrestling, it’s a matter of time and place and being the thing they need at the moment. So I’m just incredibly happy that I got to be there and I got o have those experiences because I don’t think I would be the wrestler I am right now or even the performer I am right now if I hadn’t been there on that journey learning with them and having those moments and opportunities.”
Despite not appearing on much of their programming lately, she is still under the belief that she is on good terms with the company but currently, she has been doing more with the National Wrestling Alliance because they have shown more interest in her as a performer.
“As far as I know, me and AEW are good,” said King. “It just got to a point where no contract had been offered, there had been no talks about it, and I was starting to get e-mails from NWA and stuff like that and there was a lot of companies on the independents who really wanted to put their titles on me and have me be very regular there and work storylines. That was the point that I wanted to switch into. I didn’t want to just have matches anymore. I wanted to have storylines, I wanted to have feuds, I wanted to start leaving little marks in my wrestling career where ten/twenty years from now people can go back and go, ‘Oh, that feud was so great. They hated each other and they made me believe that.’ That’s the point in my career that I’m at right now. Just having a match just to have a match is not something I wanted.”
KiLynn also reveals that she still keeps in touch with Billy Gunn and the door is always open but right now, she is focused on growing her reputation so that she can offer more when a greater opportunity comes.
“I’ve had many conversations with Billy Gunn and a couple of other people who recruit for Dark, I was like, ‘Hey, I love you guys, but I gotta go off and do my own thing for now.’ So the door is still open. Like I said, I talked with Billy Gunn, he’s like ‘That door is open. I’ll always make sure it’s open.’ But right now I think I’m just on a journey trying to create my own stardom because I started with AEW when nobody really knew who I was. I was only about two / three years in [from] actually debuting on the independents. So while I was getting a lot of recognition while I was at AEW, I really still was nobody. Right now it’s the point in my career where I’ve got to make people understand, like ‘Okay, I was a nobody, but I’m going to become somebody and we’ll just see where I end up.’
“‘Cause everybody’s on their own journey,” she added. "Everybody has different desires and expectations for what they want to see in their career and what they want to become as a performer and as a wrestler. If you go to a company and that spot isn’t there for you at that current time, there’s no shame in saying, ‘Hey, I need to go somewhere else where I can [get myself] to that level.’ Sometimes you gotta go somewhere else to build yourself up to that level. That way if your journey comes full circle and you go back to that company, they can go, ‘Alright, now you’re ready for that spot.’ Sometimes they have different visions than you have and there’s nothing wrong with that.”
King says she wants to be more than just a wrestler, she wants to be a storyteller and she believes that there are others who share that philosophy and the desire to see more storytelling from their professional wrestling, which can be very subjective.
“Wrestling is very subjective. Everyone has a different idea of where things need to go. I think that was part of my issue, I felt I was ready to go to the next level and have storylines, but I was still nobody. So I had to go out and start showing people, ‘Hey, if nobody’s gonna put the camera in front of me, I’m gonna put the camera in front of myself. I’m gonna show people I’m not just a good wrestler, I’m a storyteller, too.’ That’s where I’m at and I think that’s where a lot of people are at, too. Because sometimes the camera doesn’t get put on in front of them and they have all these ideas going on in their head, they need to go somewhere else. They gotta do it. That way they can explore and experiment to see what works and what doesn’t,” she said.
Currently, the next phase in her journey will take her to Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, June 11 for NWA Alwayz Ready where she will challenge Kamille for the NWA Women's World Championship. Fans can order the event on FITE.