When you refer to “larger than life” characters, it is hard to ignore the ghosts of wrestling’s past and their plethora of memorable big men who have scared the living daylights out of us. From the painted faces and eccentric costumes all the way down to the wake of destruction left in their path, wrestling history is littered with agile “big men” and their impact on the industry is still being felt all these years later, in some cases, even inspiring those to follow in their footsteps.
From the 600 plus pound Yokozuna to the agile insanity that was the Samoan monster Umaga, wrestling’s idea of a “big man” has changed significantly over the years. Gone are the days of the Viscera’s and Kamala’s, as they are replaced by tall, overly fit monsters unlike the “big men” of old.
Who says that being a certain size means you can’t be agile and work well in the ring? This is something no one would ever dare tell Impact Wrestling superstar Kongo Kong as he ascends the ranks, proving that big men can still be a coveted part of the show and contribute to a company in the ways of the past. Behind the curtains, Kongo Kong is known simply as Steve Wilson; a man who lives and breathes the sport of professional wrestling. As a devoted fan of wrestling’s decorated big men, he enjoys staying true to form and is picking up where his heroes left off. He is part of Impact Wrestling’s grand resurgence and youth movement; joining many other top independent workers as they work towards making Impact the company it once was in the beginning, long before the Dixie Carter era steered into the direction of a second rate WCW. Despite a grueling schedule, I was able to catch up with the man known as Kongo Kong for a very rare interview; something he sometimes avoids in respect to the kayfabe nature of his “monster” character.
You have been part of some great independent promotions but you have really hit a stride in Impact Wrestling; how did you get hooked up with Impact?
I actually had a tryout match back in January. I came out and must have turned some heads because they wanted me back in March.
You are involved in a really unique storyline with Laurel Von Ness and her insane jilted bride character. How did that storyline come about?
It just kind of fell into place; I was supposed to be involved in another storyline first. Basically the wedding angle made the most sense to where I am at…without saying too much or giving too much [of the future storyline] away.
How did you create and develop the Kongo Kong character?
Originally it came from someone who wanted to see a combination of Umaga and Kamala but me being someone who is against the stereotypical characters, I wanted to shy away from that and come up with my own thing. I didn’t want to necessarily be the same kind of “savage” that you’ve already seen on TV. I thought back to the Ultimate Warrior and how he was a savage as well.
Can you tell us a bit about your other gimmick, Osyris?
That’s a rare gimmick anymore. As a matter of fact, there might be two places I have made the transformation [recently]. Basically that’s an extension of Steve Wilson, the guy that you are talking to now. I hate to say that you’re talking to Kongo Kong, because Kongo Kong doesn’t talk; you’re talking to Steve Wilson. [Laughs]
[Laughs] Well then… How did Steve Wilson get hooked on professional wrestling?
My dad has said [it has been] since I was five years old. I looked at him and told him I wanted to be a professional wrestler. I wanted to be Hulk Hogan. It is something I have always loved. I have always loved the physicality of wrestling. Whether it was amateur or just rough housing with my cousins and my friends, I just always had a knack for it I guess.
I have read in multiple forums [and places online] that people have openly called you the Andre the Giant of the independent circuit. What does it mean to you to be put in comparison to Andre?
That’s awesome. That is all I could ask for. If I get compared to Andre, [inaudible name], Vader…those are my mentors. Even Yokozuna…I love when people think of me in those terms. True “big man” wrestling is kind of a lost art. Nowadays you see the giant muscle heads who are seven feet tall, three hundred pounds but you never see any guys like me…who are normal guys.
Impact Wrestling seems to really be thriving right now. Just the change in bringing in Jeff Jarrett back has helped a lot. What has been the attitude in the locker room? It seems like you guys have had a very teamwork oriented atmosphere as of late.
I am not noticing any egos. That is one of the coolest things about it. I figured that when I got here I would have to deal with issues involving people and their egos but that has not been the case at all. Everybody treats each other like equals. It’s a family kind of atmosphere. I feel like it [Impact Wrestling] is getting back to what it originally was; a place where they built stars. If you look at WWE and NXT, a lot of those top guys; they were in TNA at one time…so it feels like we’re getting back to that point where we are making stars and kind of doing our own thing. We’re making a name for ourselves.
What is life like for you outside of the ring? Are you a family man or are you just on the go staying ready for the next match?
Between working, my business making wrestling gear and being on the road all of the time; I don’t have much [free] time. I was actually able to escape this week for a little bit to hang with my mom and my niece…it is one of those rare occasions where I get to relax and get to chill out a little bit.
Can you tell us a little bit about your Wrestling gear company?
For the last ten years I have been making wrestling gear for guys all over the world. The gear company is called Juggernaut Gear by Osyris. If anyone would like to get a hold of me for that you can reach me on Facebook, Twitter, or you can send me an email and I would be happy to see if there is something I can help you with. When I am not wrestling, I stay pretty busy with it.