For many people, AEW Double or Nothing was the first time that they saw Aja Kong wrestle. Many more were familiar with the woman whose name was inspired by her, Awesome Kong. Despite this being the first time seeing Aja for many American fans, she actually made a WWE appearance long before Awesome Kong would be known as Kharma and terrorize Kelly Kelly. In 1995, Aja Kong would take part in an absolutely fantastic Survivor Series match with the likes of Kyoko Inoue, Bertha Faye, and Alundra Blayze.
This match was supposed to lead to title match between Blayze and Kong at the 1996 Royal Rumble, but before that could happen, Blayze left the WWF. She went to WCW, dropped the Women’s Championship in the trash can on Monday Night Nitro. After that, Vince McMahon left the company without a Women’s Championship for years. So what would have happened had Blayze never dropped that belt in the trash and left WWF? What if she had left and Vince decided to fight back? What would have happened if Aja Kong became WWF Women’s Champion?
Before we dive into what-ifs, let’s go over the few matches Aja actually had in the company. The first one was the aforementioned Survivor Series match. The match consisted of Alundra Blayze on one side, with Bertha Faye(in my opinion a highly underrated champ) on the other. Each woman was joined by six women from Japan brought in by Vince to help fill out the women’s roster. Among them Kyoko Inoue, Tomoko Watanabe, and Chaparita Asari.
It came down to Blayze versus Kong at the end, with Kong getting the clean victory over Blayze. I for one, was shocked by this. Seeing a foreign competitor not signed to the company get a clean win over the Women’s Champion was unheard of in 1995 WWF. The next night on Raw, Kong and Watanabe would beat Blayze and Inoue in a tag team match. Two weeks later saw Kong defeat Asari, and then that was it. Blayze left the company and the rest is history. Here’s where things get interesting.
First off, things could have gone to plan. Blayze could have not left the company, and Kong would probably have a few more singles matches to build dominance before having her first one on one match with Blayze. Kong is typically a heel, and Blazye was WWF’s key babyface woman for years. In traditional monster heel fashion, Blayze would have probably defeated the larger, intimidating threat, and then Kong would have either disappeared or continued to appear as a way to boost new babyfaces. That is probably how things would have gone, which is pretty unremarkable. It would be much more fun if things went a bit less predictably.
I still believe Vince taking Blayze’s leaving the company to heart and getting rid of the belt instead of starting a Monday Night Women’s War is one of the biggest missed opportunities of the Attitude Era. With the former WWF Women’s Title being thrown in the trash, it would have been a beautiful time to reform the division from the ground up. From day one of Nitro, Japanese wrestlers such as Jushin “Thunder” Liger were huge draws.
WWF already had a very good relationship they with many Japanese women they could have used to fight back against WCW. Aja Kong was already supposed to be the challenger, so why not make her the champion? A tournament is always how I like to fill a vacant title, but who was around to be in that tournament? Well, look the past tournament. One of the wrestlers in that was Mae Young, and who doesn’t want to see Mae Young versus Aja Kong. Velvet McIntyre and Luna were both wrestling by 1996 as well and both would have made crazy opponents for Kong. Both women have competed in hardcore matches such as a strap match in Velvet McIntyre’s case.
Like I said, this would have been before the Attitude Era really started but it would have been even better to have these much more extreme minded wrestlers in the company. Most likely, though, her next opponent would have been Bertha Faye. Faye had already held the belt before and so was known to be a fine champion. Unfortunately, Faye would pass away in 2001, but would have been a fine would to carry the torch into the Attitude Era. There are plenty of fine choices, but what would Aja Kong as champion actually look like?
On his website, Jim Ross said that Aja did not want to stay long term in America. This means that either she would have taken the belt to Japan, or would have dropped it rather quickly. So either Faye would have probably won it, starting her second title reign, or it would have been much like the old WWF Light-Heavyweight Championship had been, being defended mostly in Japan. I actually own a New Japan DVD with the WWF Light Heavyweight title on the case. That would have created a much different 1990’s, and one i would have loved to see.
Ultimately, we never got to see Aja Kong get a shot at the championship, but it certainly would have had a huge impact on the Women’s division of WWF at the time. Aja Kong is still a great performer today, and it can be staggering to realize that this incident we are discussing is over twenty years old. The fact that Aja is still wrestling all this time later is amazing, but if things had gone just a little different back then, then Double or Nothing wouldn’t have been an introduction to Aja, it would have been the return of a champion.