Billed at seven feet tall, a 400-pound behemoth, his face donning what looks like war paint, Kongo Kong is an ominous sight.
At first glance, the wrestler that many say is from the jungle is quite mysterious. However, after the makeup is removed and the loincloth is taken off, and he is no longer in the ring, it is none other than Steve Wilson, who has been wrestling professionally for the past 20 years.
For the last two years, the current Impact superstar has been stepping into the ring with the company’s notable talent like Johnny Impact, Braxton Sutter, Mahabali Shera, Abyss, and Brian Cage. With the Toronto-based promotion having a televised platform, it has allowed the Kongo Kong character to be exposed to a much larger fan base.
“It means the world to me. This is what I have been striving for all these years,” Wilson said. “I finally got to a point where I am considered among the top wrestlers in my industry based on the fact that I am on TV. It’s a tremendous honor and it’s something that I don’t take for granted.”
When Steve started wrestling in Michigan back in 1998, he wrestled under the name of Osyris, which was him without any makeup. He spent most of his career on the independent circuit wrestling scene throughout the Midwestern region of the United States.
It was at a show in 2009 in Detroit, Michigan with Juggalo Championship Wrestling that changed the course of Steve’s career.
In the pre-meeting before the event, fellow wrestlers Corporal Robinson and Violent J of Insane Clown Posse were breaking down the details of the show with all of the scheduled wrestlers. Violent J wanted Steve to wear makeup that night when he wrestled. At the time, Steve did not know the entire plan for that evening’s match.
“Corporal Robinson said after the tag match Kongo Kong is going to come out and clean the house,” Wilson said. “I was sitting there thinking to myself, who is Kongo Kong because I knew everybody’s ring name and I didn’t know who that was. That’s when I found out it was going to be me.”
In the years that followed that particular match with Juggalo Championship Wrestling, Steve found himself wrestling as both Osyris and Kongo Kong.
Even though Kongo Kong was becoming a draw, Steve was a little reluctant with committing to the wrestling gimmick. Eventually, the promoters who were booking Steve were more interested in hiring Kongo Kong than they wanted to hire Osyris.
“I am not a fan of black people in stereotypic gimmicks. When we are prominent in wrestling it is usually a rapper, a thief, or a savage type gimmick that we get,” Wilson said. “I didn’t really want to do the Kongo Kong character, so I tossed out a number to see if the promoters would bite. “They did, and I have been to more places and I’ve made more money in wrestling because of this gimmick.”
When you try to describe the in-ring wrestling style of Kongo Kong, you cannot do it without using words like powerful, menacing, and forceful. There is absolutely no doubt that he does what it takes to eliminate any opponent that stands in his way to his success.
While growing up, Steve was always a fan of the wrestlers that knew how to fly through the air and utilized the ropes. Wrestlers like Jimmy Snuka, Brian Pillman, Ricky Steamboat, Bam Bam Bigelow, and Vader, entertained him with their aerial styles and it gave him something to strive for.
For a wrestler of Steve’s size, he makes climbing and leaping from the top rope seem easy, especially when he lands the perfect moonsault. His ability to combine a strong monster style with his aerial technique has propelled him to be the star that is in demand.
“I always thought if I was going to model myself after anybody, I thought it would be after somebody who was agile and that could move in the ring,” Wilson said. “It was something that I stuck with and I became pretty decent at. I make it work the best I can.”
After years of Steve having to grind out his path on the independent circuit, Kongo Kong is getting so much notoriety that Steve is now doing international bookings. He has wrestled in India, China, and in several cities within Canada.
Most wrestlers give up before the achievement of their goal takes place, however, in Steve’s case, the accomplishment of being on television for Impact Wrestling has made his journey that much sweeter.
“I think it makes me appreciate it more as opposed to people who get too much too soon. I am staying busy, and I haven’t had to punch a clock in two years,” Wilson said. “Everybody’s dream is to become a wrestler and be able to live off of wrestling, and I get to do that. That’s the definition of living the dream.”