With the hype surrounding Godzilla vs. Kong and all the talk of Team Godzilla and Team Kong, we thought it was time to bring up some of the wrestlers who took the name King Kong and added it to their own to make themselves sound much larger than they are.
The first example that we could find was Emile “King Kong” Czaja, an Australian-Indian star who was active from 1937 to 1970, starting his career in India and gaining the name after playing the actual role in a proto-Bollywood remake of the tale. He wrestled for Japan’s JWA, teaming with Tiger Joginder Singh (who inspired Tiger Jeet Singh, a later rival of Antonio Inoki and Giant Baba) to defeat Rikidozan and Harold “Oddjob” Sakata on November 16, 1955 to become the first All-Asian tag team champions. He was also the wrestler that Rikidozan defeated to become the first All Asia Heavyweight Champion. Sadly, Czaja was injured in a car wreck on May 12, 1970 and the star — remembered for his feud with Dara Singh for decades afterward — would die four days later.
Angelo “King Kong” Mosca is a Canadian Football League Hall of Famer who became a major star all over the world, winning titles in Stampede, the NWA, AWA, WWC and more. In his WWF runs, he feuded with Bob Backlund over the title and had a memorable series of matches with announcer Pat Patterson. While he was often a face in his native Canada at this point, he was a major heel during this run.
Bruiser Brody was a legendary brawler and perhaps the most independent wrestler of all time. While he didn’t use the King Kong name all that often, when he would work in St. Louis or in territories where The Bruiser was a draw, he would switch to being called King Kong Brody — which ls a great name — as a sign of respect.
King Kong Bundy is perhaps the best-remembered name to use this nickname. The so-called “Walking Condominium” was a mainstay of the Hulk Hogan era and was the Hulkster’s steel cage opponent at WrestleMania 2. Starting his career under the names Chris Cannon and Chris Canyon, he got his first run in Texas as Baby Daddy Bundy, a friend of the Von Erichs who was turned heel by Gary Hart. This feud led to him losing his red hair for the trademark bald look he’d use for the rest of his career and he was also Fritz Von Erich’s opponent for his 1982 retirement match. The master of the five count, Bundy also appeared on Married…With Children and in the Richard Pryor film Moving.
The Colossal Kongs were Scott Thompson, who wrestled as King Kong, Krusher Kong and Texas Terminator Hoss (his name for a run with All Japan Pro Wrestling) and Dwain McCullough, who was Awesome Kong. They feuded with the Ebony Experience in Texas, who would become Harlem Heat in WCW. The Kongs also made their way to WCW, where they faced Sting and Ric Flair at Clash of the Champions XXIV and battled one another in a random draw BattleBowl match, as King Kong and Dustin Rhodes beat Awesome and The Equalizer, who would soon become Dave “Evad” Sullivan. King Kong would also do a single PPV enhancement loss to The Shockmaster before heading back to Texas.
The better known Awesome Kong is Kia Stevens, who has used that name in All Japan Women’s Pro-Wrestling, Gaea, Ring of Honor, TNA, WWE and now AEW. She also played Tammé “The Welfare Queen” Dawson on the Netflix series GLOW. She got her name as a play on Japanese female star Aja Kong — we’ll get to her in a moment — and together they formed a near unbeatable tag team known as W Kong.
Perhaps the most dominant female wrestler of all time, Aja Kong started her career in All Japan Women’s Pro Wrestling as a member of Dump Matsumoto’s Gokuaku Domei, known in English as the Atrocious Alliance, along with her classmate Nobuko “Bison” Kimura. After Marsumoto’s retirement, the two would form a team called Jungle Jack and feud with Bull Nakano. On November 15, 1992, Aja would end Nakano’s three-year reign as WWWA world champion. She also wrestled for WWE, WCW, formed the company Arsion and now is part of AEW.
Malcolm “King Kong” Kirk was a former miner and rugby player who became a British pro wrestling star. On August 23, 1987, in a televised main event tag match where he teamed with the British version of Kendo Nagasaki against Big Daddy Crabtree and Greg Valentine (not the second generation American star but Steve Crabtree), Kirk had a heart attack that some attributed to the decline of native UK pro wrestling. That’s because Kirk had had six heart attacks already and was still wrestling. And after the accident, Big Daddy refused to break kayfabe and reveal that his Big Daddy Splashdown finisher was not the real cause of Krik’s death. “King Kong” Kirk was also in the Terence Hill and Bud Spencer movie I’m for the Hippopotamus.
Kongo Kong got his name from Insane Clown Posse rapper Violent J and wrestled for Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling and Impact before leaving in March 2019. He now runs his own wrestling school, Prof. Kongo Kong’s Pro Wrestling Academy.
Now using his real name — Takashi Yoshida — to wrestle for Japan’s Dragon Gate, Cyber Kong was an arm wrestler that started in the New Japan LA Dojo. His short size didn’t fit there, so he found his way to train with Dragon Gate USA. A strongman who often rips a pineapple apart with his bare hands, his American wrestling origins made many think he was a gaijin. However, he was born in Osaka.
Other wrestlers who have used the King Kong name include…
New Japan Pro Wrestling star Togi Makabe is famous for his King Kong Kneedrop. He also has the nickname of “Sweet Gorilla Maruyama” and provided the voice for Rictus Erectus when Mad Max: Fury Road was dubbed for Japan.
Tatsuki Fuji, one of the original Torymon graduates, has had plenty of nicknames, perhaps most famously Don Fujii and Sumo “Dandy” Fuji. One of those nicknames was El King Kong.
One of the toughest men alive — you have to be to team with Meng — Sione Havea Vailahi is better known as The Barbarian. However, he spent some of his ring time being called Konga the Barbarian and King Konga. He also appeared in the Hal Needham movie Body Slam as Axe, a member of The Cannibals tag team alongside Thomas Leroy “Teijo Khan” Kasat. In the film, they were managed by Captain Lou Albano and battled “Quick” Rick Roberts (Roddy Piper) and Tonga Tom (The Tonga Kid), who were managed by M. Harry Smilac (Dirk Benedict). Benedict was smartened up by this film, as he had no idea that pro wrestling is, well, pro wrestling. Also, perhaps even more amazingly, Barbarian and Khan faked that the match was a complete shoot to convince the extras watching to take the match seriously. PS – his Powers of Pain tag partner, the previously mentioned Meng, also wrestled as King Kong Tonga.
Gorilla Grubmeyer is mainly remembered for the murder/suicide of his wife Geraldine, who had just served him with divorce papers. He shot her multiple times, ran out of bullets and hung himself next to her. He also used the ring names King Kong Frankenstein — the best name perhaps ever — and King Kong Grubmeyer.
Kintaro “Il Kim” Ohki was a Korean wrestler who became a big star in Japan. He feuded with Rikidozan, Giant Baba and Antonio Inoki, often teaming with other rulebreakers like Kim Duk, Pak Song and Umanosuke Ueda. He also used the ring name Kintaro Kongo.
A Malenko School student, Jeff Bradley has used many names in pro wrestling, most famously as one of the first Dudleys, Dudley Dudley. He also used the names Bruiser Kong and Man Mountain Kong.
Dee Booher started her career in wrestling in the mud, wrestling as Queen Kong and even battling against bears. She also did roller derby for five years, using that name as she played for the Chicago Hawks, the New York Bombers, the Detroit Devils and the Texas Outlaws. She was also in the movies Theodore Rex, Grunt! The Wrestling Movie and Deathstalker II before she worked with David McLane and director Matt Cimber to cast, recruit and train performers for the original GLOW. She also helped write the theme song and played the Matilda the Hun. As that character, she ate raw meat, something she’d done for some time, even recording a song “I Eat Raw Meat.”
Trained by Animal Hamaguchi, Nanae Takahashi started her career by teaming with Momoe Nakanishi and became the final WWWA champion, handing over the belt to promoter Takashi Matsunaga immediately after she won it on March 26, 2006. AJW was over, but she moved on to start Pro Wrestling Sun, a Zero-1 affilaite that used the old AWA titles. She also founded World Wonder Ring Stardom with Fuka and Rossy Ogawa before leaving to start her own promotion Seadlinnng. She has used the name NANA Kong in her career at one point.
Brazo “Super Porky” La Plata’s daughter wrestles as well, doing a comedy style much like her father. She’s known as Goya Kong.
According to LuchaWiki, Althar Kong was “an American wrestler from Santa Monica, California that toured in Monterrey for 6 months as a giant gorilla from the Planet of the Apes movie in the 2005 before returning to America to pursue a career in acting.”
Interestingly enough, the video game Rampage started with a character named George who is pretty much Kong. And when the video game became a movie also named Rampage, only the Rock — a former pro wrestler — could be in it.
No discussion of wrestling and kaiju can be complete without mentioning Kaiju Big Battel, which features ongoing stories of all manner of monsters battling one another in the squared circle.
There’s also Origin Ape VIRGON who famously battled Survival Tobita and these guys, a trios that wrestles in District Federal who are known as Bongo Jr., Congo Jr. and Gorila Jr.
Did we miss any Kong themed wrestlers? Let us know. We can always use your help to learn more about not just movies, but pro wrestling.
Special thanks to Kris Erickson, Chris Hero (whose amazing podcast you can listen to at Ad Free Shows and follow on Twitter) and Joaquin Wilde, who are three of the best experts on wrestling in the world, for their help in putting this together.