Creative Pitch For Sonny Kiss

It was confirmed by Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful on the day of AEW All Out that Sonny Kiss was no longer a signed talent with AEW. When asked about this a the post-All Out media scrum, Tony Khan acknowledged that he still holds Sonny Kiss in high regard and could see Sonny come back, citing that if a spot opens up for any wrestler who isn’t re-signed or there’s an idea for a story that he’d like to do, that he’d be interested in bringing them back.

I don’t want to get too into the weeds on the merits of AEW re-signing Sonny Kiss because clearly Tony Khan knows all these reasons as evidenced by AEW featuring Sonny Kiss in spots outside of their television beyond what her standing is on the actual show. You don’t put a spotlight on someone like that without seeing a potential for return. I think it’s exactly as simple as the cliché “creative has nothing for you” pitfall that has befallen nearly every wrestler at one point or another—even some of the all-time greats.

In-House Style Shift

I also think there’s been a stylistic shift in AEW. AEW has successfully maintained their “smorgasbord of pro wrestling” approach and continue to offer many genres of pro wrestling. But I think when they launched, due to the talent available off the hop, they really leaned into the more PWG/Indi-pilled style that prioritized acrobatics, athleticism, and pace. Some at the time even labelled it AEW’s “In-house style”. Sonny Kiss falls into this camp. After All Out 2021, with the addition of Bryan Danielson and others to the roster, a noticeable shift—especially at the top of the card—seemed to move more in the direction of focusing on more gritty strong-style wrestling. It’s something AEW has always had but never to this degree. In my opinion, this shift was for the betterment of AEW but one of the consequences of this was it seemed to edge out some of the acts who where on the bubble that utilize that 2019 AEW In-house style like Sonny Kiss, Jack Evans, Marko Stunt, Peter Avalon, Angelico, Private Party, etc. to where they’re either no longer featured or even with the company.

Creative Goals

So my goals in this creative are two-fold:

  1. Send Sonny Kiss on a journey that will drastically change her presentation all for the purpose of having her discover new abilities which, in story, will allow her to credibly hang with the heavier hitting strong-style wrestlers in the company.
  2. Once this is achieved, roll back Sonny’s strong-style persona and gradually double-, triple-, quadruple-down on her current day presentation with intensified focus on costumes, pageantry, music, and choreographed special entrances, all while maintaining the style Sonny attained during her pilgrimage into being more of a technician in the ring.

The end result being a Sonny Kiss who could credibly go nose-to-nose with Jon Moxley in the ring and go step-for-step with a Mercedes Moné entrance.

Creative Pitch

Part 1: A Hidden Power discovered

Sonny Kiss is re-signed and placed on the ROH roster at first, simply to establish to AEW’s more hardcore fanbase that Sonny Kiss is back but to throw them off the scent of anything creatively being afoot.

Next, we start to book Sonny Kiss as the “Already in the ring” dance partner for “_____ In Action!” squash matches. For AEW hardcores, this would likely scan as AEW “giving Sonny another look”. For the bulk of AEW fans who don’t follow ROH closely, this will inform them that Sonny is still with the company. And for fans who started watching sometime after Sonny’s last Dynamite appearance (October 21, 2020), this might be their introduction to her.

We go through a couple of these matches where Sonny ultimately loses but they should go long enough that commentary can put over how talented Sonny is but that she’s still trying to figure out how to break through. In the final squash match before the big angle, we see Sonny Kiss visibly frustrated.

Finally, after a couple weeks of building up, let’s say, Nick Comoroto; We get “Nick Comoroto is In Action!” and low and behold, “Already in the ring” stands Sonny Kiss who isn’t nearly her usual cheery self. The match starts out with Comoroto badly out-powering Sonny and beginning to play the roll of cocky heel and mock Sonny Kiss. Suddenly Sonny flies out of the corner and delivers a Shotgun Dropkick straight into Comoroto’s chest sending him flying into the opposite corner. We do an injury angle where Comoroto has broken ribs and since he cannot continue, Sonny Kiss is unceremoniously named the winner. This should all be played up as non-cinematically as possible. Sonny should look confused and a little upset, momentarily breaking the 4th wall, before regaining her composure and pasting a fake smile on her face at the victory.

Part 2: World’s Strongest Diva

Before Sonny Kiss’ next match, we are made aware of a newly made association between Sonny Kiss and Mark Henry. This is achieved via a vignette of Sonny Kiss working out and training with Henry doing the voiceover. As a multiple winner of strongman competitions, Mark Henry can put over Sonny Kiss’ lower body power as world class even in that field. If it’s not too uncouth, Mark can cite the expression, “You don’t bring a knife to a gun fight” to express how incredible it is that Sonny Kiss has made it to AEW doing just that. But that now, with his help, Sonny Kiss is going to learn how to use her greatest weapon.

In subsequent matches, Mark Henry accompanies Sonny Kiss to the ring as her Coach while Sonny takes on a more and more subdued level style of presentation, becoming less flashy, taking on a more traditional presentation.

Part 3: New Skills Aquired

From here we begin a journey of acquiring new moves that utilize Sonny Kiss’ lower body power and give her new means of finishing matches.

Sister Lock (Submission)

This is a basic scissor lock (but called “Sister Lock” due to “sis” being one of Sonny’s tongue-in-cheek preferred pronouns) with Sonny’s legs wrapped around her opponents waist. Also, The Acclaimed have ownership on anything scissor-related in AEW. Because of her indomitable leg strength, it’s nearly impossible to break. Sonny wins her first match with Mark Henry in her corner with this lock by sinking it in on an opponent after delivering a Shotgun Dropkick (ala her match against Comoroto) which fans are already told is powerful enough to break someone’s ribs so following that up with the Sister Lock is a credible means of winning a match. In subsequent bouts, the Sister Lock is used to setup in combination with other submission holds. For instance, if Sonny is positioned with her head closer to her opponents, she can do arm submissions, chokes, or combination arm & choke submissions. If Sonny’s head is positioned closer to her opponent’s feet, she can go for an ankle lock or heel hook.

Tigress Driver ’93

Named “Tigress” as a nod to gender fluidity and also because Tigress is close to the word “Tijeras”, which this move utilizes. And “93” for Sonny’s birth year. The Tigress Driver ’93 is a Tijeras in which rather than releasing her opponent, Sonny instead hangs onto her opponent’s head with her mighty thighs and turns it into a spike pile driver. For reference, Colt Cabana once did this on an episode of Dark on Rey Fenix. It’s a really cool looking move and would put over the idea that Sonny can pull this off through pure leg strength alone.

Itsuki Hirata (Choke hold)

To really put over Sonny’s technical prowess, we eventually introduce the “Itsuki Hirata“, which I’m choosing to simply name after the Japanese MMA star of the same name who has used the submission move to win a lot of her matches. It’s a good move for Sonny’s gimmick as it utilizes a head scissors to turn the opponent into position and then Sonny’s powerful legs around the neck of her opponent. Technically Itsuki pairs this with an arm bar which yields the true damage of this submission hold. I’d have Sonny Kiss also trap the arm but more as a means of preventing her opponent from reaching for a rope break or trying to break the hold. For Sonny Kiss, the Itsuki Hirata would act the same as a Bully Choke or a Rear Naked Choke. I suppose this could be called anything but I like the idea of Excalibur shouting “ITSUKI HIRATA!” and I think that alone would go a long way in putting Sonny over as a technician with AEW’s audience.

Part 4: Heel Turn

I think there’s a lot you can do with Sonny Kiss and Mark Henry. They could be a really fun pairing to work off each other. While Mark Henry puts over Sonny as having world class power, Kiss could help Henry come out of his shell and rediscover some of his Sexual Chocolate comedic chops. But it was a partnership born to find an end, in my opinion. And the true rub is in Sonny Kiss being her most Sonny Kiss-like, cranked up to 11.

Because it was a losing streak that originally caused Sonny Kiss’ pivot, it should be under the lights of glory where her next big pivot takes place. Ideally, Sonny would be built up as a contender for the TNT Title and main event on Dynamite in Texas (Mark Henry’s home state). After using many of the very tactics taught to her by Mark Henry, Sonny Kiss wins the TNT Championship. Sonny celebrates on the turnbuckle with confetti raining down. Mark Henry gets into the ring and hoists Sonny up on his shoulders in celebration. They hug. And as Mark Henry is taking a moment to himself, holding back the tears because of how proud he is of Sonny, he turns around and Sonny Kiss hits him with a Shotgun Dropkick. Sonny flings the TNT Title over her shoulder, turns around and pantomimes “kicking back dirt” onto Henry and then leaves.

The following week, Sonny Kiss comes out with brand new music and pyro. Gone is the more humble attire Sonny had relied on during this run and in its place is Sonny Kiss’ adaptation of Mark Henry’s infamous salmon coloured jacket. Sonny Kiss characterizes her actions as “trimming the fat”. She says in the same way Superman isn’t indebted to the first mortal who ever saw him fly, she’s not indebted to Mark. She characterizes their relationship as Mark Henry taking advantage of her when she was vulnerable and impressionable. Sonny claims she finally said “Enough is enough” and that messages have been pouring into her congratulating her on her bravery and for standing up for herself. From now on, Sonny says, nobody is ever going to tell her what to do. She will be, to steal a line from Dennis Rodman, as bad as she wants to be.

Crank it up to 11

With Sonny Kiss as a new Champion with a credible means of defeating anyone on the roster, Kiss can now get back to what makes her spectacular. I’m talking unique entrances at pay-per-views: Different licensed music that changes from show to show. Over the top choreographed dance routines. The more outrageous visual effects and pyro technics, the better. Maybe even incorporate floating furniture. And of course, the costumes. Sonny Kiss should have elaborate and wildly impractical entrance attire. And then her wrestling gear, Sonny Kiss already knocks that out of the park. But AEW and Sonny Kiss should absolutely be pushing the envelope in being the worldwide leader in extravagant entrances.

Also, I haven’t heard it, but according to Sonny, singing is one of her hidden talents.

I would not put Sonny Kiss in a stable as sharing the spotlight goes against her modus operandi. I would consider giving Sonny a heater in the form of a big bruiser who she’d “clean up” and use to play off of. This could be someone in the same vain as The Butcher, whose appearance is suited to playing the role of a savage brute so seeing them “sleeked up” would fit but also maintain their scary look.

So that’s my pitch. I’d love to see Sonny Kiss back in AEW. Representation not only matters but diversity is a strength. You think of how many wrestlers we’ve heard over the years say they were inspired by Trish Stratus and Lita’s work in the WWF. How many millions more fans felt that too? Sonny Kiss is the type of person that if a video of them doing their thing in a setting like Dynamite crosses anyone’s TikTok timeline, they’re going to stop. Watch it. And have more questions.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below or on Twitter at @aew_one. Thanks so much for reading and, as always, take the time to let the women in your life know how much you appreciate them. :)

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