Sonny Kiss is one of the most unique wrestlers to come along...ever. He has applied his craft on Lucha Underground and with Capitol Wrestling and will make his AEW debut in the Over the Budget Battle Royale at Double or Nothing.
Kiss spoke with Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast where he talked about his gimmick and what separates it from similar gimmicks.
"A lot of people compare me to super-awesome, great, flamboyant wrestlers - Goldust, Rico and Velveteen Dream. But little do they know, I'm actually authentic version of these feminine characters," said Kiss. "They do a great job at it and I love them all, but at the same time, Sonny Kiss is authentic.
"I'm just a guy who is feminine, obviously, it's very apparent. But at the same time, I'm just a wrestler and I'm not a 'gimmick.' I'm just this flamboyant, athletic, flipping dude…dude or dudette, however you see it because I'm very ambiguous with my sexuality and gender. I call myself a male but I identify as gender-neutral to the public."
Kiss went on to say that people are allowed to use both the "he" and "she" pronouns when describing him.
With the signings of Kiss and transgender wrestler Nyla Rose, Kiss discussed AEW creating an inclusive and diverse roster.
"People think that they are just hiring people due to their sexuality and that's not what they are doing," stated Kiss. "They are hiring authentic people - transgender and homosexuals as myself - they are hiring people like that to give representation for really good wrestlers and people who don't have that when they look on TV.
"People can look on TV and see Nyla and myself and say, 'Oh my God! That's someone like me, but not a gimmick.'
Kiss also pushed back on claims that AEW has some sort of agenda and are looking to change people's beliefs.
"I think that's what AEW is trying to do and not push some 'agenda.' I know some people are thinking that and it's really ridiculous…. Let me also make a disclaimer that AEW, or myself or Nyla is not trying to change anyone's idea or viewpoint of how life should be for them. We're not trying to push anything down anyone's throat. We're just giving people who don't have representation a role model and someone to look up to," said Kiss.
"We just want to coexist comfortably, and what that means is that I don't want to change your viewpoint. I just want you to respect me the same way you would want me to respect your opinion."
Kiss also said that fans don't have to watch if they don't want to or expose it to their children if they don't feel comfortable having discussions about those kinds of characters.
Kiss began to choke up and become emotional when asked what it feels like to be a role model for young people in the LGBTQ community.
"I trip up on words trying to find the right words for it, but it's just amazing," stated Kiss. "It feels so good. I literally wanted this my entire life and I never had that representation growing up. Finally getting to be that is like wow! It's a beautiful thing and I still can't find the right words for it."
Kiss has had to deal with a fair amount of adversity both inside and outside of the wrestling world. He describes his approach to the push back he's gotten in the conservative world of pro wrestling.
"I do it with respect because you can't go an eye for an eye. We would all just be blind," stated Kiss. "You have to try to understand and not mischaracterize other people because just because they're mischaracterizing you doesn't mean you have to mischaracterize them.
"My father and brother are not necessarily too keen on me being the way I am….So you have to understand that this is just how people are and you have to try to get them to understand you without making it a fight.
"You have to get them to understand you with compassion and with educating them so they won't be so ignorant. At least if they're not gonna believe in what you believe in, they'll at least have the solution to what's really going in."
At the very least, the Sonny Kiss character gives people a vision of that type of lifestyle and Kiss helps out promoters who are ignorant to the culture he is a part of.
"I give them insight. I give them storylines. I give them a vision and a reality check on what this is," said Kiss. "Some people really just don't know… Some of them don't want to know but you just continue giving them that knowledge on this lifestyle."
Sonny Kiss is one of the latest signings to AEW and will be participating in the Over The Budget Battle Royal at Double or Nothing. He will also be returning to Capitol Wrestling on April 7th in Newark, NJ for Ready or Not.
The full audio for Wrestling Inc's exclusive interview with Sonny was included in a recent episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard in the embedded player below. During the full interview Sonny discusses working for AEW and Lucha Underground at the same time, the future of Lucha Underground, why he was embarrassed at the AEW ticket launch party in Vegas, being an "authentic" feminine gay man in pro wrestling, AEW's diverse roster, being a role model for young gay children watching pro wrestling and more.
You can check out past episodes of the WINCLY here.