Kenny King has shown the world many faces: aspiring sports entertainer, reality show contestant, multiple-time wrestling champion. A participant on the WWE-produced Tough Enough and cast member of the most recent season of The Bachelorette, the two-time TNA Wrestling X-Division champion is currently with Ring of Honor. At their Death Before Dishonor Pay-Per-View on September 22, he challenges Japanese sensation Yujiro Kushida for the Ring of Honor World Television Championship. The Las Vegas resident takes a few moments to reflect on his career, his adopted hometown and giving back.
What should fans look forward seeing you do at Death Before Dishonor?
I’m obsessed with everything about this match, with preparing for it. I’ve watched a million Kushida matches. So the fans should expect to see a complete game plan, a prepared Kenny King and fireworks, man. Everything I’ve got is riding on this one.
Las Vegas has been your home for a while now. Why Las Vegas?
It was one those things. I moved here in 2001. Initially I was in Florida. My parents moved out here, and then I came out here for school. It was a change of pace. I got on Tough Enough, then Vegas became home after that.
What are some of your favorite Las Vegas places?
Man, Vegas has changed so much since I’ve been here. You know, I was laughing with some friends the other day—do you remember Club Seven and the Boardwalk [Hotel and Casino] right there on the Strip [current site of City Center]? Those were real things that no one in Vegas will know about in 10 years. Right now, I like laid back places. I like Topgolf, I like local places, local pubs. I’m not so much in the big clubs anymore. I like the locals’ life here in Vegas.
What was The Bachelorette like?
That was an amazing experience. Just like anything, there’s good parts and bad parts. It’s a once in a lifetime thing where you get to travel and compete with 31 guys for the heart of one woman. Usually that’s what the ratio’s like in Vegas anyway. It’s just one of those things where the whole world is watching. You get to, in the case of some guys, put on a show and be someone you’re not or you get to be who you are and see how things play out for you. It’s like volunteering for a social experiment. Overall it was an amazing experience.
What makes teaching wrestling rewarding?
The school that I am one of the head trainers at is Future Stars of Wrestling, FSW. It’s one of those things where I love looking at guys and girls in that stage when they’re just getting into it and they’re past the part where they love it. Now they’re obsessed with it. Against all odds, they care about wrestling. At that point it’s not about money, it’s just about getting better and getting more exposure and doing better in the ring. I remember being in that place and somebody helping me and taking the time to smooth out my wrinkles. That’s why it’s so important for me to train these guys in that stage. That’s why it’s called Future Stars of Wrestling. This is a place for you to get good and show the world what you can do.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started?
It’s a clichéd wrestler thing, but you only have a certain amount of bumps. You’re not going to be young forever, you’re not going to be able to do the same things the whole time. So be careful with the risks you take. It’s always a risk, but take calculated risks, be smarter. I would just try to teach a younger version of myself the value of merchandizing and self-promotion.
What is something about you that your fans don’t know yet?
I don’t think that all of my fans know that I’m a masterclass virtuoso Jeopardy! player. I had the invitation to take the test this year but I was traveling so I missed it. I’ve been wanting to be on Jeopardy! for years now. Hopefully next year.
I’m pumped for the PPV—top to bottom, it’s going to be very good. Everybody come cheer the hometown boy. This is one of the biggest matches of my career against one of the best wrestlers in the world and it’s going to take a lot of hometown support to push your boy through.
Kenny King isn’t the only superstar hopping into the ring this weekend. Check out what Bully Ray Dudley had to say about his storied wrestling career at vegasseven.com/bullyray
Death Before Dishonor
Sam’s Town Live at 6 PM on September 22. If you’re out of town, it airs on pay-per-view, rohwrestling.com, Fite.TV App, and Playstation Network.