In early 2011, promo videos for Kharma (Kia Stevens) began airing on WWE Television. Stevens, who’d gained prominence as Awesome Kong on TNA Impact, had an impending debut with the WWE. Following the Extreme Rules match between Layla El and Michelle McCool, Kharma debuted and put an exclaimation point on the end of Michelle McCool’s WWE career when she delivered her signature Implant Buster.
Over the next several weeks, Kharma appeared on RAW and Smackdown!, attacking WWE’s resident “Barbie Dolls,” including former Diva’s champions Alicia Fox, Eve Torres, and Maryse, former Women’s Champion Layla, and an angle with Kelly Kelly was teased. An untimely pregnancy, however, meant that the whirlwind month of Kharma would come to an end, and that fans would be absent the sensation of Kharma for at least a year.
Time passed and the pregnancy resulted in personal disaster, leaving Kharma’s future in WWE unknown. After Kharma made a surprise entry into the Royal Rumble in January 2012, fans began questioning when the “savior of the Diva’s Division” would return, and if/when the match with Beth Phoenix would happen. Many speculated Kharma would return after WrestleMania 28 and build a program with the Glamazon heading into Summerslam. But time wasn’t on anybody’s side, especially Kharma’s, when she was granted/given her WWE release.
Kharma’s departure from the division coincides with many, many others – including those of Beth Phoenix, The Bella Twins, Kelly Kelly, and developmental diva Maxine. Some could argue that the division is in shambles, but on the contrary, the women’s divsion in WWE is looking up as Eve Torres leads the way. Current plans call for a championship feud between Eve and AJ Lee heading into WrestleMania 29, but this all begs the question, if, or rather, when will Kharma return to WWE?
In a recent interview with Diva-Dirt (www.diva-dirt.com) Kharma left the story of her WWE career open-ended and said she hopes to make it back someday soon. Throughout the interview, she was highly concious about what she said about WWE, and how she said it (noting that anything controversial would be saved for later publication in her “chronicles”). So let’s run with the speculation -
In the two years since Kia Stevens signed with WWE, the Diva’s Division has begun to ascend, WWE has hired Sara Del Ray, is packaging Tamina Snuka, has Natalya Neidhart on the back-burner, and Beth Phoenix is away from the ring (though has stated that we haven’t seen the last of the Glamazon). Some could say any combination of those women is unlikely, but some could argue the contrary.
It’s been stated that Del Ray has been brought in to develop women in WWE’s developmental territory FCW (Florida Championship Wrestling), that Natalya isn’t being pushed because she can’t connect with the crowd, that Beth Phoenix is finished, and that Tamina could go either way. But what if there are other motives – long-term plans in place? What if WWE is keeping these women out of active competition until Kharma returns to the main-roster, so they may avoid over-exposure or injury? It makes sense that if/when Kharma returns to have credible competition waiting for her – not to mention, Kharma vs. Beth Phoenix, Natalya, or Del Ray would be sure-money matches fans have been waiting to see.
I think the ultimate question is when, not if Kharma will return. With the rumored, but probable, plans for Eve vs. AJ to secure WrestleMania - it would be safe to think that Kharma will be back on WWE television by early-mid summer 2013. If that’s the case, I’d expect stock in Tamina and Natalya to start rising, for Del Ray to debut at some point, and for the return of the Glamazon – all over a period of the next 12-18 months.
Perhaps this is all just like fantasy football – we’ll call it a dream division, but WWE seems to have access to all the parts on the board – I’d think it unwise for them not to capitalize on what has the potential to be the most compelling Women’s Division ever (and we haven’t even discussed the potential of Ric Flair’s daughter, Ashley a.k.a. Charlotte). But, if I were a betting man, I’d put money on Kharma being back in WWE sometime in 2013 and for some healthy competition to greet her. WWE didn’t hype her debut or put her in the Royal Rumble to let her career end at a month + 1.