All Elite Wrestling’s pledge that it is “for everyone” was on full display from minute one at Saturday’s Fight For The Fallen event, as out gay pro wrestler Sonny Kiss made an impactful singles debut in Jacksonville, Fla.
Kiss opened the event’s pre-show, The Buy-In, in a one-on-one contest against “The Librarian” Peter Avalon, who was accompanied to the ring by “The Librarian” Leva Bates. Yes, they’re both librarians. It’s a thing.
But the Concrete Rose stole the show as soon as he came through the tunnel of the Daily’s Place Amphitheater. Flanked by the Jacksonville Jaguars cheerleaders, the Roar of the Jaguars, Kiss showcased his dance background in a routine full of confidence and shade.
The crowd ate up the statement entrance as Kiss, clad in a decoratively-cut Jalen Ramsey jersey, entered the largest stage of his career. He went on to easily dispatch Avalon using his unique mix of acrobatics and twerking.
It seemed like the weight of the moment didn’t hit Kiss until after scoring the pinfall. He appeared near tears afterward, holding his head in his hands before blowing a kiss to the crowd in thanks and admiration.
But, according to fellow AEW wrestler Dustin Rhodes, Kiss was very nervous heading into the show.
“He came in our room and he was just nervous. I put my arm around him and said, ‘Sonny, just relax. You’re nervous, and when you’re nervous that means you care. When you stop being nervous, you will not care anymore. You’re going to go out there and you’re going to do fine.’ “
That encouragement was extra powerful for Kiss because of Rhodes’ history in the industry. The 30-year veteran holds a special place in the hearts of many LGBTQ pro wrestlers and fans due to his portrayal of the queer-coded character Goldust in WWE. Kiss is one of those fans and publicly thanked Rhodes for his advice.
The entrance and match received a lot of love online over the following days, flooding Kiss’ Twitter feed with love and adoration. Kiss has clearly been accepted by the AEW audience and continues to broaden it by provided much needed representation. His ability to remain strong in the face of hate is the only thing that rivals his ability in the ring.