Dependable, popular and hard-working but could Kofi amount to more? Jamie thinks so.
If you have read any of my previous posts you will have noticed that I am not too keen on WWE’s current crop of babyfaces. The likes of John Cena and Sheamus are certainly not my cup of tea, but to be fair I am the kind of person that appreciates a good villain far more than even the best hero. I watched the first Star Wars and became interested in Darth Vader rather than willing Luke Skywalker to defeat him. My favourite character from my favourite TV show is Mr Burns, the millionaire tyrant from Springfield. Also, it will not have escaped anybody’s attention, based on my previous posts, that CM Punk is my favourite WWE performer. However, this does not mean that I hate all good guys, they just have to work that little bit harder to get into my good books. One such performer that has entered my good books is CM Punk’s old tag team partner, Kofi Kingston.
Dependable, popular, hard-working, mid-carder – that pretty much sums up Kofi Kingston. After being drafted to Raw from ECW he has made the mid-card his home. He is occasionally inserted into multi person main event level matches, such as Elimination Chamber and Money in the Bank and has never been in danger of slipping down the card and out of contention for TV time. His list of accomplishments includes multiple Tag Team, Intercontinental and US title reigns. His ring work is hard to fault with his athletic style still impressing years after we were introduced to it. He is also a very popular character, well respected by older fans for the effort he puts in and the quality he produces while remaining a favourite for younger fans. His promos skills are also good, if rarely utilised. With little promotion and relatively limited weekly TV exposure Kofi is still one of WWE’s more popular and successful performers, so I wonder what a push would do for his career?
In late 2009 Kofi received a push to the upper regions of the WWE ladder, but it mysteriously fizzled out almost as soon as it started. His short feud with Randy Orton was very well received by fans, despite the booking leaving a little to be desired.
After an altercation with Orton and his Legacy team mates Kingston interfered during Orton’s WWE title match at Bragging Rights, a match which Orton lost. This kicked off some heated back and forth attacks, in which Kingston more than held his own. In fact Kingston cut what is probably still considered his best promo during this feud when he trashed Orton’s NASCAR car.
Kingston actually went on to win their first PPV encounter by leading his team to victory against Orton’s at the Survivor Series (Kofi was the sole survivor). However from this point on the feud followed a more conventional path. Like a lower league football team in the FA Cup, Kingston came flying out of the traps and got the better of the opening exchanges. However, like a Premier league team taking charge of a match, Orton came out in the second half with a new lease of life and scored several times to run out the convincing winner of the feud. This remains the one and only attempt WWE have made to elevate Kingston, but they appeared to just abandon the idea at the moment it started to take off.
There were and still are rumours of heat between Orton and Kingston which could explain the swift end to their feud, but wrestlers not liking each other is a pretty lame excuse to end what was turning into a good rivalry. Either way, if WWE were to ever consider Kofi for another push they should definitely look to Orton as the man he would face to reach the next level.
The reason I have started theorising about a Kingston push is due to a comment made by Chris Jericho on the Stone Cold Steve Austin box set. He stated that Austin’s character was so effective because “guys wanted to have a beer with him while girls wanted to sleep with him”. The second part of this statement doesn’t strike a chord with me, but the first bit does. So I got thinking about current WWE performers who I would most like to share a beer and some laughs with. There’s CM Punk, but of course we would be drinking Pepsi, William Regal would have some stories to tell and then I thought of Kofi Kingston, purely because he’s such a likable guy. Unlike Cena, Sheamus, Rey Mysterio, Ryback and the other babyfaces in WWE, Kofi Kingston is far more relatable, he seems like he could just as easily be your mate as he could be World heavyweight Champion.
This leads me to how I would book him, and the answer is just like Stone Cold circa 1996/7. The only exception being that I would keep Kofi as a babyface. Essentially Kofi needs to go on a winning streak before picking a fight with one of the big dogs, in this case Randy Orton. Ideally Orton would be holding the World Heavyweight Championship giving them a reason to fight. With a reason to fight both men could make reference to their original feud, with Kofi stating how far he has come and what he has achieved since. I would hold the match at Survivor Series and make it a war. This would be a personal feud, much like Austin and Bret Hart in 96 and with any luck the use a blade would be allowed to increase the drama. In the end I would have Kofi lose this match in the same way Austin lost his Wrestlemania 13 match to Hart, by refusing to give up before passing out.
The clean nature of the win would mean an end to the feud for the time being, but due to his guts Kofi would be received like never before. He could ride this wave of momentum into the Royal Rumble as a real contender, and win it. This victory would set up a rematch between him and Orton for the World Heavyweight Championship at Wrestlemania. On this occasion I would book Kofi to win in another war to lift his first world title and become a bona fide main eventer at the grandest stage of the all.
Years in the mid-card has allowed Kingston to build a rapport with the fans and gain respect. This means that if he ever receives a push fans will be right behind him because they know his story and will urge him to succeed. Also, he may have several WWE years under his belt but Kingston is still a relatively young man in WWE at just 32 years of age. So if he reaches the summit he could spend several years up there.
If Ryback doesn’t work out then WWE should consider pushing Kofi. Good luck to Ryback but the fans don’t really know him or his story, he’s just a guy with big muscles and a catchphrase. Kofi Kingston on the other hand could follow the likes of Shawn Michaels, Bret Hart, Eddie Guerrero and Steve Austin as the dependable, popular, hard-working, mid-carder who fans want to see climb the ladder and achieve his goals.