No one could have expected the turn that the Kofi Kingston storyline has taken heading into WrestleMania 35. For a decade, Kofi Kingston was never really anywhere close to the WWE Championship. He won a lot of accolades, but it seemed as though he had an assigned spot in the company and that really wasn’t going to change anytime soon.
All it took was an untimely injury to Mustafa Ali for Kofi Kingston to step up and take the ball. He didn’t just end up taking the ball, he snatched it and ran with in a way that nobody really expected him to. He would end up going over an hour in a gauntlet match, winning the hearts of the WWE Universe. By the time he was all done, the crowd gave him a standing ovation and chanted “Thank you Kofi”.
After that, he would steal the show once again at Elimination Chamber. When the light pointed to his pod and it opened, the crowd erupted, and Kofi was firing on all cylinders through the match. He would last until the very end before Daniel Bryan defeated him by the skin of his teeth. One thing was clear – Kofi Kingston’s stock had only risen in defeat.
After that, he was immediately named the #1 contender for the WWE Championship when he pinned Daniel Bryan for the second time in a week. A week later, Vince McMahon came out the second he was set to sign his contract, telling him that it was “his duty” to ensure that the fans get the biggest box office match possible, and replaced him with someone he felt more “deserving” of the shot – a returning Kevin Owens.
This would be Kofi Kingston’s first major hurdle. After trying to convince Mr. McMahon that he was deserving of it, McMahon told him that it would be a triple threat match and that Kingston’s match started right away. Unfortunately for Kofi Kingston, it was the boss who was twisting his own words, putting him in a handicap match against The Bar. Naturally, he got squashed in no time.
Technically, Mr. McMahon wasn’t lying, because he did make it a triple threat match. But even so, it was Mustafa Ali who got that spot. Two nights later, McMahon and Kingston would have their first real confrontation on-screen, where McMahon bluntly told Kofi Kingston that he’s a “B+ Player”.
We’ll stop right there. That’s exactly where the storyline has reached a whole new level in itself. Remember, Daniel Bryan is the WWE Champion and he’s no longer the underdog. He was the man who was once called a “B+ Player” by the authority time and again. The segment also saw a whole new side of The New Day, who cut arguably their most serious promo yet (though their feud with The Usos in 2017 brought that out too).
Big E and Xavier Woods proved to be gold on the mic even when serious, but it was Kofi Kingston who continued to play his role to perfection. His mannerisms, his facial expressions, and his speech were nothing short of moving. He would give out a passionate explanation to Vince McMahon, telling him how he’s put in his blood, sweat and tears for the company, done everything that was asked of them, gone around media tours around the world, including their recent trip to India for the WWE tryouts.
When Kofi Kingston said “I’ve never even been trick or treating with my son before”, that really hit hard. It put him down to the level of every common man, and anyone with a family knows that the sacrifices he’s had to make were no easy task. When you’re away from your family to commit to WWE, you’re essentially married to the business as well. Weddings, birthdays, school shows, soccer games and everything else all comes second to life on the road.
With McMahon constantly putting Kofi Kingston down, he’s essentially become the perfect underdog. Many have may have taken a decade to realize it, but Kofi Kingston has always been WWE Championship material. In a way, it’s really interesting that he’s feuding with Daniel Bryan, but a Daniel Bryan who isn’t nearly the same as the one that the fans loved 5 years ago.
Mr. McMahon would then make Kofi Kingston go through his toughest test yet – another gauntlet match, starting off and facing five other elite-level competitors. He’s going to have a lot of obstacles to overcome, but when it’s all said and done and WrestleMania features Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Championship, it’s going to be all the sweeter.
WWE often gets criticized for not giving the fans what they want, but here, they recognized the reactions and instantly knew that they had something special in their hands. They’ve done a great job in making us want Kofi Kingston to become WWE Champion so much so that he’s the only superstar people want to see win it. What a time to be a WWE fan!