Happy Tuesday TJR Faithful! And it is with certainty a Happy Tuesday! Last week the WWE finally did something to inspire me to write about them. They broke the monotony that had been keeping up with their programming and compelled me to take time out of my schedule to write about it in a meaningful way.
If you follow me on Twitter (@MJDP_GSE) you know how utterly bored I have been with the product writ large. Week to week it seems to wholesale never move anything forward narratively. Character development has been a foreign concept. I was getting through the main two shows in about an hour each week because I quite honestly didn’t have the time to devote 5 hours of my life weekly to a show that didn’t care enough to try to be good. But then Mustafa Ali got hurt that he had to miss Elimination Chamber (apparently it was a concussion). I hate that he did. Injuries are awful and a truly terrible part of the business. An opportunity to perform was ripped out from underneath him and that sucks. With all that said, the truth of the matter is that when injuries happen, we get the opportunity to see some of the only truly out of the box thinking that WWE can provide. In this case, we got to see the single greatest week of Kofi Kingston’s career!
When Ali went down, I hoped Kofi would be named the replacement. I had resigned myself to the fact that it would be Andrade “Cien” Almas (you don’t control me WWE!) or Rey Mysterio replacing him in The Chamber. Even when they announced it would be a member of The New Day, I steeled myself in case the representative wouldn’t be Kofi Kingston. A brief history of my undying allegiance to The New Day and the idea of Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Title. When Seth Rollins tore up his knee in 2015, and the WWE was left without a Champion, I wrote an article about how I wanted The New Day to win the vacated Title in a tournament, with each member wrestling a round in a one night tourney to crown The New Day as WWE Champion. In that piece, I remarked that Kofi deserved it, for how much he had grown as a performer since his infamous program with Randy Orton. In that piece, I wrote about how much of a morale boost it would be for all the wrestlers to see him particularly rewarded for his growth and his loyalty and his success. I believe every bit of that today, with nearly five years of interest.
Which brings me back to Kofi’s amazing week. His performance on Smackdown was exquisite! His showing at The Elimination Chamber was nothing short of sublime. The fans were eating out of the palms of he and Daniel Bryan’s hands. Fans like me were legitimately gutted when Kofi came up just short after putting on an epic performance in the Chamber, complete with cool leaping and diving spots that showed off his still burgeoning athleticism. Kofi got to show off where he’s grown the most as a performer in the last five years too, and that was with his emotion. Daniel Bryan played a huge part in it, but Kofi showed that as an actor, he has improved so much since his early days in WWE where the knock on him was that he wasn’t comfortable on the microphone. I loved that week for him. Elimination Chamber was simply incredible for him. He captured me emotionally and reminded me what this medium can evoke at it’s best, and I’m sure it was just the same for so many others.
I know there are so many reasons to believe that the WWE won’t pull the trigger and put Kofi in that position again. To be the WWE Champion, for even a short period of time. It’s been 11 years. If they haven’t done it at this point, then why would they now? The Chamber was just a pat on the back. It was him getting the Santino spot from 2012 (no disrespect to Santino, but while similar in so many ways, Kofi’s night was simply a whole lot more real and sustainable). In many ways, that idea is my worst fear. I’m okay with him not winning at Elimination Chamber. He shouldn’t have won there. But that simply can’t be where this story ends! Whether it’s at Wrestlemania, or down the line, Kofi SHOULD win the WWE Championship! And I for one am not willing to let this die. I know all the reasons why it might not happen, but there are three major ones why it should!
Why Kofi Kingston Should Become WWE Champion
Firstly, as I outlined in the Elimination Chamber PPV Preview for TJR Wrestling, The New Day vs “The New” Daniel Bryan and Rowan and Harper, is a perfect feud. New Day with all their T-Shirts, their cereal, their marketing/branding! They are the thing that Daniel Bryan is railing about weekly. Can you imagine the promos Daniel Bryan could cut focusing on The New Day? Can you imagine New Day’s responses? It’s narrative gold! It’s TV gold! It sells itself easily. This story is a simple one. Kofi comes out and says he took Bryan to the limit, but he wants another shot at him, one-on-one. Daniel Bryan rebuffs him, telling him that he doesn’t deserve it and that he and The New Day are a cancer to the planet and that his underdog story reminds him of “the old” Daniel Bryan and it makes him sick…only to be thrown into a match against Kingston, where if Kofi wins he gets the shot. During that match, Harper returns, and a big brawl ensues. The match is thrown out and New Day is left laying. That’s when it’s announced that it will be The New Day vs. Daniel Bryan, Rowan, and Harper at Fastlane. If The New Day win, Kofi gets his shot at Wrestlemania. The Fastlane match would be dope as hell. The New Day win, Kofi faces Bryan at Wrestlemania in what all indications will be an amazing match given the stuff we have seen from them already. Not to mention one of the show’s most emotionally charged ones.
The macro Consumerism vs. Conservationism story works. The wily veteran underdog story sells itself. Kofi isn’t getting any younger, and he may never be hotter. I think sometime within this calendar year you have to pull the trigger on this and I truly think striking while the iron is hot is the best thing to do. The WWE messes up by waiting too long way too much. Don’t lose this.
Which brings me to the second reason why the WWE should do this, and that is because too many times the WWE has missed out on giving a guy like Kofi his due. One run with the top Championship as a reward for being a lasting character and performer. Names like Jerry Lawler, Jake The Snake Roberts, Ted DiBiase, Mr. Perfect, Rowdy Roddy Piper, Owen Hart, Rick Rude, Goldust, Scott Hall (Razor Ramon), to name a few. None of these guys got that run, not even a short one. They weren’t given the WWE Championship (or a World Championship) as a reward for being the best of what this business can offer, is a memorable character and performer that will last the test of time.
You may think I’m crazy for including Kofi Kingston in this list, but the guy has been doing it for 11 years in WWE. He is part of the longest reigning Tag Team Champions of all time! He has the single most days as Tag Team Champion ever! He’s held every Title other than the top title in WWE multiple times! He has his yearly Royal Rumble spots that captivate us! He has competed in so very many Money in the Bank Ladder Matches and has multiple memorable moments in them! He has been a top merchandise seller with The New Day! He has been part of segments that will be remembered forever with those guys! He has grown so much through the course of his career. He’s a surefire Hall of Famer! He belongs on any list of accomplished and memorable talents in the WWE’s history, and should he never win his WWE Championship he would be on the list of the best to never win one. That’d be a shame just like it is with all those names I listed. Give the guy a short run. Reward his excellence and growth, and loyalty!
— Ettore “Big E” Ewen (@WWEBigE) February 18, 2019
Which transitions into the third reason why Kofi Kingston should be WWE Champion. Loyalty, respect, and growth are all tenants of not only a great wrestler but a great man. I’m going to steal a tweet from Mike Kanellis that perfectly illustrates this third reason: “The fact that most of the fans want Kofi to become champion, tells you what kind of wrestler he is. The fact that most of the WWE roster wants Kofi to become champion, tells you what kind of person he is”.
That’s the key. Just look at the tweets from so many wrestlers this week about Kofi. Guys like Dolph, Dawson, Sami, Kevin Owens and even the man he replaced in the Elimination Chamber, Mustafa Ali. I said it four years and change ago and it still rings true now. Kofi Kingston becoming Champion is a morale boost to not only the fans but to the other wrestlers in the back. It’s difficult to get to that place in a business that can be cutthroat. If you polled his contemporaries, I’m guessing that most of if not all would support him getting a Wrestlemania Championship match, including anybody that is being considered for the same spot. In a time of flux, with Dean Ambrose on his way out, with stories of frustration within the company leaking weekly, Kofi Kingston winning the WWE Championship for even a short period of time is a clear message that loyalty is noticed and rewarded. Being a good man and a good soldier pays off. That nobody’s hard work and effort goes unseen.
I don’t know what the future holds for Kofi Kingston, but I am watching with hope and anticipation. WWE can let me down, or remind me why I’ll never stop loving this medium of storytelling. It may not be Wrestlemania (although the timing couldn’t be more perfect) but it should happen. Kofi deserves to be WWE Champion, because the story calls for it, because the people call for it, because his contemporaries call for it, and because we don’t want another name added to the list of people who should have been WWE Champion in their careers. Show him love now. Don’t stop showing him love! Keep his name heard. The fans have done this before and we can do it again now for Kofi Kingston! Let’s get behind him and stay behind him.
There you have it, but as always I want to know what you think! What did you think of Kofi Kingston’s huge week? Did he make a believer out of you? Are you in on the #YearOfTheKof? Let me know your favorite Kofi Kingston memories! Let’s keep this going and keep his name in the news!
Until next time folks, I’m Matthew J. Douglas saying that I definitely recommend Singapore as a vacation destination! Go Raptors, Go Spurs, Go Kofi Kingston and The New Day! Catch y’all later!