WWE Opinion: 5 Reasons Santino Marella and Kofi Kingston Should Win Gold Soon
A wild card.
With the possible exceptions of a cumbersome Great Khali and a conspiracy-saddled R-Truth, these two were probably the last guys you'd expect to have had success in the Elimination Chamber matches.
Heck, with face CM Punk and "lucky weasel" Daniel Bryan as the champs heading into WrestleMania (and face Sheamus needing to face one of them when they get there), they were absolute no-shots to carry heavyweight gold.
Which is somewhat disappointing, as the WWE doesn't take advantage of its opportunities (Royal Rumble, Elimination Chamber, Money in the Bank) to really make "anything" happen. Santino has teased this possibility already, coming in second at last year's Royal Rumble match.
Really, it's the timing of the Chamber and Rumble that prevent them from really playing up the randomness factor. Since the prize in each is essentially a main event in WrestleMania (though, really, the Chamber champions could just lose the belt on TV before the big one), WWE is under great financial pressure to push through big-time main-eventers.
And without being able to take advantage of one of these "anyone can win" events, neither Kofi nor Santino have any real potential of getting a heavyweight or WWE title shot in the future. Not without a significant change in the way they're used by the WWE and perceived by the fans.
Which is the main reason these two should be getting opportunities at the midcard titles.
Kofi and Santino are ridiculously over with the fans.
Kofi's been a popular high-energy face for some time, and had been on a nice run as one half of the tag team champions. His fun, energetic in-ring personality has been a big hit with fans for years, and his fancy, athletic spots have been even more highly noted with John Morrison out of the WWE. The handstand at the Royal Rumble and his efforts in the Chamber served to highlight his athletic ability.
Santino, meanwhile, was a heel for a while but has been the resident goofy babyface for the company (until Zack Ryder put himself on YouTube) for years, doing the splits and the Cobra and power walking around the ring, forming a stable with Pasquale and Franchesco, and only winning big matches with the help of Muppets, or Vladimir Kozlov.
Santino's comedy antics are generally well-received, and probably are the key to his popularity. Either way, whenever Santino actually flirts with in-ring success, he gets huge crowd reactions.
I don't mean sexy, though I suppose some people might make the argument.
I mean that both men are sort of on a push lately.
Both men had great efforts in the Chamber matches, with Kofi providing big spots and Santino teasing the upset. Both men had a major scripted event in the Royal Rumble where they got to have the spotlight shined on them. For Kofi, it was his handstand escape, and for Santino it was the Cobra/Mr. Socko clash.
After Evan Bourne got his second suspension and Kofi was forced to lose his tag title at a house show, he's had a surprisingly positive singles run. Santino has had a couple failed tag matches for the titles (with the division as anemic as it's been, that sort of makes him part of half the tag teams that have competed this year) and has his own YouTube show.
Both men have been champions before.
Marella has held the Intercontinental Championship twice (the first run starting when he appeared as a "fan") as well as being a tag team champion.
Kingston has been IC champion three times, US champion twice, along with two tag team championship runs, the most recent ending on a down note early this year thanks to erstwhile-partner Evan Bourne.
While it currently seems unlikely either man will ever hold a main-event title, there's no reason not to give either grappler another run with a midcard title, at least no reason related to their credibility as champions.
No One Cares About the Titles Right Now
The Intercontinental and United States Championships have been all but forgotten this year.
I swear that, combined, they've been defended fewer times than either the tag titles or Divas title, and there are only two tag teams on the "ladder," and divas have to sign a deal with the devil to get more than two minutes on SmackDown or Raw.
(Or hang around a man. The diva with the most airtime by my (unscientific) count is Rosa Mendes, by no coincidence the manager of the tag team champions.)
Cody Rhodes and Jack Swagger are doing nothing as the champions.
Swagger beat an unfit Zack Ryder for the championship, and thanks to the Kane/Cena storyline, hasn't had to defend it against Ryder or anyone else. I can't even remember the last thing Swagger did before or after taking the belt, until he was given a last-second defense against Justin Gabriel (who had sort of been feuding with the unavailable Rhodes on SmackDown but had not been given a title shot).
Rhodes, meanwhile, is the longest-running champion in the WWE at the moment, and has been attempting to "pull an Ultimate Warrior" by claiming a main-event title at the same time since the Royal Rumble.
Rhodes' main-event push is great for him, but the last time he actually defended his title was in early January against legend/commentator Booker T. It was great to have Booker in the ring, but he was never going to take the title.
Later Rhodes would feud with Gabriel but never give him a title shot. And this is the guy who was supposed to be bringing respect and legitimacy back to the belt.
With the main events of WrestleMania essentially set in stone now, we really need these midcard belts defended in short feuds during the next six weeks of buildup.
New Champions Would Mean More Possibilities for WrestleMania
Right now, the champions are: CM Punk (face) with Chris Jericho (heel) challenging at WrestleMania; Daniel Bryan (heel) with Sheamus (face) challenging; Jack Swagger (heel) with no feud; Cody Rhodes (heel) with no legitimate feud/title defenses; Epico and Primo (heel, I guess) with only the Usos to contend with; and Beth Phoenix (heel) with Tamina, possibly Kharma.
There are way too many heels holding titles for the moment. Other than the main-event titles which are now locked in for weeks to come, no title feuds going on other than the Divas Championship, which until very recently had been without a title bout for months as well, and the tag titles, which hardly count, as half the division in the past months has been Santino with random partners.
Justin Gabriel doesn't count as he feuded with Rhodes only to get a title shot against Swagger. That's so backwards; it all but guarantees he's not being taken seriously.
Now that we know that guys like Miz, R-Truth, Kofi, Ziggler, Santino and Barrett aren't going to get a main-event shot, there are going to be a lot of guys standing around doing not much of anything (and that job belongs to Ted DiBiase, Hunico and Jinder Mahal, thank you very much).
If Swagger and Rhodes retain until WrestleMania, Swagger can defend against Kofi, R-Truth or maybe Ryder. Rhodes could defend against Santino, Gabriel, maybe DiBiase or possibly Barrett in a heel vs. heel feud, which, to be fair, they have teased.
If Kofi and Santino can take the titles before WrestleMania, they could defend against Rhodes and Swagger, but also against Barrett, Miz, Ziggler, Mahal, Christian, Alberto Del Rio, Mark Henry, David Otunga, etc.
There are about six weeks to go until WrestleMania.
The main events are already decided.
The tag team division is a joke, and the Divas division is in witness protection.
The only healthy area for intrigue and excitement leading up to the big dance is the midcard.
Essentially all but one of the current title-holders are heels, and there are even more heels waiting in the wings for a feud or a title shot.
The best way to keep things interesting is to get Santino and Kofi involved with the titles, and fast. Let them win and then get a couple new heels involved. Come WrestleMania, have one of these two defending and one trying to reclaim. Put them in a Triple Threat or Fatal 4-Way.
You're Ghana do it, Italy stew can do.