At WWE’s TLC pay-per-view this Sunday, Intercontinental champion Kofi Kingston will take on rising star Wade Barrett in what should be an enjoyable mid-card bout.
Of course, it could potentially be something more; don’t be too surprised if the skilled and athletic Kingston steals the show at the event.
As of late, Kingston’s career has been on an upswing.
Once stuck in the lower-card ranks and going from one meaningless program to another, a feud with The Miz over the Intercontinental Championship helped turned things around.
Indeed, one aspect of the program was the idea that the easy-going Kingston had been phoning it in for too long and needed to find his aggression again to get his career on the right track. He accomplished this by defeating The Miz for the belt in early October.
We’ve seen this in recent weeks too. With Wade Barrett emerging as the newest top contender for his championship, Kofi has shed a lot of his good guy image. He’s now more smug, more conceited and sharper on the mic.
For the longest time, Kingston was an acceptable, if somewhat bland, talker with a decent amount of personality. Now, with cutting one-liners and a bold new attitude, he emanates an edge and a feisty charisma that he lacked before.
He has also taken to more heel-ish tactics, most notably on Monday’s Raw when he jumped into the ring after Barrett lost to R-Truth and, in an unprovoked attack, hit his foe with a brutal cross-body.
Man, can you imagine the old Kofi doing that?
For the record, despite his recent antics, Kingston is still apparently a face. So either WWE doesn’t know how to book a babyface character, or it's making subtle hints that a heel turn is coming soon. Considering the muddled direction of the booking team in recent times, it is probably the former.
So, attitude and all, Kofi is heading into WWE’s last pay-per-view of the year attempting to defend his beloved belt.
As noted, the match itself should be thrilling and a highlight of the undercard. Kofi can employ some of his spectacular high-aerial offense to wow the fans in attendance and the viewers at home. It also helps that Barrett is fast improving as a wrestler and will surely be able to hang with him in a lengthy match.
The result should give us an indication of where his future is headed. If Kingston can defeat Wade Barrett, it will mean that he is in good standing and that WWE remains firmly behind him, especially when we consider the recent reports (from F4wonline.com via WrestlingInc) that the company is high on Barrett and sees him as a future star.
A loss wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world, of course, but it would probably veer him off course once again. After so many stop-and-start pushes, this is the last thing that his career needs right now.
Of course, it’s also possible that Kofi’s show-stealing days are behind him.
Maybe it’s his still-rather-bland promo style or the fact that he’s been stuck in the mid-card for so long that fans simply can’t take him seriously anymore. But there seems to remains a certain “who cares?” feeling about him, even with his recent improvements.
Nonetheless, we should expect big things from Kofi at the pay-per-view. After all, he has a lot to prove—not only to the fans, but to himself.