Despite being one of the most popular and successful Superstars on the WWE roster, Kofi Kingston is still chasing his WrestleMania moment. At WrestleMania XXX in New Orleans, Kingston may very well capture it.
A native of Ghana, West Africa, who grew up in Boston, Kofi has been a stalwart within WWE since making his debut with the ECW brand in 2007. To call him decorated would be an understatement as "The Wildcat" has won the Intercontinental, United States and Tag Team Championships 10 times in all.
Perhaps the biggest thing missing from Kingston's resume, however, is a defining occasion on wrestling's biggest stage.
Like any sentimental Superstar, Kingston affectionately remembers the moment when he truly made it. That came in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXV, which he discussed in an exclusive interview with Bleacher Report.
I'd have to say my favorite moment of all, that I've had, was my initial WrestleMania because I've always been a fan of WWE ever since I was a kid and I've always wanted to be a WWE Superstar. Every time I would fantasize about having matches I would fantasize about myself having a WrestleMania match, so when that actually happened for the first time that was like my dream come true."
Although Kingston doesn't point to a particular moment in time that occurred during that match, the feeling that he had during it has clearly never left him.
I don't know if there was an actual moment in that match, but I remember I was lying on the outside. I had fallen out of the ring off of a ladder or something and I'm just lying there watching the show on the monitor, and just like, 'Oh my God, this is my dream.' And that was when it was real. It was actual reality.
Kofi may be pursuing his moment in the sun, but he is no slouch at WrestleMania. He has dazzled the WWE Universe in Money in the Bank matches twice at "The Show of Shows," including a memorable spot at WrestleMania XXVI that saw him use a broken ladder as stilts.
Even though Kingston has a penchant for standing out among the crowd, he still has the hunger to take center stage.
I think at WrestleMania you definitely want a singles match and not have to share the spotlight with other guys. Money in the Bank was awesome and (created) some of the cooler moments in my career, and it's awesome to make some memorable moments. But I think the ultimate goal is to have that singles match where it's just you and your opponent, all eyes on you two, and you're just telling a story and you're out there just tearing the house down.
With WrestleMania XXX set to take place at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on April 6, time may be running short when it comes to Kofi reaching his ultimate goal in 2014. That doesn't mean that "The Boom Squad General" can't steal the show on Bourbon Street, though.
Although Kingston has yet to be placed in a WrestleMania XXX match, he expressed interest in being part of the 30-man Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal after it was announced by Hulk Hogan a couple weeks ago:
Andre the Giant Memorial 30-man battle royal at Wrestlemania? @HulkHogan, I like your style! Where do I sign up?— Kofi Kingston (@TrueKofi) March 11, 2014
Kofi has yet to officially throw his hat into the ring, but he is certainly a natural fit.
I would love to get involved with that. Any type of Royal Rumble or battle royal I always look forward to because I usually get to do some pretty cool things. And then on top of that, just to be involved with a match dedicated to a man with the profile and the caliber of Andre the Giant, I mean, when you think about that it's awesome. I mean how cool would it be to be the first guy to win it? I think it would be really, really cool. (...) I haven't been officially announced into it but I am assuming that I'm going to be involved in it in some way, shape or form.
Whether it was by design or mere happenstance, Kofi has become somewhat of a marvel in battle royal situations. He is renowned for his "skin-the-cat" moments in the Royal Rumble especially as he has walked on his hands, used a chair and leaped from the crowd barrier to the apron in recent years:
Even if Kingston doesn't win the WrestleMania battle royal, it will be interesting to see what he devises next should he be involved. Regardless of whether Kofi wins or loses, he should have a golden opportunity to show off his skill set and creativity.
Kofi is as innovative as they come, and his Royal Rumble spots have been the product of inspiration from some unlikely sources.
I get inspired from all different kinds of places—cartoons, comic books, movies and things like that. And if I see it then I'll try to emulate it in the ring, and oftentimes you figure out why these moves are comic-books and movie-style moves because they can't be done. Most of the time I've thought of something I've found a way to make it work, and luckily it's actually worked out.
Kingston was unfortunately left off the card last year at WrestleMania XXIX in East Rutherford, N.J., so competing in any capacity at WrestleMania XXX would be a step in the right direction for the 32-year-old star.
Although being forced to watch from the sidelines last year was tough on Kingston, he was still able to take some positives away from the experience.
Last year, it was the worst. It was the worst thing of all time. Well, not the worst thing, because doing the pre-show panel I was able to do something that I hadn't really done before. And on top of that, being there with Dusty Rhodes and Mick Foley was amazing because they're two legends and I'm sitting there in between them just like, 'Oh my God.' It was a cool experience.
With that said, Kingston is hopeful that his WrestleMania XXX experience will be memorable for an entirely different reason.
When you're not (part of WrestleMania), it definitely is a blow to your ego because it's almost like you set out to be something that you didn't do. But it's also eye opening and motivating for the next year because you remember where you were at that point and you try to not end up there again. Hopefully with this battle royal situation I'll be able to get back in there and do what I love to do, because as WWE Superstars all you want to do is be on WrestleMania.
As one of the friendliest and most personable Superstars on the WWE roster, it is only natural that Kingston has portrayed a "good guy" or "babyface" for the entirety of his WWE career.
Some are of the belief that a change in character and attitude could advance Kofi's career. That remains to be seen, but a heel turn is something that Kingston is receptive to.
I've been clamoring at that for a while now, but the situation has to be right and the timing has to be right; everything has to be right. I wouldn't want to just do it for the sake of doing it because you might get lost in the shuffle that way. If the situation was right, it would give me a chance to do something completely different and show people a side of me they have never seen before, which I think would be great and I think would be fun.
Perhaps the biggest concern regarding a potential heel turn relates to Kingston's status as a great ambassador for the company outside the ring. Kofi is particularly selfless when it comes to charitable endeavors, so turning him heel might be a tough sell.
Because of the separation between a wrestler's character and actual personality, however, Kingston believes that he could make it work.
As far as the community involvement is concerned, I don't necessarily think that being a babyface or being a heel really affects that because, at the end of the day, people know that we're entertainers. We're very forward about that. We're very forthcoming about it and we let everyone know that what we do on TV is not necessarily who we are when we're at home. So you're still involved with the community and still doing community service and still going out and putting smiles on faces outside of the ring whether you're a babyface or a heel.
It is possible that a future heel turn could improve Kofi's WrestleMania standing in the future, but his desire to take part in "The Showcase of Immortals" has been present since long before his WWE career began. In addition to being a WWE Superstar, Kofi is also a fan of professional wrestling.
That much is apparent when Kingston talks about his favorite WrestleMania moment. While Kofi holds his Mania debut close to his heart, he has fond memories of attending WrestleMania XIV at the FleetCenter in Boston back in 1998 as well.
If I had to pick a (favorite) moment that wasn't necessarily mine I'd have to pick WrestleMania XIV when (Mike) Tyson punched out (Shawn) Michaels. I thought that was awesome because I was always a wrestling fan and WrestleMania XIV was the first time that I paid for my own ticket. I paid for my way to get there, I hadn't been to that many WWE live events and it was awesome to be able to do that and to be able to witness all of that and the anticipation leading up to it.
WWE fans have the luxury of watching WrestleMania XXX either via pay-per-view or the WWE Network. In addition to live pay-per-view events, fans are also able to go back and soak in their favorite moments in professional wrestling history.
Kofi can relive "Stone Cold" Steve Austin's WrestleMania XIV triumph over Michaels whenever he so chooses, and it comes as no surprise that a true fan such as Kofi is excited about the possibilities that WWE Network can offer.
The Network is fantastic. It's phenomenal first and foremost. From the perspective of having a 24/7 WWE streaming network it's amazing, and then on top of that having the on-demand aspect of it too. Nobody's ever done that. WWE is at the forefront of this technological advance. I think it's an awesome thing and an awesome era to be a part of.
WWE has always been about making memories, but with WWE Network now in place, Superstars like Kingston are more cognizant than ever of the fact that they can make history at any moment.
Fans currently utilize WWE Network to go back and marvel at the exploits of Austin, Michaels, The Rock, Hulk Hogan and so many others at wrestling's grandest event. Even Kingston himself partakes in the consumption of wrestling nostalgia.
Provided Kofi is given the chance to make his presence felt at WrestleMania XXX, there is little doubt that he will do everything in his power to ensure that he seizes the moment.
If he does, then it's entirely possible that Kingston will be the subject of WWE Network searches for many years to come.
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