Because our first instinct is to rebuke McMahon, Gewirtz, and the entire WWE creative team for the massive “screw job” they’ve done to Monday Night Raw, oftentimes we are oblivious to the truly brilliant and creative stories that are unfolding every week.
As I sat down to write my second Bleacher Report article on professional wrestling, I knew I wanted to write it on Kofi Kingston. I have realized for quite some time that Kofi Kingston is an amazing athlete, a truly gifted performer, and beacon of hope for the company.
So, I set out on a search to uncover the intricacies of his character, to develop a greater appreciation for this talented man. What I discovered was the Kofi Kingston paradox that only works to deepen my respect for the man behind Kofi Kingston.
To us, Kofi Kingston is the high-flyin’ Jamaican who has done his country proud by becoming one of the most energetic and entertaining superstars on WWE’s Raw Brand. His athletic prowess rivals that of his contemporaries Shelton Benjamin and CM Punk, and he is known for flawlessly executing some of the most dangerous high risk maneuvers in WWE.
It doesn’t take much to see his undying enthusiasm and passion for sports entertainment shines through his contagious, pearly white smile that is only outdone by his charming Jamaican accent. He even adorns the vivid yellows and greens of the Jamaican flag on his ring gear that matches his profound pride in his Jamaican nationality.
The resulting package is clear: An extremely gifted athlete that passionately performs to the best of his abilities and who has immense pride in himself, his career, and his nationality.
His character mirrors the story of a Jamaican Olympian, an athlete who has come to a grand stage to apply his gifts in the name of his country. In fact, Kofi’s character is so sensational that I’m waiting for WWE Films to partner with Disney for the much anticipated “Cool Runnings 2.”
It is a testament to Kofi’s talents and passion for life and sports entertainment that he comes across as “The Pride of Jamaica” when in reality Kofi’s heritage lies far away in Ghana, Africa.
It’s hard to believe that a man that we tend to associate with sunny beaches, Bob Marley, and reggae music is actually a man whose roots are attached to an African country over 5,000 miles away.
And Kofi’s last name Kingston happens to be the capital of Jamaica. Kofi’s real name is Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah.
These brilliant contradictions bring a newfound appreciation for Kingston’s abilities as not only a performer, but also a marketer. To Kofi’s credit, most of his character was already created before he debuted with the WWE—So those of you that want to keep attacking Vince and his creative team for their poor planning and execution of storylines are in the clear.
But, it’s hard to argue against the fact that the WWE has done a great job marketing Kofi since his debut in January 2008. And one could argue that of all the wrestlers, Kofi has one of the most marketable images in the company.
What’s even more is that WWE has noticed Kofi’s vast abilities and given him successful title runs as Intercontinental and Tag Team Champion, respectfully.
His latest reign as United States champion is a testament to his being over with the audience, and one cannot help but see the brilliant contradiction in the layering that a man who was born in Ghana is playing a Jamaican who is a champion representing the United States.
Now, it seems that his U.S. Title reign may be in jeopardy as several Raw superstars have been gunning for the title shot. One can only wonder how long he can hold on to the title.
Champion or no champion, Kofi Kingston is definitely one of the most talented performers in the WWE: His control of his character has established a sense of realism about him, and Kofi is the epitome of being comfortable with oneself.
In the future, we’ll see where Kofi’s swashbuckling ways take him. Though we haven’t seen much character development out of him since joining WWE, one can only wonder when WWE pushes him on to bigger and better things what it will mean for Kofi, his image, and his longevity in professional wrestling.