Mark Henry: Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship Inspires Young Black Wrestlers

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistApril 18, 2019

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 05: WWE Superstar Mark Henry attends the WWE Superstars For Hope Reception on April 05, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Brian Ach/Getty Images for WWE)
Brian Ach/Getty Images

Kofi Kingston's victory over Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 was not only the culmination of a compelling story but also a historical moment for WWE.

Kingston became the first African-born WWE champion when he defeated Bryan, a result that Mark Henry believes will cause a ripple effect for professional wrestling.

"Fifteen years from now there might be another two or three black wrestlers that come into the industry, and they were inspired by Kofi Kingston," Henry said in an interview with TMZ Sports. "It's a powerful thing to have representation, and it's also a powerful thing to be able to see somebody that looks like you, and have them tell you first hand the struggle and what it took for them to get there."

The gravity of the moment wasn't lost on Kingston's fellow members of The New Day, and their emotion was evident when they gave a post-match interview to Cathy Kelley.


HE. HAS. DONE IT! @TrueKofi HAS WON THE #WWEChampionship at #WrestleMania!!! https://t.co/nrn2a8kSLm

The irony of Kingston's triumph is it largely fell into WWE's lap by accident. 

Kingston was a replacement for the injured Ali in the six-man Elimination Chamber match in February. A groundswell of support emerged in the days leading up to the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view, and the overwhelming cheers for Kingston made it clear he was the ideal opponent for Bryan at WrestleMania.

The stars aligned to create a memorable encounter that may have never happened if Ali competed in the Chamber match.