Grading Kofi Kingston's Reign as WWE SmackDown Champion so Far

Graham GSM Matthews@@WrestleRantFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship reign has been nothing short of stellar on SmackDown Live so far.
Kofi Kingston's WWE Championship reign has been nothing short of stellar on SmackDown Live so far.Credit: WWE.com

At a time where fan interest in WWE's on-air product is arguably lower than it's been in many years, Kofi Kingston's remarkable reign as WWE champion has been among the bright spots on SmackDown Live since WrestleMania 35.

There was a period a few years ago when SmackDown was undoubtedly better than Raw in virtually every aspect, but that doesn't seem to be the case anymore. Due to the lazy Wild Card Rule, both brands have blended together, and we see a lot of the same Superstars on Monday and Tuesday nights.

Similar to Sami Zayn and Roman Reigns, Kingston is a part of that double duty group at the moment, yet he doesn't feel the slightest bit overexposed. In fact, he's been one of the most consistently entertaining and well-booked wrestlers as of late.

As brilliant as the buildup was to Kingston's WWE Championship clash with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania, fans were concerned that WWE (based off their less-than-stellar track record) wouldn't do the right thing and pay off the story properly.

Thankfully, the Ghana-born wrestler came through and won the prestigious prize on the grand stage. The "WrestleMania moment" succeeded in solidifying Kingston as a bona fide main event player after years of toiling away in the midcard scene.

It would have been easy for WWE to forget all about Kingston coming out of the Show of Shows or for them to have him drop the strap as soon as the post-WrestleMania SmackDown. To their credit, however, the company has done an exceptional job of keeping him strong over the past two months.

Credit: WWE.com

In terms of how he's been booked, Kingston deserves nothing less than an A in that department. It's actually refreshing to see the WWE champion positioned as the top guy on their own show and be treated as such by winning more often than not.

In fact, Kingston's last loss on WWE TV occurred back on the March 19 edition of SmackDown, when he was pinned by Bryan in a Gauntlet match. Bryan, AJ Styles and Jinder Mahal were all beaten fairly regularly during their respective reigns as WWE champion, but Kingston has been the exception so far.

It wouldn't be a stretch to say that Kingston is in possession of the most prestigious prize in the entire company right now, and not because it's been around the longest. Rather, Kingston's brings a certain level of importance and excitement to every one of his title defenses no other champion does.

From an in-ring standpoint, Kingston never ceases to deliver and earns an A in that department as well. Whether it's Raw, SmackDown or pay-per-view, he's in action more than most title holders.

While he hasn't headlined any pay-per-views while WWE champion, all of his championship matches have ranged from solid to stellar. It helps that he's had quality competitors to work with, including Styles, Sami Zayn, Kevin Owens, Bryan and Dolph Ziggler.

His opposition seems to gradually be getting tougher and tougher, and once he's finished with Ziggler, he should move on to bigger names such as Randy Orton and Roman Reigns to earn himself even more credibility.

The passion he exudes in his promos round out what has been an excellent title reign for him up to this point. Kingston always being involved in the talking segments that constantly open Raw and SmackDown isn't ideal, but whenever asked upon to cut a compelling promo, he more than does his part.

The New Day is as popular as they have ever been. Say what you will about their act growing stagnant, but with Kingston at the peak of his career at the moment, they will continue to prosper and be the greatest thing going on the blue brand.

It would have been almost impossible to envision Kofi Kingston as a thriving WWE champion one year ago, but through the power of positivity, he's been a proven success story and among the best-booked champions WWE fans have seen in some time.

         

Graham Mirmina, aka Graham "GSM" Matthews, is an Endicott College alumnus and aspiring journalist. Visit his website, Next Era Wrestling, and "like" his official Facebook page to continue the conversation on all things wrestling.

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