Kofi Kingston Proving He Is Not a One and Done WWE Champion

Erik Beaston@@ErikBeastonFeatured ColumnistJuly 7, 2021

Credit: WWE.com

Kofi Kingston's fairy-tale run as WWE champion suffered a nightmare ending in October 2019 when he was squashed by Brock Lesnar on the debut episode of SmackDown on Fox. Since then, questions have persisted if Kingston was a one-and-done champion, a competitor who had his shot and was now destined to compete at or near the midcard for the remainder of his career.

The rivalry with Bobby Lashley over the WWE Championship on Raw, though, is proving that the 13-year veteran of the main roster has more than enough left in him for another sustained run as the central babyface on the company's flagship show.


A Connection With The Audience

The loss Kingston suffered at the hands of Lesnar should, in theory, have affected his standing with fans. It erodes credibility and threatens popularity. Kingston, though, has proved otherwise.

Perhaps it is his longevity and the output of matches he has been part of during his decade-plus run on the main roster. Maybe it is because of the entertainment value he and New Day teammates Xavier Woods and Big E have brought to the product. 

Whatever the case is, Kingston has remained a favorite of fans, allowing him to maintain the backing necessary to support a title run. 

It will be interesting to see how fans respond to him challenging Bobby Lashley in Houston at Money in the Bank. That pay-per-view will be the first with fans in attendance since WrestleMania, where Lashley was still fairly jeered as the heel in his match with Drew McIntyre.

Factor in that underdog presence Kingston has and his ability to get the fans to invest in his story, and you have reason to believe the crowd will be pro-Kofi come July 18. 

That fares well for his attempt to prove himself worthy of another run with WWE's most prestigious title. When you take into consideration his consistent in-ring work, you have all the reason to believe he can still succeed in a role suddenly and inexplicably stolen from him two Octobers ago.


Lack of Depth at the Top of the Raw Brand

If there's one thing benefitting Kingston in his return to the main event that has nothing to do with him or his abilities, it is the lack of babyface depth at the top of the flagship show.

Drew McIntyre has been in the WWE Championship picture since his Royal Rumble win in January 2020. He has been extraordinary, performing at the heights everyone would have wanted him to upon his ascension. The problem is there is a decided lack of credible babyface main eventers beyond him.

Riddle is evolving and growing into that role while Randy Orton is still kinda, sort of a heel. AJ Styles is a heel. 

Kingston benefits from Raw's lack of preparedness, bringing his skill set and undeniable popularity to a title picture that needs him as badly as he needs it. More importantly, Lashley needs him.

The current WWE champion has been strongly put over former champion after former champion in an attempt to legitimize him in that role. He beat The Miz to win the title, then former champions McIntyre and Braun Strowman to retain it.

Kingston represents another opportunity to announce to the world that Lashley is every bit the main event guy WWE is pushing him as. And in the process, that Kingston is not the one-and-done fluke champion that he has appeared to be since the Lesnar fiasco.

Kofi's promos have been straight fire, his in-ring work has been its typically strong self, and the fans will almost undeniably be behind him when he sets foot in the ring with The All Mighty.

While it does not appear likely that he will dethrone Lashley on July 18, it is time WWE starts looking at the most prominent member of The New Day and reinvests time and energy into him as a main event star. He has earned another look.