FATP: Is Kofi Kingston mid-card 4 life?
Thanks for joining me for this week’s edition of FATP, which is exclusive to PWMania.com. Welcome along for the ride. I got a lot of great feedback about last week’s article, where I talked about the curse of the WWE United States Championship. The general consensus was that it does seem to be a title that’s just given to wrestlers that WWE have no clue what to do with.
It’s quite ironic that the United States Championship ties in to what I want to talk about today. I’m beginning to wonder if Kofi Kingston is destined to be mid-card 4 life? In case you missed it, Kingston pinned Antonio Cesaro on Raw this week to become the new United States Champion. Poor Kofi. He must wonder what the hell he’s got to do to get away from WWE’s very own Bermuda Triangle, i.e. the mid-card.
He’s been on the main roster for over 5 years now and in that time, aside from a couple of months where he feuded with Randy Orton, Kofi has spent the majority of it in the mid-card title scene. He’s a 4-time Intercontinental Champion, a former World Tag-Team Champion (with CM Punk), a 2-time WWE Tag-Team Champion (once with Evan Bourne and once with R-Truth) and thanks to Monday night, he’s now also a 3-time United States Champion.
I said it last week and I’ll say it again. For the last few years, it’s felt like WWE just dish out the United States Championship to wrestlers that they have no plans for. It’s as if they think “give him the belt. It’ll give him something to do”. I might be wrong here, but I don’t think anyone cares who the US Champion is, or even about the belt for that matter. It’s just an entirely pointless title. It rarely gets showcased. The champion barely gets any TV time and if he does, he ends up being pinned in non-title matches all the time.
I really don’t know why Kofi Kingston isn’t a bigger star. He’s clearly marketable. He’s a talented guy who puts on very decent matches and he connects with the crowd. At a time when WWE are crying out for new, fresh main-event stars, it confuses the hell out of me why Kingston has never gotten that chance. If you believe what you read on the internet, Kofi’s push in late 2009/early 2010 was derailed because he “botched” (I hate using/hearing/seeing that word) a finish to a singles match with Orton on Raw, where Kingston’s position in the ring made it easy for the fans to tell what was coming. So what? It didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the match did it?
Apparently, Orton threw a bitch-fit backstage and Kofi’s push ended there and then. During that whole feud with Orton, Kingston was on fire. He was getting louder reactions, great TV time and his promos were getting better. It still seems a bit harsh to me that Kingston’s push was derailed for making a mistake where nobody got injured or hurt, but I guess that’s what WWE’s problem is. They tend to hold grudges against wrestlers who aren’t perfect. The likes of The Miz, Drew McIntyre and Alex Riley are just a few who’ve fallen foul of backstage politics and had pushes de-railed. It’s absolute nonsense on the part of WWE if you ask me.
It’s not as if Kingston can’t get it done in the ring. He clearly can. There’s something else I’ve noticed as well. Just watch the next time WWE want to make a heel challenger for either world title look good. More often than not, you’ll find them in the ring with Kingston. Why? Because they know he can make the heel look as dominant as they need to. Kofi makes it look like he’s a capable threat, but the heel overcomes him in the end.
Of all the guys on the roster who haven’t yet had that “main-event” level push, Kingston deserves it. He deserves to at least have a shot at reaching the next level. I’ll give you an example of what I mean.
Remember when John Cena was injured back in September/October last year and WWE had to change their main-event plans heading in to the Hell in a Cell PPV? When Cena announced his injury in September, Kingston was, once again, floating around in the mid-card, where he seems to always find himself. At that stage, Ryback hadn’t been thrust into the main-event and they were teasing a feud between Miz and Ryback.
If it were down to me, I’d have kept Ryback and Miz together and put Kingston up against CM Punk. Why? There’s a couple of reasons, mainly because I felt Ryback hadn’t been established enough to be considered a PPV headliner, but also because of Kingston’s chemistry with CM Punk. They’d worked together before and had some great matches, and they’re both friends off-screen. If there was a guy for Kingston to get that shot against, it would’ve been Punk. Between them, they would have made it work and the match, or matches, would have been great. That could have been the point where Kingston broke through into an upper mid-card/main-event guy. Instead, WWE went with Rob Van Goldberg in that spot and Kofi got what he always gets (which isn’t always what he deserves) – another mid-card title run.
It’s gotten to the stage now where I just don’t believe that Kingston will ever get that push. For some bizarre reason, WWE seem hell-bent on keeping Kingston down and I just can’t see why. Kofi is a guy who deserves a shot to see if he can be one of “the guys”. He’s been around long enough to earn it. If he gets the shot and it doesn’t work out, then fine, but we’ll never know unless he gets a chance.
We’re heading towards Money in the Bank time. As far as I can tell, there’s no reason why Kingston shouldn’t be considered, if not favourite, to win that prize. He can do it. The fans would pop for it, like they did when Christian won the World Championship a couple of years ago. If WWE don’t give Kingston this shot, then I’ve got a funny feeling that he’ll end up being like another talented athlete who should have got his shot in WWE too – Shelton Benjamin. WWE dropped the ball with him and I’ve got a funny feeling that they’re going down the same route with Kingston. A talented, marketable, credible wrestler who can connect with the crowd and have great matches, but for whatever reason, was never given the chance to hold a major singles title.
I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether Kofi Kingston is mid-card for life. Does he deserve that main-event level shot, or is he just destined to stay in the Bermuda Triangle of the WWE (also known as the mid-card)? You can let me know by either leaving a comment below, or sending me a tweet @george_sltd. That’ll do it for this week. Keep checking PWMania.com for the next edition of FATP. Until then, thanks for reading.