WWE Champion Kofi Kingston on His Triumphant Year

Eric Goldman

Kofi Kington has had quite a year. As the WWE Champion told Fandom, “It’s been amazing. And I hope I don’t get too emotional talking about it. Just stars are literally aligning.”

Kingston, a member of the popular trio The New Day alongside Xavier Woods and Big E, wasn’t supposed to be the WWE Champ. In fact, he wasn’t even supposed to be in the title picture until fellow WWE Superstar Ali had to drop out of a gauntlet match and the subsequent Elimination Chamber Pay-Per-View in the leadup to WrestleMania due to an injury. But when Kingston took Ali’s place, the wrestling veteran — who had been a stellar performer for 11 years in the WWE — found himself receiving a huge push from fans, who felt that after so long, Kingston had more than paid his dues and deserved to go all the way to the top. Which is exactly what he did, ultimately winning the championship at WrestleMania from Daniel Bryan.

At San Diego Comic-Con, Kingston told Fandom just what a crazy, emotional few months this has been.

The Right Time

Kofi Kingston faces Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania

While fans lamented how long Kingston had to wait to become champ, Kofi remarked, “if I had won the WWE Championship earlier in my career, these eleven years wouldn’t have meant as much. On top of that, number one, if Ali doesn’t get hurt for Elimination Chamber, I’m not in the match. In fact, I don’t even know if myself, Woods, and E are even on the WrestleMania card. We had nothing going on, you know?”

Regarding it being the right time, Kingston explained, “The president of Ghana, where I was born, declared this year the Year of Return, where he invited all members of the Gandhian sports to come back to Ghana and get reunited with the motherland. Of all the years that he could have chosen, he chose this year that happens to be the year I win the WWE Championship. Of all the opponents I could have had, it happened to be Daniel Bryan, who was in the very same position I was in two years earlier where the fans were demanding that he be on WrestleMania. Stars just aligning.”

Listening to the Crowd

Kingston recalled how quickly it became clear the crowd was backing him when he found himself replacing Ali in that gauntlet match. “Going through it, the match was okay but the more we got to going through the fans were like ‘Oh, what’s going to happen here?’ And then at the time, Samoa Joe beat me up pretty bad. AJ Styles comes in and everything we’re doing is entertainment but there’s an element that’s very real. When AJ put his hand on my shoulder and was like ‘You don’t have to do this. You can walk away,’ it triggered something in me and I’m like ‘No, this is the moment I’ve been waiting for. What are you talking about? I’m almost offended you would even ask me that. For me to get to this point and be so close and you’re telling me to walk away.’”

Kingston continued, “Yeah, it’s a story but it’s a legitimate eleven-year journey. I’ve never had the chance to wrestle for the WWE championship. Then the fans started to feel that too and I could feel the fans come alive like ‘Yeah, this isn’t a storyline. He actually had to wait over a decade for this moment. We want this for him.’ Everybody was infused with this energy and we started marching toward WrestleMania. It was just an amazing feeling to have that impact on a group of people.”


Kingston had appeared at the Mattel / WWE panel at Comic-Con, where a new line of Masters of the Universe figures were revealed that featured MOTU versions of WWE superstars – including the multi-faced Man-E-Faces with the three faces of New Day members Kingston, Xavier Woods, and Big E!

Kofi Kingston shows off the new Masters of the Universe New Day/Man-E-Faces figure at San Diego Comic-Con

Said Kingston, with a laugh, about these toys, “What are we doing? What is this life? It’s so amazing. How could I have ever thought as a kid, watching Masters of the Universe and wanting these action figures? I remember I had Castle Grayskull. Something happened where it broke in half. I lost half of it for years and went back, found the other half so I only had the front half. So I have all these memories of He-Man and Skeletor and all these characters. Never had I imagined that one day I’d have an action figure associated with Masters of the Universe. It’s crazy and I’m so blessed to have this happen. And Man-E-Faces is the perfect action figure for the New Day because this is some stuff that we would do. There’s a picture of me and Xavier Woods squeezing into the same size large t-shirt where my arm is out the left and his is out the right and we’re doing dumb stuff like this. The whole foundation of the New Day revolves around us being one unit, so we are one body. It’s the perfect combination.”

To see our full interview with Kofi Kingston, including our conversation about The New Day’s love of breakfast food, check out the video at the top of the page!

Eric Goldman
Eric Goldman is Managing Editor for Fandom. He's a bit obsessed with Star Wars, Marvel, Disney, theme parks, and horror movies... and a few other things. Too many, TBH.