WWE superstar Kofi Kingston recently spoke with Shakiel Mahjouri from CBS Sports, where the former world champion spoke about the KofiMania movement that led to his biggest triumph with the company, winning the WWE title from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35. Highlights from the interview are below.
Says he wasn’t confident he’d win the WWE title at WrestleMania 35 until his music hit:
“There’ve been so many times where I’ve been told that something was going to happen. Then I show up at the building and it doesn’t happen for whatever reason. Things are always changing,” Kingston told CBS Sports’ Shakiel Mahjouri. “That two-month period was the perfect amount of time to just guide the fervor of the people. You knew that at WrestleMania, it was going to happen or the possibility became stronger. But it really wasn’t until I heard my music or when the promotional package right before the match came on, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is going to happen.’ I’m looking around making sure no one’s going to come up to me and be like, ‘Oh, well we just changed the plans. Sorry, we’re not going to go with you right now… You know, Brock Lesnar is going to come in in the middle of the match.’ You know what I mean? You just have no idea. The jaded old man in me, I wouldn’t allow myself to really fully emotionally invest in the possibility of actually becoming WWE champion because it was a childhood dream. I think I was scared to be hurt. To get my hopes up and be let down again. It really wasn’t until like moments before walking out that I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is really going to happen. If you watch the entrance, you see me. Woods and E are on my left and my right. I’m just jumping, using their shoulders to push myself up as high as I can because I finally was able to let that energy out.”
On what KofiMania means to him:
“Being the first African-born WWE champion. I had a lot of people of color who never thought that they would see that moment,” Kingston said. “So the fact that it was like on the cusp of actually happening was like, ‘Man, this is really powerful stuff.’ For an entertainment business, what we call entertainment, it has such a real effect on people. To me, that was like the best part of ‘KofiMania’ was being able to give people the payoff that if you work hard enough at something and you work long enough and you just put your whole ass into it, it can happen for you.Beyond race, it was a story of struggle. Somebody who did everything that they could do, brought unique skills to the ring and had the potential to be WWE champion, just being shortchanged for year-after-year-after-year-after-year and finally it was going to happen.”