async src="//"> The Wrestling Chronicle: Wake Up and Smell the Kofi

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Wake Up and Smell the Kofi

The Dreadlock Dynamo or the The Deadlock Maestro?

You can talk with any WWE fan and they will most likely tell you, in one form or another, that Kofi Kingston is one of the top midcard guys currently on the roster. After asking some opinions this week I've found out that a large number of people can see he is stuck under a 9ft glass ceiling however he does have a sledgehammer of skill but for some reason he still isn't smashing through, he's just seemingly chipping away at it.

Kofi made a some-what awaited debut in early 2008 on WWE's ECW through a couple of vignettes depicting him as some kind of chilled, vigilante rasta, beach ninja from Jamaica. His debut match saw him go toe to toe with some sort of Tomko - Christopher Daniels hybrid experiment. The match it self went on for just under five minutes and Kofi kinda got the crowd behind him, as much as a debuting lower card guy really could. His move set looks familiar to what see we from him today on the most part, which is by no means a put down, he is a great new generation ring worker.

As the weeks and months passed Kofi continued to add win after win to his record, with a slight set back during a Wrestlemania battle royal, discounting the battle royal elimination, he went on undefeated for around four months, until Shelton Benjamin handed him a loss after a series of matches between the two. During this time a big group of us WWE fans were happy to see someone quite fresh and exciting with good in-ring skill and the ability to create decent match spots enter the fray. The WWE looked to be on to a good thing with the "first Jamaican" superstar.

Kofi was not just a young fresh face within the WWE, he had and still maintains a Mysterio-esque effect with the young audience, a brilliantly acrobatic everyday move set, uncanny use of his surroundings and his body to create match stealing spots and just all round nice guy appeal. WWE actually took notice of this and shifted Kofi from the shambles of the new ECW to Raw, all to predictable that he would end jobbing, but wait! What's this? Quicker than a thunderclap he had beaten Chris Jericho, on PPV for the Intercontinental Championship. However this rolling stone seemed to gather some moss, he was used sparingly through his reign and didn't even appear on following PPVs as IC champ. The real telling of how WWE felt about his reign came at that years annual SummerSlam PPV, when he lost the strap to the pairing of Glamarella in a inter-gender, winner take all tag match. If that were the injury, the insult came in the fact that it was his partner Mickie James was pinned for him to lose his championship.

Now at the time of writing Kofi has won an amazing 10 championships in singles and in tag, but one thing remains relevant through almost each one of these reigns. Kofi seems to have suffered from start-stop pushes and lack of commitment, WWE seems unsure about him or at least what to do with him. This is very evident just by looking at the fact that WWE's "first Jamaican Superstar" became WWE's "first Ghanian IC champ" and by looking at his tag team championship reign with CM Punk, they lost their Tag Team Championships at a house show, to show that live events can be just as 'unpredictable' as their TV tapings. Another example of this came almost a year into his WWE career. He was making his way to the ring, at No Way Out, Elimination Chamber match when he was physically trashed from the match by Edge. Poor old Kofi literally got his foot in the door of main eventing and was then relegated to floundering around and buffing out multiman matches.

The summer of '09 saw him in an established US championship campaign. After defeating the Hip-Hop step-son of Flash Funk, MVP, Kofi went on for a credible four month reign which saw him defending the title on PPV and TV alike. Now, you must of seen one or two wrestlers drop a midcard title to elevate into maineventing, and that is just what Kofi seemed to do. The US title reign seemed to transition into a top tier feud with a revamped Orton. Kofi dropped the US title and even the Jamaican accent to become a maineventer. It was briefly explained that Kingston put the accent on as tribute to his ancestors. The feud was filled with run ins, backstage segs and all kinds of tag matches due to Orton affiliating with Rhodes and DiBiase to form Legacy. Victories were exchanged through out this feud, with Orton ultimately coming out on top. So what would be next for the performer who performs at such a high level? Not much at all is the answer, he slipped back into floundering division....(That division needs its own championship)

After a bit of this and a bit of that Kofi was drafted over to Smackdown where again, quick as a Mark Henry match on Raw, he was involved in winning the vacated IC Championship, until Drew McIntyre came out with a sick note from Vince McMahon, of which immediately stripped Kofi of the gold and returned to the Scot.

Again with the stop-start!

His next feud would be againt the show off Dolph Ziggler. The two battled around the Intercontinental strap in what could be considered a lengthy but sometimes repetitive battle over a six month period. However this feud was started and finished in a nice traditional way. I believe it started with a match on Raw and was just so enjoyable that WWE honchos turned it into a feud and the finish came when Dolph beat Kingston for the IC title on a PPV and then cemented that victory on the following Raw with another win. I feel thats the one of the best ways to start and end any rivalry. Then came the all too familiar Kofi Kingston floundering until he won the Tag Team championship again, this time with Evan Bourne. The team was solid, Bourne was not. He was suspended due to Wellness Policy issues and Kofi floundered....again. Only after losing the a live event....again.

You can see the problem here now, surely? Kofi seems to never get out of the starting blocks for too long before he is lost in the 'Universe' that is WWE.

So what can be done with Kofi? It all seems 1 step forward and 6 leaps back for him. He can carry titles, opponents and even entire matches but cant seem to hang on to momentum for long enough to get through that glass ceiling. It seems that WWE doesn't plan ahead when it comes to Kofi, where as other talent leave one feud because another has already started or they just move on to other things (not floundering). Kingston's work has continued to improve over the years, his ring work just gets sharper and his mic work is perfectly acceptable to let him go for a couple of minutes at a time for sure. There has been rumblings of taking him into Heelsville soon, which I feel could really make him stand out. 

After reaching out to people and asking how they feel about this, most thought it would be a good thing for him. He could really play up to his own misfortunes. He could come out and proclaim a number of things have held him back and now he's bored of waiting around for chances and opportunities, he is just gonna make his own destiny and take what ever it is he wants from who he wants. By doing this he seems renegade and could stop hamming up to the live crowd and stop positive fan interaction. He could even work over a returning Evan Bourne, blaming him for his career hurdles since the split.
Maybe he doesn't even need the heel turn, people still remain interested in Kingston in spite of his misdirection or no direction. This week I asked my Twitter followers to describe Kofi in three words.

@TheSteveDawson said, Hit. Glass. Ceiling.
@BritishBodyslam went with talented, underultilized and underrated. 
@Abbottude chose underrated, athletic and decorated
@ShaneHelmsCom simply said United States Champion
And @BunnySuicida went with Needs Wins Badly

From these comments you can see that no one thinks that Kofi Kingston is a useless talent or a waste of TV time, rather just the opposite. People want to see more of Kofi in more prominent roles on WWE TV, it clearly doesn't have to be around World Championships or even main events nor will it take a heel turn. After all some turns are just that, turns. All that Kingston seems to need is a good lengthy plan of attack (some people will call it long term booking) so he can go from one feud to another with out that dreaded floundering nonsense inbetween angles.  Surely it couldn't be that hard to put maybe 3-4 angles on the cards for him, that could easily take him through one calendar year with out floating about aimlessly. 

This year could be his year. He started of doing his usual Rumble spot, went through his normal dry patch then after a couple of back to back victories, he ended up besting Cesaro for the US title. A title that was held for 240 days by Cesaro, so should now carry a touch importance. So far, as of writing, the US title still doesn't have huge amounts of drawing power but this could be a good chance for Kofi to mix things up. Let's say our current flavour of the moment, The Shield, go on to become Tag Team Champions. That it self would be really good and only add more fuel to The Shield's tank, but then imagine them going for singles gold. There is three of them, so could it be considered there is room for another title? So think, it could be Ambrose and Rollins keeping the tag belts warm and Reigns going for singles gold. Have Reigns go after Kingston and as he would say himself. BOOM! Instant mainevent level angle with out actually taking anything away from Ziggler or Cena. 

This is just an idea, not a leaked script or even a rumoured angle, it is just a way to help elevate him through his current status. 

Will WWE ever have the full commitment to get behind this man? Just like many others I would love for Kingston to get the push and spot, he not only deserves but is more than capable of. Many fans think he is ready, and if that is what matters to WWE, maybe they will wake up and smell the Kofi.

Written By: Tony Warner

You can read more of Tony's work over on his wrestling blog, King Bingus Wrestling and you can also follow him on twitter @KingBingus.
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