On Tuesday, March 19th, Kofi Kingston was put in a gauntlet match that saw him face not five, but six men in his pursuit for a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania. However, just when it appeared as though Kingston had finally overcome the odds, Vince McMahon came out to announce that Kofi would be going to WrestleMania if he defeated one…last…opponent. At that moment Daniel Bryan’s music hit and the man who had himself in the past been called a B+ player by management came out to face a battered and beaten Kingston who appeared to have nothing more to give. He was both mentally and physically beaten but gave whatever he had left in facing the current champion. Despite all the odds, Kofi appeared to have a chance here to succeed. He seemed to be on the cusp of winning it all just to have it snatched away from him by a running knee from Daniel Bryan.
This was just one of many roadblocks Kingston has had to endure in his quest to not only have a WWE championship opportunity but win the WWE championship. Shortly after that match, a WWE.com exclusive video was released that showed an irate Xavier Woods and Big E addressing the latest events and questioning if this is all really worth it. However, upset as the two of them were, Kofi was much calmer in comparison. In fact, regardless of how upset those around him pointing out how this entire situation is unfair, Kofi simply looks as though this isn’t new and has accepted the abuse put upon him as a given. It is interesting to note that in the end, it was the efforts of Woods and Big E that got Kofi into that title match, after running their own gauntlet. Last Word on Pro Wrestling recently pointed out that they could be introducing a potential racial element to this angle, and thinking about that, one has to wonder if it is or isn’t worth it in the end.
Option A: No, it isn’t worth it. Kofi should just admit defeat.
One train of thought that could overtake someone in a situation like Kofi has faced in this storyline is one of frustration. That regardless of how hard you work and how much you succeed, there is always someone or something preventing you from reaching your ultimate goals. In the case of Kofi Kingston, until the last six-to-eight week’s fans had not seen Kingston as a legitimate threat for a WWE singles championship. While much is made of his time with the company, does he have the charm of a Rock, athleticism of a Booker T, or the size of a Mark Henry? A number of wrestlers may just be content with holding the Intercontinental or United States Championship. And if this is the ‘reality era.’ as the company wants to go with, in the end, the good guy doesn’t always win. The princess isn’t always saved, the bad guys don’t always go to jail, good people die, bad people run countries. So in the case of Kofi Kingston, after giving his best efforts he could simply concede and be okay with what he has been doing. There is nothing wrong with watching a movie that doesn’t a happy ending. Often it’s not the ending we enjoy but the story told throughout the film.
Option B: Yes, it is absolutely worth it. Kofi needs to stick it to the establishment much like Daniel Bryan
The other argument that seems to be closer to popular sentiment is for Kingston to ultimately overcome all the obstacles and go to WrestleMania to face Daniel Bryan. When we think back to each of the obstacles standing in his way, they build a story of redemption that certainly generates interest from fans. Whether Kofi was overlooked because he was never seen as a threat, because of his size or his style, his temperament or his race, the story of his overcoming that it one that fans have gotten behind. Much has been made of Big E’s ‘people like us..’ statement, which implied that because of the color of Kofi’s skin he will never be more than what his boss allows him to be. And one of the least discussed comments was that Xavier Woods stated in the WWE.com exclusive interview that ‘we have options,’ perhaps alluding to the fact there are other wrestling/sports entertainment promotions out there.
And could the ‘just go home’ comment they made be in some way a direct reflection of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin‘s refusal to face Brock Lesnar on Raw many years ago? Recall that a few years ago what pushed Daniel Bryan into a WrestleMania title match was a protest, the ‘Occupy Raw’ movement. There was no ‘Occupy Smackdown Live’ movement, but instead, it seemed like within each promo given by the faces on the SmackDown Live roster they talked about Kofi. During the gauntlet episode, Kevin Owens and The Miz spoke how they are ‘with Kofi’. The Usos forfeited a match in order to benefit Kofi. In an era where presumably everyone aspires to be the most significant superstar on the roster, it was a homegrown superstar that everyone stood behind. It is rare to see superstars share their support for someone else’s success.
When looking at KofiMania and all that it entails, the true answer is that it can be both worth it and not worth it. The skillset that Kofi Kingston brings to a match is all the more worth watching when there is something greater at stake. Big E and Xavier Woods have shown their solidarity for Kingston in his plight, while the WWE Universe collectively held their breath. Now they hold their breath as they hope that the championship match between him and Daniel Bryan will be everything they want it to be. A hero facing adversity until the payoff makes the struggle all the more worthwhile. Despite a similar narrative to the Bryan one, but with key players being on different sides. It may very well be that KofiMania will be all that we want it to be.