Kofi Kingston is not only WWE Champion, he’s also a Royal Rumble legend. Each January, the de facto leader of The New Day seems to do something nonhuman during the iconic 30-man over-the-top-rope match.
But how — and when — does Kingston come up with his latest unique and acrobatic way to avoid having both of his feet hit the floor, ensuring that he remains in the elimination match?
“I always have the mentality of like, if the idea comes, it comes, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t,” Kingston told TheWrap. “Luckily, for the past 12 years or 11 years or so, the idea just kinda comes.”
And he’s got partners in crime for the planning stages — but we’re not talking about fellow New Day members Big E and Xavier Woods.
“Hornswaggle usually is the guy who I go back and forth and brainstorm with,” Kingston said. “[He’s] my brainstorming buddy, we used to room together and travel together on the road when he was here.”
And then there is WWE’s vast creative team. They’re not sitting on their hands either (unless they’re practicing Kofi’s latest handstand recovery).
“Being the guy who has the ‘Rumble spots,’ per se … a lot of people will be thinking for me,” Kingston said.
Don’t be so modest, champ, you put yourself in that spot long before being in the title picture. It took the exit of another WWE high-flyer for Kofi to grab the brass ring on the outside of the 20×20 canvas-draped ring.
“I just saw it as a void — it was open — that needed to be filled,” Kingston said of his annual fan-favorite spots. “Especially after John Morrison left.”
Watch WWE’s own compilation of Kofi’s saves via the video above.
Of course, Kingston is now the big cheese as WWE Champion — he’s basically the face of the company. If he maintains the title, Kofi will be the target of those competing in the 2020 Royal Rumble, not the beloved underdog hopping around on barricades, chairs, and anything that’s not technically the floor.
For today, he’s got the gold — and he’s gunning for more of a different kind on Wednesday. Kingston, along with Roman Reigns, Ronda Rousey and Becky Lynch, is nominated for new ESPY Awards category “Best WWE Moment.”
See the details of their nods below:
BEST WWE MOMENT
Roman Reigns returns to WWE Raw, announces his leukemia is in remission
Becky Lynch wins both WWE Women’s Championship Titles at Wrestlemania 35
Kofi Kingston wins his first WWE Heavyweight Championship Title at Wrestlemania 35
Ronda Rousey defeats Alexa Bliss at Summerslam 2018 to win her first RAW Women’s Championship Title
Don’t feel bad if you didn’t vote for Kingston. As feel-good as his own story is, Kofi knows he has to do the job (in non-wrestling parlance, lay down) this year for Reigns.
“If I’m being honest — I voted for Roman!” he told us.
So did we, pal, so did we.
USA Network’s “SmackDown Live” starts Tuesdays at 8/7c and concludes two hours later. The ESPYs kick off exactly 24 hours later on ABC. On Sunday, Kingston will put his belt on the line at WWE pay-per-view “Extreme Rules,” where he’ll take on Samoa Joe.