Former WWE Champion Kofi Kingston talks about his title loss to Brock Lesnar, says ‘ would have liked for it to end differently’
The push of WWE veteran Kofi Kingston came out of nowhere. Initially, Mustafa Ali was booked to be the ironman in the Gauntlet match on SmackDown but he got injured and Kofi grabbed his opportunity with both hands. All the cards were stacked against him and Kofi continued to defy the odds. McMahon recognized a WrestleMania moment and approved Kofi’s push at the top. Kofi winning the WWE Championship at WrestleMania 35 remains one of the greatest moments of the WWE history.
However, despite being one of the most dominant champions, the end of Kofi’s reign ended with a whimper. On SmackDown’s debut on Fox, Kofi lost the WWE Championship in under ten seconds to Brock Lesnar.
There was a massive outcry over the booking of Kofi’s loss to Lesnar, with fans criticizing Vince McMahon for favouring Brock over a legitimate fan favourite. Kofi has also admitted he wanted a different end to his title reign.
“I will say this: It was actually closer to eight seconds, not six,” Kofi corrected. “Those two seconds are a big difference in track and field [laughing]. I was in the same boat as a lot of people. When I found out that it was going to end the way that it did, I had a different version. But at the end of the day, we are charged with going out and playing the role, and that’s really all we can do,’ Kofi told Sports Illustrated.
“I was so blessed to have had the WWE Championship. The way that it came about, everything was just so serendipitous. From me having to wait 11 years to get a single title shot, then I was finally able to achieve the dream against a guy like Daniel Bryan, who was in the very same role as me five years before when the people were demanding he become WWE Champion.”
Kofi also expressed his happiness in the fact that he was able to inspire a lot of young people to follow their dreams.
“It was the year of returns,” he said. “The President of Ghana named that year ‘Year of Return,’ and that happened to be the year I won the championship and could go back to Ghana with the championship. I was able to show that championship to children all over and show them the most prestigious title in the history of wrestling, and motivate people that way. People who had been through any kind of struggle were able to look at my story and really believe they could do something because I actually did it. People of color, same thing.
“It’s one thing to say, ‘Anything is possible,’ but it’s another thing to say it’s possible because it happened. I take a lot of pride in being the guy that everyone can look to. Yes, it ended in eight seconds. But I was thankful that everything unfolded the way that it did. It was picture-perfect from the gauntlet match to the Elimination Chamber, all the way through what people called ‘KofiMania.’
“I try not to dwell on the way that it ended. Six months is a very long title reign in this day and age, and I was able to motivate people and push people to be the best version of themselves. At the end of the day, that’s really all I want to do in this industry. I want to push people to follow their dreams, and I feel like I did a great job of that in that title reign. That’s what I focus on. I would have liked for it to end differently, but at the end of the day, you go out and do the job you’re asked to do.”