WWE Extreme Rules: ‘This is everything that I wanted,’ Kofi Kingston enjoying the pressure of being WWE champion
It has been a year to remember for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) star Kofi Kingston till now. The 37-year-old captured the imagination of the wrestling fans with his hard-fought performances and at Wrestlemania 35, he finally achieved his dream of winning the WWE Championship after defeating Daniel Bryan. In the process, he also became the first African-born wrestler to capture one of WWE’s most significant championship belts and his popularity has grown considerably in the last few months. However, he will be facing his biggest challenge till date when he defends his belt against Samoa Joe at Extreme rules and ahead of his fight, Hindustan Times caught up with him to talk about his meteoric rise, his transition from tag team wrestling and the pressure of being a champion.
Since your title win at Wrestlemania, you have become an idol for a lot of people because of your inspiring story. How are you dealing with that and does it come with extra pressure?
Winning the WWE Championship has been my dream for a very long time. But what motivates me more is to inspire people to go out and follow their dreams. I am living proof that if you work hard enough, you will be able to achieve anything and I take a lot of pride in what I have achieved.
What has been the biggest change since winning the title at Wrestlemania?
It’s the best feeling ever. I am very busy now but it is in the best way possible. Now, I have a lot of media interviews and a lot more singles matches than before. This is everything that I wanted when I joined the company and I won’t say that I am working harder but it is true that the work is way more.
How challenging was it for you to transition to singles matches after years of being a tag team?
It is different. I have been working matches with Big E and Xavier (Woods) for the last five years and tag matches are a completely different ball game. It took me a bit to time to get adjusted but my story has added a lot of chapters to itself and trust me, it is been different in the best possible way.
What is your head space ahead of your Extreme Rules match against Samoa Joe?
I am really looking forward to Extreme Rules. Samoa Joe is an opponent that I really wanted to face in the ring. There was a time when you never thought that you will able to see Samoa Joe in a WWE setting but that has changed and this can be considered to be one of my fantasy bookings. It is going to be one great challenge but I need to face the best and I know that I will emerge victorious.
Watch WWE Extreme Rules live and exclusive on SONY TEN 1, SONY TEN 3 (Hindi) and SONY SIX (Tamil, Telugu) channels on July 15 from 4:30AM