Kofi Kingston speaks ahead of showdown with Brock Lesnar.
On the premiere episode of SmackDown on Fox, Kofi Kingston will defend his WWE Championship against Brock Lesnar. The two previously met in July 2015 in Japan with Lesnar tossing Kofi around for two-and-a-half minutes before putting him away. Four years later, Kofi is in a different position on the card as the WWE Champion, but Brock is still best known for taking people to Suplex City.
"I always say that the best storylines in wrestling hinge on reality," Kofi told Sporting News. "You look at, for example, when Brock Lesnar does a German suplex, it is way different than when anybody does it. Brock is reckless out there. People fall differently when Brock throws them. He's a beast in every sense of the word. People's worries — they're legitimate. They worry about me. They worry about people who go up against Brock Lesnar because they've seen what he's been able to do. In UFC, he was able to do his thing over there. He was also able to be a national wrestling champion in NCAA multiple times. He's dabbled in the NFL. Brock Lesnar is a legitimate beast.
"So when you figure that he's going to go up against somebody like myself who is not the stereotypical wrestler. When you think professional wrestler, you think WWE superstar. You don't think about a guy with skinny legs who has no inner chest. A guy who is barely over six feet (tall). You don't think about someone like me, somebody who doesn't weigh 225 pounds. You think of someone who looks like Brock. So not only do you have this story of David and Goliath, you have legitimate concerns. It's great from that level. You want people to be interested. You want people to have a little bit of nerves. You want people to see what's going to happen next. And the thing about me is that what I do is beat the odds. I love it when I'm underestimated, even from before I was signed with WWE. I told people this is what I wanted to do and everybody laughed at me. Everybody told me that I'd never make it because I wasn't tall enough, I wasn't strong enough. I didn't exude the "qualities" of a wrestling superstar exudes but, lo and behold, I've been able to work my way to the top. I've been able to not rely on my stature. I had to rely on being good. Being one of the best in the ring, being someone who can carry the load and now, fast-forward to all those people who doubted me back in the day, they ask me for autographs for their kids."
Since winning the WWE Title at WrestleMania 35, Kofi has been criticized by the likes of Jim Ross and Billy Graham for not being serious enough. Kofi scoffed at the notion that he can't have fun while carrying the most prestigious title in the promotion.
"For me, I like to do both. A lot of people online are like, 'Oh, I can't take you seriously because you're out there throwing pancakes. That's not what a champion is supposed to do.' For me, I'm trying to do a lot of different things. I'm trying to, No. 1, redefine what a champion looks like, what a champion is capable of doing, and how a champion has to act because if I'm going out there and throwing pancakes and dumping Booty-O's cereal on people and wearing unicorn horns, that's all fine and well because they are enjoying the show. That's the main goal. You're supposed to enjoy yourself when you come to a WWE show. And when that bell rings, I get out there and I handle business."
Kofi continued, "I don't think there's anybody out there who's beat me in a ring and is like, "Oh, I can't believe this guy." We saw at WrestleMania that people were so emotionally affected. I had so many people sending me videos on Twitter of them watching the match and emotional and crying and just so happy. And that's the goal. Myself, Woods and E, we can do both. We can do a lot of things and we do a lot of things well. We multitask and we show people that it's possible to achieve their goals and to do it while having fun and being yourself, most importantly despite what anybody thinks. You can have as much of an opinion as you want. At the end of the day, I'm still gonna do me. Outside the ring have fun, inside the ring take care of business.
"Setting that example for people is important. Going out and being the best champion that I can be is more than just being in the ring. It's being able to do go to a school and talk to children, go to an anti-bullying campaign and show kids tolerance and respect for each other's differences. It's going to hospitals for Make-A-Wish and putting a smile on a child's face who might be having a tough time. It's being able to go to a military base and say thank you to the armed forces and the people who are fighting for our freedom and put smiles on their faces. So it's about doing a lot of things. Myself, Woods, and E, we take a lot of pride in being able to do all of those things and wear all those hats. We just like to make people believe they can achieve their goals and also be themselves while doing it."
Fightful will have live coverage of WWE SmackDown on Fox beginning at 8 p.m. ET tonight, Oct. 4.