Kofi Kingston opens up on his journey to WrestleMania.
It's been a wild ride for Kofi Kingston over the last month. On Feb. 12, Kofi was announced as the replacement for Mustafa Ali, who suffered an injury the week prior, in the upcoming Elimination Chamber contest. On that night, Kofi turned in an hour-long gauntlet performance, eliminating Daniel Bryan, Jeff Hardy, and Samoa Joe before losing out to AJ Styles. That performance, along with his performance inside the Elimination Chamber, turned Kofi into the biggest babyface on SmackDown, giving him a wave of momentum that could see him challenge for the WWE Title at WrestleMania 35.
However, Kofi hasn't lost sight of the fact that none of this may have come to fruition had it not been for Ali's injury.
“So, apparently, we’ve gotten our name [New Day] on his radar which is a great thing if you ask me. To be able to go toe-to-toe with Vince McMahon on the mic is something that I never thought that I would do as a kid. You set goals for yourself as a kid and you want to be a WWE superstar, but this is one that you don’t really see coming. And it kind of came out of nowhere, this whole angle,” Kingston said during a media call (via TalkSPORT). “If Mustafa Ali doesn’t get hurt, I don’t know if I’m even on the card for WrestleMania.”
Kofi continued, discussing his relationship and admiration for Ali.
"We texted back and forth and I – number one – it’s always a terrible situation when somebody gets hurt and not able to perform because we as WWE superstars, that’s all that we want to do and a guy like Mustafa Ali has worked so hard," said Kofi. "He’s been wrestling on the independent scene as long as I have, maybe even longer. And then to get to WWE and be on 205 Live, and fight your way there and fight your way into the title picture there and then fight your way onto the main roster on SmackDown and have it come to an abrupt halt – and I say halt because it’s not an end for him by any means – but to have it come to a halt at the expense of an injury is always unfortunate. I told him – and he knows – that his future is very bright, he’s one of the guys that I’d watch on 205 Live and be like ‘wow, this guy is pretty incredible’. The things he can do with his body, the stories he’s able to tell, the emotions he’s able to portray and the way he’s able to connect with the WWE Universe is a very special thing. He has a bright future for sure and I knew that when I replaced him, oddly enough, I knew I would be able to deliver in a way that I thought wouldn’t disappoint him. Because, for him to be in that position, to watch somebody take his spot and, god forbid, I would have had a terrible performance? Now, he feels even worse! It wouldn’t have done him justice if I would have had a bad outing.”
Kofi was poised to get his WWE Title match at WrestleMania after running the gauntlet on Tuesday's episode of SmackDown Live, but Vince McMahon had one more trick up his sleeve. After defeating The Bar, Samoa Joe, Rowan, and Randy Orton, McMahon revealed that Kofi would have to defeat Daniel Bryan to earn his title shot. Unfortunately, Kofi could not get by Bryan, leaving KofiMania without its star.
On the subject of where his story is going, Kofi said, "Well, it’s tough to say what the story needs and what it doesn’t need, I think we’re all on this wild ride together. And the fact that Vince McMahon feels the need to interject definitely speaks volumes to the impact this situation has had on the WWE Universe. Because Vince doesn’t trouble himself with matters that aren’t really worth his time."
As of now, Kofi is not scheduled for a match at WrestleMania 35.