Kofi Kingston’s creativity can often overshadow the quality of his accomplishments. Kingston enters the 2023 Royal Rumble, an event where he has become a comedy cornerstone, on the heels of a unique WWE Hall of Fame accomplishment.
Kingston has been tasked with the unusual challenge of surviving eliminations in the annual event by the skin of his teeth since 2012. Kingston — playing a grown man’s version of the floor is lava — has pogo-sticked on an office chair, performed a handstand, been caught mid-air by Big E and more to delay defeat.
Kingston will participate in the 30-man Royal Rumble match at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas on Saturday and he’s expected to flex his creative muscles for another miraculous moment. While Kingston is the most prolific performer of the in-peril spot, he isn’t the originator. Dramatic survivals are tied to the fabric of the Rumble and before Kingston, John Morrison developed a reputation for his ability to narrowly avoid disaster. Kingston has a natural successor in mind, but he says the key to the role is rooted in thoughtfulness more than athleticism.
“Ricochet can do anything. I wouldn’t be surprised if he could fly or actually levitate in real life and just hasn’t broken it out yet,” Kingston said. “I’m so impressed with the way he’s able to move. Literally, in every single match, he is able to contort his body in every way possible. They’re literally video game moves. Off the top of my head, I’d probably say Ricochet. But really, it could be anybody. You don’t need to be a gymnast and super-duper nimble or agile to do what I do. It’s all about thinking of ways to do something unique.”
Check out the full interview with Kofi Kingston below.
Participation in this week’s major event, however, has overshadowed a much more significant milestone. Kingston and New Day teammate Xavier Woods captured the NXT tag team championships in December. As a result, Kingston is the first WWE superstar to become both a singles and tag team triple crown winner.
WWE recognizes a single’s triple crown winner as someone who captures a world title, tag team title and the intercontinental championship. A tag team triple crown winner must obtain the Raw, SmackDown and NXT tag team championships. Kingston is also one of only 27 Grand Slam champions in WWE history, acquiring three of the aforementioned singles titles as well as the United States championship.
“It’s crazy because it’s not something that you ever set a goal for,” Kingston told CBS Sports. “I’ve been really fortunate to have been around for so long. I’ve been able to do a lot of cool things, and I’ve had a lot of great opportunities, and luckily I’ve been able to seize most of them and make the most out of them. And here we are. This one feels really special too because I haven’t really been in the role of the old-school veteran.”
Kingston is channelling his longevity and success as a WWE superstar into an initiative supporting his homeland of Ghana, West Africa. Kingston and his mother, Elizabeth Sarkodie-Mensah, launched the CLICK (Computer Lab and Integrated Center of Knowledge) for Quality Education nonprofit organization and an accompanying GoFundMe to build computer labs and integrated centers of learning for junior high schools in Ghana, especially in deprived areas.
“I’m lucky because I have a direct link to Ghana because my mom lives there now, and obviously she’s been very connected there throughout the years,” Kingston said. “When she tells me about some of the opportunities that are lacking in Ghana, I’m just like, ‘Man, we in the United States, and all over the world, we take so many things for granted.’ I can pull out my cell phone and I can have access to any information that I want to have. To think there are some kids that have never seen a computer, who had never been to a library up until high school age, they didn’t even know what that was.”
Kingston will attempt to defeat 29 other superstars in this year’s Royal Rumble, one of the few prizes he has yet to capture, on the road to WrestleMania.