Interview By: Joseph Hett
WWE Superstar Kofi Kingston recently spoke with Music Recall Magazine from Tampa, FL. He took the time to chat with us in the middle of his workout on a rare day off. Check out MRM’s exclusive interview with Kingston below.
WWE Monday Night Raw will be at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena in Greenville, SC on Monday, May 12 at 7:30pm. It will be for the live worldwide television broadcast of Raw!
Tickets are still available and can be purchased at Ticketmaster.com, the Bon Secours Wellness Arena box office or by calling 1 (800) 745-3000.
MRM: How big of a change was it moving from Ghana, West Africa to America in your youth?
Kingston: Yeah, well definitely, I mean I was very young so I don’t really remember how much of a change it was, per se, but I did get a chance to go back when I was in about sixth grade. And it is definitely a lot different in terms of, you know, just way of life. But the cool thing now is that the WWE is actually televised over there. So it’s really cool to know that the people from my home country are getting to see me on TV.
MRM: Could you speak about your time at Boston College?
Kingston: Well, I studied communications, and I concentrated on advertising, which I use everyday being a WWE Superstar. There are so many things that we do outside of just wrestling in the ring. You have to be aware of how to promote yourself, how you want yourself to come across to the crowd, and how you want them to receive you. And all the skills that I’ve learned in college – really, even making my gear, you know, I design all of my stuff, and I pick out all of my colors and all of that. So I have a very good idea of how I want to present myself as a product to the WWE Universe. So anyone out there who thinks you don’t have to go to college to be a WWE Superstar – they’re wrong. Everything that I’ve learned in college I’m definitely applying to my job today.
MRM: When did you know you wanted a career in pro wrestling?
Kingston: Well, I don’t quite recall an actually moment, but I’ve always been a fan ever since I was a little kid. I used to have a Bugs Bunny doll that I would practice all of my moves on. And I would watch Saturday Morning Superstars with hopes of one day becoming one of those guys on the TV. And you fast forward a few years – for me I was always told like I wasn’t big enough, or I wasn’t strong enough, and I was never going to make it, and I wasn’t tall enough. You know the same people that doubted me way back in the day are asking me for autographs and pictures for their kids. And I’m glad to give it to them. And let everyone out there know that if you have a dream and you believe in yourself it will come true if you are willing to work for it.
MRM: How were you discovered by the WWE?
Kingston: Well, I actually started training in up in Boston. The Chaotic Training Center was the name of the facility. And we actually had a tryout up there. At the time I was a Jamaican guy, I was doing a Jamaican gimmick. And it was very unique and had never been seen before within the realms of WWE. And they liked what they saw – that in combination with being a decent athlete and a ridiculously handsome guy. I mean they just wanted me on their roster. So lo and behold here we are.
MRM: So it was your idea to be a Jamaican character?
Kingston: Oh yeah, definitely. It was something that I came up with on the independent scene. It was funny because I was kind of just joking around in one of our classes. And then everyone in the class was like “oh, you have to do that, it’s so entertaining.” So that’s the route that I went. And like I said I don’t have any regrets about it or anything because it was what got me noticed. One of the main things about being a WWE Superstar is having an ability to stand out. We have a lot of different people on the roster – whether it be your size, your look, your attitude, the way you talk, your athletic ability – you have to find a way to stand out. And if you’re able to do that then you do have a shot at being a WWE Superstar.
MRM: You have held several titles in your career. Does any title reign stand out as being most special to you?
Kingston: I mean they’re all great. The one that I had first, the Intercontinental Championship. You know that I’ve said before, I have always been a WWE fan growing up. My favorite guys were the ones that held the Intercontinental Championship: Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat, Rey Mysterio, Chris Jericho, who I actually beat to become Intercontinental Champion. That was the first title that I ever held – I mean on the indies and through developmental. It was the first championship that I ever held. And I don’t think that there’s anything more special than your first. So if I had to pick one, I think that first title reign would be the one.
MRM: Is there a WWE World Heavyweight Championship run in your future?
Kingston: Definitely man! Look, that’s the goal. I think being a WWE Superstar – if you are not trying to be the best then you probably shouldn’t be on the roster. I’m always trying to get better and better every single day. One of the telltale signs that you are the best is being the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. So that is definitely the goal, and that’s what I work towards every day
MRM: Have you finally run out of tricks to keep your feet from hitting the floor during over the top rope battle royals?
Kingston: Well, I’ll guess we’ll find out. I usually don’t think about what to do until like 24 hours before. I don’t put any kind of pressure on myself to come up with anything. Normally it just kind of happens when I have full faith that it will happen. And if it doesn’t, then it won’t. But I don’t really put any kind of pressure on myself to come up with any kind of like impressive deals to stand out. I think the ultimate trick of not having your feet hit the floor would be to actually win it. Like I said, that’s my goal.
MRM: What are your thoughts on a potential character change?
Kingston: Well, I think character development is definitely very important in terms of longevity in the WWE. The guys who last the longest are the guys who have a rollercoaster of just personality and different stories and where it takes you. I have no idea what the future holds. I think it would definitely be fun to explore some other options. But until then, I’ll do whatever the company asks of me and be wherever they need me to be. Just take it one day at a time and see what happens.
MRM: Could you tell us about the new WWE Network? And what do you like most about it?
Kingston: Oh man, I just love the complete accessibility of everything. You have so much access to so much material. I mean going back to being a fan for so long – I can go on the network, and I can look at old WCW pay-per-views, the old ECW pay-per-views, the old WWE pay-per-views. And even now I’ll get all of the pay-per-views that we have coming up and going forward. And the best thing about it is that it’s only $9.99 a month. You know you get so much for so little. I mean it’s a no brainer. If you are a guy who goes out and orders all the pay-per-views monthly from your local cable companies – I mean that’s like $40 per, you know? You’d be a fool not to spend the $9.99 a month – that’d be like 25% of what you’d be paying. It’s just a no brainer. It’s an awesome deal, and you get so much material – just different reality shows and all of that. So I think it’s a really cool thing. I wish I would have had that when I was growing up. I probably would have never left the house because I would have been watching wrestling all day.
MRM: What can fans expect in Greenville, SC when Monday Night Raw rolls into town? Since the WWE is the best value in entertainment.
Kingston: Yeah, it definitely is the best value in entertainment. We are the longest running episodic television series ever – being Monday Night Raw. So there is a reason for that because it is highly entertaining from every single week to week. It’s just entertaining. If you’ve never been to a show live, I mean you have to go. It’s a little bit different than what you see on TV. It’s like a rock concert with the loud music and different types of music. And then it’s like a fireworks show with all of the pyrotechnics and all that. And then you get to go see guys as big as The Big Show, you get to see guys as athletic as myself, Daniel Bryan is going to be there continuing the Yes Movement and Randy Orton. It’s just an awesome show all around. Just complete entertainment from top to finish. And definitely a memory that people will never forget for the rest of their lives.
MRM: Thanks for calling Mr. Kingston and see you in Greenville on May 12!
Kingston: Right on! Thank you very much!