Did you hear that reaction from the crowd in Houston’s Toyota Center last night (Feb. 17)? You probably heard it in your living room, too, because I don’t know any wrestling fans who weren’t gasping, shouting and groaning with every move and nearfall from the end of the Elimination Chamber main event as Kofi Kingston tried to seize his moment and beat Daniel Bryan for the WWE title.
If social media made a sound, well, it would probably be a fart noise. But that’s besides the point. Twitter is still a-twitter with people calling for last night to serve not as the end of a Kingston/Bryan feud, but the start of one.
Allow me to join in the chorus.
Why the 37 year old deserves it is well-covered ground, at this point. Kofi’s done a little bit of everything for WWE since vignettes heralding his arrival began airing on the SyFy version of ECW back in 2007. He’s a sure fire Hall of Famer whose only a run with Raw or SmackDown’s top prize away from being a Grand Slam champion. That’s without even getting into how nice it would be to see a black man with one of the main belts for the first time since Mark Henry had the World Heavyweight strap back in 2011.
But just looking at it from a storytelling perspective, who else is there for a WrestleMania feud with DB? Of the men in the Chamber match last night, you can rule out Randy Orton & Samoa Joe since I doubt they’ll book a heel vs. heel ‘Mania program. We’ve just seen a lot of AJ Styles vs. Bryan, and god love Jeff Hardy, but what’s the angle?
Rey Mysterio could be fun, I suppose, but he’s supposed to be working with Andrade in a feud which will either last until April 7, or feature Rey coming off a loss. Mustafa Ali could be plugged back in, but what does that give you that Kingston doesn’t? The old head fighting for what he believes is probably his final shot is more compelling than the new kid trying to make his mark.
Kofi brings The New Day with him into the story, too. WWE loves to feature the trio - even if they have to invent a job for them, as their WrestleMania hosting gig in Orlando demonstrated. Promo segments between Xavier Woods, Big E & Kingston and Bryan would be much more entertaining than the obvious alternatives. And the video gaming, cosplaying, sneaker collecting, Pancheros-eating, breakfast food slinging group makes perfect foils for Captain Planet and his anti-stuff message. Bryan’s intellectual peer Rowan also gives E & Woods someone to deal with over the weeks leading to Fastlane and the Showcase of the Immortals.
You obviously don’t want to have the New Daniel Bryan drop his re-designed belt so soon, but in April, it might be time for a change, even just a quick one. ‘Mania is about moments, and as last night proved, the WWE Universe is ready to celebrate one with Kofi. If that was the reaction from a loss, imagine what we’ll hear after a win. Especially at the end of a longer feud, and a straight singles match between a couple of greats.
It’s not like you have to worry about carrying the show, either. The WWE title got a rare main event spot at Elimination Chamber, but it’ll be at best the third most promoted match for MetLife Stadium, behind the Raw Women’s and Universal championship bouts.
Truly, I can’t come up with a compelling reason not to do this.
Strike while the iron is hot, WWE. Make Kofi Kingston the WWE champ at WrestleMania 35.