For the fifth year in a row, Wale hosted a pre-WrestleMania party. This year’s WaleMania went down in New York’s Sony Hall last night (April 4) and featured the usual line-up of wrestling and hip-hop luminaries.
Unlike WaleMania I - IV, however, this one was happening days before the Grammy-award nominated rapper’s friend Kofi Kingston will compete for the WWE title on the Grandest Stage of Them All. Kingston’s been clear that KofiMania is for everyone, but it’s especially meaningful for people of color. After all, he’s not only trying to join a small group of black wrestling world champions, he’s trying to do it at WrestleMania. And hip-hop being an artform, movement and culture created by African-American, you knew WaleMania would be buzzing about Kofi’s shot at Daniel Bryan this Sunday in MetLife Stadium.
That buzz hit the stage, starting with Booker T. The soon-to-be two-time (two-time) WWE Hall of Famer, who once infamously lost a World title shot at the Showcase of the Immortals in a program where the racial elements were as bad as the ones in Kofi’s story are good, opted to talk about Kingston instead of himself:
Host and former WWE creative team member Kazeem Famuyide formally turned things over to the Man of the Hour (not Lio Rush, but he was having himself a time last night, too)...
Xavier Woods & Big E spoke about their brother (and E got real about the “awful, awful” gimmick New Day started with):
And then the #1 contender himself got the mic and took it home:
There were other moments before and after. Corey Graves told the crowd he was doing “F-A-B-U-L-O-U-S”, Charly Caruso spit some 2Pac, and Real1 was there. Samoa Joe, Tyler Bate and Ricochet represented.
But the takeaway was Kofi, and how much his story means to so many people. And if a pre-event event turned into this, can you imagine the party that’s gonna break out all around the wrestling world when he wins?
See you Sunday.