Kofi Kingston famously lost his WWE championship to Brock Lesnar in mere seconds on the premiere episode of SmackDown on Fox, in October 2019. It was all just a way to move Kingston out of the title picture and set up a championship match between Brock Lesnar and Cain Velasquez. Kingston briefly got his hands on Brock a few months later in the Royal Rumble match, but Brock ultimately eliminated him from that one as well.
With that context in mind, Alex McCarthy of talkSport had an interview with Kingston and asked him about his thoughts on Brock Lesnar.
.@TrueKofi confirms Brock Lesnar put together their moment at the 2020 Royal Rumble and explains why Brock was such a genius in making @DMcIntyreWWE, too.— Alex McCarthy (@AlexM_talkSPORT) April 30, 2020
"He has an awesome mind for the business and I feel he'll never get the credit he deserves for that." pic.twitter.com/0RWXlMjBwV
Here is a transcript of Kofi’s response, thanks to Wrestling Inc:
“He has an awesome mind for the business, and I feel he’ll never get the credit he deserves for that. Someone doesn’t get to be in WWE for decades without having a great mind. A lot of times you see Paul Heyman being the mouthpiece, and you think Brock has a very small part in that role, but he has a very big part. He has a very intelligent wrestling mind and understands what wrestling ‘business’ is in terms of building stuff.
If Brock and I had more of a match at the debut of Smackdown on FOX, then the moment at the Rumble, people wouldn’t have gotten up as much as they did for it. It was great. It was a really big piece of a story having myself in there trying to fight. Then here comes my partner and now here comes Rey who had history with his son. I’m getting goosebumps just talking about it. It was a lot of great storytelling coming together. Everything is important as minuscule as it may be. It’s definitely a big part of the Rumble seeing me, Rey and E, all of us on the outside banding together and going in there doing what we did.
It was great, and on top of that, the whole first half of the Rumble, Brock was throwing everybody out only for Drew McIntyre to throw him out at the end. If it wasn’t built like that, it wouldn’t have meant as much for Drew. You think about, ‘why did that happen?’ Oh, Brock did this to elevate Drew to build credibility as a champion. Drew beats Brock at WrestleMania. The pieces of the story were told in the right way.”
Ok, I have a couple issues with Kofi’s answer.
It seems like he is arguing that losing the WWE championship via squash match was necessary in order for for his appearance in the Royal Rumble match to have that extra drama behind it. And while that’s true, it still defies logic - the WWE championship shouldn’t be used as a building block for a small chapter of a Royal Rumble match - a chapter which still ended with Kofi being eliminated by Brock.
If Kofi was the guy who eliminated Brock, rather than Drew McIntyre, then Kingston’s answer would make a lot more sense to me. It’s almost like Kofi is saying that his loss on the premiere of SmackDown was a key component to the story of Drew McIntyre’s push to the WWE championship, but that’s simply not true.
The much smaller gripe I have is this - Brock Lesnar gets credit for all sorts of things in pro wrestling, and some would argue that he gets way too much credit. I certainly won’t cry any tears for Brock Lesnar if a portion of pro wrestling consumers happen to doubt his mind for the business.
I don’t disagree with what Kofi says about Brock’s mind for the business, but it’s just impossible for me to feel like Bock Lesnar, of all people, is someone who needs to be propped up as an underrated pro wrestler, when WWE is constantly telling me that he is superior to everyone. I can’t fault Kofi for giving his honest opinion on the question he was asked, so this is just very minor nitpicking on my part.
Do you agree with Kofi’s opinion of Brock Lesnar? Was the excitement of Kingston’s Royal Rumble spot worth watching him get squashed and losing his title on the premiere episode of SmackDown on Fox?