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Wrestling / Kofi Kingston

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I Can Fly.

Kofi Nahaje Kingston (real last name Sarkodie-Mensah, born August 14, 1981) is a Ghanian-American professional wrestler with WWE. Kofi started his career in WWE as a member of it's iteration of ECW, with the gimmick of a laid back Jamaican wrestler who, when the chips were down, could put a serious hurting on guys. He became popular enough to go to the main series RAW and Smackdown, where he had a pretty-successful run as a midcard face for years, racking up title wins and feuds with Chris Jericho and Randy Orton. He joined The New Day in 2014, turning Heel for the first time ever, but quickly switching back to being a good guy as the group exploded in popularity. For years, he was the impressive, athletic Lightning Bruiser of the group, and the one that both Big E and Xavier Woods openly campaigned for getting an opportunity at the WWE title...but it never quite came.


Until 2019. Wherein after an absolutely show-stealing performance at the 2019 iteration of Elimination Chamber, it became the New Day's mission to get him a title shot, believing that after 11 years in the 'E, he had more than earned his chance to go for it in one-on-one competition. Naturally, he encountered plenty of resistance from then-champ Daniel Bryan and Vince McMahon, the former who believed he didn't have the moral fortitude to be a champion worth praising, and the latter didn't have what it took after years as a tag team wrestler. Kofi fought and clawed his way all the way to the Wrestlemania 35 main event, where he won the WWE Championship for the first time, to the adulation of everyone, and capping off what became known as Kofimania.

He is a one-time WWE Champion, four-time WWE Intercontinental Champion, a three-time WWE United States Champion, a one-time WWE World Tag Team Champion alongside CM Punk and a seven-time WWE Tag Team Champion (once with Evan Bourne, once with R-Truth and five times as part of The New Day.)


More information about his life and career can be found at That Other Wiki.

"Looks like there's Tropes in Paradise":

  • The Ace: Of the New Day, being the trio's leader and its all around most versatile wrestler. Kofi's title record backs it up, as he's held a breathtaking 16 championships over his career as of the time of this writing.
  • Action Dad: He has 2 children.
  • Alliterative Name: Kofi Kingston.
  • Arch-Enemy: He and Dolph Ziggler once feuded almost nonstop for the midcard titles. They've occasionally revived their feud over the tag titles. Randy Orton qualifies as well. Epico & Primo, and The Prime Time Players while tag champ, the former with Bourne and the latter with Truth. Wade Barrett's become one recently, as has The Miz, Daniel Bryan for WWE Championship and Kevin Owens after Owens betrayed The New Day.
  • The Artifact: The reggae theme music and color scheme of his wrestling gear are artifacts of his Fake Nationality... as is his name. note  Ever since joining The New Day, only the "Kingston" name remains.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: The S.O.S. (an arm trap somersault STO), which involves flipping himself and his opponent over rather awkwardly. It looks cool, but it's hard as all hell to execute, which is probably the reason it's never become his primary finishing move. In fact, the Japanese wrestler who created the move, Madoka (no, not that Madoka), performs it at high-speed to minimize the time of its intricate motion.
  • Ass-Kicking Pose: It caused Shelton Benjamin to initially dismiss him and Chris Jericho had no idea how to approach it.
  • Badass Beard: Even his logo sports on
  • Bare Your Midriff: Started wearing crop tops in 2017. Remains awesome.
  • Berserk Button: Don't mention his relative lack of success during his singles run. Not if you know what's good for your health. (See the trope below.)
  • Beware the Nice Ones: This is why Shelton Benjamin had such a losing streak against Kofi Kingston, because he kept pushing his buttons or trying to intimidate him. Then in one of the WWE's most triumphant examples, he came after Legacy after they beat him up and blamed him for team Raw losing bragging at the bragging rights pay per view. Randy Orton would blame Kofi for his loss to John Cena later that night, since Legacy were suppose to help him win but the subsequent feud Randy sparked brought out levels of mischief and anger we had never seen in Kofi before.
  • The Chew Toy/Curse:
    • This poor guy can not seem to catch a break, especially as far as tag team partners go. First, his reign with Evan Bourne was ended abruptly when the latter had a second Wellness Violation. He would later suffer a career-threatening injury to his foot, and hasn't been seen since. And just when it seemed like WWE had done him a solid by teaming him with R-Truth (who also served a suspension stemming from the same incident), Truth has also been written off television again due to a broken foot.
    • Not to mention every time he lost the tag titles, it was on a house show.
    • Subverted in the R-Truth case. Truth got better and he and Kofi became Tag Champions. Even when they dropped the belts, it was at Night of Champions.
    • And then The New Day happened. Curse? Broken.
    • We're back to Kofi being the chew toy. Other people get handed championship opportunities, Kofi Kingston has to get beaten up by the Bar, yanked from his promised match with Daniel Bryan, watch Kevin Owens and Mustafa Ali compete in the match he should have had, withstand a second five-man gauntlet match (this time beating the Bar, Rowan, Samoa Joe, and Randy Orton) and just when he believes he's won, here comes Vince McMahon to sic Daniel Bryan on an exhausted Kofi and crush his hopes again.
  • Continuity Nod: After losing the Tag Team Titles to Team Hell No, Kofi and Truth split amicably as a tag team. They're still depicted as very good friends, though, to the point where their respective midcard singles feuds (Kofi as the IC Champion defending against Wade Barrett, and Truth as the challenger to Antonio Cesaro's US Title) have almost overlapped at points.
    • Any time Kofi faces Randy Orton (as mentioned in Beware the Nice Ones); they just really hate each other.
  • Dance Battler: with The New Day.
  • Determinator: On the February 12th 2019 episode of SmackDown Kofi wrestled for over an hour in a gauntlet match to determine who would enter last in the upcoming Elimination Chamber WWE Championship match, defeating Daniel Bryan (the reigning champion), Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe before finally being forced to tap out to AJ Styles' Calf Crusher. He got a standing ovation from the crowd for his efforts.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: On Feb. 12, 2019 episode of SmackDown, Kofi entered a gauntlet match against the other five competitors for the upcoming Elimination Chamber match. He had just defeated three other superstars and the last one continue to attack him until AJ Styles saved him. Already tired from fighting for over an hour, Kofi can barely even stand on his feet. Styles tried to tell Kofi to forfeit as he had already proven himself but Kofi refused, as he had been waiting for 11 years to earn an opportunity for the WWE Championship, and demanded AJ to fight him.
  • Dreadlock Rasta: But not anymore.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After eleven years in WWE and after getting constantly screwed over week after week, Kofi finally won the WWE Championship from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35.
  • Everything's Better with Spinning: Zigzagged. His moveset's notably low on lucha libre-style moves (that is, for lack of a better descriptor, the "flippy stuff"), but a spin's the one thing that separates his Trouble In Paradise from...well, just a kick. Justified, however, as the way he does it really would transfer the momentum to the kick; this is likely a deliberate twist (pun completely intended) on Kofi's part, as he's a trained practitioner of the flip-and-spin-heavy capoeira.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After turning heel with New Day, his hairstyle changed to... dreadlocked pigtails.
  • Face: Hasn't been anything but in WWE.
    • Face–Heel Turn: Turned heel along with Big E and Xavier Woods with New Day in 2015, but soon returned to being faces.
  • Finishing Move: Two of them: a Ranhei DDT called the SOS and a spinning roundhouse kick called the Trouble in Paradise.
  • Five Moves of Doom: He tends to finish tag team matches off a sequence of four signature moves followed by Trouble in Paradise.
  • Genre Savvy: Might have had a moment like this after a recent rematch with The Miz. Miz tried to shake Kofi's hand after the match. Kofi responded by dropkicking Miz in the face.
    • His 2013 Championship win against Antonio Caesaro. During a championship match, it is very rare that someone will be able to measure up their opponent and then pull off their while he was getting up after a failed pinning attempt, Kofi pulled out Antonio's leg and then used Trouble in Paradise to knock him out.
  • The Hero: As of WrestleMania 35, Kofi is the WWE Champion and thus plays the role of hero of the entire company alongside Universal Champion Seth Rollins and unified Women's Champion Becky Lynch. At WrestleMania 35 Kofi's win was THE big feel-good babyface win of the day, even eclipsing Becky's winning of both Women's Championship belts in the main event and he was by then the single most-over wrestler in the entire company.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Kofi is often stated to be CM Punk's "road wife." The two even won the tag team titles together in the past.
    • Even after Punk's acrimonious exit from the company, he said in interviews that Kofi is one of the few guys in wrestling he still keeps in regular contact with.
  • Ignored Enemy: Sometimes he's taken for granted by opponents with seemingly bigger fish to fry. Some people - like Chris Jericho and Randy Orton, for instance - have found out that this only makes him angrier, and isn't a good idea.
    • Aesop Amnesia on Orton's part occurring when he faced off with Kofi on the January, 13 2014 episode, thinking he could take out his anger at The Authority on Kingston. Instead, Kofi counters Orton's trademark DDT into an SOS for a shocking three count!
  • I Have Many Names: His finishing move, which was named "Cool Runnings" in Deep South Wrestling, "Jamaican Buzzsaw" in Florida Championship Wrestling, and finally "Trouble in Paradise" in WWE.
  • I Have the High Ground: Jumping on things is even part of his workout
  • Jobber Entrance: Subverted continued to get them after his last little push with Ted Dibiase went no where. It was subverted on the last Smackdown of 2014, where despite getting jobber treatment, Kingston actually beat Damien Sandow.
  • Kayfabe: He got worried when his relatives still living in Ghana started getting interviews regarding his wrestling career, for fear it would give away he really was not Jamaican.
  • Keet: Part of the reason commentary refers to his offense as a "controlled frenzy" and how else would anyone buy the Boom Drop or the frequent thunder clapping he does?
  • Kid-Appeal Character: He even wears yellow (usually).
  • Le Parkour: Busts it out annually (and to everyone's great delight) at the Royal Rumble.
  • Lightning Bruiser: Pushed as this during his brief upper-card feuds.
  • "London, England" Syndrome: Billed from, "Ghana, West Africa"
  • Longhaired Pretty Boy: Despite his beard, Kofi fits this quite well, especially as a babyface.
  • Loophole Abuse/Exact Words:
    • Once saved himself from Elimination in the Royal Rumble by walking on his hands outside the ring, all the way to the steps. The rules state that a competitor is eliminated if he (or she) goes over the top rope and both feet touch the floor.
    • For this, he won the Slammy Award for the "Tell Me I Did Not Just See That" Moment.
    • He pulled another such stunt at the 2013 Rumble, by jumping onto the recently eliminated Tensai's back, climbing onto the Spanish Announcers Table, then borrowing JBL's rolling chair and hopping back to the ring on it.
    • And again in the 2014 Rumble, where, after having been caught and placed on the barricadenote  by a recently eliminated contender, Kofi made a running jump from the security barricade to the ring apron, a distance of more than seven feet.
      • In the same match, he survived by the tip of his toes.
    • WrestleMania XXX. In the inaugural André the Giant Battle Royal, Kofi is launched over the top turnbuckle by Cesaro, drops about ten feet, and lands on his back outside the ring. Eliminated, right? Oh no! - Kofi somehow managed to control his fall to land with his heels on the bottom ring step, and pulled himself back onto his feet and into the ring.
  • Mr. Fanservice: When he went after The Miz during a segment involving them both and Larry King, a tux-wearing Kofi removed his jacket, tie and shirt. Audible female screaming could be heard from the audience.
  • Named by Democracy: Kofi's and Evan's tag name, Air Boom, was voted by the fans.
  • No Man of Woman Born/Exact Words: Played straight in his U.S. Title win against Antonio Cesaro, where the latter boastfully declared that no American could beat him for the title. Kofi, of course, is from Ghana.
  • Not Quite Flight: Kofi jumps really high.
  • Older Than They Look: Kofi doesn't look 38. Not only that, but other than his dreadlocks being a bit longer, he doesn't look or move like he's aged much from his debut nearly ten years prior.
  • Only Sane Man: Kind of a given when your tag team partner is seeing invisible Little Jimmies.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: One week before their match at WrestleMania 35, Kofi mocked Daniel Bryan during their contract signing, saying Bryan, who used to be in Kofi's shoes five years ago during his feud with the Authority, is afraid of him because he knew that Kofi will defeat him.
  • Red Baron: In 2013, WWE took to calling him "The Wildcat", though it never caught on with the fans.
  • Running Gag: Kofi's developed a reputation for being the hardest man to eliminate from the Royal Rumble; every time he enters, he does something entirely unexpected to save himself and get back in. See Loophole Abuse above.
  • The Rival: From all the way back in Deep South Wrestling, Montel Vontavious Porter. They had a friendly rival mostly, and MVP symbolically passed his torch onto Kofi.
    • Not-so-friendly, though, with The Miz. The two just don't seem to get along, and anytime they're in the ring together, bad things tend to happen.
  • Signature Move: Double Leg "boom" drop, jumping forearm, top rope cross body block in tribute to Ricky Steamboat, Frog splash to rising opponent's back, double open handed chest strike, a Koronco buster followed by five punches on the top rope.
    • Additionally, not so much a 'signature move' as a 'signature spot', but if he's in a battle royale, he will find some physics-defying way of staving off elimination.
  • Slasher Smile: His unofficial "logo", upon a second glance, is...a bit frightening.
  • The Scapegoat: Legacy blamed him for Raw losing the Bragging Rights match to Smackdown, since Kofi was the one to get pinned, rather than on The Big Show who betrayed Team Raw by pushing Kofi off the top rope.
  • Tag Team:
  • Team Dad: In The New Day, as Kofi is a little bit older than Xavier and Big E and the veteran in WWE, they call him Pops. Of course, how much of this is genuine respect and how much of it is teasing him for being older is a matter of some debate.
  • Took a Level in Badass:
    • Huge during his feud with Randy Orton - on one occasion, he jumped from a barricade and delivered a double leg drop to a prone Orton through the Spanish Announcers Table.
    • Not only that, but in his Traditional Survivor Series tag team match against Team Orton, he pins both CM Punk and Orton -two former world champions- in 6 seconds, becoming the sole survivor of the match.
    • He beat Randy again on January 13th, 2014. Let this sink in: he's pinned the WWE World Heavyweight Champion. Twice.
    • The first quarter of 2019 saw arguably the biggest hot streak of Kofi Kingston's career. Lasted nearly an hour in a gauntlet match, pinning several top stars, then came within a whisker of winning the Elimination Chamber days later. As of February, stands alone as the number one contender to Daniel Bryan's WWE Championship. Then, in April, he won it.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: He became a heel for the first time in his in-ring career in 2015 along with Big E. Langston and Xavier Woods as the villainous stable "The New Day" which prides themselves on hypocritical speeches and overall obnoxiousness.
  • Troll: As revealed on Xavier Woods' youtube gaming show Up Up Down Down, Kofi is a GIGANTIC shit-talker, though he uses it to incite his opponents and will only do it against people who around his skill level.
  • Underestimating Badassery: Mainly because he's all smiles, but once you get him angry, all bets are off.
  • Underwear of Power: Averted after he returned from an injury on the August 5th, 2013 episode of Raw, when he had switched to tights for some reason.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Gave CM Punk a concussion at the Royal Rumble with his first attack. WWE doctors' refusal to actually diagnose Punk with a concussion (which would mean scrapping whatever plans they had for him that night) was basically the last straw that led to him walking out. This one is particularly harsh as Kofi was Punk's "road wife" — essentially, the best friend he had in WWE and one of his closest after Colt Cabana.
  • Ur-Example: His first wrestling championship was also the first WWE title ever won by a citizen of Ghana.
    • He is also the first African-American wrestler to become a Grand Slam Champion under the modern format (though not the first overall, as that title goes to Booker T.)
  • Vehicular Sabotage: Did this to Randy Orton's NASCAR-type vehicle. How?! From key-scratching it to smashing it with a wrench-type pipe and finishing off with orange paint spilled over the car logos, which is of Randy Orton's likeness.
  • Vocal Dissonance: Kofi is, at least by wrestling standards, a relatively thin, springy guy. Contrasting that completely, his natural voice is deep and gruff, to the point that he's able to emulate "Stone Cold" Steve Austin almost perfectly.
  • Why Won't You Die?: He is really hard to eliminate in battle royals. Has quickly become a hallmark of his championship run even including his first match as #1 Contender. Kofi simply refuses to stay down for anything.
  • Xtremely Kool Letterz: He took to wearing pants with the word 'skillz' on them in 2013.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Kofi is the unfortunate victim of the glass ceiling in wrestling. Every time he gets a singles push and starts to get over, he gets the rug pulled from under him. It was even lampshaded by Vince McMahon, but ultimately defied when the biggest and most-sustained push of his entire career culminated in him becoming WWE Champion for the first time at WrestleMania 35.

Example of: