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31 Days of Wrestling (12/20/19): The Death of KofiMania (Kofi Kingston vs. Brock Lesnar, SmackDown FOX Premiere)


Welcome to the 31 Days of Wrestling, ladies, and gentlemen. Once again, we're at that point where we take a look back at the past 11 months of pro wrestling (and as much as possible, the last month as well) and cherry-pick one match for each day of December from a list of bouts that defined the year in our beloved sport. Most matches will be good, while some may not be; what matters is that they helped build the perception and reputation of the kind of wrestling 2019 produced for us.

Vince McMahon created #KofiMania; he can destroy #KofiMania. And he did so in eight seconds. No, scratch that. We created #KofiMania, so naturally, Vince had to destroy it in the cruelest way possible. 

Is it a coincidence that he had Brock Lesnar end one of the most significant championship runs of the decade? I don’t think so. After all, Brock Lesnar is the Vince McMahon archetype, the perfect wrestler, the most efficient cash cow the company has to offer. No one’s arguing about Lesnar’s drawing power—the argument lies with Vince’s over-reliance on it.



And there’s no other candidate to trample everyone’s champion than the corporate beast himself. On the night the “brand new” SmackDown aired on FOX, everyone witnessed Vince McMahon make a statement: “Screw your B+ player champion. I’m the one in charge here.” And eight seconds later, WWE went back to the status quo. The glimmer of hope, gone. 

To be fair, Brock Lesnar winning the WWE Championship isn’t what irked the fans. Of course, we understand WWE needs to do something big for the FOX premiere. A title change should do the trick, provided it made absolute sense. When Brock Lesnar vs. Kofi Kingston was first announced, everyone was expecting a hard-fought, incredibly emotional match. 

What we got instead was a glorified squash match. It didn’t even make logical sense because Lesnar wasn’t supposed to be that OP and Kofi wasn’t supposed to be that weak. Before this, #KofiMania steamrolled over Daniel Bryan, Randy Orton, Samoa Joe, Dolph Ziggler—some of the best wrestlers WWE has to offer. No one can justify this one quick and fatal F5.

And while Brock Lesnar was built as an absolute monster, he wasn’t completely bulletproof. I’ll just point you to his epic clash with AJ Styles two years ago at Survivor Series. If someone relatively small as Styles was able to go toe-to-toe with the Beast, why wasn’t Kofi Kingston afforded the same regard? Because WWE clearly doesn’t respect him as a main event player.



I wish I could defend this decision by saying the win did make a star out of an up and coming WWE Superstar. Instead, what we got was Cain Velasquez, a guy who can supposedly do some lucha things but got his ass whooped at SaudiMania after a few seconds. Yup, we ended Kofi Kingston’s reign for this UFC clown show. Hey, where’s Cain now?

It’s not like Brock Lesnar set the world on fire by winning his 3445123th world title. His MO is to not show for months and let the other guys scramble for a midcard title. I’d rather have Super Cena any day of the week than Lesnar’s lazy ass, because at least Cena worked week in and week out making the world title he’s holding relevant. Please come back, Cena. 

As for Kofi, he’s back to square one as a tag team specialist, elevating a division he’s already conquered. If it wasn’t for Xavier Woods’s injury, Kofi will probably keep chasing the title he lost. And no, dropping references to his embarrassing loss doesn’t count as character development. The least they could do is to turn this into a storyline. But no, apparently Kofi is back to throwing pancakes like he was never a world champion in 2019. This year was the worst.



The only upside for me is that at least Lesnar is on RAW. SmackDown is doing amazing with its main event scene, thanks to Bray Wyatt, Daniel Bryan, and the Miz. Meanwhile, the newly-minted heel Seth Rollins is testing his new attitude to chase after a measly United States Championship when he should be knocking at Brock Lesnar's door. Welp, that's what you get when the champ's nowhere to be found. 

Overall, Kofi’s loss plunged the WWE deeper to a new level of staleness. Don’t believe me? Just look at how they closed their last PPV of the decade, TLC. Tells you all you need to know. Sometimes, a brawl can’t fix everything, especially if it has Roman Reigns and Baron Corbin in it. 


*****

31 Days of Wrestling is Smark Henry's way of celebrating the matches that helped define wrestling in 2019. Read our previous entries:

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