David breaks down the current direction of the WWE Championship scene.
WWE is doing the right thing at the right time. After what may have been his career-defining moment at the Elimination Chamber pay-per-view this past week, Kofi Kingston will get a shot at the WWE Title at Fastlane in a match with Daniel Bryan.
The move comes after he pinned Bryan as part of the six-man main event on SmackDown Live Tuesday night. For whatever reason, and I am not a huge fan of the New Day member, I find myself jumping on the bandwagon after what we have witnessed from the superstar in the past seven days.
You can only define it as a feather in the cap of the company that lost faith in a solid mid-card champion, only to see him thrive in tag team competition as part of one of the better stables to come along in some time. After an 11-year run that never reached main event status, Kingston is poised to meet Bryan with the company title on the line and a chance to finally get what he justly deserves.
To some degree, Kingston – who captivated us in a gauntlet match last Tuesday night for over an hour and then looked like he would capture the gold at Elimination Chamber – has to some degree become Bryan’s former character of the underdog everyone wants to see win it all.
The story is better than Seth Rollins and his run at the back half of 2018 on Raw. It’s better than anything going right now on the blue brand and should he capture gold at WWE Fastlane, one would think the rematch for the strap will occur at WrestleMania 35 with Bryan reclaiming the belt.
With the changes the company has made in the first seven weeks of 2019, I am shocked there wasn’t a title change last Sunday night, but understand what Gordon Solie used to say about the challenger is in a better position than the title holder. Being the hunted puts Bryan on the defensive. An aggressive Kingston is at his best right now.
The current program also shows how taking a home-grown talent like Kingston and giving him a run like this – regardless of the outcome at Fastlane – gives fans what they want as well. Welcome to the “feel good” story of the year, the one where we all can fight with the common man.
WWE has also taking a step back and told a story with momentum, something the company has lost sight of on many occasions in recent years. While the Becky Lynch story captivates us because she has been an afterthought because of Charlotte Flair, Kingston has been kept down because of WWE’s unwillingness to give the former United States and Intercontinental Champion a chance to show he can carry the company brand, if only for a short while.
Kingston’s rise in the ranks reminds me of Ricky Morton and Ric Flair. For those of you who have never seen the spot, Morton was one of the best tag team specialists of the 1980s, worked a program with Flair and came within an eyelash of becoming the NWA World Champion. Flair said at one point working with Morton was like ballet because he and Ricky Steamboat sold for him more than any other wrestler he had faced.
Kingston may not be in that kind of spot at the moment, but Morton’s role in the script is along the same lines. The only difference is there is a real chance he wins at Fastlane my opinion.
WWE needs to continue to change its appearance. Kingston could be the straw that stirs that drink. Even if he does not win at Fastlane, the company has given fans a chance to finally see Kingston in the main event. That’s more than could be said of his run as a singles champion in the past.
I sure would like to see what happens if indeed he was able to pull off the upset and win at Fastlane. It might be short-lived, but it would certainly be entertaining.