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Opinion

King: Kofi Kingston & Randy Orton’s Decade-Long Intense Rivalry

Kofi Kingston will see his career come full circle at SummerSlam when he defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. Chris King takes a deeper look!

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Kofi Kingston will see his career come full circle at SummerSlam when he defends the WWE Championship against Randy Orton. Chris King takes a deeper look!

Last Tuesday night on SmackDown Live Kofi Kingston chose ‘The Viper’ Randy Orton as his challenger for his WWE Championship at SummerSlam  Kofi and Randy are no strangers to one another, with a bitter rivalry that spans ten years. To understand how this began we need to go back to June 2008, when Kofi was drafted to Monday Night Raw during WWE’s Supplemental Draft following an impressive year on the revamped ECW brand.  Kofi portrayed a Jamaican high-flyer who wore green-colored ring attire, and made his entrance to his S.O.S theme music.

Kofi Makes History In His First Single’s Championship Match in WWE

At the 2008 Night of Champions pay-per-view Kofi would make history when he defeated then-WWE Intercontinental Champion Chris Jericho (thanks to interference from Jericho’s rival Shawn Michaels). In Kofi’s first championship match in WWE, he became the first Ghanaian superstar to win a championship in WWE.

Kofi would remain Intercontinental Champion until the 2008 SummerSlam pay-per-view, where he teamed with then-WWE Women’s Champion Mickie James to face Beth Pheonix and Santino Marella in an intergender winners-take-all tag team match.

The Initial Interaction Between Kofi and Orton

A few months later he would have his first interaction with Orton at the 2008 Unforgiven pay-per-view, when he came to the aid of then-World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk during an ambush by Manu, then-World Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Ted Dibiase and The Viper Randy Orton.

Following the save, Kofi and Punk would form a tag team, going on to defeat Rhodes and Dibiase for the tag team titles on October 27th episode of Raw. They would lose the tag titles to John Morrison and The Miz on a live event on December 13th.

Fast Forward to the 2009 Bragging Rights pay-per-view where Team Raw (D-Generation X (Triple H and Shawn Michaels), Big Show, Cody Rhodes, Jack Swagger, Kofi Kingston, and Mark Henry) faced, Team SmackDown! (Chris Jericho, Kane, R-Truth, Matt Hardy, Finlay and The Hart Dynasty (Tyson Kidd and David Hart Smith)) in an Interbrand 14-man tag team match for the Bragging Rights trophy where Team Raw lost.

After the match, Kofi and Rhodes would get into an argument about Kofi supposedly losing the match for the brand. Later that night Orton would be defending his WWE Championship against his long-time rival John Cena in an Anything Goes 60-Minute Iron Man Match. This would mark Kofi’s first singles feud, and the first-time he portrayed a more serious and aggressive character.

During the championship match Orton’s lackeys Rhodes and Dibiase attempted to interfere, and Kofi came to make the save with a chair in hand for Cena which ultimately cost Orton the WWE title.

The Rivalry of 2009 Officially Begins

The following night on Raw, Kofi Kingston and Randy Orton would begin what we now know is a ten-year rivalry. The Viper would attack Kofi after his match against Chris Jericho, crashing him on the entrance ramp.

Later that night, during a backstage segment Orton was given a gift from his Legacy buddies, a brand-new sleek black Nascar formula one race car. Kofi would get his revenge for Orton’s brutal attack, by damaging his car and pouring red paint all over it.

A few weeks later on November 2nd episode of Raw Kofi and Orton would compete in a grudge match where Legacy would interfere and there was no definitive winner.

Which brings up to what was supposed to be Kofi’s breakout moment that catapulted him to the main-event scene, which occurred on November 16th episode of Raw. WWE Hall of Famer Rowdy “Roddy” Piper was waiting for Vince McMahon, what he received was a seething Viper to brutally assault him.

Orton set up for his patented “punt-kick”, Kofi came out and made the save and the two rivals brawled all over the MSG arena, and Kofi soared through the skies hitting a THUNDEROUS BOOM-DROP THROUGH THE PRODUCTION TABLE!

Three weeks later on December 7th episode of Raw, Special Guest Host (Owner of the Dallas Mavericks), Mark Cuban would announce, that Orton and Kofi would face each other in a rematch. He would also assume the role of special guest referee for the highly-intense bout.

Kofi would defeat his rival with a backslide pin when Cuban made a fast three-count (to exact revenge on Orton’s devastating RKO on him six-years ago at 2003 Survivor Series). Cuban would also set up the rubber-match for Kofi and Orton at the upcoming TLC pay-per-view.

In their rubber match, Kofi put on a show-stealing performance with his high-octane offense–landing his signature dazzling Cross-body Splash, SOS and even hitting his finisher Trouble in Paradise. Kofi had the contest won but the wily veteran Orton managed to grab the bottom rope to break the pinfall.

The Viper unable to defeat his foe would set up in the corner for his deadly punt-kick but Kofi used his arm to block it. In the end, though the vindictive and methodical Orton, would hit Kofi with a thunderous RKO to get the 1-2-3!

Their final chapter of this version of their storied rivalry would take place on January 10, 2010 episode of Raw where Cena, Orton, and Kofi, would compete in a triple-threat-match to determine the number-one contender for Sheamus’s WWE Championship at the Royal Rumble. This would also go down as Kofi’s descent back to the Mid-card scene for the foreseeable future.

Towards the end of the match, Kofi would make a career-altering mistake that would leave him out of the WWE Championship title scene for eleven-years. Kofi was supposed to stay down for Orton to deliver the punt-kick but Kofi got up too soon, which left Orton to change the finish on the fly and hit the RKO. After Orton pinned him he was visibly upset, and shouting “Stupid, Stupid!”

On January 22, 2009, Randy Orton Lou Ramirez on KJ-97 where he discussed a myriad of topics including his past anger issues.

“You know, I think my whole deal was I didn’t think other people had a right to an opinion.  I think the problem I had was in real life, it was my way or the highway and if people disagreed with me, then they were just wrong.  I had to realize that other people had an opinion that counted and I had to realize that other people had feelings and you’ve got to watch their feelings and listen to what they have to say.  You know, this is just Randy Orton as a human being, not Randy Orton, ‘The Legend Killer’.”

On November 16, 2012, Kofi Kingston appeared on SmackTalkRadioLive with James McDonald and Corey Callahan where he opened up about a plethora of topics including the unfortunate incident with Randy Orton in 2010.

“Everyone knows Randy kinda has an attitude, so that’s Randy being Randy. What everyone doesn’t remember is that we were in a heated rivalry so a lot of what you saw was him being his character and him kinda playing to that. I thought it was really funny when I started reading these things like ‘Randy Orton doesn’t like Kofi’, which I think is fine because it added to what we were doing at the time, it made people more interested in what we were doing…it is what it is….”

Fast forward to July 23, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live where Orton accepted Kofi’s SummerSlam challenge and claimed: “the only reason you made it to this past years’ WrestleMania is because of me, I injured Ali before the Elimination Chamber!” Orton was simply keeping kayfabe alive, as Mustafa Ali injuries were sustained at three different times.

First was during the 2019 Men’s Royal Rumble Match, February 5, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live during his match with Orton and finally a live event in Ft. Wayne, Indiana where he suffered a concussion, and per WWE’s medical evaluation tests Ali was then replaced by Kofi Kingston in the gauntlet match that took place on March 19, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live.

Everything Comes Full Circle

On March 19, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live, during the frenzy of Kofi-Mania, Kofi was put to the ultimate test per orders of Mr. McMahon to find his road to WrestleMania 35 to challenge then-WWE Champion “The New” Daniel Bryan for the WWE title. He would have to run a five-man gauntlet elimination match.

Orton would be (what Kofi thought was his final opponent) and would write a new chapter in Kofi and Orton’s decade-long storied rivalry. Orton came to ringside and brutally attacked the resilient Kofi, however, this wasn’t the same rival he faced in 2009.

This Kofi was laser-focused and nothing would stand in his way, of achieving his childhood dreams of becoming WWE Champion. We all know how he eventually did get to the top of the mountain at Mania.

On July 17, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live The New Day (Big E, Xavier Woods and WWE Champion Kofi) would face all three challengers who felt deserving of a title shot, Elias, Samoa Joe and Kofi’s adversary Orton in a six-man tag team match. Orton would get the victory for his team and pin the WWE Champion clean in the middle of the ring.

Kofi Kingston VS. Randy Orton Set For SummerSlam

On this past Tuesday’s episode of SmackDown Live, a confident WWE Champion Kofi made a bold decision, when he issued the challenge to The Viper Orton, why “because they have a history.” Orton then responded with “If Kofi wants it, he’s got it. But as fair warning, this little fairy tale comes to an end courtesy of the most dangerous letters in pro-wrestling: R K O.”

While Kofi has impressed as WWE Champion defeating the likes of Kevin Owens, Dolph Ziggler, and Samoa Joe, he hasn’t hit the peak in his title reign to proving all the doubters wrong that this isn’t a fluke. Overcoming a decade-long rival may be evidence that Kof needs to signify that he is “a main-event caliber talent and a legitimate WWE Champion.” With all the pressure of Kofi-Mania resting on his shoulders, will he vanquish his long-time rival once-and-for-all?


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Opinion

AJ’s Controversial? Wrestling Opinions 10.12.21

AJ feels like spouting off about a few wrestling topics that bug him. How controversial are they though?

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As Eric Bischoff, President of WCW once said, Controversy Creates Cash…no I’m serious; it’s even the title of a book that he did. Everyone has their hot takes on professional wrestling and some are always wide eyed and kind of shocking to some. There are some of us that will have same opinions or chastise me on a show or an article maybe but hey, don’t hate the player, hate The Game.

Maybe there are some that the readers at home agree with or you want to also be the one to chastise me, @PhenomenalAJB on Twitter. This one is going to be fun!

#1- There are more things than just WWE/AEW and are better majority of the time

There are many people that will rant, rave and complain that the mainstream product is so bland and boring and the classic, “Who even watches this trash?” Whether you love the flippy dippy do’s like I don’t or long drawn out storylines that peter out very quickly because fans aren’t invested in a story or character. To those people, I will say something very bold, very confusing and very… very controversial…

THERE ARE OTHER COMPANIES YOU CAN WATCH ON VARIOUS PLATFORMS IN VARIOUS MEANS ON YOUR OWN TIME!

I don’t know how and I don’t know why that this is even a topic. “TNA has been dead for years” No it hasn’t. Pay $1 USD for Impact Plus on YouTube so you can watch it without commercials at 8:30 Eastern. “Two hours is too long!” NWA and MLW both go for an hour on their respective YouTube Channels as well and if you want to watch, you can hop in at any time. Everyone has something for everyone and you might find your new favorite wrestler in a matter of minutes into an episode. I would never have known who Eli Drake (now LA Knight on SmackDown Live), Alexander Hammerstone or even in the early stages of TNA Impact, AJ Styles, was! You can watch more than what is broadcasted on your TV. Is it easier? Of course but, there is so much more than just the popular option.


#2- Belt Collecting now is just redundant and moronic

Back in 1996, Ultimo Dragon famously has a picture of him holding TEN championships looking like an amazing superstar with amazing defenses. What people don’t know is, that was because eight championship belts were united in a tournament called “The J-Crown Championship” with the adage of ‘All or Nothing’. He lost them one by one but, it was to show that he was the best Junior Heavyweight (or Cruiserweight/Light Heavyweight) out of everyone in various promotions.

People after that really haven’t belt collected other than unifying championships to a grand caliber… then Austin Aries showed up. Aries kind of revised the gimmick and brought it back to light. Newer fans might have thought this was cool but older fans kind of groaned and grumbled. I was one of them but, nothing is original in anything anymore so it’s a fresher concept at the time back in 2018. He did surpass Ultimo with ELEVEN championships but it seemed everyone started doing it to an extent after. Matt Cardona, after being released from WWE, started doing it, getting up to six championships before dropping them. As of right now, not necessarily solo belt collecting, The Bloodline has a stranglehold of the World Championships for both Singles and Tag Teams, we had Becky Two Belts, Bayley wanted Dos Straps but nothing makes this worse than Kenny Omega’s stint as a belt collector.

I am not and will never be a Kenny Omega fan. I don’t see the appeal, I don’t see the amazement or anything like that out of him. I’m impressed he did three 35+ Minute IWGP Championship matches against Okada because that takes a lot of stamina to do so but, that’s about it. When he won the AEW Championship, alright. That’s fine. Nothing wrong with that since he helped build the company up. The Triple A Megas Championship… nothing too wrong here. I hate that he had five defenses in two years but he vacated it due to his injuries. It wasn’t until Don Callis and Omega popped into Impact and made the Hogan Era of TNA look like a dream… okay ALMOST but still. Kenny defeats Rich Swann and Moose in two different matches and has everyone else carry the belts while holding the AEW Championship. I understand heel tactics and mentality but at one point in an interview about going for the Impact Championship, he compared it to a common Comic Book and the AEW Championship as Superman Issue #1. I understand trying to be a heel in this story but you boost your clout, not rain on what you are going after. Heel or Face, belt collecting has just been a cluster within itself in the past four years and it honestly needs to stop.

#3- Overuse of Certain Moves

This one is a more recent problem that I have seen and no, I wish EC3 paid me to say this but it is true and very annoying to even bring up but here I am, wishing for Carter money and a fifth Rum & Coke…

Stop. Overusing. Moves. Because you think. They were cool.

If I had a shot for every time a Canadian Destroyer, Superkick, Suicide Dive, Avalanche (Insert High Spot here), Dual Dropkick spots where they cancel each other out or opposing members do back to back high spots on the prone partner spot… I would not have written this article due to death… even if it was water, I would have died due to drowning. They don’t look cool anymore when everyone does it. It’s bland. When Petey Williams wrestled in his last return to Impact, the Destroyer looked very… stale. Superkicks are the new DDT apparently (another Finisher turned common everyday move) and most people that do dives mess it up in some way shape or form whether it’s their feet get caught in the ropes, they didn’t get a full launch or they overshoot it. Having your own move special to you is difficult now but different wrestlers do their own styles or the pay homage to a family member or a wrestler that they interact with or ask permission… or asked to stop.

How’d you feel if you watched WCW and WWF in 1997 and saw DDP do the Diamond Cutter and HHH did the Pedigree Pandemonium and say they do the same move? That is exactly what happened too if Dallas didn’t ask Hunter to stop using it. We might not have the RKO out of nowhere or an iconic move that seldom bigger names use today.


That’s my list. I said before if you agree with my list and if you don’t and want to throw hate my way… @PCTunney is the hate mail account so enjoy!


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Opinion

AJ’s Thoughts: Five Potential Returns

With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

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With Trips in charge and already starting to bring back some people that didn’t work in Vince’s picture, AJ got an idea. Who else could we see on the horizon radar?

With everything going on with WWE, the one thing we have all been hyped about are all of these returns. Dakota Kai made her return at SummerSlam alongside Io and Bayley and now on last SmackDown, Karrion Kross and Scarlett made their returns in a big way against Drew McIntyre and showed the Hourglass to The Bloodline.

With all of that, there have been things in the pipeline saying Triple H’s foot isn’t off the pedal so these are 5 returns from either NXT, main roster or even Try-Outs that I would love to see happen with the new regime.

1. Johnny Gargano

Now this is a name that people have been saying, “Maybe Impact or MLW” but, what about a return? Gargano didn’t renew his contract, most likely to be with his family which is a valid and amazing reason, will never disrespect that. If he were to return, there would be a handful of great reasons. Maybe a singles run with the Intercontinental or United States but with Ciampa getting limelight in the main roster from RAW, what if we get a tag team reunion?

WWE is hurting for Tag Teams and what better than to scare off The Bloodline, loosen  the stranglehold of championships with some Do It Yourself action. DIY reunion could be amazing, especially with newer faces showing up to get championship aspirations like Kross and Ciampa. Want to break the hierarchy? Do It Yourself.

2. James Storm

This one is a little bit weird and off. On one hand, who doesn’t love the Tennessee Cowboy, Jimmy James Storm? On the other, he is 45 and getting some nagging injuries as of late. So why would I say Triple H should bring James Storm back and give him something for the main roster? One of the things I said for Gargano, we have a lack of something and The Usos might need to watch two things in the rearview.

Watch your Money and your Alcohol.

Beer Money showing up in WWE would be amazing in my personal opinion. The Bloodline jump Roode, someone in a hoodie or jacket comes up and jumps them to even the fight and as soon as one Uso remained in the ring, the figure goes down and the old stomping goes off and we hear “BEER…” and Roode looks around and gets hyped up and shouts, “…MONEY!”

3. Big Cass



Since his departure from WWE, he has done something I have said since they split him off from Enzo. Take him through the Kevin Nash School of How To Big Man. ROH and Impact are great examples that he actually cleaned up and worked on what he has to do to be good in the ring. He can work the microphone, he can work the ring so we got a new big boy to take on the WWE once again.

Now I could have said Enzo and Cass to rejoin but, I’m sure the antics of Enzo will get Cass in deep water along with the fact that I already made two tag team predictions, we don’t need another. Cass brings a lot to the table and was kind of unproven in WWE because he was just the big enforcer to the more charismatic Enzo. Give this man about six months in the ring and you have your next MASSIVE problem in the IC or US Championship scene or even more.

4. Bronson Reed



The big man from down under is a former NXT North American Champion. He looked to have a good push going with that championship but he got release. If you wonder where he went… he actually made a pit stop in Impact Wrestling as JONAH with the most fire theme song in recent history I swear… I will link the theme song and Trips… please. Get rights to this theme song. I will be a bigger Bronson Reed fan.

Bronson to me is the weird man in all of this but, I think with Triple H involved, he could get something going for him with a good singles champion run or a big threat to go through like a gatekeeper of sorts. Big boy with a great amount of athleticism? Can’t really hate on that considering the last time we saw athletic bigger people were Keith Lee and… what was that one guy? Sherman Tank with a Ferrari Engine…?

5. Bray Wyatt

And the last one is the obvious one in all of this. Yes… we have Judgment Day as the somewhat supernatural dark group but we know the true successor of the supernatural and that is “The Eater of Worlds”, “The Fiend” Bray Wyatt. This time around, I don’t think we will get the Jekyl and Hyde, Mister Rogers gimmick. I believe this time around we get full darkness and mayhem. We get the darkness and the theory of reverting back to your prime.

To make a refresher… Miz went back to being the cocky narcissist after fighting The Fiend. Finn turned back to the Prince and much more. With guys like Edge returning, maybe we see the return of the Heel Ultimate Opportunist, maybe a Fiend fight with AJ Styles to get the TN-AJ perhaps. Possibilities are endless and with a great mind like Wyatt for character and execution, I think Hunter will pick up the phone and Let Him In.

– There are clearly others that I could say, or maybe even didn’t think about, but hey, that’s the Chairshot way of Always Using Your Head. Those are just five returns that could happen and hopefully you read this before RAW or SmackDown and who knows if I get any of these right, maybe I missed an obvious one or maybe we get a giant signing that nobody thought possible. Let me and all of Chairshot know!


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