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?
Opinion7 days ago
Cook’s Top 5: Disappointing Post WWE Runs
Coverage6 days ago
Mathew’s AJPW Champion Carnival Results & Review: Day 1
Coverage6 days ago
Mathew’s AJPW Champion Carnival Results & Review: Day 2
News5 days ago
Thirteen|10 Week In WWE: Retribution Speaks, A Prince Becomes NXT King, and Bliss Is Cross