Fightin' Fanboys

Fightin' Fanboys: Kofi Kingston

The high flying WWE superstar gets set to celebrate 20 years of Monday Night Raw, shows the X-Men his support and much more!

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Kofi Kingston (photo courtesy of WWE)

Photos courtesy of WWE

By Ben Morse 

Kofi Kingston makes his dreams come true for a living.

Growing up in Winchester, Massachusetts, the native of West Ghana followed his favorite Superstars on “Monday Night Raw” and super heroes in Marvel Comics. Today, Kingston competes regularly in WWE as a multi-time champion—and will be part of the 20th anniversary of “Raw” tonight beginning at 8 PM ET on USA—where he regularly pulls off feats that bring to mind Spider-Man or Wolverine.

We caught up with Kingston to chat about his “Raw” memories, Royal Rumble plans, what makes him an X-Men guy and much more.

Marvel.com: It’s well known that you’re a big comic book fan. Would you stack yourself up as one of the bigger comic book fans on the WWE roster?

Kofi Kingston: Easily. There [are] a handful of us that read comic books and I definitely consider myself up there.

Marvel.com: How did you get in to comics?

Kofi Kingston: There used to be a store in my hometown called The Dugout and they had baseball cards, comic books and all kinds of collectibles. I always went there after school back in middle school. That was the big hangout.

I think the first comic book series that I started reading was the [first] VENOM [limited] series. I was always a big fan of Venom because he’s really cool. It was all downhill from there. I got in to a whole lot of other comic books after that. I went on a bit of a hiatus for a while but I got back into it about three or four years ago and got sucked right back in. The stories are awesome and there are some great storytellers who write these comic books.

Spider-Man

Marvel.com: Everyone we speak to from WWE and the fans tell us about all the parallels between WWE and comic books. As a fan of both, I agree. You’re one of the guys who incorporate the idea of being a real-life super hero into a lot of the stuff you do. Whether it’s your gear or your high flying moves, how do you work your comics fandom into stuff you’re doing?

Kofi Kingston: Well, it’s crazy because there is a lot of stuff that you can do in real life. For example, Spider-Man does a lot of acrobatic stuff. I try to do stuff like that, either coming off the top rope or doing balancing acts. He’ll also talk trash while he’s doing it. He and I have a very similar kind of humor. I have a very corny sense of humor. I’ll just say the corniest things if I’m out there, kind of like he does. There’s definitely a lot of stuff that I do. Even with a guy like Wolverine, when he comes out and he just looks so bad. He has a healing factor and the way he comes up from being beat down, he’ll just rise up slowly and flex and all that stuff. It’s really powerful stuff to see visually. I try to implement that into real life and that same emotion translates to people. It’s just a different way to tell that same story.

Marvel.com: I don’t know if you’re aware but we recently put out the AVENGERS VS. X-MEN hardcover and WWE champion CM Punk was the one who wrote the introduction…

Kofi Kingston: Yeah, he told me about that. One of our marketing guys sent me the book and it’s still in the plastic. I’m so backed up on comic book stuff and I always like to read everything in order. I haven’t gotten into Avengers Vs. X-Men in its entirety yet but I definitely have the hardcover. I’m looking at it right now. I just have to get around to actually reading it. Punk was really excited about writing it. He’s a guy who is really into comic books. He’s really in depth as far as knowing all the authors and artists. He’s like an encyclopedia, so I know he was honored and flattered to have been asked to do that.

Planet Hulk

Marvel.com: If given the opportunity, would you want to write an intro to a book and which book would you want it to be?

Kofi Kingston: Oh man, I don’t even know if I could be a beggar or a chooser. I would love to, that would be amazing. I would love to do something with the Hulk. I love the whole Hulk series. I thought “Planet Hulk” was amazing. I thought that was one of the most compelling stories. The “Son of Hulk” and “Son of Banner” stories, splitting Hulk from Banner, the Red Hulk, it was all really well done. That was one of the ones that I got into quite a bit. That’s one I would like to do. But if I was asked to do anything, I think I’d do it. I wouldn’t be complaining if Marvel came to me and asked me to write an intro for something. I would definitely do it. It would be an honor.

Marvel.com: Are you an Avengers guy or an X-Men guy?

Kofi Kingston: I’m definitely an X-Men guy. I always have been. I only started getting into Avengers recently, just after Civil War. I used to play the old X-Men video game a lot. Cody Rhodes has a big version of the game in his garage. I’m pretty jealous of that. I’ve always wanted a big arcade system and that’s the game that I want. X-Men all the way for sure.

Marvel.com: Switching over to WWE, the 20th anniversary of “Monday Night Raw” is coming up tonight. If you could have any match, with any competitor, who would you want to face to commemorate the occasion?

Kofi Kingston (photo courtesy of WWE)

Kofi Kingston: Anybody who I could wrestle with from back in the days would be amazing. I know last year on Raw’s 1000th episode, Heath Slater wrestled all the legends. There was a period of about two months where he got to wrestle Vader [and] Psycho Sid. As a kid, you used to watch these guys growing up. People were like “Heath Slater lost to Vader, he lost to Psycho Sid.” How much would you pay to get in the ring with them and just stand there? I wouldn’t care if I won or lost, I’m in there with my childhood idols. I thought it was really cool that he got to do that. If I could just get in the ring with anybody from back in the days when I was growing up, that’d be awesome. Shawn Michaels would probably be the best; he’s one of the big reasons as to why I got into WWE. Superfly Jimmy Snuka, Ricky Steamboat—if I got the opportunity to get into the ring with any of those guys it’d be awesome.

Marvel.com: As a fan and as a competitor, what are some of your favorite memories from the first twenty years of “Raw”?

Kofi Kingston: There are so many out there. You know what was a really good one? The Montreal Screwjob. That was pretty crazy. I remember not knowing what was going on, the aftermath of it had so much buzz. Vince McMahon screwed Bret Hart over but people thought he was just an announcer. The line between what was real and what was not real was so blurred. It was pretty crazy being a fan and thinking that I had the inside track on what was going on. I was so drawn to it. There were a lot of ridiculous moments like the “Choppy Choppy” incident with Kai En Tai and Val Venis, Mae Young giving birth to a hand, Stone Cold Steve Austin and Vince McMahon in the hospital. There were so many things in “Raw” that were so entertaining. These are the things that separate us from any other venue in entertainment. We’re able to do it on a consistent basis. Over 20 years, we’ve been able to blow everybody out of the water. If you look at “M.A.S.H.” or “The Simpsons,” there’s nobody that’s even close to matching the episodic content that we put out. It’ll be an honor to be a part of that 20th anniversary show for sure.

Kofi Kingston (photo courtesy of WWE)

Marvel.com: You have the Royal Rumble coming up in a few weeks. That has almost become one of your signature events where you bust out something crazy each year. What’s the plan this year? How are you going to top yourself?

Kofi Kingston: This is the question of the day! Everybody keeps asking me this.

Marvel.com: I hate to be unoriginal but I still want to know!

Kofi Kingston: To be honest, I want to know too! I haven’t thought about it at all. I usually don’t really think about that stuff until a couple of days before. I know I’ve had all year to do it but I do best when my back is up against the wall. That’s when my brain is forced to think outside the box. I think the ultimate trick or amazing feat would be to actually win. I would take that over anything. I’ll concentrate on trying to do that and the rest will all fall in line.

Follow Kofi on Twitter @TrueKofi and learn more about “Monday Night Raw” and the Royal Rumble at WWE.com!

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