BC Alum Wins WWE Championship at Wrestlemania
By JD Biagioni
Boston College has a new champion. On Sunday night, Kofi Kingston (Class of 2003) defeated Daniel Bryan to win the WWE Championship at Wrestlemania 35.
In the second-longest match of the night (23:45), Kingston and Bryan traded blows before Kingston nailed his patented Trouble in Paradise finishing maneuver to incapacitate Bryan and win the belt. After 11 long years, Kingston finally had his Wrestlemania moment.
After pinning Bryan, Kingston was immediately overcome with emotion, taking in the monumental moment with his tag team partners and his two young children.
By winning the WWE Championship, Kingston became the first African-born superstar to win the world championship.
Kingston, whose real name is Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah, was born in Ghana before moving to Massachusetts when he was two-years old.
He attended Winchester High School, where he captained the wrestling team. At BC, he pursued a degree in business and secured an office job with Staples upon graduation.
After realizing that office life wasn’t for him, Kingston began training to become a WWE superstar. He inked a developmental deal with the company in 2006 and debuted on the main roster in 2008.
Over the past decade, Kingston has wowed fans with his acrobatic moves, especially in the Royal Rumble match, where Kingston routinely finds innovative ways to avoid elimination.
Since 2014, he has been a member of the wildly popular stable known as The New Day, a group consisting of himself and fellow superstars Big E and Xavier Woods. The New Day was originally booked as a heel (bad guy) group, the only time Kingston has ever been booked as a heel in his career. But, soon enough, the three became fan favorites when they began to embrace their silly, fun-loving side. They came out wearing unicorn horns, ate pancakes (and threw them at opponents), and developed their own cereal brand “Booty-O’s”. The New Day holds the record for the longest reign as tag team champions in company history, holding the belts for 483 days after winning them at Summerslam 2015.
Kingston’s meteoric rise to WWE Champion began only two months ago. He replaced the injured Mustafa Ali in the Elimination Chamber match and participated in a gauntlet match leading up to the event, where he lasted over an hour before being defeated; this performance earned Kingston a standing ovation from the Smackdown crowd. In the Elimination Chamber, he came within inches of defeating the champion Bryan. The crowd was behind Kingston all night, frequently chanting “Kofi! Kofi! Kofi!” in the hopes that it would will one of WWE’s most popular superstars to finally win the big one. The disappointment of the loss stung, but this was only the beginning of Kingston’s journey to Wrestlemania.
Kingston earned an opportunity to face Bran at the following pay-per view Fastlane but was stripped of the chance when WWE chairman Vince McMahon granted it to another superstar who he felt was more of a main-eventer than Kingston.
In the weeks following Fastlane, McMahon denied Kingston’s plea for a shot at Wrestlemania, calling him a “B-plus player”. The chairman finally acquiesced, however, and gave Kingston the chance to win his way to Wrestlemania by defeating five superstars in a gauntlet match.
Kingston emerged victorious after an hour of fighting, but McMahon came out and added a stipulation that the exhausted Kingston now had to defeated the champion himself. Bryan came out to a chorus of boos and promptly defeated Kingston. Kingston’s Wrestlemania hopes were gone. Or were they?
McMahon gave Kingston one last shot at a Wrestlemania match with Bryan. Woods and Big E would have to compete in and win a tag team gautlet match. Kingston’s tag team brethren didn’t let their partner down. They defeated a string of five other teams to send Kingston to Wrestlemania, where, well you already know how that went.
Including his reign with The New Day, Kingston is an eight-time tag team champion, holding the individual record for most cumulative days as a tag team champion. He is also a four-time Intercontinental Champion and three-time United States champion.
All the accolades combined, Kingston became the 30th Triple Crown champion and 20th Grand Slam champion with his win Sunday night.