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7 surprise replacement opponents in Championship matches in WWE

Chris Benoit and CM Punk
Chris Benoit and CM Punk
Rohit Nath
Modified 17 Dec 2020, 23:58 IST
Top 5 / Top 10

In WWE, replacements happen all the time. Behind the scenes, there are Superstars who WWE push into a title match, but those plans can change for various reasons.

However, this list focuses on the storyline replacements that happened on WWE TV, particularly concerning Championship matches. Let's start with an example from last year in the build to WrestleMania 35:

#7. Kevin Owens replaces Kofi Kingston in the WWE title match at Fastlane 2019

Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens
Kofi Kingston and Kevin Owens

The entire story behind KofiMania all started with Kofi Kingston being a replacement in the WWE title Elimination Chamber match. Mustafa Ali was originally scheduled to take the last spot, but due to a legitimate injury, WWE was forced to pull him out of the match and replace him with Kofi Kingston.

It was a Gauntlet Match on SmackDown that saw Kofi Kingston put on the performance of his career, lasting an hour before elimination and getting a standing ovation from the crowd. In an instant, he became one of WWE's hottest stars.

Kofi Kingston only continued to impress and was seemingly seconds away from becoming WWE Champion before falling short at Elimination Chamber 2019. While he still received a standing ovation in defeat, then-SmackDown commissioner Shane McMahon granted him a WWE title shot against Daniel Bryan at Fastlane.

Vince McMahon didn't feel the same way about Kofi Kingston and surprisingly replaced him at Fastlane with Kevin Owens. It would be a part of the many hurdles that Kofi Kingston would have to jump to get his WWE title shot at WrestleMania.

It was abrupt, but the original plan was seemingly for Kevin Owens to return and face Daniel Bryan for the WWE title at WrestleMania. Kofi Kingston's unexpected rise meant that WWE swapped their places, and Kevin Owens ended up replacing Kofi Kingston at Fastlane.


Interestingly enough, Mustafa Ali was also added to the WWE title match at Fastlane. It was a great way to get heat on Vince McMahon to help the crowds become more invested in Kofi Kingston.

It had the ultimate payoff, with Kofi Kingston making history at WrestleMania 35 and becoming the WWE Champion.

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Published 17 Dec 2020, 23:58 IST
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