Kofi Kingston’s post-WrestleMania 35 booking was one of the reasons why Brian James, also known as Road Dogg, quit as WWE SmackDown’s lead writer.
Kingston defeated Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 to become the first African-born superstar to win the WWE Championship. The following night, his Champion vs. Champion unification bout against Seth Rollins on RAW turned into a tag team match against Cesaro and Sheamus.
On Sportskeeda’s “The Wrestling Outlaws” show, James was asked about Kingston defending the WWE Championship on weekly television after his big WrestleMania triumph:
“That’s one reason I walked away,” James said. “It was one reason. There were several. That creative decision was one of them.” [10:22-10:31]
So-called “smaller guys” winning wrestling world titles has been the topic of debate for many years. Bryan and Kingston have been billed at 210 and 212 pounds, respectively, for the majority of their careers. By contrast, Brock Lesnar is billed at 286 pounds, while Bobby Lashley is listed at 273 pounds.
James now works as WWE’s Senior Vice President of Live Events. He added that some fans may not view the likes of Bryan and Kingston as believable world champions due to their size:
“I do think there’s something to that, especially if you’re talking about the lay person,” James continued. “If you’re talking about the black t-shirt wearing guy that tunes into AEW, he doesn’t care, but real people go, ‘That dude? I’d kill that guy.’” [10:59-11:14]
Watch the video above to hear more from Brian James about Brock Lesnar’s eight-second win over Kofi Kingston on SmackDown in 2019.
Brian James compares Daniel Bryan and Kofi Kingston to Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels
Two of WWE’s most iconic superstars, Bret Hart and Shawn Michaels, were considered “smaller guys” compared to many of their rivals.
According to Brian James, his former co-workers’ in-ring style made up for their lack of size:
“I also think the work was a lot different. They used to work like it was an actual contest and a physical fight, and we don’t work like that anymore. Now we just worry about our work-rate and how many spots we can do and, ‘Look, I can do a backflip.’ So [fans’ perception is], ‘I don’t believe it’s real. I don’t think if I saw you at the gas station you could beat me up, and you’re the champion?’” [11:23-11:48]
Kofi Kingston held the WWE Championship for 180 days in 2019. He has mostly been involved in tag team storylines since losing the title to Brock Lesnar on the first episode of SmackDown on FOX.
Do you think “smaller guys” like Kofi Kingston should win world titles? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.
Please credit Sportskeeda’s “The Wrestling Outlaws” and embed the video if you use quotes from this article.