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Kofi Kingston
Kofi Kingston by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Kingston in July 2018
Birth nameKofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah
Born (1981-08-14) August 14, 1981 (age 38)
Kumasi, Ashanti, Ghana
ResidenceAustin, Texas, United States
Alma materBoston College
Kori Campfield (m. 2010)
Professional wrestling career
Ring name(s)Kofi Kingston
Kofi Nahaje Kingston
Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah
Billed height6 ft 0 in (183 cm)[1]
Billed weight212 lb (96 kg)[1]
Billed fromGhana, West Africa[1]
Kingston, Jamaica[2]
Trained byChaotic Wrestling[3]
Killer Kowalski[3]
Ohio Valley Wrestling[2]
DebutJune 4, 2006[2]

Kofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah (born August 14, 1981) is a Ghanaian-American professional wrestler currently signed to WWE under the ring name Kofi Kingston, where he performs on the SmackDown brand.

After graduating from Boston College, Sarkodie-Mensah decided to pursue a professional wrestling career, and began performing on the New England independent circuit as a Jamaican wrestler by the name of Kofi Nahaje Kingston.[4] After signing a developmental deal with WWE in 2006, he shortened his ring name to Kofi Kingston. Kingston debuted in WWE in 2008 using the same Jamaican character as he did on the independent circuit. In late 2009, he stopped being billed from Jamaica and dropped the accent, although he kept his ring name. He then started being billed from his home country of Ghana.

Kingston spent much of his first few years in WWE on the midcard singles scene, during which he became a four-time Intercontinental Champion and a three-time United States Champion. In 2014, Kingston formed The New Day with Big E and Xavier Woods. The trio went on to break the record for the longest Tag Team Championship reign in WWE history when they held the WWE Raw Tag Team Championship from August 2015 to December 2016, while defending the titles under the Freebird rule.[5][6] In April 2019, Kingston defeated Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35 to win the WWE Championship, his first world title, but never headlined a WWE pay-per-view event over the course of his 180-day reign.

He is the first African-born world champion in WWE history as well as its 30th Triple Crown Champion and 20th overall Grand Slam Champion (13th under the current format).[7][8][9][10] In addition, Kingston himself holds the singular record for most days spent as a Tag Team Champion within WWE and is also known for innovative ways of suspending his elimination from Royal Rumble and battle royal matches. With the exception of a few months spent as a villain in 2015 with The New Day, Kingston has been a heroic character for almost the entirety of his WWE career.

Early life

Kofi Nahaje Sarkodie-Mensah[11] was born in Kumasi, Ashanti on August 14, 1981.[12][13] He moved with his family to the United States and eventually settled in the greater Boston area, where he graduated from Winchester High School and then Boston College.[14][15]

Professional wrestling career

Training and independent circuit (2005–2006)

Sarkodie-Mensah started training in late 2005 and made his official wrestling debut in 2006 for Chaotic Wrestling, when he faced Evan Siks on June 4 for the PWF Mayhem Heavyweight Championship in a losing effort.[2] He competed primarily in the New England area, including stints in National Wrestling Alliance (NWA) – New England (where he was briefly a member of Barry Ace's "A-List"), Millennium Wrestling Federation (MWF), New England Championship Wrestling (NECW), the Eastern Wrestling Alliance (EWA), and Chaotic Wrestling.[4]

World Wrestling Entertainment/WWE

Developmental territories and ECW debut (2006–2008)

In September 2006, he signed a developmental contract with World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) and was assigned to Deep South Wrestling (DSW), a Georgia-based developmental federation. He debuted in the new company, as Kofi Nahaje Kingston, in a dark match loss to Montel Vontavious Porter on September 21.[16] For the rest of 2006 and the beginning of 2007, he appeared in DSW, as well as its Kentucky-based sister promotion Ohio Valley Wrestling (OVW), where he was in a tag team dubbed the Commonwealth Connection with Harry Smith.[17][18][19]

In 2007, under the ring name Kofi Nahaje Kingston, he had his first exposure to the main WWE roster, when he worked dark matches on March 5 and 26 before episodes of Raw against Charlie Haas and Trevor Murdoch, respectively.[20][21] When he returned to the developmental federations, he shortened his original ring name to Kofi Kingston and continued to alternate between both ring names throughout his duration there. He also worked live events, defeating Shelton Benjamin on May 5,[22] and Val Venis on May 6.[23] When the Florida-based developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling (FCW) opened in June, Kingston was relocated there, appearing at their inaugural show on June 26 where he teamed with Eric Pérez against Keith Walker and Rycklon Stephens in a losing effort.[24] Kingston worked there for most of the remainder of the year.[24]

A series of vignettes for Kingston's television debut began airing on the weekly ECW on Syfy television show starting on December 6, 2007.[25] During this introduction phase, his videos, the official website and commentators noted he would be the first Jamaican to wrestle for WWE but he does not have any Jamaican ancestry, nor any connection to Jamaica.[15][26] He is, however, the first African-born performer in WWE history. He debuted on the January 22, 2008 ECW as a face with a win over local wrestler David Owen in Charlottesville, Virginia.[27] After wrestling sporadic matches, Kingston was involved in his first major match, a 24-man battle royal during the WrestleMania XXIV pre-show with the winner receiving an ECW Championship match, but was eliminated by Mark Henry.[28] Kingston remained undefeated in singles competition in ECW for months and was placed into a feud with Shelton Benjamin at the end of April 2008. After two straight losses, Benjamin got a win over Kingston on the May 20 ECW, ending his undefeated streak.[29] On the June 24 ECW, Kingston defeated Benjamin in an Extreme Rules match to end their feud.[30]

Early championship reigns (2008–2011)

Kingston in March 2008
Kingston in March 2008

On June 25, 2008, Kingston was drafted to the Raw brand, as part of the WWE Supplemental Draft.[31] In his first match as a member of Raw roster, and first championship match in WWE, he defeated Chris Jericho for the Intercontinental Championship at Night of Champions, after Shawn Michaels, whom Jericho was feuding with, attacked Jericho's manager Lance Cade.[32] The win made him the first African-born wrestler to hold a championship in World Wrestling Entertainment.[33] Kingston held the championship until SummerSlam, where he and Women's Champion Mickie James both lost their championships in an intergender "winner take all" tag team match to Santino Marella and Beth Phoenix.[34]

At Unforgiven, he appeared backstage, coming to the aid of then-World Heavyweight Champion CM Punk, who had been attacked by Randy Orton, Manu, and the World Tag Team Champions Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase.[35] Soon after coming to his rescue, Kingston and Punk were paired together more often, and on the October 27 episode of Raw, the duo won the World Tag Team Championship.[36] He was also involved at Survivor Series in the traditional ten-men elimination tag team match on the side of Team Batista, but was eliminated by Randy Orton.[37] Kingston and Punk lost the World Tag Team Championship to John Morrison and The Miz at a live event on December 13.[38] When asked about his reign with Punk, he stated that "Punk took him under his wing when he didn’t have to and he was always grateful for that friendship".[39]

Kingston wrestling William Regal
Kingston wrestling William Regal

At No Way Out on February 15, 2009, Kingston was scheduled to compete in the World Heavyweight Championship Elimination Chamber but was unable to officially enter the match as he was ambushed by Edge, who took Kingston's place and eventually won the match.[40] On the March 9 episode of Raw, Kingston defeated Chris Jericho after interference from Ric Flair, to earn a spot in the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXV, but the match was won by CM Punk.[41][42] After winning a triple threat number one contender's match the week before, Kingston defeated Montel Vontavious Porter on the June 1 episode of Raw to win the United States Championship for the first time.[43] For the next several months, he went on to defend and retain the title at Extreme Rules,[44] Night of Champions,[45] Breaking Point,[46] and Hell in a Cell[47], and on several episodes of Raw, until losing the championship to The Miz on the October 5 episode of Raw, ending his reign at 126 days. On the October 12 episode of Raw, Kingston defeated Evan Bourne to qualify for Team Raw at Bragging Rights.[48] On the October 19 episode of Raw, Kingston spoke without a Jamaican accent during a televised segment for the first time in his career, whilst also being called out by Triple H for doing so, and subsequently dropped the Jamaican character and began being billed from his home country of Ghana.[49][50]

Kingston as United States Champion
Kingston as United States Champion

At Bragging Rights, Team Raw lost the match after the Raw team member Big Show betrayed them by chokeslamming Kingston, allowing Chris Jericho to pick up the win for Team SmackDown.[51] After the match, Kingston and Raw teammate Cody Rhodes argued about Kingston losing their match. So, when Rhodes and Ted DiBiase interfered on Randy Orton's behalf during his WWE Championship match, Kingston ran out with a chair and chased them out of the arena. Orton later lost the match.[52] On the October 26 episode of Raw, Kingston began a feud with Randy Orton, who believed Kingston cost him the WWE Championship. This led to the two leading 5-men Survivor Series team against each other where Kingston's team won after he was the sole survivor, last eliminating Orton.[53] On the November 30 episode of Raw, Kingston was scheduled to face Orton in a one on one match, only to be assaulted from behind by Cody Rhodes and Ted DiBiase. Despite the assault, Kingston still wished to continue, and was quickly defeated by Orton.[54] The following week, Kingston defeated Orton in a rematch where guest referee Mark Cuban, who had a grudge against Orton since their encounter at Survivor Series in 2003, gave Kingston a fast count. With one victory apiece, the two wrestled again at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs,[55] and Orton won.[56] On the December 28 episode of Raw, Orton interfered in Kingston's match for the United States Championship.[57] On the January 4, 2010 episode of Raw, Orton once again defeated Kingston and ended their feud.[58] The next week, Kingston and John Cena lost a triple threat match which determined a challenger for Sheamus' WWE Championship at Royal Rumble to Orton, who pinned Kingston.[59] On the February 1 episode of Raw, Kingston won a qualifying match by defeating Big Show via disqualification to advance to the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match at the Elimination Chamber event.[60] Kingston, however, failed to win after being eliminated by Sheamus. On the March 22 episode of Raw, Kingston defeated Vladimir Kozlov to qualify for the Money in the Bank ladder match at WrestleMania XXVI. At the event, Kingston was unsuccessful as the match was won by Jack Swagger.

On April 26, Kingston was drafted to the SmackDown brand as part of the WWE draft. In his debut match for the brand, he defeated Chris Jericho.[61] On the following episode of SmackDown, Kingston was entered into a four-man tournament for the vacant Intercontinental Championship, after Drew McIntyre had been stripped of the title earlier in the show. He went on to defeat Dolph Ziggler in the first match of the tournament,[62] and Christian in the final of the tournament to win his second Intercontinental Championship on the May 14 episode of SmackDown. However, moments later, McIntyre came out with a letter signed by Mr. McMahon, saying that Theodore Long was irresponsible and abused his power. The letter also stated that McIntyre was reinstated to the active roster and that Kingston was stripped of the Intercontinental Championship, which returned to McIntyre.[63] At Over the Limit, Kingston defeated McIntyre to win his second official Intercontinental Championship.[64] At Fatal 4 Way, Kofi defended the Intercontinental Championship against Drew McIntyre.[65] On July 18 at Money in the Bank, Kingston lost the SmackDown Money in the Bank ladder match when Kane grabbed the briefcase.[66] The following SmackDown, Kingston lost to Dolph Ziggler in a non-title match.[67] On the July 30 episode of SmackDown, Kingston faced Ziggler in a rematch but lost via disqualification, resulting in Ziggler earning a title match.[68] On the August 6 episode of SmackDown, Kingston lost his title to Ziggler, ending his reign at 75 days. Kingston got his rematch for the title on August 15 at Summerslam, which ended in a no contest after The Nexus interfered. On the August 20 episode of Smackdown, Kingston faced Ziggler once again for the Intercontinental Championship, defeating Ziggler by disqualification, but by rule, Ziggler retained his Intercontinental Championship.[69] At Night of Champions, Kingston again faced Ziggler for the title, where Ziggler retained by pinfall.

Kingston in December 2010
Kingston in December 2010

On the October 15 episode of Smackdown, Kingston defeated Drew McIntyre to earn a spot on Team SmackDown at Bragging Rights. At the event, Team SmackDown won the match. On the December 3 episode of SmackDown, Kingston defeated Jack Swagger to become the number one contender for the Intercontinental Championship, but failed to win back the title when Swagger attacked him during the match. At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Kingston competed in a triple threat ladder match for the Intercontinental Championship, which was won again by Ziggler. On the January 7, 2011 episode SmackDown, Kingston defeated Ziggler to become the Intercontinental Champion for a third time. Immediately following the match, acting General Manager Vickie Guerrero ordered that Ziggler invoke his rematch clause straight away, but Kingston quickly pinned Ziggler again to retain his championship. Kingston then moved into a feud with Alberto Del Rio, which culminated in a non-title match at Elimination Chamber, which Kingston lost. On the March 25 episode of SmackDown, Kingston lost the Intercontinental Championship to Wade Barrett.[70] On the April 1 episode of SmackDown, Kingston won his rematch against Wade Barrett by disqualification. At WrestleMania 27, after Vladimir Kozlov was injured at the hands of The Corre, Kingston was chosen as Kozlov's replacement in an eight-man tag team match involving Kingston, Kane, Big Show, and Santino Marella versus The Corre, which Kingston's team won.[71]

On April 26, Kingston was drafted back to the Raw brand as part of the 2011 Supplemental Draft.[72] At Extreme Rules, Kingston defeated Sheamus in a Tables match to win his second United States Championship.[73] On the May 9 episode of Raw, Kingston successfully defended his championship against Jack Swagger.[74] At Capitol Punishment, Kingston lost the title to Dolph Ziggler.[75] Kingston faced Ziggler in a rematch for the title on the June 20 episode of Raw in a 2-out-of-3 falls match, but Ziggler retained the championship as the match ended with Ziggler being disqualified.[76]

Air Boom and R-Boom (2011–2012)

On the August 22 episode Raw, Kingston won the WWE Tag Team Championship with Evan Bourne, when they defeated David Otunga and Michael McGillicutty.[77] On the August 29 Raw, the duo was called "Air Boom", and they had their first successful title defense when they defeated Otunga and McGillicutty in a rematch.[78] At Night of Champions, Air Boom retained their titles against The Miz and R-Truth by disqualification after Miz attacked a WWE referee.[79] At Hell in a Cell and Vengeance, Air Boom retained their titles twice against Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger.[80][81] Bourne was suspended throughout November for his first violation of the company's Wellness policy.[82] At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs Air Boom successfully retained their titles against Primo & Epico.[83] On January 15, 2012, Air Boom lost the Tag Team titles to Primo and Epico at a house show.[84] The following night on Raw, Air Boom were awarded a rematch but failed to regain the titles.[85] The following day, Bourne was suspended again for his second violation of WWE's Wellness Policy.[86]

Kofi Kingston as the WWE Tag Team Champion
Kofi Kingston as the WWE Tag Team Champion

At Royal Rumble, Kingston participated in the Royal Rumble match and although he did not win, he had a stand-out moment when he saved himself from elimination by walking on his hands to reach the ring steps and re-enter the ring.[87] At Elimination Chamber, Kingston failed to capture the WWE Championship after being eliminated third by Chris Jericho.[88] Kingston then began teaming with R-Truth. On the February 27 Raw, Kingston and Truth failed to capture the WWE Tag Team Championship from Primo and Epico in a Triple Threat Tag Team Match, also involving Ziggler and Swagger. On the April 30 Raw, Kingston and Truth defeated Primo and Epico to win the WWE Tag Team Championship. At Over the Limit, Kingston and R-Truth successfully defended the titles against Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger and then again in a rematch on the May 28 Raw.[89][90]

The following night on Raw, they successfully defended the WWE Tag Team Championship against The Prime Time Players (Titus O'Neil and Darren Young).[91] At SummerSlam, Kingston and Truth defeated the Prime Time Players to retain the WWE Tag Team Championship.[92] At Night of Champions, Kingston and Truth lost the Tag Team Championship to the team of Daniel Bryan and Kane[93] and failed to regain the titles from the new champions the following night on Raw.[94] Both Kingston and Truth were defeated by The Prime Time Players in the first round of the Tag Team Tournament to determine the number one contenders for the Tag Team Championships, causing both Kingston and Truth to disband as a team and each returning to being single competitors.

Various feuds (2012–2014)

On October 17, 2012 on Main Event, Kingston defeated Miz to win the Intercontinental Championship for the fourth time in his career.[95] Kingston then began feuding with Wade Barrett when the two were placed on opposing teams in the traditional five-on-five elimination tag team match on November 18 at Survivor Series. Kingston's team, led by Mick Foley, was defeated by Barrett's team, led by Dolph Ziggler, during which he was eliminated by Barrett.[96] The following night on Raw, Kingston was defeated by Barrett in a non-title match.[97] Kingston, still the Intercontinental Champion, received a shot at the United States Championship on the December 3 Raw, against champion Antonio Cesaro, R-Truth, and Wade Barrett in a fatal four-way match, but was unsuccessful after Cesaro pinned Kingston for the win.[98] At TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, Kingston successfully defended his title against Barrett.[99] Two weeks later on the December 31 Raw, Kingston lost the Intercontinental Championship to Barrett ending his reign at 74 days.[100] Kingston received his rematch four days later on SmackDown, but lost the match.[101] At the 2013 Royal Rumble event, Kingston had another stand-out moment in the Rumble match. After eliminating Tensai, he was pushed out of the ring but Kingston jumped on Tensai's back, landed on the announce table and used a commentary chair from John "Bradshaw" Layfield to hop to the ring apron before being eliminated by Cody Rhodes.[87]

Kingston in April 2014
Kingston in April 2014

On the April 15 on Raw, Kingston defeated Cesaro to win his third United States Championship[102] but lost it on May 19 at Extreme Rules to Dean Ambrose.[103] On May 31, Kingston was written out of TV, as he was undergoing elbow surgery and was expected to be out for four to eight weeks.[104] Kingston returned from injury on August 5.[105] At Night of Champions faced the Intercontinental Champion Curtis Axel, but was defeated.[106] In late September, Bray Wyatt would start delivering cryptic messages to Kingston after his matches,[107][108] leading to a match between the two on October 6 at Battleground, which Wyatt won.[109] At Survivor Series, Kofi was defeated by The Miz. In the upcoming weeks, Kingston would lose to The Miz in multiple matches. Kingston would finally win a rematch against The Miz at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs in a No Disqualification Match.

Kingston entered at number 8 at the Royal Rumble, and avoided elimination by landing on the crowd barricade and made an 11-foot jump to get back in the ring. He was later the seventh person eliminated by Roman Reigns. On the February 13 episode of SmackDown, Kingston would tap out to Jack Swagger in a number one contender's match for the Intercontinental Championship in a match also featuring Mark Henry and Rey Mysterio; on the March 21 episode of SmackDown, Kingston was announced in the Andre the Giant memorial battle royal at WrestleMania XXX. Kingston would have a standout moment in the match, getting thrown of over the turnbuckles by Cesaro and to avoid elimination by keeping his toes on the steel steps, he would later be eliminated by Sheamus. At Payback, Kingston would compete in a match against Bo Dallas, but he would be assaulted by Kane for his tweets against Stephanie McMahon. Kingston competed in the Intercontinental Championship Battle Royal at Battleground where he again avoided elimination by being caught by Big E and rode his shoulders to the ring. Despite this, he did not win.

The New Day (2014–2019)

Kingston with Big E and Xavier Woods as The New Day in January 2015
Kingston with Big E and Xavier Woods as The New Day in January 2015

During the summer of 2014, Kingston was put in a team with Big E, and Xavier Woods usually as manager.[110] In November, WWE began airing vignettes for Kingston, Woods and Big E, with the stable now being billed as The New Day.[111][112] The New Day made their in-ring debut on the November 28 episode of SmackDown in a winning effort against Curtis Axel, Heath Slater and Titus O'Neil.[113] They started a brief feud with Gold and Stardust, which Kingston and Big E defeated Gold and Stardust at the TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs pre-show on December 14.[114] At the WrestleMania 31 pre-show on March 29, 2015, they failed to win the WWE Tag Team Championship in a fatal four-way match as well as being eliminated by Big Show in the Andre the Giant Memorial Battle Royal.

On the April 6 episode of Raw, The New Day turned heel, which would mark Kingston's first heel turn in WWE ever since debuting in 2008.[115] At Extreme Rules, Kingston and Big E defeated Tyson Kidd and Cesaro to win the WWE Tag Team Championships.[116] At Payback, The New Day defeated Kidd and Cesaro to retain their titles. At Elimination Chamber, The New Day defeated Kidd and Cesaro, The Lucha Dragons, The Ascension, Los Matadores, and the Prime Time Players to retain their titles in the first ever tag team Elimination Chamber match; all three members were allowed to compete in a pre-match stipulation.[117] However, they lost the titles at Money in the Bank against The Prime Time Players.[118] However, they would regain the titles at SummerSlam. The following night on Raw, The Dudley Boyz made their WWE return and attacked the New Day with Woods being put through a table with the 3D. New Day lost to the Dudley Boyz via disqualification at Night of Champions but retained their tag team titles. The next month, at Hell in a Cell, they defeated the Dudley Boyz to retain their titles. At TLC, The New Day retained the title against The Usos and The Lucha Dragons in a Triple threat tag team ladder match.[119] The New Day retained the titles at Royal Rumble against The Usos.

The New Day during the WrestleMania Axxess in April 2016
The New Day during the WrestleMania Axxess in April 2016

At Fastlane, The New Day turned face by mocking The League of Nations, starting a feud. They retained their titles at Roadblock against The League of Nations. At WrestleMania 32, The New Day were defeated by The League of Nations in a six-man tag team match.[120] The following night on Raw, they successfully retained their title against The League of Nations, ending their feud.[121] After WrestleMania, they retained their title at Extreme Rules against The Vaudevillains, and at Money in the Bank against Gallows and Anderson, The Vaudevillains and Enzo Amore and Big Cass in a Fatal-4 Way Tag Team match.

On July 19 at the 2016 WWE draft, Kingston, along with his fellow The New Day teammates, was drafted to Raw. Three days later, on July 22, Kingston, along with Big E and Xavier Woods, became the longest reigning WWE Tag Team Champions in history, breaking the record of 331 days previously set by Paul London and Brian Kendrick. After SmackDown established the SmackDown Tag Team Championship after the brand split, the titles held by The New Day were renamed the Raw Tag Team Championship. They would retain the titles against Gallows and Anderson at SummerSlam and Clash of Champions. Their reign ended at Roadblock: End of the Line, where they lost the title to Cesaro and Sheamus, thus ending their record breaking championship reign at 483 days.[122]

On January 29, 2017, Kingston participated the Royal Rumble match in which he was standing on the top-rope when Baron Corbin tried to push him backwards to eliminate him from the match. Instead, he fell directly behind the ring post, grabbed on to the top rope of it and managed to hang on. The New Day were revealed to be the hosts of WrestleMania 33. The night after WrestleMania on Raw, The New Day issued an open challenge to any team which was accepted by the debuting The Revival, and lost to them. After the match, Revival attacked Kofi Kingston. On April 10, it was announced that Kingston had suffered an ankle injury due to the attack of Revival which would require surgery.[123]

The New Day at WrestleMania 34
The New Day at WrestleMania 34

On April 11, 2017, The New Day were moved to the SmackDown brand as part of the Superstar Shake-up.[124] The New Day debuted on "Talking Smack", the post-show for SmackDown Live on May 23, however, they did not wrestle or make an appearance on SmackDown Live itself due to Kingston's injury.[125] The New Day made their official return on May 30 episode of SmackDown Live, announcing their objective to defeat The Usos and win the SmackDown Tag Team Championship. The two teams faced off at Money in the Bank, where Big E and Kingston emerged victorious when The Usos purposely got themselves counted out, thus keeping their titles. A rematch took place at Battleground, where Kingston and Woods were successful in capturing the titles, thus making Kingston the first wrestler to hold the SmackDown Tag Team Championship, Raw Tag Team Championship (both its previous and current incarnations), and the original World Tag Team Championship. A month later at the SummerSlam pre-show, however, The New Day (represented by Big E and Woods) dropped the titles back to The Usos, ending their reign at 28 days. On September 12 at the episode promoted as Sin City SmackDown, Kingston and Big E represented New Day and defeated The Usos to win back the championship for their second reign in a "Sin City Street Fight", but lost them again to The Usos at Hell in a Cell. On the October 23 episode of Raw, The New Day along with other talent of SmackDown ambushed the Raw locker room. They again appeared on the November 6 episode of Raw in the crowd, which led to distraction of Seth Rollins and Dean Ambrose and costing them the tag titles. On the November 14 episode of SmackDown Live, The Shield led an attack with Raw Superstars and invaded SmackDown similar to the one led by SmackDown and attacked everyone including The New Day. At Survivor Series, The New Day was defeated by The Shield.[126] The New Day failed to regain the titles from The Usos at Clash of Champions in a Fatal-4-Way tag team match also involving the team of Rusev and Aiden English, and Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin.[127]

At the Royal Rumble on January 28, 2018, Kingston entered the match as the 16th entrant, but was eliminated by Andrade "Cien" Almas. At Fastlane, The New Day faced The Usos for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships, but went to a no contest after inference from The Bludgeon Brothers.[128] Two weeks later, it was confirmed that at WrestleMania 34, The New Day would face The Usos and The Bludgeon Brothers in a Triple Threat tag team match for the Smackdown Tag Team Championships.[129] The New Day failed to capture the titles at the WrestleMania, which were won by The Bludgeon Brothers. On the April 11 episode of SmackDown Live, The New Day were defeated by The Usos in a match to determine which team would challenge The Bludgeon Brothers at the Greatest Royal Rumble event.

The New Day competed in a tag team tournament, defeating Sanity in the first round, while The Bar (Cesaro and Sheamus) defeated The Usos. The New Day then defeated The Bar the following week on SmackDown Live to earn the right to face The Bludgeon Brothers at SummerSlam, where they won the match by disqualification, meaning The Bludgeon Brothers retained their titles. Two days later on SmackDown Live, however, The New Day defeated The Bludgeon Brothers in a no disqualification match to capture the titles for a third time.[130] At Hell in a Cell, The New Day successfully defeated Rusev and Aiden English to retain the titles.[131] A few weeks later on October 6, at Super Show-Down, The New Day again retained their titles by defeating The Bar.[132] At SmackDown 1000, The New Day lost their titles against The Bar.[133] They would fail to regain the titles at Crown Jewel event.[134] Two weeks later, they made up part of Team SmackDown in a 5-on-5 tag-team elimination match at Survivor Series, in which they defeated Team Raw.[135] At TLC, The New Day would again fail to win the championship from The Bar, in a triple-threat tag team match also involving The Usos.[136] On the January 1, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live, the entire New Day announced their entry into the Royal Rumble match at the Royal Rumble pay-per-view on January 27.[137] At the event, Kingston was eliminated by Drew McIntyre.[138]

WWE Champion (2019)

On the February 12, 2019 episode of SmackDown Live, one member of The New Day was scheduled to replace Mustafa Ali in the WWE Championship Elimination Chamber match at the namesake pay–per–view after Ali suffered an injury, and Kingston was selected as his replacement. Kingston then participated in a Gauntlet match to determine the last entrant in the Chamber match, where he started off with WWE Champion Daniel Bryan. Kingston lasted over an hour all while eliminating Bryan, Jeff Hardy and Samoa Joe, before being eliminated by AJ Styles.[139] At the event, Kingston entered the Chamber match as the third entrant, and managed to eliminate Randy Orton, and lasted until the final two, before being eliminated by Daniel Bryan.[140] After pinning Daniel Bryan in a six–man tag-team match, Kingston was granted a WWE Championship match at Fastlane,[141][142] but was replaced during his contract-signing by a returning Kevin Owens per the order of Vince McMahon.[143] On March 10 at Fastlane, Kingston was apparently added into the title match by McMahon, but after entering the ring, it was instead announced that he would face The Bar in a handicap match, which Kingston subsequently lost.[144][145][146][147]

After Fastlane, Mr. McMahon told Kingston he would earn a WWE Championship match at WrestleMania if he beat Sheamus, Cesaro, Rowan, Samoa Joe and Randy Orton in another gauntlet match. After Kingston succeeded in beating the five men, McMahon inserted Daniel Bryan in the match who would defeat him.[148] In what was the last chance for Kingston, McMahon announced a gauntlet match for Big E and Xavier Woods, who were able to defeat five other teams, including Bryan and Rowan to give Kingston his championship match against Bryan at WrestleMania 35.[149][150] At WrestleMania, Kingston defeated Bryan and won the WWE Championship for the first time, becoming the first African-born WWE Champion in history, as well as WWE's 30th Triple Crown and 20th Grand Slam champion.[151][152][153] Kingston successfully defended the title against Kevin Owens at Money in the Bank.[154] Then, Kingston started a feud with the returning Dolph Ziggler, retaining the title at Super ShowDown in a singles match[155] and steel cage match at Stomping Grounds.[156] Next, he retained the championship against Samoa Joe at Extreme Rules in July. He would also hold the SmackDown Tag Team Championship via the Freebird rule, although he never was actually seen defending the titles on TV, likely due to his commitment to the WWE Championship at that time.[157] On July 27, He successfully defended the title against Samoa Joe and Dolph Ziggler at WWE Smackville in a triple threat match.[158] Kingston defended his title against Orton at SummerSlam where the match ended in a double count out.[159] The two had a rematch at Clash of Champions, where Kingston was victorious.[160]

On the following episode of SmackDown Live, The New Day defeated Orton and The Revival. Immediately following the match, Brock Lesnar and Paul Heyman confronted Kingston and challenged him to a championship match on the October 4 episode of SmackDown, the same night the show premiered on FOX. After Kingston accepted, Lesnar attacked him.[161] Lesnar defeated Kingston in under ten seconds to win the championship, ending Kingston's reign at 180 days.[162]

In the 2019 WWE Draft, Kingston, along with his New Day teammates Big E and Xavier Woods, was drafted to SmackDown.[163]

Other media

Kingston, under the nickname Mr. 24/7, frequently appears on fellow WWE wrestler, Xavier Woods' YouTube channel UpUpDownDown. In May 2019, he defeated UpUpDownDown Champion Gentleman Jack Gallagher in a game of Mortal Kombat 3 to win Gallagher's championship.[164] Kingston lost the title one month later to Jey Uso in a game of Tetris[165].

In 2012, he guest-starred in an episode of Disney XD's karate sitcom Kickin' It.[166] In 2016, he appeared with his New Day teammates on a Christmas Family themed Let's Make a Deal.[167] In 2017, he published The Book of Booty: Shake It. Love It. Never Be It with fellow New Day members Big E and Xavier Woods.[168]

Video games

Year Title
2008 WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2009
2009 WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2010
2010 WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2011
2011 WWE All Stars
WWE '12
2012 WWE '13[169]
2013 WWE 2K14[170]
2014 WWE 2K15[171]
WWE SuperCard
2015 WWE 2K16[172]
2016 WWE 2K17[173]
2017 WWE 2K18[174]
WWE Champions
WWE Mayhem
WWE Tap Mania
2018 WWE 2K19[175]

Personal life

Sarkodie-Mensah is married and has two sons.[176][177] Sarkodie-Mensah has tattoos of Ghanaian Adinkra symbols along his spine.[178]

Championships and accomplishments

Kingston is a three-time United States Champion
Kingston is a four-time Intercontinental Champion
Kingston is a nine-time Tag Team Champion, holding the now-retired World Tag Team Championship once, the WWE (Raw) Tag Team Championship four times, and the SmackDown Tag Team Championship four times


  1. ^ Big E, Kingston, and Woods defended the title under the Freebird Rule. Also, during New Day's second reign as WWE Tag Team Champions, the title was renamed Raw Tag Team Championship after SmackDown established the SmackDown Tag Team Championship.


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External links

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