Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Let's Talk Kofi

So I jumped the gun a bit in posting my musings on the utterly horrific Shit In A Cell PPV event a couple days ago, so in lieu of another PPV musings for the week, I'd figure that I would address on the Kofi Kingston losing to Brock Lesnar in 6 seconds... and why I'm actually okay with it.

Yes, that's right. I did not have a problem with Kofi losing the title in the manner that he did. I did not throw a fit on Twitter acting like the dumb fuck fan that WWE believes they are catering to (besides the sponsors, of course). I did not go on the radio talking about how much of a complete burial of Kofi this turned out to be. I actually didn't mind the way this match turned out and thought it was an excellent story told.

For those who may have missed it, I'll repost the comment from the recent Crackdown On Smackdown post that I wrote in regards to the match:

Well, after months of hard-fought victories and efforts to make him out to be a credible champion, reigning and defending WWE World Heavyweight Champion Kofi Kingston ate an F5 and six seconds later, Brock Lesnar is your new WWE World Heavyweight Champion.

I suppose I should be upset that Kofi was treated like a complete and utter afterthought after a rather lengthy reign, but on the other hand, I'd probably be more upset that Brock had to spend more than a minute beating the guy who tosses pancakes out of his scrotum, so all things considered, this was an excellent match for what it was.

Anyone who has read this blog for who knows how long will know that I was never the biggest Brock Lesnar fan in recent years. I've kind of turned a corner this year somewhat because I could ease myself into the carnage those matches produced as well as not having to worry about the ever-present threat of THIS TIME FOR SURE, but for the most part, I've never been thrilled with the whole "Suplex City for 30 minutes" or whatever style of presentation. So when something different happens like Goldberg killing Brock in two minutes or even this match, I'm actually thrilled because it's something different from the norm.

And it also plays into the whole "Brock doesn't want to be here" mentality that they're trying to impose on you. I'd imagine if I didn't want to be in a promotion and was in it strictly for the money, I'd try to end these matches as quickly as possible and not waste time. So, in that regard, knowing what the end game was going to be and given the choice between suplex city for 5-10 minutes or what actually happened, I'll take the six second squash any day of the week.

So, for reasons that I can understand, people are rather upset by this somewhat quick conclusion to what some would consider a nice, lengthy feelgood championship run on the part of Kofi Kingston. I'm sure some folks would've like to have seen Kofi gone down fighting before losing the title to Brock or perhaps even escape with a win and not give Brock another championship reign that he doesn't need. And considering what followed and the bitter taste left in my mouth, I can certainly understand the feeling some folks would have in saying this was a bad deal.

However, the match and the way it went down... I had no real issue with. Yes, it's sad that a lengthy Kofi Kingston reign as WWE Champion went out like a light in short order, but really, isn't that always a possibility in combat sports?

In boxing, MMA, and other sorts of combat sports, there exists the possibility that a match can end in an instant, whether it'd be a lucky shot or whatever the case may be. Wrestling may be a simulated sport where the results are pre-determined and the action is more of an exhibition than a pure fight, but if it insists on trying to be more like a real sport and trying to match the excitement of those other combat sports, why shouldn't a championship match end early due to a bad break or lucky shot? Why does the match need to be 5-10 minutes minimum? What benefit would there have been to extend the time to reach the end game that everyone knew was coming? Why does Kofi "deserve" a better end?

This almost reminds me of the time when Denise Crosby's character on Star Trek: The Next Generation, Tasha Yar, was written off the show in the first season by way of an evil, goofy-looking tar monster killing her. People thought that was a cheap way to write off the character and felt that she deserved a better ending. As time went on, I ask myself... why? Because she didn't go out in a blaze of glory, but rather in an anticlimactic fashion? She died in the line of duty. She didn't get killed off-screen or written off like a murder victim? She was doing her job and she got killed. Was it the most glamorous death ever? No, but she died doing her job, which is not a bad way to go out. Sometimes, we don't get to go out in a blaze of glory. Sometimes, we're the first casualty in a battle before we ever fire a shot.

Same thing with Kofi; he had a match with Brock, he went in and he got caught and pinned in quick fashion. He didn't lose the title in a backstage skit; he wasn't forced to forfeit due to stupid shit; he lost in the ring in less than six seconds. Guess what? It happens in combat sports. Fuck, it even happens in wrestling. Diesel beating Bob Backlund for the WWF title in eight seconds? Sheamus beating Daniel Bryan Danielson for the World title in less than a minute after one Brogue Kick? All those quick Money In The Bank cash-ins? Hello? HELLO, ANYBODY HOME? THINK, MCFLY! THINK!

This match was fine the way it was because there is no reason whatsoever that Kofi Kingston and his pancake-tossing ways should last even two minutes against a machine like Brock Lesnar. It'd be like having Hornswoggle competing in a sumo wrestling match against Yokozuna at his widest berth; it would be comical and not believable. And that's not what FOX wants. They want something more sports-centric in their sports-entertainment. And if that means the former UFC Heavyweight Champion beats the WWE Champion who tosses pancakes out of his crotch in six seconds so they can build to a fake wrestling rematch with another UFC guy, then so be it.

Look, wrestling is full of stupid shit that flies in the face of logic. Robocop. Russo. TNA. Anything involving Seth Rollins' run with the Red Belt, for example. Hell, we had stupid shit this past Sunday. And sadly, that shit ain't going away no matter how hard we try to forget. It's every bit as part of the lore and history of professional wrestling as all those great Flair/Steamboat matches that people hold in high regard or some other notable event.

But sometimes, wrestling is at its best when it's presented in a somewhat serious fashion, when it's treated more like a fight between two competitors with a desire to be the best than two acrobats doing moves for the sake of moves with no storytelling behind it. That means that sometimes, things happened differently than the way you'd like it to play out. Sure, it'd be nice if Kofi went down fighting... but he didn't. He got caught, he got pinned, and now he'll go back and continue to do the same thing he always did without the benefit of a championship belt to hide his crotch bag of pancakes, as though the past six months was just business as usual.

That's always been my problem with Kofi's run as champion. Because when he won it, I'd figure he would gain a bit more of an edge, set aside the silliness, and treat the title with a little more reverance and respect. Yes, he's had "great wins" and whatever, but he's never had the aura of being the World Heavyweight Champion, which invokes a tremendous responsibility. I don't know; I'd figure Kofi would adopt the Bret Hart mentality of treating the championship as a prize to be coveted and cherished. And I never got that from Kofi. In the hands of Kofi, the title was a prop for his pancake endeavors.

I did see the interview he cut with Michael Cole the week before the show, where he was his usual, jovial self. He treated this like all that have come before; another obstacle to overcome before going back to sharing sweets with the world. At no point during this interview did it feel like the WWE WORLD HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPION (and I applaud Kofi for addressing himself as such, even with a big goofy smile on his face) who is facing perhaps the biggest challenge of his professional career. This was the usual New Day fun and games interview that they usually have and when it was done, the first thing that came to mind was, "This guy's getting fucking killed."

And lo and behold, that's... not quite what happened. But... it did tell a story, didn't it? People watch wrestling for the storytelling, right? That was the main complaint with the match; it wasn't long enough to tell the physical story... except it DID tell a story. Kofi thought this would be another title defense where he'd emerge victorious and celebrate with pancakes and Francesca... then he got a rude awakening and it was taken from him in a blink of an eye. End of story.

What happens next with Kofi... who knows? Does anyone care? Maybe... I guess you'll have to find out.

In any event, I'm glad that match happened the way it did. There was no need to delay the inevitable, there was no need to try and sway people from a result that everyone could see coming, and there was certainly no need for a five to ten minute match that was going to be forgotten about because they want to push for a rematch between two guys who had a real UFC fight a decade ago.

But, then again... maybe not.

After all, Kofi losing the title the way he did is one thing... but what happens afterwards is the rea story. Would it be business as usual? Or would there be a shift of some sort? A new story to be told out of this experience?

I guess I'll never know... I've sworn off current WWE television for the foreseeable future and I don't know when I'll be back, but I thought I'd just chime in and offer some thoughts on the matter.

But to those still watching and are upset by this... I know WWE has been cratering in the goodwill as of late, but I suppose a "wait and see what happens next" is perhaps the best advice I could offer. Something good might come out of this... doubtful, all things considered, but some people still want to believe... and I'd say, "Why not? What could possibly go wrong?"

After all, if Daniel Bryan Danielson could recover from a half-minute squash, why not Kofi?


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