Kofi Kingston has attended countless WWE events like the WWE 2K23 hands-on party in San Antonio during Royal Rumble weekend. Even after 16 years with the organization, he still gets a buzz from appearing in a videogame or being NXT tag team champion with his New Day brother Xavier Woods. Kingston appreciates each high moment knowing the rollercoaster ride he has been on in his career. One minute riding high on “KofiMania” and the next getting decimated by Brock Lesnar.
Today Kingston and partner Woods are gearing up for a fatal-four-way title defense against some of NXT’s emerging superstars at the Vengeance Day premium live event on Peacock on February 4. The 41-year-old takes pride in helping emerging talent on Tuesday nights. At the same time, he isn’t quite ready to fully hand over the torch. We caught up with Kingston ahead of New Day’s big challenge.
As we look at the expansive roster of WWE 2K23, there are certainly a number of familiar opponents for you. Tell me your Top 5 wrestlers that have been your favorite to work with.
Kofi Kingston: Do the Usos count as one or two?
We can count them as one.
We’ll keep Usos as one. I’ll say the Usos for sure. If you’ve seen our tag matches, then I don’t need to explain it. Dolph Ziggler, he and I joke that back in the day we could have a best-of-500 series. Every match was always fun and incredible. I actually like having matches with Sami Zayn because of the visceral reactions he is able to garner from the crowd. Kevin Owens is actually really good. His skill level is amazing. Our matches are always great. Edge is really good. One of the first for me. When you’re in the ring with him, you just know it’s going to be good because he is an amazing storyteller and competitor.
Who are five you didn’t like?
You’ll see that in my book one day. When my book comes out, I’ll let you know about that.
How much fun are you having in NXT?
Too much fun. It has been amazing to mix it up with the kids down there. People who are trying to find themselves and their characters. They are in that infancy stage of what they will become. It’s very exciting to help them along. It’s an honor to be down there. It’s an honor to be an NXT champ. We have a big match coming up at Vengeance Day. We plan to be champs for a very long time.
One of the teams you will defend against is Pretty Deadly. Do you see a little of New Day in them?
They are awesome. We always joke that they kind of remind us of a young New Day because of their bond, their outfits, and their antics. They are not afraid to try new things and be themselves with full confidence and arrogance. They love to get under people’s skin, which is awesome. You crave that as a WWE superstar. Being able to get a reaction.
As an elder statesman, what do you make of the current atmosphere behind the scenes at WWE?
There is so much change going on [in WWE]. I think a lot of it is for the better. People are willing to help. We realize the industry is dependent on us. Providing information to the people that come after us. That is what we try to do as New Day. We are willing to help teams out. Helping them get established and get them over. We want to make them comfortable. It’s weird to be in that role, but a role I take seriously.
The wrestling landscape is so unpredictable now. Is there anyone you would recruit from the outside to work with?
There are a lot of people. We’ve been wanting to have a match with the Young Bucks for a long time. It’s a special time.
Along with wrestling, you’ve also collaborated with your mom on a great outreach project for the people of Ghana.
My mom started the CLICK for Quality Education Foundation. It’s something we set up to build computer labs and libraries for kids in Gana. We have a GoFundMe to help us with the computers. We’ve actually come across someone who going to donate some of the charging stations and a couple of desktops and some monitors. We’re actually looking for laptops. The GoFundMe is at https://www.gofundme.com/f/clickfqe.
WWE NXT, Tuesdays, 8/7c, USA Network
WWE Vengeance Day, February 4, 8/7c, Peacock
WWE 2K23 releases March 17