Reporting Sara Pelissero
Had things gone a different way, WWE’s Kofi Kingston would still be sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, filing paperwork.
Thankfully — for the fans of professional wrestling, and for Kingston’s mental health — the Ghana native decided to follow his dreams and pursue a career outside an office building and inside the ring.
Before Kingston takes the Target Center by storm, he was kind enough to chat with us about everything from his Boston College days to what we can expect for tonight.
Q: Well, first of all, welcome to Minneapolis. Is this your first time here?
A: No, I actually have been here a few times, either wrestling here and actually my cousins are from here so I came up here, gosh, it was probably like 20 years ago. But I just visited those cousins in those respective towns, so it’s actually weird being here again. Long-winded answer, no, this is not my first time.
Q: So you graduated from BC and soon after entered the corporate world. Could you imagine if you stayed on that path and were still working a desk job?
A: You know, I probably would be at the same desk, working on the same catalogs, I worked on an advertising team, basically print advertising, mostly proof-reading. You know, I’ve always been like an outdoors person, always needed to be outside, running around the neighborhoods growing up, playing basketball, riding bikes, so to be like stuck in a room, in a cubicle, in dead silence … I just remember my first day when I walked in, just thinking, I can’t believe this is the rest of my life.
So, needless to say, within a year I just decided to roll the dice and follow my dreams. This is all I’ve ever wanted to do. Growing up, you always asked people what they wanted to be when they grew up, I always wanted to be a WWE Superstar. It was time to try and like, not keep the world waiting anymore. I got really lucky, I had a good tryout and one thing led to another, got signed and here we are.
Q: Now, there’s another WWE star that came out of Boston College, as well, right? Alex Riley?
A: Yeah, Alex Riley, which is just really funny, too. We have a developmental territory, which is in Florida, FCW, and you know, Riley and I weren’t close friends but we ran in the same circles of people and one day at practice, I’d been signed for about a year and some change, and he had just showed up, he walked in and I was like, man that looks like Riley … there’s no way he’d be here, though. We went through the whole practice, we’d even like talk to each other and then at the end, he was like, ‘hey, did you go to BC?’ And I was like, I knew it was you! So it was crazy.
We were actually just in Dubai last week and we were riding on the bus from Dubai to Abu Dhabi and we were sitting on the bus and I said to him, ‘Hey, this is a long way from Cheverus Hall,’ which is one of the dorms that we resided at for a while. So yeah, it’s funny how paths cross later in life.
Q: So this is a question, from a fellow BC-er, but they were wondering if you spent more time at Mary Ann’s or more time in the Mods during your college career?
A: (Laughs) Definitely more time in the Mods. I wasn’t a big go-out-type of guy, you know what I mean. I went to Mary Ann’s a couple of times and it was just the worst. You go and it’s just so grimy and there’s just a bunch of washed up seniors. I dunno. I actually went to the movie theater across the street that sadly closed down. I spent more time there and the restaurant that was across the street. But yeah, it was good times at BC for sure.
Q: Now, I’d imagine there aren’t a ton of professional wrestlers from Ghana. Where did the pro wrestling dream come from?
A: It’s really funny, I have no idea. I came to the United States when I was 2 years old. You know, at one point I was the only African, true African, WWE Superstar, but now Justin Gabriel from South Africa, too. But I don’t know. My parents came over to the United States with the American Dream, trying to provide a better life for their kids, provide a better education. And somewhere along the way, I became a WWE fan like massively. I had a Bugs Bunny doll that I practiced all my moves on, which my mom appreciated because I didn’t practice on my brother and sister. But it just … I watched it on TV every Saturday morning and I just wanted to be those guys. It was literally a childhood dream.
Q: Now that you’ve made it, is it hard to believe that your childhood dream actually came true?
A: It’s definitely pretty cool. We were in Abu Dhabi last week and I get into the ring and I went to like the top turn buckle and I start to do my traditional thunder clap and I look out into the crowd and the women are all covered up and in their traditional garb and they’re wearing CM Punk shirts over their garb, you know. And they’re sitting there thunder clapping with me. And it’s just like, this is crazy to me. Where are we right now and what am I doing? Just literally living the dream.
It’s been a great experience with WWE and getting to travel the world. You know, get to know the WWE universe, which is great because like tonight, you get to see the people that really make us tick. So I always encourage people to come out to a show and just kind of be immersed in this positive environment. It’s such a fun experience. You have the pyrotechnics, it’s like a rock concert with loud music, you have your favorite WWE Superstars, guys who are athletes, high-fliers, big brawlers, guys who talk trash, you got a few cowards in there and The Miz, you know, a couple of jerks. It’s just a great opportunity to … cheer the guys you like and boo the guys you hate. Just be. It’s a great experience, definitely a family-oriented show and just an experience you’ll never forget.
Q: So what can you tell us about tonight’s show, specifically? What are people in for?
A: Tonight’s show is going to be pretty crazy. Last night we had the elimination chamber, big pay-per-view match, which had the potential to crown a new champion. The champions did retain. CM Punk is the WWE Champion, he’s going to be there. Chris Jericho has come back, he was a staple back in the Attitude era. He didn’t win the match last night so he’s going to have some trash to talk. John Cena verus Kane tonight, Dolph Ziggler, myself, guys from SmackDown will be there, Sheamus, (The Undertaker, Triple H) this is a show that people will definitely get their money’s worth and more. Again, I just highly emphasize to come out and have a good time. Get out of the cold and let us take care of the rest.
WWE Presents RAW Supershow starts at 7:15 p.m. at the Target Center in Minneapolis. Tickets are between $22 and $77 and are still available. For more information or to purchase tickets online, click here.