Kofi Kingston is in the midst of a three month run as WWE champion. The New Day founder and longtime fan favorite has been riding high as the top titleholder on SmackDown Live and he’s done so with a majority of support from the WWE faithful.
Kingston is indeed the popular choice to wear the championship, just as he was the popular choice to win the belt from Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35. Fans rallied behind Kofi because they believed in him and because they knew that he deserved a shot at the top. But even as the clock continues to tick on his title reign, some fans are beginning to wonder if Kofi will still be the WWE champion after October 4th.
October 4th is the night when SmackDown Live debuts on the FOX Network. WWE announced the move in June of 2018 and since that time, fans have waited to see how the company will choose to handle the blue brand moving forward. Thus far, it’s been business as usual on SmackDown Live. But all of that could change at any moment.
Watch Kofi Kingston confront Samoa Joe on SmackDown Live!
That’s due to SmackDown Live’s new Executive Director, Eric Bischoff. Bischoff’s WWE return was recently announced and that announcement came on the same day that Paul Heyman was named the Executive Director of Monday Night Raw. It definitely appears that Vince McMahon is ready to shake things up in his company and the best way to do that is by making changes to creative, which is exactly what he’s done.
But how far will those changes go? Fans have already gotten their first glimpse of Heyman’s Raw. But Bischoff’s SmackDown is still something of a mystery. The former WCW President has not officially started work on the blue brand, but that moment is coming soon. So when it happens, will the entire program change? More importantly, will the WWE championship change hands?
It’s perhaps not what many fans want to see. Kofi is indeed a deserving Superstar and it’s obvious that he’s risen to the occasion as WWE champion. Kingston may be a fun-loving jester most of the time, but when it’s time to do some work in the ring, he definitely shows up to show off. But while it’s clear that Kofi has a loyal fan following that believes in him, the question of how much WWE believes in him is still being asked.
Watch Kofi vs. Dolph Ziggler on SmackDown Live!
Has Kofi Kingston’s stock risen to the point that WWE wants him as the top titleholder on SmackDown Live in October? Kingston is rolling along as champion and it doesn’t seem that anyone is really being positioned to beat him for the title right now. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen.
Samoa Joe will get his opportunity at Kingston when the two men lock up at Extreme Rules on Sunday, July 14. Joe is a great choice to wear the gold and if anyone can convincingly carry the championship, it’s him. Joe is a legitimate tough guy, a monster athlete that looks more like an MMA fighter than a pro wrestler. This image has always benefited him in the business and the same is perhaps true of his new home on FOX.
The FOX Network reportedly wants competitive, sports-based programming from WWE. While this may be a bit impossible to critics, especially considering the company’s penchant for comedy, it’s an understandable desire. FOX wants to make an impact with SmackDown and legitimize it as much as possible for the mainstream audience.
Much of that audience perhaps does not follow WWE, or pro wrestling, for that matter. So it’s possible that WWE will accommodate FOX and deliver a credible mainstream athlete as the top champion. Is Kofi Kingston that athlete? But then again, is Samoa Joe that athlete? What if the man that will ultimately take the WWE Championship isn’t even a member of the SmackDown Live roster?
Watch Kofi come face to face with Brock on Raw!
This is the point when many WWE fans begin shaking their heads, because they know what’s coming. The sense of dread surrounding the potential next WWE champion is very real and it’s only getting more intense as the days go by. His importance to the company and more specifically to Vince McMahon, cannot be overstated. So is Brock Lesnar the man to take Kofi Kingston down for the WWE title?
It’s the most logical move for the company and for the FOX Network as well. Featuring Brock Lesnar, the former UFC champion, at the center of the new SmackDown Live, seems to be the perfect situation for everyone involved. That does not necessarily include the fans however, who probably don’t want to see The Beast Incarnate with a championship again. But maybe the bigger issue here is how Kofi Kingston fits into this scenario.
If Kingston goes down to Lesnar, what happens next? Does Kofi simply return to his usual hijinks with The New Day? Or does Kingston find himself forever changed by having held the WWE Championship, deciding that he cannot rest until he holds it again? Is there an outcome that follows a newly crowned Lesnar which also includes Kofi Kingston as a main event player?
The fact is that despite how much popularity he has and how much fans love him, Kofi Kingston is a team player. That means he will do whatever WWE asks of him and he will do it to the best of his ability. Fans believe in him and they want to see him do well, but Kofi will do what’s best for business. Maybe that means Kofi will continue on as WWE champion. But maybe it means that WWE will make the switch to Brock Lesnar. The only things fan can do now is what to see what happens next.
Tom Clark can regularly be seen on Wrestling Rumors. His podcast, Tom Clark’s Main Event, is available on iTunes,YouTube, iHeart Radio, boinkstudios.com and live every Friday at 12pm EST on Wrestling Rumors Facebook Live