Without question, WrestleMania is the biggest event of the wrestling year. I don’t think I’m breaking any ground with that statement as WWE has basically made having a WrestleMania Moment the be all and end all of a wrestler’s livelihood. If you have had your WrestleMania Moment, you have no more worries for the rest of your career and it’s all gravy from there. That rather ridiculous logic was on display last week on SmackDown and it is the kind of thing that drives me crazy about modern day WWE.
On the October 4 episode of SmackDown, as in the premiere on FOX, Brock Lesnar squashed Kofi Kingston in about six seconds to become WWE Champion again. This ended Kingston’s six month long reign which began with the incredible moment at WrestleMania 35 when he won the title in his first singles match. Kingston’s sons joined him in the ring and he was presented with both the previous design of the title and a newly created t-shirt showcasing him as champion.
Of course you wouldn’t know that if you watched last week’s SmackDown, when the title loss was barely mentioned in relation to Kingston (you saw it when Lesnar was doing his deal, but we’ll get back to that later). Yeah apparently reaching the pinnacle of his career and the wrestling business in general and staying there six months before being humiliated in your title loss is just something you get over in a week, as Kingston was his old self and perfectly fine.
So it started with this:
Did I miss something here? Sure Kingston is built on the Power of Positivity, but can we at least get a quick mention of it? Maybe he seems a little doubtful of himself before he gets the pin? Kingston got a nice win by pinning AJ Styles in a six man and could be moving into a rather interesting feud there, but it was like he was the same Kingston that we have seen for the better part of twelve years: laid back, happy to be there, and in no way, shape or form anywhere near the World Title level.
If Kingston is just totally cool with losing the title, why am I supposed to be interested in the next title change? Can we please just act like Kingston is upset over losing the most important title in wrestling? Apparently not, as that isn’t what the scripts calls for at the moment. For some reason, Kingston is incapable of talking about being WWE Champion and doing anything else at the same time so let’s just go back to having him throw the pancakes around again, even if it doesn’t make a ton of sense.
Then you have Lesnar, who has moved on to Cain Velasquez and doesn’t even think about Kingston anymore. That’s all well and good, but Paul Heyman can’t mention something about him? Something as simple as “You saw what my client Brock Lesnar did to the six month reigning WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, and he will do it again anytime Mr. Kingston is ready.” Just bringing it up would show that there is a thought there and that isn’t too much to ask for.
Apparently it is, as WWE has evolved into a company where a wrestler is doing this one thing and cannot possibly think about another. It can make sense in some cases, such as Lesnar here, but Kingston just moving on doesn’t feel like something that he should be doing. This has been a problem in WWE for a long time now but it is getting worse and worse lately (as is the case with so many problems in WWE, though that is another long discussion for another time).
It just feels like this stuff goes from one step to the next with nothing tying everything together. Kingston is suddenly a former WWE Champion who has dropped completely back down into the midcard. He doesn’t need a rematch where he hangs with Lesnar, but could he at least act like it bothers him a bit before moving back to the six man tag stuff? As is the case with so many things in WWE, it can be summed up as “this isn’t how real people act” and that becomes a problem in a hurry.
Then it was on to this:
WWE is currently trying to move into a world where their product is more based in realism. That can be hard to pull off in a form of entertainment closer to a real life comic book at times, but you have to have these people act like humans. Less than seven days after losing their greatest career accomplishment, almost any top level athlete would either be devastated over what happened or working as hard as they could to get back to where they were.
Instead, we skipped right past Kingston being down, upset, angry, or whatever other reaction you think he should have had and moved on to “eh easy come easy go”. You can have Kingston get back there, but can we at least see some of that process? Some promos? Some time away? Some….well anything really? Kingston has been around a long time and can cut a promo, so why in the world did we need to get back to the regular routine so fast?
It would seem that the reason is it’s already time to move on to whatever Kingston is doing next. He isn’t a main eventer anymore (fine) and is right back to doing what he was doing before. After all those months as champion, it’s just back to the same Kingston we’ve seen for years now. That’s not the worst thing in the world and it was probably what you guessed would happen to him next (Kingston seems more natural there and not everyone is going to stay in the main event scene), but they did a really bad job of getting us to that point.
In short, it’s just bad writing that ignores any form of emotion and sees Kingston drop back to what he was doing before like nothing ever happened. In addition to making Kingston himself look a little ridiculous, it makes the title feel unimportant. If Kingston spent that much time trying to get to the title (in a match and story that could have main evented WrestleMania 35), why is he so cool with losing it back? Are we really just going with the story of Kingston is totally cool with it because winning the title was all that mattered? Does he not like, want to win it back or anything?
It would be nice to be back to this:
I know there is a lot going on in WWE at the moment, but you would think that their top title would warrant some more attention. Instead, we’re jumping straight into the build to Crown Jewel, which has to be done in the span of a few weeks because everything is so rushed in WWE these days. Nothing has time to develop because we need to get to the next Lesnar feud and that isn’t something we need to see immediately after all that time spent on Kingston and his title reign. You should have another step or two in there and it’s just missing so far.
Maybe WWE will fix this later on, but given their history, you either get the story right then and there or you get nothing for years until it’s their time again. Having Kingston being so passive about losing the title makes him look bad and the title look unimportant, but that’s just how WWE writes these things anymore. You win and lose titles with no consequences or emotional impact and it’s hurting things so much. Kingston’s title reign wasn’t a game changer, but it warranted some emotion, and that’s not what we’re getting right now.
Thomas Hall has been a wrestling fan for over thirty years and has seen over 50,000 wrestling matches. He has also been a wrestling reviewer since 2009 with over 5,000 full shows covered. You can find his work at kbwrestlingreviews.com, or check out his- Amazon author page with 30 wrestling books. His latest book is KB’s Complete 2004 Monday Night Raw Reviews.
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