The Return of the Wildcat
You faced a tough situation this summer, having to undergo elbow surgery and stay on the sidelines for the first time in your career. How did you keep from going off the deep end while recovering?
I got a little stir crazy, but at the same time, I just had a son and it was great to actually spend some quality and quantity time with him. Normally I wouldn’t get to do that. I feel like everything happens for a reason. I had the double elbow surgery to remove bone chips out of my elbows. It wasn’t qualified as a major surgery, but I haven’t been out in six years. For me to get this injury, the timing was impeccable because I could spend some time with my son. I was champing at the bit to get back in the flow of things, though.
After six years in the WWE Universe, it’s easy to feel like we know you very well. But what is the most important piece of info about Kofi Kingston that the WWE Universe has yet to learn?
It’s important to stay positive—the WWE Universe knows that about me. Having said that, I’m just like any other person. I get frustrated, but I might not let it show on the outside because I’m always smiling. I get just as mad and frustrated as the next person, though. It all depends on how you deal with it. As happy-go-lucky as I appear to be, life situations are not always as happy-go-lucky. It’s just a matter of how you choose to react to a situation. That affects your well-being and your outlook on life.
So what’s the one thing that you have tried to improve upon from your debut in 2007?When I was younger, I would take a lot more risks and be a little bit more reckless with my body. Obviously, the older you get, the more you realize you can’t quite do all the things you used to do if you want to be around for a long time. Knowing when to take risks comes with experience, so I still do a lot of death-defying things, but I do it when the odds are in my favor as opposed to doing them with reckless abandonment and hoping for the best.
Being a highflier certainly qualifies you as a risk-taker. But what’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken in your career?
To be honest, dropping the Jamaican accent in the beginning of my WWE career. It was working for me, and it was something different that had never been done before. I could have very easily stayed on that path and kind of done what worked and kept on going for as long as I could. While it was entertaining, it wasn’t 100-percent real. Now I’m able to just be myself out there, which comes across as more genuine. That helps me in the long run because if people see you out there and they see something that’s real, they’re able to believe in it a lot and you a lot more. It’s like a game of blackjack. If you bet $1, you can only gain $1, but if you bet $100, you can double that and it’s $200. You’ve got to bet it to get it and you can’t be afraid to gamble with what you have to get what you want.
Finally, what does Kofi Kingston have to do to make that next step in WWE?
To make the next step takes a different kind of focus. I’m a 10-time champion in WWE and I’m very grateful for that, but at the same time, I’m still hungry and I’m still not satisfied. I don’t know exactly what it is that I need to do, but I will find out because I don’t feel like anybody should really be satisfied. No matter how good you get, you can always get better. So what I’m trying to do is get better.
Learn what The Wildcat’s most difficult mental hurdle has been following his injury and his harshest self-critique, pick up the October issue of WWE Magazine or SUBSCRIBE HERE and save 70 percent off the newsstand sale price.