9 seconds. In 9 seconds a journey that started in February came to an end. In the most embarrassing of squash matches that I can remember Kofi Kingston lost the WWE Championship to Brock Lesnar in 9 seconds. I was looking forward to this too. I know, stupid me. I keep telling myself that he’s going to change and that he’s going to be better but Vince McMahon always gets me in the end. Let’s do a quick recap…
The bell rings. Kofi charges Lesnar and jumps. Lesnar catches him on his shoulders and one F5 later it’s finished. I have a lot of thoughts.
Firstly, it’s the PREMIERE episode of Friday Night Smackdown on FOX. Network TV! Here I am stupidly thinking that we’d get a 15 minute match with Kofi giving Lesnar everything he had but coming up just short. I thought there would be an epic encounter where we’d be clamoring to come back next Friday to see what Kofi might do next and maybe, just maybe, Paul Heyman say something nice like, “that was tougher than we thought”. Kofi Kingston deserved that much. I’m not a huge Kofi fan, I’ll be honest, but one has to appreciate what he accomplished this year. As a replacement for Ali in an Elimination Chamber match, Kofi Kingston won the hearts and minds of the WWE fans by putting on a performance for the ages in a gauntlet match to determine the chambers entry order. He then went on to have an amazing Elimination Chamber match with Daniel Bryan, the two starting the match and being the last two men left. There were moments in that match that we all thought Kofi was about to do it. And then he kept the momentum going to Wrestlemania – hell, my father and I were at the Mohegan Sun Arena where Xavier Woods and Big E participated in a gauntlet match of their own to win Kofi the honor of wrestling Daniel Bryan for the title at the “grandaddy of them all”. It was exciting and we all felt a part of the journey.
And then he won. And Kofi faced strong opponent after strong opponent, coming through victorious each time. He carried the championship like a true professional and had great matches along the way. We all knew Brock Lesnar was taking the title when it was announced. I even predicted Lesnar would be the champion come the FOX premier. However, at the very least, they could have given us a match, one in which we could say “thank you, Kofi”. But no. 9 seconds.
My friend Chris O’C texted me saying “If Lesnar wins I’m done”. I responded with, “sorry bro, but he’s going to win.” I didn’t expect 9 seconds.
Secondly, WWE bookers and writers, are you going to tell me that Kofi Kingston did not watch any of Lesnar’s three matches this year (two losses, both to Seth Rollins)? Are you asking me to believe that Kofi Kingston thought the best way to go after Brock Lesnar was to charge and jump at him? Did Kofi Kingston, after an amazing eight months, suddenly become an idiot? That we, as wrestling fans, are supposed to just accept that our champion didn’t watch any film, didn’t ask any questions, didn’t talk to Seth Rollins, and thought jumping onto a man’s shoulders, whose finisher comes from having the opponent on his shoulders, was the best way to take on Brock Lesnar? Come on.
Third – Cain Velasquez. Okay, cool. I’m sure you thought it was Dominic like I did. But really? You job out your champion like a punk only to let a guy that no wrestling fan really knows show up after the match and start laying fists into the man who just beat the champ in 9 seconds? Have Velasquez cost Lesnar the belt if you really wanted to set up a match! Again, it was the premiere episode on FOX and it was a good show up until then. Instead of people wanting to tune in next week or have something to be excited about, we were left scratching our heads for a payoff in Saudi Arabia.
And finally – look, I have no problem with Lesnar defeating Kofi. It didn’t have to be 9 seconds, but that’s over now. I understand why FOX would prefer Lesnar be the guy. I get it. They paid half a billion dollars for this show and they want ratings. However in order for this to work, Lesnar HAS to be on the show. If he’s a champ that’s there just about every week, that’s fine. No complaints from me. But if he’s going to be an absent champion like he was as Universal Champ, no thanks. It’s already hard enough to watch a wrestling show at 8pm on a Friday night using my over the air antenna (I cut the cord) so if my champion isn’t going to be there then I’ll be just fine watching RAW and a combination of NXT and AEW.
I never wanted to be that writer who thinks he can book a show better than people who’ve been doing it for years but I already can think of two ways to do what they did but better. Either Valsquez could have cost Lesnar the title or Kofi could have looked like a hero in a valiant, but failed, attempt to slay the beast. Both of those make me want to come back next week and see what happens. But this?
There’s a draft next week and from what I’ve read it’s a hard draft. Separate rosters entirely. We’re going to see a lot of big names going to Smackdown on FOX. While that’s a shame it’ll give lesser known guys a chance to shine on RAW and NXT. The future has a chance to be bright and I’m an eternal optimist. This Cain Velasquez thing is a way to grab ratings and make money right off the bat and it could be very good. Velasquez has been doing some wrestling in AAA so he’s not coming in ice cold. But Kofi needs an actual match against Lesnar. The champ for the past 8 months can’t leave a lasting image in our heads of looking like an idiot.
Survivor Series is next month, though. If they keep the brand vs brand trend I can’t wait to see Brock Lesnar vs The Fiend.
One other thing. There’s A LOT of wrestling on TV now. Almost too much. You’ve heard this from everyone but it really is a good time to be a wrestling fan. I just need to be able to fit it into my schedule. I’m too old these days to flip between two shows on Wednesday and too limited in my time to watch one live and the other on demand the next day. Friday night at 8pm is a terrible time in my household to watch wrestling. So I’ve got some figuring out to do here. I love that Kenny Omega suddenly has become much more easily available to me as a fan. And I’m really glad that AEW did so well in the ratings for their first episode. We should want everyone to be successful as it only benefits us as fans. I will admit, I am a WWE loyalist, but I’m all in for Jon Moxley/Kenny Omega and Chris Jericho as the evil veteran champion.
Hey, thanks for reading me complain about a 9 second match! If you want to actually hear me complain about other nonsense, check out my podcast, The Rich Dickman Show, where my buddy Ray and I talk about all the weird stuff life has to offer, idiots in the news, and have a few drinks while complaining about plastic bags. New episodes release at midnight every Saturday and we’re on Apple Podcasts and all podcast apps. “Hey Google, play The Rich Dickman Show” works too!