Former WWE Champion Kofi Kingston has discussed the Jamaican gimmick he donned during the early stages of his WWE career.
Speaking on the Muscle and Fitness Reps podcast, Kingston discussed having to put on a fake accent, saying:
“I was so happy to be able to drop the accent. Initially Vince [McMahon] told me that all my interviews had to be in Jamaican. Any time I was on screen or being interviewed by anybody about anything it had to be in Jamaican. The WWE magazine would call up and it would just be a regular number and I would say ‘Oh hello?’ and they would say ‘Hi this is Megan from the magazine calling, is Kofi there?’ and I would say ‘Oh hold on’ and then answer in Jamaican.
“It was really annoying. The only other person that could identify with me was Santino [Marella]. He had to put on his Italian accent so we would have these conversations.”
“Eventually I had an interview with someone at the BBC and they kept pressing me about the fact that Kofi is not a Jamaican name. They said, ‘why are you playing this Jamaican character and I’m just coming up with all these different answers.
“So finally I get off the phone and I’m sweating and I’m like it’s over. Then all of a sudden maybe an hour later my mom calls me up and says ‘Somebody from the BBC just called and they asked me about your Jamaican heritage and I told them you were from Ghana and this’ and I was like ‘NOOO Mom Kayfabe Kayfabe!’. Eventually I told Vince about it and he said not as many people are going to read that article as you think, and then in a year I ended up being able to drop it.
“The promo where I had Triple H on my team and I tried to get everybody on the team on the same page and Triple H calls me out and says ‘Hey, aren’t you supposed to be Jamaican?’ And then I wasn’t Jamaican anymore.”
On a more serious note, Kingston did comment on the impact it had on his promos and career as a whole, adding:
“It’s hard enough to remember what you have to say, let alone how you have to say it. It was a sigh of relief to take that extra pressure off. You can get to a certain level in this industry playing a character but I feel like the people who are able to get to the top are those who are themselves with the volume just turned way up. As cool and happy go lucky as the Jamaican character was, it really wasn’t who I was so I was only able to get to a certain point. It was great to have that lid popped off so I could keep climbing the ladder.”
Thanks to Wrestling Inc for the transcription