Kofi Kingston's 11-year WWE journey reached its peak at WrestleMania 35 as he won the first world title of his career. It was the culmination of Kingston continually getting the door slammed in his face by Vince McMahon on-screen and Kingston winning was something that many fans didn't expect to happen.
Kingston talked to Newsweek about this historic win and also what it means to win the World Championship as an African-American.
"It's so important to have representation for all races on TV. All people, from all walks of life. So when other people look at the television screen they can see and identify with that person doing great things," said Kingston. "It's very powerful and motivating and inspiring. So, for me to be the inspiration for kids who look like me, for kids from any race who have struggled or continues to struggle or have any obstacles to overcome, I take a lot of pride in being that beacon of hope. I take pride in being the guy that people can look up to and believe in themselves because of what I've done.
"So, it's an honor to be in that role and represent so many people. I want to be the true champion of the people, and I take a lot of pride in having that role."
Kingston is the further representation of a shift in what a world champion should look like. Smaller guys such as himself, Daniel Bryan and A.J.Styles have held WWE's most prestigious titles and Kingston talked about that trend.
"I think it's great. A group of guys who are not what you would think of when you think of a typical professional wrestler. You see a lot of smaller guys who can do some incredible things on top," stated Kingston.
"It's funny, because I had an appearance with Shawn Michaels and Johnny Gargano and we were all talking about how when you're smaller, you have to give it a bit extra. You have to fight a little bit harder and that much better and allow your talent to shine through. That's been proven by guys like Shawn, guys like me - guys like Gargano or AJ Styles, Daniel Bryan, Seth Rollins - we take a lot of pride in being workhorses and just giving it everything we can and proving that size doesn't matter. It's really all about getting the people to believe in you and the harder you work, the better you become."
Along those lines of getting people to believe in you, WWE Hall of Famer Superstar Billy Graham recently criticized the notion of someone the size of Kingston being the heavyweight champion. Graham, who used steroids back in his day, even suggested in a Facebook post that Kingston should use steroids to bulk up.
Kingston was asked if he had a response to Graham's comments.
"I've heard a few things through the grapevine. Honestly, I haven't seen them myself," admitted Kingston. "People can say whatever they want. But as long as they turn on the television, they will see me as champion. That's really all that matters. And I don't have a comment about people's opinions. People are entitled to their own opinion as far as what a WWE Champion should be, but the fact is that I am WWE Champion and that's a fact. It is what it is."