Some kinds achieve fulfillment in different ways in pro wrestling. Some don't think they've "made it" until they've become champion while others are simply happy to be wrestling for a top promotion like WWE.
"It was almost like, like in Kill Bill when Uma Thurman the bride said that you and I have unfinished business. I felt that I had definitely a great career where I have been so blessed to have experienced so many things in this business. To be known for certain things and to be considered a decent athlete among so many other great athletes, but when I was a kid my goal was to always be WWE Champion," admitted Kingston. "When you are fantasizing about being a WWE Superstar when you are wrestling in the neighborhood with these other kids…the goal is always, you know what, I am in WrestleMania and I am visualizing myself wrestling for the WWE Championship. So, there's always something that was in the back of my mind that I needed to have it happened."
Kingston then pointed out guys like Ted DiBiase and Jake Roberts who never became World Champion so the title doesn't make or break a career. Still though, winning the title was a goal of his even though he knew he didn't really have any control over it.
"I have said this in a lot of other interviews; I don't have any control over the booking, or I don't have any control of where I am on the card. The only thing that I can control is going out there every single night and having the best match possible no matter what," said Kingston. "Whether you have one minute, or you have 35 minutes, or an hour, whatever it is, my goal was to always just go out there and give it my all and try to do something to try and stand out regardless of what happened on the show and have people leave with a feeling that I did something special. Have them remember me above everything else, so that was always the goal and that was something I knew that I could control and I would try to do that to the best of my ability.
"Luckily, the opportunity did come up when unfortunately, Ali got hurt, but you know, things happen for a reason and I feel like, especially this year, everything just fell into place. There was so many things about WrestleMania that happened. The timing; number one, if Ali doesn't get hurt at the Elimination Chamber I don't get put in that position; I don't even know I am on the WrestleMania card. The fact that the guy who I ended up having a match with, Daniel Bryan, of all people who was in the same exact position that I was in to be demanded by the people, I couldn't have had a better opponent because Daniel Bryan is awesome."
Kingston then talked about returning to Ghana for the first time in 26 years - and he did it as the World Champion. Had he returned earlier it would have still been special, but it meant to much more to do it as the face of WWE. That kind of emotional attachment still resonates with Kingston.
"There's so many people even still after WrestleMania where people still come up to me where how emotionally they were affected by that match. Even going through Twitter it took me legit a good 13 days to get to the bottom of my timeline. I take pride in trying to read everything, but there was just so many messages and when I saw videos of kids jumping up and down in their living room crying being so elated and videos of grown men in bars jumping up and down hugging and crying, so to be part of that moment was unreal. Everything happened the way it was supposed to happen. If it happened any other way it wouldn't have meant as much," stated Kingston.
Soon after becoming champion, Kingston learned that the responsibilities of the World Champion are different than those of everyone else in the company. Because of the whirlwind of media obligations, it took a while for Kingston to be able to enjoy his WrestleMania moment.
"Even with WrestleMania, Becky Lynch and myself had media at like four in the morning, so we ended up getting like three hours of sleep and then we got called to do Raw that night and then the next night on SmackDown," recalled Kingston. "So I didn't even fully grasp what had happened until a few weeks later, but that's really the nature of the business where so much happens and if it wasn't for social media; there's always a couple of guys on there that remind me of this day in history you wrestled so and so and this happened. There's been so many times that I have watched the footage and having no recollection of being there with that person. I'm just like, oh my God, we did some really cool stuff, but when you do hear all of that lumped together, you know, you have to kind of take a deep breath and realize that I am doing something right but I still feel like I have a lot to do. So, we'll see, but it's definitely a good feeling to say the least."
If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Chasing Glory with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.
Peter Bahi contributed to this article.