According to Kingston, the most pain he has ever been in while wrestling a WWE match was getting hit in the back with a steel chair by WWE Superstar Erick Rowan during the build toward 'KofiMania' [at the 1:05 in the video above].
"Yeah, and actually, this is the most pain I've ever felt in a [pro] wrestling match," Kingston confessed. "So bro, I almost cried on television because Rowan hit me so hard in the back with a steel chair. And to everybody who's like, 'they ain't real chairs, is they?' Oh, they're real! And Rowan hit me so hard and immediately my eyes start welling up with tears. I'm just like, 'oh,' and I'm almost about to cry. And I'm like, 'do you know what? It's probably okay if I shed tears because that really, really, really hurt. People don't understand.They've got to understand that that hurt so badly and I'm just sitting there like, 'ah, maybe not. Maybe it's not such a good idea and I'll just hold these [tears] in.' Honestly, if I let myself go, I would have been boo-hooing in front of the world in the middle of a match!"
During Kingston's match with AJ Styles, 'The Phenomenal One' told Kingston that he should give up in true heel fashion, but Kingston got hot for real.
"So eventually me and AJ get in there and AJ's picking me up and he's telling me, 'oh, it's okay, man. You did good, kid. You don't have any shame.' And yes, everything we do is, like, storyline related. Do you know what I'm saying? What we do is storyline-driven, but at the same time, like, there's always that element of reality. And I fired back on AJ and told him, 'I've been waiting for this moment for 11 years and you're telling me to stop? To quit and go home after getting this close?' Do you know what I'm saying? I've had matches where I'm this close to beating the world champion and not gotten a shot. I've never been considered good enough to be in the world title picture for over a decade and you're telling me to pack it up and go home?' So yes, it was like a character-driven thing, but also there was a very real element of, like, 'FU, man!'"
Kingston continued, "it became a very real situation of, these people get it, man. They want it as badly as I do. And even at that point, I didn't realize that I wanted it that badly until I started to get close. And I was like, 'it's now or never because this momentum now will either carry us to WrestleMania and if it doesn't do it now, it's not going to be as big as it is now.'"
Kingston, who began wearing his hair in pigtails for his heel run, claimed that 'KofiMania' was one time where he was completely satisfied with creative.
"I feel like there are a lot of times when we do stuff from a storyline perspective where we want to, like, do a certain thing and then it's not done the way we want it to be done. With this whole angle, this whole story, I felt like I came to work every single week and I thought, 'this is great. We're doing this the right way. This is perfect.'"
Kingston said, "and that's one of the few times we can say that, just going on that emotional rollercoaster."
During the podcast, Big E talked about the original plans for he and Woods to confront WWE Chairman Vince McMahon during the 'KofiMania' build and what he liked about the storyline. Apparently, Big E and Woods were originally supposed to tear up McMahon's office out of anger over Kingston's unfair treatment, but it never happened.
"The plan was originally, and I was so excited for this, we legit kick in the door and tear [McMahon's] office up, legit throw things over! I think he's in the office, in the corner, we're throwing tables over, and making quite a mess of his office, and just going on a rampage," Big E remembered. "And had this visceral anger about what's happening to Kofi."
Big E went on to say that the intrigue of the 'KofiMania' storyline is that WWE never explicitly stated why Kingston was not supported by WWE.
"One of the things that I really enjoyed about the storyline was [Kingston's] storyline so closely resembled Bryan's, but to me, didn't feel that it was a ripoff or that it was derivative of Bryan's storyline at all," Big E said. "And, of course, the fact that [Kingston] is, like, pitted against Bryan at WrestleMania, when that comes, but it was a lot of the language was interesting to me.
"A lot of the language was interesting to me. The way [McMahon] talked about [Kingston], that [he] was a B+ player, that [he wasn't] good enough. It was a lot of thinly veiledů like, why exactly isn't [Kingston] good enough when [he has] at this point 13 or 14 title reigns; [Kingston] accomplished more than 90% of the roster or so; [Kingston] had been around for a long time and still doing it at a high level. I think what worked well for that story is that there was a lot of subtext where you either take it a certain way or you don't."
Listen to the show here or via the embedded player below. If you use any of the quotations that appear in this article, please credit The New Day: Feel The Power with an H/T to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.