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Kofi Kingston

Kofi Kingston. Photo by Mike Mastrandrea

REAL NAME: Kofi Sarkodie-Mensah
HOMETOWN: Born in Ghana, West Africa; Moved to the United States in 1982; Billed from Kingston, Jamaica
HEIGHT: 6'1"

WEIGHT: 200 lbs.

One of wrestling's fastest rising stars, Kofi Kingston's meteoric ascent up the ladder of wrestling success has been as quick as it has been surprising. Blessed with tremendous charisma and a solid foundation of wrestling skills, we have surely seen nothing yet out of the first "Jamaican" WWE superstar.

A product of WWE's developmental territory Deep South Wrestling and former developmental territory Ohio Valley Wrestling, Kingston also spent time honing his skills in Chaotic Wrestling and New England Championship Wrestling. His first professional match on record was on June 4, 2006 with NECW. He was defeated by Evan Siks. By September of 2006, just three short months after his first professional match, Kofi Kingston signed a developmental deal with WWE, reported to Deep South Wrestling and later Ohio Valley Wrestling, and began wrestling the likes of Montel Vontavious Porter, TJ Wilson, Claudio Castagnoli, and Harry Smith, amoung others. In March of 2007, he began wrestling dark matches on Raw and SmackDown! while continuing his schedule with DSW. In June of 2007, shortly after WWE opened its new developmental territory Florida Championship Wrestling, Kingston was sent there, where he stayed until December. Then, just 18 months after his wrestling career began, Kofi Kingston was called up to ECW to join the main WWE roster.

Kingston was billed as the first Jamaican WWE superstar, despite actually hailing from Ghana, and proclaimed that there was "trouble in paradise." After several weeks of vignettes, Kingston made his ECW in ring debut on January 22, 2008, defeating David Owen. Kingston began a winning streak which lasted until May 20, 2008, when Shelton Benjamin was finally able to defeat him after several attempts.

On June 25, 2008, Kingston was drafted to Raw via the WWE.com supplemental draft. At Night of Champions four nights later, he remarkably defeated Chris Jericho to win the WWE Incontinental title. From there, he began feuding with Paul Burchill over the title, partnering with Mickie James to combat Burchill's sister Katie Lea.

He and James also came to the rescue of Kelly Kelly, who was about to get a post-match beat down from Beth Phoenix, at the behest of Santino Marella. Marella issued a SummerSlam challenge following the melee, but first wanted to prove his mettle then and there. Of course, he did so by taking on a game James. With help from the Glamazon, Marella got the duke over James. At SummerSlam, Phoenix pinned James, and as a result, both Kingston and James lost their titles in this Winner-Take-All tag contest.

That ended Kingston's brief partnership with James, and he was soon involved in a number of muti-man tag matches against Cody Rhodes, Ted DiBiase Jr., and Manu. He usually ended up on the losing team, but then formed a partnership with CM Punk. Together, they managed to defeat Rhodes and DiBiase for the World Tag Team belts on Raw. But the duo only held onto the titles less than two months as The Miz and John Morrison beat them at a live event. A brief teaming with Rey Mysterio wouldn't be enough to win back the belts.

Again a singles competitor, Kingston seemed in line for a shot at the World Heavyweight Championship as he had secured a spot in the Raw Elimination Chamber match at No Way Out. Or so he thought. Edge proved him wrong when he attacked Kingston as he made his way to the chamber and stole his spot. Another high profile spot soon opened up, though, as Kingston qualified for a Money in the Bank Ladder match. It would be Punk, however, who emerged with the briefcase at WrestleMania 25.

Still, it wouldn't be long before gold went around Kingston's waist, for at the start of June, he beat MVP to win the United States title. He retained at Extreme Rules, winning a four-way match against MVP, Matt Hardy and William Regal.

-- compiled by Mark Xamin and Richard Kamchen

KOFI KINGSTON PHOTOS

  • Kofi Kingston Photo Gallery

    KOFI KINGSTON STORIES
  • March 13, 2013: Kofi Kingston focused on making the 'top tier'
  • January 22, 2013: Kofi Kingston talks Royal Rumble self-preservation
  • January 13, 2013: Raw at 20: Kofi Kingston shares his memories
  • November 26, 2012: Tag or singles, Kofi Kingston's happy
  • November 16, 2012: No trust between Survivor Series partners Kofi and Miz
  • February 18, 2012: Kofi's got bad intentions for Jericho
  • August 21, 2009: Kingston not on card, still excited for Summerslam