Kofi Kingston is currently off of TV after undergoing elbow surgery, and his absence from the WWE makes this the perfect time to reflect on how truly valuable he is to the company.
Kingston has taken a lot of criticism in recent years. He’s been blasted as someone with “no mic skills,” he’s been labeled a “generic babyface,” and he’s been called a “career midcarder who doesn’t haven’t what it takes to get to the next level.”
But perhaps Kingston’s current TV absence will make fans appreciate how much he really means to the WWE.
No one has really labeled Kingston as a potential “face of the WWE,” “a top guy” or even a “future pay-per-view headliner”—at least not recently. But if the WWE consisted only of main-eventers, World champions and top stars, then there would be no WWE at all.
The simple fact of the matter is this: The WWE needs a guy like Kofi Kingston just as much as it needs someone like Sheamus or Randy Orton.
After all, the WWE is a lot like any professional sport, where a bunch of parts work together as a cohesive unit to make some sort of magic—whether that be winning the Super Bowl, the World Series or the NBA Finals.
LeBron James is heralded as the face of the Miami Heat and the best player in the NBA, and rightfully so. But it’s absurd to think that he would be competing in the Finals this year without those around him—his time in Cleveland proved that.
Just like James needs Chris Andersen to provide some energy and defense off the bench or Ray Allen to provide him with some scoring relief, the WWE needs someone like Kingston make it a complete wrestling company.
Think about it: there is not a single wrestling company out there that exclusively features main-eventers. That’s not how wrestling works. It needs jobbers, lower-card workers, midcarders and main-eventers to properly and effectively function.
Everyone knows that guys like Cena and CM Punk are the biggest stars in the WWE, and therefore, they are deemed as the “most important guys” in the company.
But truth be told, we overlook the importance of the midcard far too much. More specifically, we often overlook the importance of a guy like Kingston, who brings so much value to the company but almost never gets credit for it.
Look, no one is saying that Kingston is the top star in the WWE. But he’s been a critical part of the company since he made his debut in 2008, giving it the go-to babyface that it’s so desperately needed at several different times in recent years.
There’s a reason why Kingston has now won 10 titles in the WWE: He’s reliable.
Although he doesn’t cut the best promo or have the best look and isn’t the best wrestler out there, Kingston is someone who the WWE doesn’t have to worry about. After all, the company knows exactly what it’s going to get out of him.
Kingston almost always has good matches, brings a ton of energy and excitement to those bouts, is popular with the kids, has plenty of charisma and can be taken seriously as a midcard champion or occasional main-event competitor.
No, he’s not Cena, Orton, Punk or Sheamus. But he does possess plenty of great qualities that are often overlooked simply because he hasn’t reached that main-event level for the long haul.
That’s OK, though.
Plenty of great talents go their entire careers without winning a World title or consistently main-eventing, and, yet those talents are widely considered to be fantastic performers who are incredibly valuable to their company.
Kingston is one of those guys.
He’ll never be the face of the WWE. He’ll likely never be a full-time main-eventer. He probably won’t ever win a World title.
But Kingston is unbelievably reliable, and in a business where not many superstars are, that makes him very valuable not just the WWE but pro wrestling in general.
Drake Oz is a WWE Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter!