2019 turned out to be a banner year for Kofi Kingston, as the veteran became WWE Champion for the first time in his decade-long WWE career by beating Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35. As has been widely reported in the past few months, Kingston's title match wasn't what WWE's brass originally had planned for this year's Mania, but the vocal support from fans following his hour-long gauntlet match performance and his appearance at Elimination Chamber caused Vince McMahon to change directions. But in a new interview on the After The Bell podcast Kingston revealed that Bryan (who was still playing a heel on TV) also played a big role backstage in making Kingston's match happen.
"[Bryan] pushed for that to happen because the plans weren't for me to be at WrestleMania," Kingston said. "I'm not sure who it was for Daniel to face but it wasn't me, and Daniel went in and went to bat for me, and for the situation for the title match between us to happen so he had a big part in it, too.
"It's a testament for his state of mind as far as advancing the business and doing the right thing for the people and for the best match or product for the people to take in," he added. "So kudos to Daniel Bryan."
During the same interview, Kingston talked about fans being frustrated with how quickly his title reign ended and how it's been ignored since then.
"This is weird too, a lot of people will be on my social media like, 'Well Kofi, you're acting like you don't care, man. Did you forget that you were the champion? Well look, you're asking my onscreen character to be angry like he's my real character," Kingston said. "I just feel like it's one of those things where it just is what it is. And the reality [is] onscreen I'm a good guy who lost in eight seconds so as far as making a case for a rematch, what would my character have to say? 'Give me another shot, Brock! I lost in eight seconds but I'll get you next [time]!' You want my real-life character to take on this anger and be mad with the way what happened onscreen. It's this weird conundrum.
"I appreciate the passion people have, but I'm puzzled by the anger people have towards me because I'm not the one making all those decisions," he added.