Hollywood star and former WWE writer Freddie Prinze Jr has revealed the segment which led Vince McMahon to brand Kofi Kingston a star.
Prinze Jr, who made a name for himself in films such as She’s All That and Scooby Doo, was part of WWE’s creative team between 2008 and 2009 and worked closely with WWE Chairman Vince McMahon.
It was around this time that Kofi Kingston was embroiled in a rivalry with Randy Orton, a program that many believed would propel Kingston to the top of the card in WWE. As the feud escalated, Kofi memorably vandalised a personalised NASCAR that had been given to Orton, pouring paint on the bonnet, and denting the vehicle with an axe during an episode of Monday Night Raw.
Speaking on his Wrestling With Freddie podcast, Freddie Prinze Jr. recalled that it was during this segment that Vince McMahon announced that Kofi Kingston would be a star in the company.
“One of these [NASCAR] guys gave Randy Orton a NASCAR. Like an actual NASCAR race car. NASCAR.
And it’s shiny and it’s got all the logos.
It looks like, you know, straight out of Tom Cruise’s Days of Thunder.
Maybe not with a good of hair as he had, but still, the same vibe, and it’s glistening the way they have the lights on it.
And Kofi’s going just ballistic for something that happened.
Forgive me, again, this is a long time ago. I can’t remember.
“But he takes an axe. A fire axe to this NASCAR, while he’s cutting the promo. So there’s a ton of effort and breath behind it and it doesn’t sound like the standard babyface promo, or babyface trying to be a tough guy. Hell, trying? The man is holding an axe and he’s cutting holes into the hood of what looks like, and it’s clearly not, but of what looks like a two million dollar car. However much a NASCAR costs. I have no idea.”
“And he’s like, ‘Is this what you wanted? Is that what..’ And he’s yelling every time the axe hits.
And I’m watching Vince’s reactions to this and he’s just lighting up like a teenager watching it.
I mean, you just see when he sees something in somebody. He’s like, ‘That’s it dammit.
Yes!’ He’s just behind him all the way and then Kofi finally puts the axe through the windshield, or if you’re in England, the windscreen. I respect all cultures.
And he just jumps off the car and storms off, and Vince is like, ‘Dammit.
Yes!’ and, ‘this kid’s gonna be a star!”
Despite Vince’s declaration, Kofi rise didn’t happen overnight. Kingston did enjoy multiple reigns as US and Intercontinental champion, in addition to tag team title wins.
However, it wasn’t until the formation of The New Day and the success the trio had, that saw his eventual promotion to the top of the card and WWE Championship win at WrestleMania in 2019.