Kofi Kingston has hailed fellow WWE star Randy Orton as one of the greatest of all time – but won’t be telling him that to his face!
Debate has spread widely over social media over the last few days to just who might be the greatest performer in the wrestling world today.
At the heart of the conversation for many after being touted in interviews are AEW World Champion Kenny Omega, and WWE legend Orton.
Omega has long been regarded as an expert of his craft holds titles aplenty, while Orton’s body of work in WWE is almost peerless – not least the last year or so.
In an exclusive interview with former WWE Champion Kofi Kingston, Daily Star Online pressed the case for Orton, 41, with one of his fiercest rivals.
Kingston spoke candidly about his colleague and insisted Orton has to be in the conversation of being the best there is – not least for his ability to captivate by doing as little as possible.
“The whole premise of ‘who is the best’ [is] really subjective – it’s just what you like,” explained the decorated former tag team champion.
“As far as Randy is concerned, I think he has the ability to do so many things so well.
“A lot of people think that because he doesn’t do a lot of moves, he’s not good, but that’s simply not true.
“The industry is not about the moves; it is about being able to connect with the crowd and express what you’re thinking without saying things a lot – to make people watch you.
“If you watch Randy move around the ring, he moves so slowly and every step has a purpose – you can’t take your eyes off him, yet he doesn’t ‘do’ anything, right? To be able to do that is an absolute talent.
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“He looks a certain way, he flexes in a certain way… you feel that. That’s the stuff that makes you great and not just good.
“What Randy does is unique in that way – he does so much without doing anything at all, so I’d have to put him in the conversation as being one of the greatest.
“To be able to last so long… he’s even more compelling now in a lot of different ways. So as a performer, you can’t have the conversation [about the greatest] without having Randy be in there, from the longevity alone.
“That doesn’t happen by accident.”
Orton’s WWE journey has been a high-profile one. He’s a third-generation performer whose grandfather and father were notable performers in the business.
The Viper himself signed for WWE back in 2001 and has been a top-tier performer since 2003 with very little respite.
That experience counts in his favour, according to Kingston, who also noted his personal development – Orton himself admits he courted his fair share of controversy during his early WWE days.
Kingston added: “Now he’s the guy who has the most experience on the roster – I can’t think of anyone currently has more experience than him, so you have to respect that.
“He has the respect of a lot of people in a lot of different ways. He’s changed in a lot of ways, too, and I think you see that personal growth.
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“In my mind he is already a Hall of Famer. I would never tell any of this to him as he’d never let me live any of it down!
“So he’ll never hear that come out of my mouth, but I can’t sit here and lie to you and say he’s not up there because he definitely is.”
WWE are close to getting back to business as normal with a live touring schedule announced for the first time since the Coronavirus pandemic forced them behind closed doors.
They’ll hit live arenas again from July 16th for an episode of SmackDown in Texas.
Kingston meanwhile spoke amid WWE’s campaign alongside the NSPCC for Childhood Day on June 11, with restrictions also easing this side of the pond.
A WWE spokesperson said: “After the year we’ve had we could all do with a bit more play.
“Not only does play have a whole host of benefits for your mental health but by taking part in Childhood Day you can support the NSPCC to help keep children safe.”
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