Ahead of this Sunday’s WWE Stomping Grounds pay-per-view, Kofi Kingston will defend his WWE Championship against Dolph Ziggler. These two gifted superstars are no stranger to each other; their rivalry spans almost ten years in the WWE. So, let’s take a trip back in time to see how Kofi and Ziggler’s always competitive-storied history began in WWE. Kofi Kingston & Dolph Ziggler is our next rivalries piece.
Kofi Kingston and Dolph Ziggler made their WWE debuts in the mid-2000s; they have traveled similar paths in their ten-plus years’ career. Both Kofi and Dolph are multiple-time Intercontinental and Unites States champions, Tag team champions, and World Heavyweight champions. Kofi made his original debut in the revamped ECW brand in 2007, under the moniker of ‘Kofi Nahaje Kingston.’ Ziggler, on the contrary, made his debut in 2005, under the persona of ‘Nicky,’ as a member of the well-known antagonizing group ‘Spirit Squad.’ The two rivals would cross paths until 2010, but each separately made a name for themselves as singles competitors.
Kofi shortened his name to ‘Kofi Kingston’ in 2008 after an impressive first-year on ECW, as the final draw in the 2008 Supplemental Draft, where he became the newest addition to Monday Night Raw. In his first official match on the Red brand and first-ever championship contest, he quickly found success in his first official match, as he toppled Chris Jericho at 2010 Night of Champions…after an assist from Shawn Michaels (who he was currently feuding with) and would claim his first Intercontinental Championship. He would remain on Raw until he was drafted to Smackdown along with his Intercontinental Championship.
Ziggler debut on Raw
In late 2008, Ziggler debuted on Raw with a brand-new swagger and cocky attitude along with a new name of ‘Dolph Ziggler.’ He would have a small sprint of a run on the Raw roster, competing in singles contests with R-Truth and Charlie Haas. In 2009, Ziggler was drafted to Smackdown and immediately entered the Intercontinental championship scene despite never winning it. In my opinion, Ziggler never truly grew into his own; until he started an on-air romantic relationship with Hall of Famer Vickie Guerrero in 2010, who has named Smackdown consultant. Ziggler would begin his chase for the Intercontinental title during the summer against then-champion Rey Mysterio but was unsuccessful. Mysterio would drop the title to John Morrison, and Ziggler challenged but lost again.
Fast forward to late July, and the Intercontinental championship had a new owner, the high-flying Kofi. Ziggler was relentless with the continued pursuit of the title that’s slipped out of his hands time and time again. The wily Vickie used her manipulative use of power to grant her client another title shot on August 6, 2010-edition of Smackdown.
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler Intercontinental Championship
The match begins with rapid action from Kofi, as he delivers a series of kicks which leaves no choice but to go the outside. The champion is fired up as he continues the attack with a precise clothesline on Ziggler. Kofi drives his challenger headfirst into the barricade before rolling him back in the ring. After two more sequences of both competitors clotheslining each other to the outside, Ziggler finally gets the opportunity to display why he’s dubbed ‘The Show-off’ as he executes an adapted camel clutch. Towards the middle, Kofi mounts a comeback, delivering cross-body chops followed by the Boom Drop Leg Drop, and gets fired up. The finish came when Vickie got into the ring and distracted the official; Ziggler ate a Trouble in Paradise. Still, Ziggler hits Zig-Zag for the win…And New Intercontinental Champion!
The following week, Vickie opens the show to introduce the Brand-new Intercontinental Champion to celebrate his victory and finally capture the gold. Ziggler boasts about how great he is; even going as far as labeling himself more electrifying than The Rock, out of nowhere, Kofi attacks him. Ziggler escapes to the outside but gets drilled with a baseball slide; a pull-apart brawl ensues before WWE officials. The new Smackdown General Manager Teddy Long comes out and announces Kofi will get his rematch in two weeks at SummerSlam.
Dolph Ziggler w/Vickie Guerrero (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
The Intercontinental Championship match opens the pay-per-view, mirroring their previous encounter in August where Ziggler won the title, with Kofi exploding out of the gate, sending Ziggler outside. The match’s highlights are when Ziggler lands a Blockbuster off the top rope to Kofi; toward the middle of the match, Kofi made his comeback, with some chops, a dropkick, and a Lou Thesz Press to land some punches. He follows up with his signature Boom Drop. Right as the contest was getting good, it’s quickly thrown out due to Nexus obliterating Kofi and Ziggler.
After weeks of Kofi defeating Ziggler via disqualifications and countout, Teddy Long books a rematch at Night of Champions; if Ziggler gets disqualified or counted out, Kofi will win the Intercontinental Championship.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Kofi Kingston Intercontinental Championship
(If Ziggler gets counted out or disqualified, Kofi Wins the title)
The bell rings, and both competitors tie up jockeying for position; both Kofi and Ziggler each apply a headlock, followed by a fireman’s carry into a headscissors to escape; Kofi Kingston looks for an early Trouble in Paradise. Still, Dolph Ziggler evades it and has a standoff. The action continues with Ziggler taken out with a suicide dive; Vickie and Kaitlyn have a little spat. He almost gets counted out. For most of the contest, Dolph Ziggler is utilizing camel clutch and sleepers to keep Kofi Kingston down; Kofi attempts to break free but to no avail. Toward the end of the match, Kofi Kingston makes a small comeback with some punches in the corner to Dolph Ziggler; the official breaks it up at five…but Kofi continues the attack.
Kofi hits his five moves of Boom, cross-body chops, dropkicks, Boom Drop, and an SOS for a long two-count. The finish came when Kofi reversed Ziggler’s sleeper into his own, and Kofi gets thrown into the ring ropes. Vickie tries to slap Kofi, but Ziggler tells her No! Another Trouble in Paradise…no one’s home…Ziggler lands the Zig-Zag for the win!
The two would face each other at the final pay-per-view of the year at TLC; this time, it will be a Triple-Threat Ladder Match with Smackdown newcomer Jack Swagger who has been racking up victories as of late.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Kofi Kingston vs. Jack Swagger
Triple-Threat Ladder Match for the Intercontinental Championship
The match begins with a series of strikes and punches by all three competitors; Ziggler retrieves a ladder for the early win…but gets knocked off. Kofi throws off Swagger off and delivers a dropkick. At one point during the contest, Vickie gets in the ring and attempts to climb the ladder; Kofi heads right up and tips the ladder as Ziggler’s on his knees begging and pleading…funny stuff. Plenty of smashes of ladders to the face, and Ziggler lands a hard Fameasser onto Kofi through a ladder! The ending sequence; had Swagger down, and both Ziggler and Kofi are on top of a ladder; Ziggler locks in a sleeper, and Kofi knocks him off with an elbow. Swagger is back, and both he and Kofi grab the title; it crashes to the ring, and…Ziggler picks it up…for the win? Lousy ending.
On January 7, 2011, episode of Smackdown, the feud was reached its end; Kofi and Ziggler have a championship contest, and Kofi reclaims the Intercontinental Championship…not so fast…Vickie once again abuses her power as Smackdown Consultant, and Ziggler will get his rematch…Right now…The second match begins, and Kofi hits Trouble in Paradise for the win…Still Intercontinental Champion Kofi Kingston. That’s the end of the feud…for now.
World Heavyweight Championship
Later in the evening, Ziggler entered the World Heavyweight Championship scene and became the number-one contender by toppling Cody Rhodes. He would have a short program with Edge and would win the World Title at the 600th episode of Smackdown when Edge used his banned Spear and was fired by Vickie. Ziggler was awarded the World Heavyweight Championship for mere minutes, as Edge was reinstated and reclaimed his title. Vickie and Ziggler would be fired from Smackdown by Teddy Long.
Ziggler would transition back to Raw and once again was directionless until he turned his focus onto his long-time rival Kofi’s United States Championship in June of 2011. This a new focused and driven Ziggler; on May 30, 2011 edition of Raw, he revealed he had been scouting Kofi for several weeks to get mentally prepared for their contest tonight. Ziggler’s master plan worked perfectly, and he now gets a title shot at the Capitol Punishment pay-per-view.
Two more amazingly gifted superstars are opening up the event again…due to the United States Championship is being defended in Washington, DC.
Kofi Kingston (c) vs. Dolph Ziggler
United States Championship
The bell rings as they both tie up and grapple, both reversing each other. Kofi locks in a headlock and drops Ziggler; now it’s Kofi’s turn to reverse…No standoff this time, Ziggler with a hard kick. Irish Whip off the ropes Kofi ducks a few times, slips under the legs of his rival, Ziggler eats a dropkick…He lands in the corner, and Kofi executes a stunning monkey flip that sends Ziggler halfway across the ring. It’s all Kofi now…Wants Trouble in Paradise but gets lands hard on the ropes, Ziggler nails the Fameasser …two-count. Both competitors up now, Kofi uses a backslide for a two-count. Ziggler attempts a Pumphandle slam but, Kofi counters into a cradle pin for two. As we have seen now in their previous encounters, Ziggler utilizing camel clutch submissions to wear the champ out, he attempts a sleeper, but Kofi delivers a jawbreaker to release.
He mounts a comeback now, pulling out the signatures…Cross-body chops and leaps lariat, Ziggler blocks…Kofi attempts SOS, blocked again. He goes up to land a bone-crushing cross-body to Ziggler’s back…another two-count. Next, he hits the Boom Drop. Ziggler back to his feet; another Pumphandle throw…Kofi connects with a successful SOS now as the challenger barely kicks out at two. A series of roll-up pinfall attempts follows up with a beautiful Double-Stomp to Ziggler and another two-count.
Dolph Ziggler & Kofi Kingston –
Both men up to the top
Ziggler wants a superplex…Kofi holds on and nails a jaw-dropping cross-body into a lateral press for another two-count. These two never disappoint. Trouble in Paradise…nope…Zig-Zag…nope…Kofi’s on the ropes. Ziggler distracts the official, and the wily Vickie pokes Kofi in the eyes. Ziggler locks in a sleeper…Kofi’s relentlessly rolling toward the ropes for a break…Ziggler rolls back to the center, and He’s out like a light! New Champion!!
On the following night, June 20, 2011, edition of Raw under the ‘Power to the People’, Ziggler would defend against Kofi in a 2/3 Falls Match for the United States Championship.
Dolph Ziggler (c) vs. Kofi Kingston
2/3 Falls Match for the United States Championship
(The cannot change hands under a disqualification)
The bell rings…Kofi out of the gate with kicks and stomps drilling the champion; Ziggler rolls outside, Kofi continues on the attack. Back in the ring…Ziggler with a kick; Kofi grabs the leg and brings him down, and starts waling on Ziggler with massive stomps…A much more aggressive Kofi contrary to their previous encounters. He follows Ziggler outside…Back in the ring, and we get a few quick pins. Ziggler neckbreaker reversed into a Backslide pin for a near fall. Kofi Lou Thesz Press and delivering hard right hands to his rival. He charges to Ziggler and side steps…Kofi crashes hard outside. During the commercial, Kofi eats a Zig-Zag, and Ziggler picks up the first fall. Back now…Ziggler drills him with a precise dropkick and hooks the leg for another two-count. Fameasser…SOS, and a were tied now at 1-1.
Ziggler locks in the sleeper…escape…Dropkick reversed, Kofi, launches the champion headfirst into the turnbuckle. Here come the five moves of Boom…Cross-body chops…Dropkick…Lou Thesz Press blocked, Kofi, rolls through, followed by a massive double stomp into and the champion barely kicks out at two. Vickie is beside herself…Kofi lands a cross-body into his back… he looks painful another kick-out. Ziggler rolls outside to grab his title. Kofi nails a Trouble in Paradise outside; the champion is out as Kofi drags him but take too long to secure the victory…Ziggler gets two fingers on the rope!!! Vickie smiles in approval. Lousy finish as Ziggler tries to retreat through the crowd…
Kofi brings him back in only get smashed in the skull with a microphone…DQ…Ziggler retains.
A few months later, they would cross paths at Hell in the Cell pay-per-view where then-Tag team Champions Kofi and Evan Bourne ‘Air-Bourne’ defended their titles against Ziggler and his new bodyguard Big E Langston. Kofi and Bourne would prevail.
Ziggler won the 2012 Money in the Bank briefcase and would hold it for nearly a year. At the 2013 Tribute to the Troops, they would face-off for the final time for several years. Kofi would prevail, and both men would embrace post-match to finally put their rivalry to rest. Dolph Ziggler and Kofi Kingston would meet again in a handle of multi-man elimination matches at Survivor Series over the next few years. Ziggler would become a multiple-time Intercontinental Champion.
Ziggler would cash in his Money in the Bank briefcase on Post-Mania-29-Raw on a wounded Alberto Del Rio to capture the World Heavyweight Championship…For real this time!
Fast forward to 2018, on the Post-Mania-34-Raw, Ziggler arrived on Raw with ‘The Scottish Psychopath’ Drew McIntyre, and the duo would sow chaos. Ziggler would start a summer feud with Seth Rollins, then-Intercontinental Champion; the two would have a handful of stellar matches, Rollins would prevail. The Shield would reunite, and Ziggler and McIntyre would chase after the Raw Tag-team Championships and capture the titles. Ziggler and McIntyre would defend their titles against Rollins and Dean Ambrose, who off-set them on October 22, 2018, edition of Raw to become the New Raw Tag-team Champions.
In 2019 Ziggler was double-crossed by McIntyre; The Scottish Psychopath was ready to go solo and booted Ziggler out like garbage. They would have a blow-off match where McIntyre would prevail. After that, Ziggler would disappear from WWE.
This brings us to the May 22, 2019 edition of SmackDown Live, where Dolph Ziggler would resurface and viciously attack his long-time rival Kofi Kingston who now was WWE Champion. Ziggler would deliver a passionate promo about how
“It should’ve been him to win the WWE title, Not Kofi!”
This would reignite their personal and competitive almost ten-year rivalry. Kofi would successfully defend his WWE Championship at last week’s Super ShowDown event in Jeddah.
After weeks of fantastically delivered promos by a jealous and self-motivated Ziggler about “Kofi not amounting to any success without his New Day buddies (Big E and Xavier Woods).”
Their past encounters have proven that any time these talented and success-driven superstars square off, they never cease to amaze with a show-stealing performance!
Originally written by Chris King