Thanks to his voice work in Scooby-Doo and the Curse of the Speed Demon, Kofi Kingston checked another accomplishment off his bucket list.
“I was a huge fan of Scooby-Doo,” Kingston said.
“It was one of the staple cartoons that we grew up with as ’80s babies. To be in a movie with Scooby-Doo is right up there with becoming a WWE superstar, having my own toy and action figure and being in video games. Being in a cartoon, especially with a character I grew up watching, is really cool.”
Of course, the New Day member isn’t alone. Vince McMahon, Stephanie McMahon, Triple H, The Undertaker, Paige and other WWE names join the forever teens and their beloved dog in this latest mash-up, available on Blu-ray/DVD/Digital HD combo pack on Aug. 9. The animation is tremendous, and the inclusion of the late Dusty Rhodes will definitely bring a smile to any fans’ face.
The 34-year-old Kingston is excited to share the movie with his two children.
“The young one is about three months old, so he is a little bit young to know what Scooby-Doo is,” he said. “My son, we hardly have him watch much TV and cartoons. All the pop culture references he knows like Darth Vader and Ninja Turtles is from what I’ve told him. So I told him a little bit about Scooby-Doo, and he is looking forward to it. The family wants to sit down together and watch it. I haven’t actually watched it yet, so that should be fun.”
In the movie, Scooby and the gang head attend an off-road racing competition featuring the WWE personalities as drivers. As with any Mystery Inc. adventure, things take a turn for the worse when Inferno sets out to sabotage the race and cause chaos. It’s up to crew of detectives, with the help of the WWE contingent, to save the race. Kingston serves as announcer for action, channeling his inner Jim Ross. The talented performer appreciated the process and the opportunity to branch out beyond the ring and into the recording studio.
“You have to be animated with your voice,” Kingston said.
“A lot of the context I was given with the lines, I didn’t actually see or know what was going on. They would kind of tell me, and I would have to kind of put myself in that situation and really be a bit more emotional with my voice. In WWE, I can express emotions without even saying a word.
“I can show you I’m feeling pain on my face by making a certain facial or even show how I feel by the movements that I’m doing. It was a bit challenging in that aspect to envision myself in the role of this character and convey emotions that way. It was a lot of fun. Everyone was really cool. It was a different experience. I think when it’s all said and done with my wrestling career I would definitely like to get in some voiceover work. This is a good taste of what it would be like. So I’m in for sure.”
In the play-by-play role, Kingston also developed a newfound respect for the voices of WWE like Michael Cole.
“I was just trying to be animated,” he said. “I know the announcers with WWE are great at doing that. Even Bruce Buffer and Michael Buffer, when you see them, they really get into announcing. So I wanted to do them justice. It was different than any other character on the show. I had to describe what was going on with the races in the movie. The guy announcing has to be animated and convey the dangers they are incurring. It was really cool to step outside my normal self and not be in that wrestling or fighting role for once.”
It’s an exciting time for Kingston and his partners Big E and Xavier Woods. The wildly popular trio just rolled out their own “BootyOs” cereal at San Diego Comic-Con. New Day enthusiasts can pick up a box for breakfast at their local FYE or FYE.com. “The cereal is delicious,” Kingston said.
“It has been crazy because when we first started out as a group we had a hard time getting approval to do things,” he continues. “For example, there was a time Xavier was wearing an Aircast because he had broken his ankle on a live event. So we wanted to say something on TV or have it part of an angle to explain why he was wearing gray and blue, New Day-themed Aircast, and they wouldn’t let us say it or acknowledge. We just had to go out there and be, and you picked up on it or not. Fast forward a year later and there is actually edible BootyOs for sale.”
The BootyOs term began after an initial brainstorming session between Big E and Kingston while eating one day. They were coming up with t-shirt ideas and thought about having a cereal themed t-shirt in the spirit of Wheaties.
“When we go to tell Xavier, when we saw him, about our concept, before I can finish my sentence about what we would call it, he goes, ‘Yeah, BootyOs,’” Kingston said.
“So again, it’s amazing how we are always on the same page. That chemistry we have. So when we pitched the idea to creative and the merchandise team, they were on board. Two week later, they had a design and all of us on the front with the BootyO’s. It was great. Then everyone wanted to have the cereal when we had the shirt in a collective box.
“There was no actual cereal. Everyone was wondering where the cereal was, so now there has been enough demand that it’s out now. It’s been a wild ride with these guys. Our journey from being questioned of what we were dong to being hated and despised by the WWE Universe to now people buying our BootyO’s flavored cereal. It’s crazy.”
The New Day has dominated as the longest reigning WWE tag champs. Kingston and the rest of the team were drafted to Raw during the brand extension. The drive to succeed is at an all-time high.
“The majority of us on the WWE roster are very competitive,” Kingston said.
“For the SmackDown brand to be live, which it hasn’t been for a while regularly, the guys on that show see it as a chance to dethrone Raw as the flagship show. So us on the Raw side, we see this as a chance to keep up with ourselves and prove ourselves. We don’t want to relinquish the throne. So it’s instant competition with the brand extensions.
“That has been kind of missing within WWE over the past few years. There is no competition. Now with Raw and SmackDown, we have created a competition within ourselves. It really provides for an amazing product because we want to be the best on the Raw side, and they want to be the best on the SmackDown side. It provides for a great time for the WWE Universe. It’s been awesome so far. Raw has changed its look with a new set. It’s weird now seeing the announce table out of the arena and by the ramp. There are these little things that when you look at each show it has a different feel, and that’s good.”
The Raw and SmackDown split created a need for new and fresh talent. Luckily, WWE has a wealth of that in its developmental brand NXT. Kingston is happy with the many call-ups over the last few months.
“Everyone is delivering,” he said.
“Enzo and Cass, we’ve wanted to mix it up with them for a long time. They are guys who engage the crowd. They know that is an important part of being a WWE superstar and to last in the company. They are very good on the mic. We look at ourselves the same way. So it’s good competition to see who the big dog in the park is. Apollo Crews has been doing great, an athletic phenomenon. Even the Vaudevillians are doing different things. Finn Bálor’s arrival, obviously, has been a long time coming. Everyone was wondering when he was going to debut and now he is on Raw doing amazing.
“He is going to be competing for his first major championship on the main roster at SummerSlam. These guys have trained really hard in NXT and are being thrown into the fire to be ready. We will see if Finn can get by Seth Rollins. I think he is going to do just fine.”
Kingston is approaching 10 years since he signed his first WWE contract within the company’s developmental system. He’s proud of all he has done during the tenure so far and is ready to achieve more. Reflecting on the career milestones puts the journey in perspective for him.
“I know when I won the Intercontinental championship for the first time, that was an awesome moment,” Kingston said.
“I was in the ring with Chris Jericho, someone I grew up watching. You had Shawn Michaels involved in the match, who was also a wrestling hero. Money in the Bank, I had a lot of standout moments. That’s a match very hard to top every year. The bar is always raised, so for me to go in and do things that have never been done before, I take pride in that. I also take pride in the Royal Rumble stuff in preventing my elimination. Then with New Day, it’s probably the most fun I’ve had in my career. It all feels natural going out there and being myself and having that mic time and being able mess with the crowd. We are selling all kinds of merchandise, which is ridiculous.
“I just think I’m very fortunate to have a long career,” Kingston continues. “I’m getting a lot of people coming up to me to say they used to watch me growing up. I think I might be a veteran now. It’s insane. I’m very fortunate to be here for so long because I’ve seen a lot of people come and go. I still feel fortunate to be in this position.”
- Watch Raw Mondays at 8/7CT and SmackDown live Tuesdays at 8/7CT on USA Network.
- WWE SummerSlam takes place Sunday, Aug. 21 at 8/7CT on WWE Network and pay-per-view.
- Follow me on Twitter @smFISHMAN.