The wrestling sector is one of the largest industries worldwide, with WWE’s global success over the past five decades paving the way for independent shows and aspiring stars seeking to join major companies. However, wrestling in Africa remains largely unnoticed, with few stars being picked up from the region. Despite being a popular option for Congo sports betting, the industry in the continent has yet to reach its potential. Nevertheless, with WWE investing in talent across the region, the wrestling industry in Africa could be on the verge of a significant boom.
Africa’s Pro Wrestling Champions
The WWE investment in the continent is likely to be huge news for some of the independent shows that are already running in Africa. One of the most popular comes in the form of Africa’s Pro Wrestling Champions, which is the standout show staged in the Republic of Congo and the Democratic Republic of Congo. The show has helped catapult the careers of many of its champions, including the Mighty Man, who held the National Heavyweight Championship.
The added investment in the region comes following the success that other African wrestlers have enjoyed during their time in the WWE. Below, we will look at some of the trail-blazing African WWE stars that have set the standard that future stars will be looking to follow.
There have been few more popular stars throughout WWE history than Kofi Kingston. Born in Ghana, the wrestler moved to the United States to attend Boston College, before he was then picked up on a developmental deal by the WWE in 2006. He made his debut on weekly television just two years later, before then enjoying a hugely successful run between 2008 and 2013. During this period, he would win the Intercontinental Championship on four occasions, and hold the United States Championship three times.
However, it was the formation of The New Day in 2014 that saw his star elevate further. The tag team would become the most successful tag team in history and later helped set up a dream world title showdown with Daniel Bryan at WrestleMania 35. Kingston was successful in his pursuit, and his win would see him become the first, and to date, the only African-born world champion in WWE history.
Justin Gabriel remains best known for his time in WWE after getting signed by the company after success in the independent circles in both South Africa and the United States. He made his debut in his homeland of South Africa aged just 16, and he later became the first WWP World Cruiserweight Champion in WWP as P.J. Black. However, it was his time in WWE that saw him amass a huge fanbase, as he competed in the inaugural edition of NXT, finishing third.
He then made his main roster debut in June 2010 as part of The Nexus. The faction was one of the most exciting stories in WWE throughout their early run, as they feuded with stars such as John Cena, Edge, and Bret Hart. Gabriel enjoyed a lot of success throughout his career in WWE, winning the Tag Team Championships on three occasions between 2010 and 2011. However, his stay in WWE came to an end in 2015, as he departed the company for TNA.
One of the fastest-growing African stars in the WWE at present is Omos. The WWE has signed the 28-year-old after opting for a career in professional wrestling after playing college basketball. He was signed by WWE in 2019 and began competing in NXT later in the year. However, he would be moved up to the main roster as part of Shane McMahon’s Raw Underground. Following the segment being scrapped, Omos became a familiar face on weekly television, as he aligned with former world champion AJ Styles in 2020.
The team later won the Raw Tag Team Championships at WrestleMania 37, before they lost the gold to Randy Orton and Matt Riddle at SummerSlam. The team later split, before Omos joined forces with MVP in 2022. This has led to a gathering run of momentum for Omos, as he lost to Bobby Lashley at WrestleMania 38, before defeating Apollo Crews later in the year. Omos later worked with Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania 39, before losing to the former UFC Heavyweight champion.
There are a growing number of African stars on the WWE roster, and the investment from the company in the nations of the continent will help unearth future stars. The money spent by the WWE in Africa will have a huge impact on the recognition that it will get, and there will be a clear path to the top of the industry.