We all have done it. We still do. Back in the day, it was a mix tape. Eventually, it became a CD mix. Now, it’s a playlist. Whenever we go on a plane, train, or are in an automobile, we shut out the outside noise by listening to our favorite tracks. It’s no different for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) personalities, who probably travel more in one year than you will your entire life. Two such superstars (tag teammates WWE Superstars Kofi Kingston and Big E) shed some light on A-Sides on how they spend their countless hours on the road in between clothelines and chair shots. (A-Sides prides itself on showing artists of all walks of pop life in a new light.) Their answers, like professional wrestling programming, are bit unexpected, thoroughly entertaining, and somewhat head-scratching. Get on the proverbial top rope, and read and watch on.

Kofi Kingston
Moments before he’d tag team with Big E. in front of a near sellout crowd at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, Kofi Kingston took a break to humor this guy (points to self) on how he fills his WWE downtime. Before I expand on that, and show you the video embed (scroll down if you hate to read – so sad…this generation…anyway…), let’s take a look at the career Kingston has been building over the past few years. Charisma. Some people have it, some don’t. This Ghanaian grappler has boatloads. The leader of the Boom Squad’s oft-high-flying antics in the ring have become a signature as has his infectious energy. A fan favorite for more years in the business than The Maestro and Glacier (Google it non-wrestling fans) combined, Kingston has held his own against all of the top dogs in the WWE locker room. It’s no wonder he’s held the Intercontinental and U.S. Championships multiple times. But, enough of the in-ring stuff. Let’s jump right to the interview I conducted with him, which focuses less on his alliance with Big E and Xavier Woods, and more on his TV favorites, music preferences, and – um – Rick Moranis. Yeah, I said it.

Big E
When I was a kid, I’d always see these Calgon commercials. “Calgon take me away” was the slogan, and it may very well still be but I’m not going to look that up because I’d hate myself a little more. In any event, Calgon was all about relaxing, and I tried the product as a kid and saw little results. Then again, I was only a kid and I didn’t really have that many issues – not yet anyway. So why am I sharing all of this? It’s simple. Big E may destroy opponents in the ring, but as he shared with me during an interview (also in White Plains), often times he likes to program his iTunes Classic (perhaps “program” is a strong word) to the smooth styling of angelic singer Enya. I guess when you’re that big and bad, you can confess stuff like that. OK, I’ll admit it – there’s nothing wrong with Enya. I bet Enya even listens to Enya to wind down.

Anyway, Big E (he’s dropped his last name of Langston) has been sort of a freight train since joining WWE a few years back.The 290-pound, a national powerlifting champion who once deadlifted a Fiat (it says so in his WWE bio- who am I to question that?), is a former NXT Champion (WWE’s developmental territory) who has gone on to greater things in the big leagues. He has already captured the Intercontinental Championship (he held it for seven months, but lost it to Bad News Barrett), and is in, as mentioned, a buzzworthy new stable with Kingston and Woods. That’s all impressive, but let’s get to the pop culture stuff. Watch on, and marvel at his hip hop taste, TV show “musts,” and favorite wrestling entrance music.

Jon Chattman’s shirt is designed by Threadless.

An A-Sides Aside
The WWE announced today they’ve expanded their partnership for their third annual breast cancer awareness campaign –Courage Conquer Cure– beginning tonight on Monday Night Raw®. WWE stars will be wearing co-branded Susan G. Komen and WWE apparel. WWE will donate to Komen 20 percent of the retail sales price of all co-branded merchandise sold on their online shop as well as their live events. Fans can also make their own donations via WWE.
Going pink, as mentioned, is nothing new for WWE.

“Susan G. Komen has truly transformed the world’s support for breast cancer research and awareness,” said WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon. “WWE is exceptionally proud to continue our partnership with Komen and be at the forefront of this movement, as we continue to utilize our global platforms to raise awareness and funds for a disease that affects so many people.”

About A-Sides Music

Jon Chattman’s “A-Sides Music” series was established in August 2011 and usually features artists (established or not) from all genres performing a track, and discussing what it means to them. This informal series focuses on the artist making art in a low-threatening, extremely informal (sometimes humorous) way. No bells, no whistles — just the music performed in a random, low-key setting followed by an unrehearsed chat. In an industry where everything often gets overblown and over manufactured, I’m hoping this is refreshing. Artists have included: fun, Courtney Love, Air Supply, Birdy, Sleigh Bells, MisterWives, Echosmith, Charli XCX, Sharon Jones, Pharrell Williams, Feist, American Authors, Imagine Dragons, Gary Clark Jr., and more! A-Sides theme written and performed by Blondfire.