Eddie Kingston is a pro wrestling superstar and has confronted adversity to become a top star with AEW (All Elite Wrestling) a rising promotion that has become talk of the industry. In two years, the Tony Khan promotion secured a television deal with Turner Networks with three hours of programming and a weekly show on YouTube.
Kingston is a part of a star studded roster. Wednesday evening, at the Prudential Center in Newark New Jersey, AEW returns to the New York City Metropolitan area and debuts on the flagship TBS Network. Since their inception, AEW has been the home of Dynamite Wednesday evening on TNT.
The Prudential Center will be loud as fans always get the unexpected with non stop action, distinctly different from the reputed WWE that goes with a script in their storylines. They will cheer for Kingston, (real name Eddie Moore) who is of Irish and Puerto Rican heritage. A local kid who spent a majority of his life growing up in the Bronx and in Westchester County.
So, Kingston will be home. Much of his family still resides in the Bronx and Westchester but when the lights go out Wednesday night, he will return to his home in Orlando Florida.
“It’s Newark, so you know the crowd is going to be crazy, rabid. That’s what I tell a lot of young guys,” he said. “New Jersey, east coast, they will let you know if you are good or not. New York, Jersey, or Philly. I’m telling you, everybody is going to put their best foot forward.”
If Kingston is not on the main show, though, it is expected after confronting longtime veteran Chris Jericho last week, he could be in the ring following the live Dynamite broadcast for taping of AEW Friday night Rampage which airs on TNT.
However, Kingston has become a mainstay on Wednesday evening. It’s been a journey and worth the wait. Basically, AEW has now become his home. At AEW “Double Or Nothing” pay-per-view last year, a pinnacle tag team explosive barb wire match, he ran in the ring and made the save for Jon Moxley.
That got Kingston the deserved recognition. Things progressed with an unscripted storyline, a feud with AEW champion Kenny Omega and the controversial team known as the “Young Bucks.” As they say it was Dynamite.
He said Moxley (AKA Dean Ambrose of WWE) is one of those guys that helped him stay employed. They shared the same ring attitude with those trials and tribulations of a pro wrestling career.
“Twenty years to get here, a lot of it was me yelling at the promoter in the locker room,” Kingston said to me Tuesday. “ My own demons. I had to deal with getting over drunk the night before.”
Now, 40 years of age, Kingston will look back on the struggles. And there are remaining battles with anxiety and depression.
Kingston has managed to deal with that adversity and a career with AEW has helped him overcome the struggle. The depression and anxiety issues have opened more awareness to the demons of mental illness.
Kingston will share his struggles to others about his struggle to get where he is today. Though his persona is the prototype of a pro wrestler, he has the talent to perform and ability to talk.
“I still deal with it,” he says about depression and anxiety.”I’m learning new ways of getting help and understand there is nothing wrong talking to a therapist or getting help. Everyday I talk about it. I try to remember the lessons I learned through therapy. When things are going too well, I say when is the shoe going to drop? There is nothing wrong with getting professional help.”
The Eddie Kingston seen in the ring and on camera has that old school mentality with the new approach. He packs his bags, heads to the out of town arena, and hopes fans get what they paid to see. Again, AEW is different from the competition and a story is being told during the match.
So, why has AEW, with new talent and some veterans, been a success story? Kingston has seen the competition and grew up watching the WWE when “Rock Dwayne Johnson” and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin were in their prime. He envisioned doing what they did, struggling on the independent circuit, working before small crowds, and traveling many miles to the venues.
He attributes the success and vision of AEW that came with Tony Khan and Cody Rhodes, a former WWE performer who have been instrumental. Many said that AEW would not last long, but here we are two years later and the newest kid on the block is very strong.
“Starts off with the boss Tony Khan,” Kingston said .”It’s wrestling, not sports entertainment. The ‘Bucks’ as pro wrestlers, they are the best as tag teams. I think our tag division stacks up with anybody. The Young Bucks inspired that division.”
“Cody Rhodes is an old school guy. A lot of guys picked off the independents, a lot of guys were hungry for years.They had to get in here because it was a different town every night and we have the young talent seeing a different side.”
He said, AEW brings the old school approach and compared to WWE they are two different companies. In AEW, as Kingston says, “You’re in my way. I’m gonna get the world championship.”
“We get bullet points, we are encouraged to be ourselves to be a piece of ourselves. There is nothing written down. Be yourself. “
Apparently the concept has worked because pro wrestling fans are not idiots and have seen the difference. AEW has been the product they have been looking for and Eddie Kingston arrived in the right place. His advice to others that seek a similar career is to listen and not make mistakes.
“I just listen, you should have a little bit of a background before you jump into anything,” he said. “Pro wrestling is overwhelming for anyone who doesn’t know anything about it. I tell people all the time you are not going to just jump in it. I have 20 years in this business and still have more to learn.”
Kingston said, “You get in this business to be the world champion that is the only thing that matters to me. I’m just me. You cheer me or boo me, either way I’m gonna like any reaction, it doesn’t matter. It gives me that energy.”
For sure the energy will be at the Prudential Center Wednesday evening. Eddie Kingston, you have to like the attitude. He will be in Newark and leave town without getting a slice of that good piece of a Bronx pizza pie.
WATCH AEW DYNAMITE LIVE WEDNESDAY EVENING 8PM ON TBS
Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso