Once upon a time, whilst your humble narrator was casually ordering a pint of lager at the bar in the Electric Ballroom in Camden during a Progress show, I turned around to see a swathe of destruction and Chris Brookes hurling another gentleman through the quickly scattering crowd. This man fell at my feet, but within seconds was swearing majestically whilst pushing Mr Brookes violently through his own merch table.
That man was Eddie Kingston, and I was fortunate enough to see him a couple of times in front of just 700 people in that grimy (but adorable) little corner of North London. On this episode of AEW Dynamite, Eddie was able to open a show that would go on to get 845,000 viewers. And perhaps unsurprisingly for those who have seen Kingston in action before, within minute of this match finishing, #SignEddieKingston was trending on them social medias like nobody’s business.
In truth, I suspect people were already smitten with Eddie before he even set foot in the ring. Coming out to challenge the face of AEW, The King absolutely incinerated both Cody and Arn Anderson, mocking Cody’s concept of ‘grinding’ compared to his own rough upbringing, and describing Double-A of being a has-been whilst threatening to do unspeakable things to various body parts. Then taking on the whole promotion he described Cody as Tony Khan’s ‘boy’ before goading the TNT champion into a no-DQ match by asking him whether, and I quote, he was, “an egg-sucking dog, or an egg-sucking bitch.”
Quite the entrance then, but Eddie more than backed this up with a performance that not so much rolled back the years, but punched the years repeatedly in the face until the years were bleeding out of each and every orifice.
Kingston immediately rushed his illustrious foe, and the two engaged in a proper brawl which never really stopped for the remainder of this 11 minute fight. Kingston ripped off Cody’s t-shirt and both men continued to leather each other for the opening few minutes, including some vicious chops from Kingston and a slightly more artful, albeit equally destructive, Disaster Kick from the son of a son of a plumber.
A lovely detail soon followed as Cody removed his weight belt to deliver the sort of whipping that has led many to question how long he’ll be a face for in AEW. Eddie however, wise to these sorts of shenanigans, reversed the flow and instead beat Cody repeatedly with his own weapon. To his credit, Cody was equally prepared to get down in the muck and quickly focussed on Kingston’s injured leg, including a very rough looking slam onto the concrete that Eddie had himself exposed moments earlier.
This injury could have been the turning point for the champ, but the wily veteran Kingston was quick to deliver a rake to the eyes which allowed him to take control for the middle portion of the match. Kingston wailed on his opponent with missile-like punches, and once he had grounded his man also put on a few extremely draining looking submission manoeuvres. One such hold, which we were helpfully told by Excalibur on commentary is called the Stretch Plum (surely one of the sillier move names in the sport) was preceded by an incredible lariat that turned Rhodes inside-out and left him looking broken as Kingston snarled into the camera once more.
A brief resurgence from the champion following a nasty looking chop-block was quickly curtailed as Kingston, collapsing on his injured leg, used the opportunity to smack Cody right in his own stretched plums. He then delivered a snap-DDT that Jake Roberts would have been proud of if he wasn’t off elsewhere instructing Lance Archer to throw jobbers through ceilings.
Incredibly, the most lethal part of the match was still to come as Kingston reached under the ring to retrieve a bag which was, perhaps surprisingly, full of thumbtacks rather than sweets, hopes and dreams as the commentators apparently would have preferred. Spreading them over the canvas in glee, Eddie was briefly thwarted in his efforts to puncture his opponent, but he soon got his way. The powerbomb that he perpetrated onto the tacks was absolutely brutal, and the close up showed us the damage as Cody lay bleeding from his back, his mouth and probably his soul. The terrified looks of Hikaru Shida and Sonny Kiss said it all.
Never let it be said however that Cody Rhodes is not incredibly resilient, and having been on the end of another suplex in the general area of the tacks, the champion fired up and delivered a huge clothesline that left Kingston lying in his own spiky metal nightmare.
Cody, going back to the leg that he had butchered earlier in the match, snapped on the figure four and, following some monstrous slaps across the face of Kingston to break any resistance, was able to arch backwards and secure the submission victory.
There was a strike every 6.8 seconds in this match (Craig...please check my working *Checked and correct!) which is even more impressive when you consider the time spent by both men either applying or surviving submission holds as well as the lengthy periods of smack talk from the challenger.
There is a very strong argument to say that the TNT title is the best booked in American wrestling right now, with Cody having defended 6 times in a variety of differently entertaining matches, and with a mouthwatering clash with WarHorse to come next.
But this was all about Eddie Kingston. An electric promo, a symphony of brutality, and proof that there is much much more to come from The King in the future.
Find other work by @danspursquins at www.wrestlingwithprocrastination.co.uk