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Eddie Kingston & Claudio Castagnoli ROH World title fight sets up larger story with epic potential

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The redemption storyline for Eddie Kingston just might be ready to be told. Based on how the ROH world title fight between Kingston and Claudio Castagnoli played out, there is potential for an epic tale.

Kingston challenged Claudio in the main event of the ROH Supercard of Honor PPV (March 31, 2023). It was an absolute slugfest. Kingston opened with furious aggression to which Claudio matched with cold intensity. Claudio rocked Kingston early, and that fog clouded Kingston for much of the match. It didn’t help that Claudio repeatedly clobbered him in the head.

Kingston had his moments though. He strategically attacked the leg, and that paid off when Claudio didn’t have a steady base on his giant swing.

Claudio continued dishing out pain as the technical superior wrestler. Kingston was fueled by heart and instinct. He ducked a lariat to apply the stretch plum submission. Claudio dramatically reached the ropes for the break.

The war of attrition resumed with Kingston scoring another near fall. He escaped a Ricola bomb to land a spinning backfist. Claudio kicked out at 2.

Claudio regained control with a vicious gutwrench suplex off the apron down to the floor.

Claudio loaded the dead weight into the ring and sized up for a running European uppercut. This felt like the end for Kingston. 1, 2, kick out! Claudio slapped Kingston while yapping about never earning respect. Kingston had a last-ditch lazy spinning backfist. Claudio laughed and slapped Kingston again. This time, the Mad King exploded with force on a spinning backfist. Kingston tried to lift his opponent, but he collapsed under the weight from exhaustion.

Claudio was back in charge for a swinging choke and a Neutralizer. Kingston kicked out at 1! The Mad King was energized, but he marched right into a European uppercut. Kingston kicked out again on the cover.

Claudio unleashed a flurry of strikes targeting the neck and head. Claudio lifted Kingston for a Ricola bomb. Kingston shocked the world with a counter roll-up. Would Kingston achieve his dream of winning the world title? Nope. Claudio quickly reversed for top position to secure the victory.

The drama didn’t end there.

Claudio celebrated with Wheeler Yuta. The champ whispered in Yuta’s ear, and they surrounded Kingston with menacing intentions. Katsuyori Shibata entered the scene to even the odds. Shibata won the ROH Pure Championship from Yuta earlier in the evening. The NJPW LA Dojo teacher stood side by side with Kingston.

After the Blackpool Combat Club exited, Kingston grabbed a microphone to shout that he’s not leaving ROH. Kingston is still coming to beat Claudio’s ass to win the ROH World Championship.

This match was a thriller. Kingston got his ass beat bad, but his fighting spirit still shined bright to produce exciting moments. In the larger picture, this match fully played into the story idea that Kingston needs to evolve with better training. Claudio came in looking chiseled and ripped, while Kingston was soft and pudgy. Claudio’s cardio tank was clearly at a higher octane than Kingston’s. As was Claudio’s level of technical expertise. Kingston was equivalent to a club fighter. He is tough as nails and not easy to beat, but he isn’t cut for the peak level of competition. Kingston lacks discipline, such as shown when he brought a chair into the fight early after being knocked silly. Who’s a man that could finally get through to reach and teach Kingston? Shibata. Learning the finer points from a master is the growth Kingston’s character needs.

What’s your take on this potential storyline for Eddie Kingston?

Get the full results of Supercard of Honor here. The PPV is available for viewing through Bleacher Report in the USA and Fite TV for the rest of the world.

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