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Make time to read Eddie Kingston’s soul-baring Players’ Tribune post

Yesterday, while we were all marking out in the Cageside offices about how amazing CM Punk & Eddie Kingston’s scene on the Nov. 5 Rampage was for like the third or fourth time, I remarked, “If AEW never did anything other than show the world how fucking awesome Eddie Kingston’s always been, it would still be aces in my book.”

I first saw Kingston in Chikara - which turned out to be a pretty terrible place to work, but was a really fun promotion that employed a lot of talented people (and with Ring of Honor, formed a hell of a one-two punch in the aughts to knock this lapsed fan on his butt and show him all the varied and wonderful things pro wrestling could be). He was always one of the most colorful, attention-grabbing characters on their shows, and stood out whenever he popped up on the indie DVDs I’d buy online from time to time. He had a nice little run on Impact as they were stabilizing after the sale to Anthem, and I & other fans of the Mad King just assumed that would be the top of the mountain for him. WWE wasn’t going to use this guy, not even in Triple H’s NXT.

Then AEW came along. I honestly didn’t even think about Kingston landing with Tony Khan’s new fed, because I didn’t associate him with any of the Executive Vice-Presidents TK built the company around. Even when another guy I discovered via Chikara showed up, I didn’t make the connection.

But as soon as he came out to face Cody Rhodes on the July 22, 2020 episode of Dynamite, I knew he belonged there. And so did everyone else in the wrestling world.

Before he landed in AEW, I knew a little of Eddie’s life story. But a mitzvah of his run in the company is how much more of the tale we all know. Equal parts relatable & inspiring and always entertaining, it makes Kingston hard to root against... although he’s so good on the microphone, I have no doubt he’ll have us booing him again when the show calls for it.

Which is all a long wind-up to say, Eddie’s told his story in a new way in this Players’ Tribune post he wrote entitled, “Eddie Kingston Got No Business F***ing Being Here”. And it’s pretty freaking amazing.

There’s so much good stuff in there, every time I go to copy and paste part of it in here, I end up with most of the article highlighted. I finally settled on these bits, which feel like Eddie’s thesis statements:

The thing about wrestling in front of eight people in a bingo hall is that the spots still hurt. The chops still hurt. Your body still hurts the next day. But when you love wrestling, it doesn’t matter. You do it for the pride and the respect of the business. So I gave everything I could, and I’ll never forget there was this one lady in the crowd who was just going nuts. She was standing up, yelling at us, talking shit. And that fired me up, and I was turning to her and calling her all kinds of names. Don’t cancel me, please, but I think I called her Large Marge. She was throwing popcorn. It was incredible.

The match ends, we get backstage, and of course the promoter can’t pay. I remember the guys were sitting around talking about where we were gonna go eat, and I was so broke that I had to lie and say I wasn’t hungry.

Doing that bullshit thing like, “Ah no, I’m good. I’m good. I’m full. I’ll come sit with you guys and have a water or something.”

And my tag-team partner and buddy was such a good guy, he would always pay for me without telling anybody. So after the show, we’re all out in the parking lot packing up the truck, and I’m feeling pretty depressed about everything, when all of a sudden I hear this voice shout, “Hey!!!! Hey guys!!!!”

It’s Large Marge.

She’s like, “Guys, that was awesome. I had such a blast. You guys rock. Thank you!!!!”

I spent 20 years on the road in the indies, never quite making it, getting bitter, getting self-destructive, getting depressed, having to ask my parents for money so I could make rent. And to be honest with you, sometimes I have no idea why I kept going.

But I think it probably has something to do with that lady.

and

I have been everything in this life. I have been an angry kid. I’ve been a depressed teenager. I’ve been an addict. I’ve seen so many holding cells it would make your head spin. I’ve messed up and self-destructed and burned bridges. I’ve been down to my last dollar.

The only reason I’m still doing this, and really the only reason I’m still on this earth is because of all the friends who never stop having my back.

I’m so lucky to have had a friend like Larry Sweeney.

I’m so lucky to have had a friend like Brodie.

I’m so lucky to still have a friend like Mox. (And I’m so proud of him for showing real courage right now. I got you, brother. Keep your head up.)

When you have a few minutes, read the whole thing. You’ll probably cry, but also definitely smile. You might want to run into the street and tell the next stranger you meet that you love pro wrestling. It could make it harder for you to boo Cody.

It did all those things for me. And it also strengthened my belief that if AEW never did anything other than show the world how fucking awesome Eddie Kingston’s always been, it would still be aces in my book.