The wrestling business (including the wrestle web... whoops! I’m breaking the fourth wall [waves to camera]) continues to get mileage out of Eddie Kingston’s post-Saturday Night Dynamite promo.
At issue is how the AEW star boasted that his company, and its roster, did things and embodied traits you wouldn’t see on “the other channel” - meaning WWE. Some say the speech as standard we’re-the-better-company cheerleading. Others saw it as a low blow against the hard-working folks on Raw, SmackDown & NXT who don’t control how those shows are booked, or the company that produces them is run.
On Busted Open yesterday (June 29), Bully Ray weighed in.
“I love Eddie Kingston - to death. If we were having promo wars, and I was the captain of the team, and somebody said, ‘you get to pick one person to do the promo for you,’ I’d most likely pick Eddie. Because of his believability, his tone, his inflection, everything about Eddie. Obviously, we kind of sound alike, so I appreciate Eddie’s delivery, the same away I appreciate Taz’s delivery. Taz, another master on the stick.
“But in this case, Eddie needs to shut the fuck up and stay in his lane. And his lane is as an AEW guy speaking about AEW, and flying the flag for AEW. Then I’m completely onboard. Tell me about how great AEW is, fly the flag for your company, show me that you wear your heart on your sleeve. Tell me why that you were an indie guy for the majority of his career, now this company took a chance on you, and you have learned to love it and everything about it. Now I’m on board, Eddie.
”Don’t take the easy way out, and knock the WWE. Because if you go back and you listen to the fans, they really didn’t pop that hard when he took a jab at the WWE... You didn’t get the reaction you were looking for. Because people are mostly likely thinking, ‘Alright Eddie, stay away from them. There’s no reason to go there.’ If Cody wants to destroy a throne, I get it. If Jericho wants to say ‘FU’, I get it. But, Eddie? Why? There’s no reason for him to say it.”
Setting aside for the moment the ever-present possibility this could be a work (and the damn near certainty it will eventually be part of one... I’m hoping for an Aces & Eights invasion of AEW, myself), Ray’s catching a lot of flak for his own history of running down the competition during promos for ECW, TNT, and ROH.
For his part, Eddie answered the kind of criticism Bully seems to be leveling when he appeared on WrestleZone’s 2 Dynamite Dudes With Attitude podcast:
“Let’s get this question out of the way. Let’s all calm down. You think I’m going to go bury the locker room that I work for? No, plus I love our locker room. I love AEW. What do you want from me? They’re paying me! They’re putting me on national television after – it’ll be 20 years in October. Of course I’m gonna rah-rah AEW. Relax. Relax. I expect people from the other joint if they’re allowed to mention our names, they’ll probably do the same thing cause you know what I mean? They want their home team to win. It’s just like the NFL or Major League Baseball, man. You wanna go with your home team, AEW’s my team. That’s my squad.”
To me, they both miss the point. The issue isn’t that Kingston “rah-rahed AEW”. Nor is that he “took a jab at the WWE”. It’s that in saying, “you will not see the heart that everybody in that locker room has on the other channel,” the Mad King allows people to assume he’s saying WWE’s wrestlers don’t have heart as much as he’s saying AEW ones are full of heart.
Bottom line is, no one was hurt by Kingston’s couple minutes on the microphone. Eddie was promoting his show, now Bully’s commenting on that to promote his. It’s given us all something to talk about, and most of us have even kept it in perspective!
Lanes, schmanes. As along as you don’t hit anybody, feel free to drive all over the damn road.