A few months ago, as the pandemic was synonymous with cancellations and postpones in the indie wrestling business, Eddie Kingston was ready to throw in the towel. After nearly twenty years in the business, he was ready to hang up his boots, maybe not forever, but at least for a while. And suddenly, everything changed. During one of the very few indie shows that took place last summer, he said his truth, the one of a man who has given his heart and soul to a business that could not welcome him and allow him to make a living of it anymore. This truth was heard by both WWE and AEW, but Eddie Kingston chose AEW. Also, he wanted to make his niece and nephew proud, so he chose to continue for the ones he loves.

For some fans, The Mad King is a genius in the ring, like with a mic. Wherever he has worked, he has never left people unmoved. From CZW to PWG, ROH and TNA, he has been in the ring what he has always been in life, true to himself. He’s applied that same emotion, energy, and often anger into his wrestling persona and promos, maybe the therapeutical way. Something the fans that are finding out about him now in AEW are probably not aware of. When he was feuding with Jon Moxley before their Full Gear Championship match, he was just himself. And probably because of that, he has now become one of AEW’s top stars. The Mad King still has so many tricks in his bag…

SteelChair Wrestling Magazine had the opportunity to talk to Eddie Kingston yesterday. He told us about his incredible year 2020, signing with AEW, being in the main event of a PPV so soon after starting, his wrestling legacy, and what the future may hold for him.

When you did this shout-out at ICW NHB in July 2020, saying to Cody Rhodes, Nick Aldis, and Zack Sabre Jr, ‘Hey, I’m here, I exist,’ were you aware that, in fact, Cody Rhodes and Tony Khan were already eyeing your services?

“Oh, no, I had no idea. I did that because I was very angry because the pandemic hit, and I was not making a lot of money. I was about to sell my house in Florida, and I was selling my wrestling gear to make money. When I had the chance to cut that promo to talk, I was very angry. And I wanted those three guys that I wanted to wrestle to know that I’m still here, and I’m still going to fight. I was supposed to fight Zack for RevPro in the UK in February, but of course, that got cancelled. I was working for NWA at the time, of course, I wanted the World Champion. And I heard about Cody doing this open challenge. And I was like, ‘Okay, that’s cool, but he’s never fought anybody like me’. So let me throw my name in the hat, so to speak.”

After a 20-year career in the ring, you’re finally on national television. How do you feel to be there now after such a ride of a career? 

“I feel great. It’s surreal. It’s wonderful. The goal is still to be the World Champion, as always, but it’s very nice right now. I’m not that angry (laughs).”

How would you describe your relationship with Tony Khan, Cody, and all the other EVPs? Do you enjoy working with them and being apart of such a roster, with many people that you have known sometimes for a very long time?

“Tony, I don’t want to ruin his aura, but Tony is a very good, good person, and a very smart businessman. I have fun working with Cody, but a lot of people forget that Cody and I, we’re in competition as well because Cody wants to be the top guy, and I want to be the top guy, so we’re always in competition. But it’s good to work for him as well and the Young Bucks. I’ve known the Young Bucks for about what, I’ve been wrestling nineteen years. I had to know them at least sixteen. I’ve known Kenny for about eight to nine years. So all those guys, it’s like, I travelled with a lot of them, and I suffered with a lot of them on the independents, so it’s good, and it’s nice to see where they’re at now. But I’m in competition with everybody, except for Tony.”

Tonight on Dynamite, you will wrestle Lance Archer. He is one of the guys that has been quite a problem for you for quite a while now. Tell me more about this war. 

“The thing with Lance is Lance has a big mouth, Lance’s the monster, and that’s good and everything. But guess what? I never got eliminated because I never went over the top rope (at All Out Casino Battle Royale). He got mad about that. He’s mad that I got the shot at Moxley twice. And now he just wants to shut me up. But it’s going to take a lot more than him to shut me up.”

You already had a chance for the World Championship against Jon Moxley. Is it still your main goal on AEW?

“That’s the goal of any promotion I go to, let alone the biggest promotion, which is AEW. It is always the World Championship. It’s always the top guy. I’ve had my two shots, but like I tell everybody, I never lose. I learn. So I’ve learned from those two occasions, and I’ll be back. I was going to go through Lance. I’ve got to handle my business first before I get back on the World Title picture.”

Do you feel like Mox and you is like an unfinished story? You have known each other for so long, you have wrestled everywhere. Everybody was blown away to see that chemistry between us because you have the same vision of the wrestling business and what it has to be. Some will say we want more of it. But do you want more of it?

“Of course, I do. Me and Mox, our relationship has definitely changed because of the two matches. The things I’ve said, and the things I’ve done, but I live my life with no regrets. I did what I had to do at the time. And I’m not looking for forgiveness from Mox or anybody. The only person I look for forgiveness is from God. And I’ll find out if he gave me when I pass away. But there’s always going to be some unfinished business because I have to beat him. Now, it’s like whether he has the world title or not, and I believe he should have the world title because whether I like him or not, he represented the company well. He didn’t play with other people like the new World Champion. I’m not trying to take shots, well, maybe I am. But Mox stood for AEW, not for anything else, because Mox has that outlaw spirit, and that’s what AEW was built on, the outlaw spirit, not doing things the way everyone else does. I think Mox is a perfect fit for that. But I have to beat him. He has two up on me. I cannot leave wrestling. I cannot go on with my life until I beat him, whether it’s in the ring in front of millions of people or out in the street corner. I’ve got to somehow beat him.”

You are apart of this roster as a wrestler, but do you feel like you are also in a capacity to do something for the young talents and the people around you, like the Brodie Lee Tribute Show speech? 

“During that time period, I felt this big charge of energy. I didn’t know what to do with that energy, and I just wanted to let everybody know why we’re doing this and why we have to keep going. I didn’t want any of us to be sad anymore. I wanted us to use that sadness in a positive manner. And we did for that show, but I wanted it to keep going. So that’s why I said what I said, and when I saw they were recording it, I was like, I gotta go, and I tried to leave as fast as I could (laughs).

“If the young guys come up to me and ask me, I’ll definitely watch and talk to them. I can just only give them what I think and what my opinion is because everything’s opinion and the bottom line is, though, what do the people want? And what does the boss want? These are the two things you have to be concerned about. I can give you my opinions all day, but if the fans don’t like it or the boss doesn’t like it, it doesn’t matter.”

As we said before, you have wrestled a lot of the guys in the roster, but there’s a lot of newcomers and the young talents that are entering the game. Who in the roster are you interested in wrestling from this new generation, this new breed of talent?

“I wrestled Santana and Ortiz. I love fighting them because it’s like brothers fighting, so that’s always fun. MJF has a bright future, too, bad that he knows that. John Silver, Alex Reynolds. I’ve known them for years. They’re very good. Orange Cassidy. There are so many good young guys. Will Hobbs is one. Ricky Starks is another. I feel like if I start naming names, I’m going to forget everybody, but there are so many good and hungry guys out there. Marko Stunt is another man. He’s hungry. That dude will fight you until he’s in the ground. FTR are great. I can go on and on, but the whole roster actually has a lot of potential, and there’s a lot of scrappers there.”

When you look back at your career, do you feel like you would have done it the same?

“I believe if I would have got this opportunity in my twenties, or even in my early thirties, I would not have taken advantage of it because I wasn’t mature enough. I had one foot in the streets and one foot in pro wrestling. So I wasn’t fully focused like I am now. I’m definitely more mature than I’ve ever been, and that’s what I needed. No, I wouldn’t change it any other way because it wouldn’t be what it is now.”

Do you realize now you’re crossing over generations? Some people have known you for many years, and at the same time, some are finding out about you now in AEW. What is it now to be able to talk to so many different people from so many different ages?

“It feels great. I hope, especially the young generation, I hope the kids understand that no matter what I do, how I do it, I’m still working hard. I’m the living proof that if you focus, if you mature, and if you work hard and put the work in, it will work out for you. When people used to say that to me, I would always be like, whatever. But when I finally started doing it, it’s true. If you stay focused, keep the negative energy and just make it positive, work hard, and put the preparation in, honestly, you can achieve your dream. You really can. It’s nuts. I never believed that until I got to AEW because I started putting the work in. Because of the pandemic, I got worried. So it took the pandemic for me to mature.”

Follow Eddie Kingston on Twitter @EddieKingston

All pics and videos courtesy of AEW