Early this morning, Eddie Kingston revealed on Twitter that he was no longer a member of the Impact Wrestling roster. Kingston had been with the company for one year, but had seen little to no air time since Anthem took over the company from Billy Corgan early this year.
I am no longer with @IMPACTWRESTLING and want to thank them for everything. I am now open for bookings @ EddieKingston74@gmail.com
WHO’S EDDIE KINGSTON?
Indie wrestling fans know very well who Eddie Kingston fans – but casual WWE or Impact Wrestling fans may not be too familiar. He’d barely had much chance to make an impression in Impact before the management changed (again) and he was left off camera. But he’s been wrestling for close to 15 years and made huge strides everywhere he’s been. Part of the second class out of the famed CHIKARA WrestleFactory, Eddie Kingston became a huge part of CHIKARA’s first decade as a company – he was the inaugural CHIKARA Grand Champion and held it a record 924 days. Despite being one of the top dog’s in the most PG/family friendly promotion on the planet, Kingston was also a notorious hardcore wrestler, “The War King”, who dominated the more extreme circuits as well – he’s a former CZW World Heavyweight Champion, IWA Mid-South Heavyweight Champion, and DDT Ironman Heavymetalweight Champion. He’s also held the AAW Heavyweight Championship twice out of Chicago. He had some solid runs in Ring of Honor between 2006 and 2014 as well, most notably as part of Outlaw Inc. with Homicide.
EDDIE KINGSTON: THE YEAR OF IMPACT
It wasn’t really surprising. Eddie Kingston signed with Impact Wrestling in November of 2016 and was immediately thrust into the title picture of the Impact Tag Team Division as part of The DCC (Death Count Council) with James Storm and Bram in battles with the Hardys. But he was signed by the regime lead by Billy Corgan. When Anthem took over Impact Wrestling earlier this year, The DCC was disbanded, James Storm was re-repackaged as TNA Original “Cowboy” James Storm, and Kingston’s appearances dropped dramatically. First, he and Bram were unceremoniously dissolved as a tag team at one of the first Anthem tapings, when they were beaten by debuting tag team Reno Scum and never seen again. Kingston wouldn’t be seen again until August when he appeared in the 20-man battle royal to crown the new Impact World Champion. His character and style just didn’t seem to blend with the new regime’s vision for making Impact “great” again.
During a conference call last month, Impact’s new Head of Creative Scott D’Amore was asked about plans to use Eddie Kingston, he simply replied “we don’t know” and they had to look at where his contract was at and what plans the company had for him long term and short term. It appears we now have the answer. Based on timeline, it would appear that Kingston’s one year deal from last year has expired (or is about to) and it was not being renewed.
ARE THE WWE INTERESTED?
Oddly enough, just weeks before signing with Impact Wrestling, Kingston had a WWE tryout at the Performance Center in Orlando.
As reported by WWE’s official website last September, Kingston was part of a 40-competitor tryout that included current NXT Superstars Abbey Laith (Kimber Lee), Ruby Riot (Heidi Lovelace), Mae Young Classic and SHIMMER star Nicole Savoy, indie darling Su Yung and their most recent signee, Shayna Baszler. “The War King” was featured quite often throughout the article as one of the biggest stars at the tryout. So why would he attend a WWE tryout at the end of September and then four weeks later sign with Impact Wrestling? He was asked just that by The Baltimore Sun last September. This was his response:
“I had the tryout, and then TNA called me right after the tryout, and told me to show up the next Monday. I weighed all the options and talked to a lot of people. I talked to my best friend, Homicide, and a few other people. I just turned 35, and after 15 years on the road, I just decided that I couldn’t wait any longer. It was whoever came up first at the time, I would have taken it. It was never anything personal against any company, I just felt that it was now or never. At the beginning of 2016, I said to myself that if I didn’t have a contract somewhere by the end of the year, I was going to leave in December. So it was already in my head that I had a goal, and that this is where I had to be by the end of the year.” Eddie Kingston, The Baltimore Sun, December 16, 2016
And it’s easy to see his way of thinking – although Kimber Lee and Heidi Lovelace were signed immediately, Nicole Savoy was only brought back ten months later for a one-off in the Mae Young Classic (although she fared well) and Shayna Baszler only just officially signed last week. So Eddie didn’t want to play the waiting game.
With NXT rebuilding right now (and rebuilding strong and tough), Eddie Kingston could still find a home in the WWE. They obviously had interest in him a year ago, and enough to warrant the heavy praise throughout a WWE website article.
But a 36-year old veteran who has specialized in some of the most physical matches in wrestling for the past 15 years, starting out with another promotion may not be all that appealing. Or perhaps something like NXT is right where he belongs. Steady pay, lighter schedule, working with a lot of friends, and riding off into the sunset as part of the WWE Universe. And of course, the WWE isn’t the be-all – a return to ROH still has potential (he’d do well in physical matches with NJPW in the cross-promotions) or he could end up with Lucha Underground for the fourth season or even make a cameo back in CHIKARA.
The real question ultimately lies with Eddie Kingston. Is he going to stay on the indies for a farewell hurrah or is he ready to see what’s NeXT?