A modern-day master in the art of pro-wrestling, Eddie Kingston has created a well-decorated career for himself and those honing their craft now. But before he became a top draw in the indies and AEW, he spent his adolescence studying many other versatile athletes including, Bret Hart and “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, to comprehend what exactly made them overnight sensations.
This week, Kingston spoke with Renée Paquette on Oral Sessions on how inspirational “The Hitman” and “The Rattlesnake” were on his odyssey towards becoming “The Last of a Dying Breed.”
“Bret Hart, to me, is one of the best storytellers and most believable guys when I was growing up,” Eddie Kingston noted. “And then, like I said, Steve Austin, of course. Everyone loves their WrestleMania 13 match. But for me personally, their ’96 Survivor Series match at The Garden, still to this day blows me away.”
Many who’ve followed Kingston’s career up to this point know that “Hot Stuff” Eddie Gilbert has played a key role in how he speaks and moves in the ring. He explains to Renee the first time he ever saw Gilbert on TV and how that inspired him to start training at 19.
“There were two moments,” he began. “One, for my poor mother, I was a hyper kid. So, the only way to keep me calm was to put on wrestling and have Chinese food. That’s the only way that I would shut up.
“The first wrestler that grabbed me was… my mother put on ‘Memphis Bloodiest Brawls.’ She got it from Video Visions in The Bronx and put it in. And I saw ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert fighting with Jerry Lawler. For some reason, I still can’t explain it to this day; I was just sucked in by ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert. He was the first American wrestler I was like, ‘Ok, I want to be him.’
Next, he describes how ECW brought him back to reestablishing his love for pro-wrestling again.
“But then I fell out of wrestling, and ECW came along and pulled me right back in,” he added. “I was 14-years-old. All I wanted to see was guys fighting and half-naked women; that’s where you are when you’re 14.”
After spending some time researching the best wrestling schools to go to out on the East Coast, Kingston headed to Independent Wrestling Federation in New Jersey to start training. But his time there was cut short due to a disagreement he had with his mentor on where he should go after his training.
“The guy was…he taught great basics. But he believed that if you didn’t do anything in WWE, you didn’t do nothing,” he stated. “So, again, me [liking] ‘Hot Stuff’ Eddie Gilbert, Kenta Kobashi, Raven, Shane Douglas, [Tommy] Dreamer, none of them were from WWE. I would mention them, and he’d be like, ‘What did they ever do?’ So, one day I just had it and said, ‘What the f–k did you ever do?’ That was it. I was gone.”
Before he explained to Renee his WWE tryout, he gave her some context on how that tryout came to be and which person it was in the company who set it up.
“This was at the PC. Jimmy Jacobs hooked me up with it. He was like, ‘Hey, do want a tryout?’ I was like, ‘Yeah. Sure,’ he shared. “To me, that tryout was more for the Mae Young Classic because it was the biggest class they had for females. So, I was like, ‘I get it; this is for the females. I’m just going to go in there and have fun.'”
Kingston also told a story about his controversial WWE tryout.
“I said a couple of things. They had someone filming, and Drake Younger grabbed me out of nowhere and goes, ‘King, tell them how hard this drill is.’ It was some dumb drill. I was like, ‘Yeah, it was hard. But I’ve had people shoot at me, stab me with knives. And God, I hate this drill more than that.’ They put the camera down, and everyone is looking at me like I’m nuts because I said guns and knives.
“I remember I was doing the promo class, and I said, ‘Well, where I come from, they believe in Tupac more than Santa Claus.’ I saw these two writers have this confused look on their face when I said it. I was like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m done. Let me just have my match, and then I’ll leave.'”
You can listen to Eddie Kingston’s full interview here. If you use any of the quotes in this article, please credit Oral Sessions w/Renée Paquette with a h/t to Wrestling Inc. for the transcription.