Featured image by Jon Washer
My penance continues.
Unlike Timothy Thatcher, I am incredibly familiar with Eddie Kingston. I have been watching Eddie Kingston since the early 2010s when he was the top man in CHIKARA. He is a mainstay of the American independent scene–having worked through two or three different eras of independent wrestling. He’s a constant in his presence and in the nuanced quality of ring work that he brings.
This is a great match to match to watch from both these guys. As it takes place on an episode of Beyond Wrestling’s weekly show Uncharted Territory, there’s no context necessary. Just dive in and enjoy it.
First of all, I highly recommend that you watch the version of this match posted on YouTube without the commentary track. These two are men who put a lot of detail into their performances and some of that nuance can get drowned out when you have someone blabbing in your ear the whole time. So throw on the link included above and enjoy the magic these two put together.
In many ways, this match reminds me of the 2013 classic match between William Regal and Antonio Cesaro. As in that match, this sees an aging, underrated gunslinger taking on a physically superior ultimate competitor. These two are cast perfectly for that template of match. Eddie Kingston has been on the independent scene since the 2000s and has essentially done it all. He’s famous for his brawling style in places like CZW and IWA:MS but he also picked up technical skills training under Mike Quackenbush in CHIKARA. He has the ability to wrestle but isn’t afraid to fight dirty. Meanwhile, Timothy Thatcher? Well, honestly just look at him. A hard man made entirely of muscle in minimal black boots and tights. He’s a wrestler’s wrestler, a competitor carved from stone.
Every segment of this match is defined by Eddie Kingston testing and pushing Thatcher. And failing miserably at it. Thatcher overwhelms Kingston at every point in this match. Grappling on the mat? Thatcher owns Kingston. Trading blows on their feet? Thatcher owns Kingston. Exchanging head dropper suplexes? Thatcher owns Kingston.
It becomes clear that Kingston’s biggest enemy in this match is actually himself. He is clearly outclassed in the ring but his old warrior spirit won’t let him stay down. He prods and taunts Thatcher, unwilling to stand down. An early lock up ends with Kingston flipping Thatcher the bird. When Thatcher grabs a Fujiwara armbar on the mat, Kingston yells at him, “You better break it off!” Thatcher takes that challenge to heart as every moment they get back on the mat, Thatcher is quick to return to Kingston’s arm.
Even broken down and worn out as he is, Kingston still refuses to tap out to Thatcher’s armbar for the finish though. But Thatcher has wrestled a near perfect match and he quickly readjusts into a pin to get the win.
What a lovely match. It’s a match built around the idea of failure and continuing to fight in the face of that failure. Kingston’s body may have failed him but his spirit never quite gave in. There’s a lot one can take from that and it takes this match into a level above the showcase that it looks like on the surface.