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Eddie Kingston’s journey in Japan is the best thing in pro wrestling

This would put a smile on anyone’s face.

AEW’s Eddie Kingston is a polarizing wrestler. The 41-year-old from Yonkers, N.Y isn’t blessed with eye-popping muscles. He doesn’t look like he was carved from marble by a renaissance master. The man is a true throwback to an era where it was okay to look like an everyman if you could make up for it with the biggest thing modern wrestlers lack: Personality.

For all the jokes about Kingston’s physique, the wrestler has found a new life in Japan where he’s currently competing in the NJPW G1 Climax. Performing in front of sold out crowds, and getting the chance for marquee matchups, Kingston is living his best life in Japan right now, where wrestling fans are falling in love with his “strong style” sensibilities and tough guy persona.

The greatest moment of Kingston’s trip to Japan happened overnight, when he was afforded the opportunity to meet his wrestling idol, Toshiaki Kawada. The 59-year-old former All Japan Pro Wrestling star was the motivation for Kingston to become a wrestler, and meeting him in person was the best.

Smiling ear-to-ear, Kingston couldn’t hide how emotional meeting Kawada was for him. Eddie has discussed his idol as part of the wrestling tape-trading scene in New York in the 90s, and never thought in a million years he’d ever meet him in person. Normally stoic and presenting a gruff exterior, Kingston was beside himself with excitement.

It’s beautiful, especially if you know Kingston’s backstory. He’s been open in the past about his mental health struggles, and feelings of inadequacy — having to eek out a living on the indies because he didn’t have the “traditional” traits of a modern pro wrestler. His story has resonated with fans, and now he’s become beloved in Japan.

Not only is Eddie out here meeting his idols, but he’s vying for a win the G1 Climax Block-C, where he currently sits at 8 pts with a 4-2 record. He also got his Ribera Steakhouse jacket, the ultimate sign of respect for a pro wrestler from a Japanese institution.

This is the best story in pro wrestling, bar none.