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  • Writer's pictureAEW Staff

You Always Hurt The One You Love



First recorded in 1944 by The Mills Brothers in 1944, the song bearing the title of this retrospective has been covered by Connie Francis, Fats Domino, Ringo Starr, Michael Buble, and even Ryan Gosling in the heartbreaking film “Blue Valentine”. The lyrics include lines such as “You always break the kindest heart with a hasty word you can't recall, so if I broke your heart last night, it's because I love you most of all.”


It's a song very easily projected onto a romantic relationship, but that's just one type of love, and if nothing else, since the two men first became entangled in All Elite Wrestling, it's been pretty clear that there is a lot of love between Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley. Love built on shared experiences, on treading common grounds, on time spent together both inside the ring and out, knowing each other's families, not to mention spilling blood along similar roads en route to the promised land of AEW. 



Moxley got here first, making his impact on as grand a scale as possible in the closing moments of DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2019, taking out both Chris Jericho and Kenny Omega, and beginning the path that led him to his first AEW World Championship at REVOLUTION 2020, just weeks before the wrestling landscape as we knew it, as well as the world at large, became a different place under pandemic restrictions.



That's the world in which Eddie Kingston was birthed into AEW, a world where fans were only able to watch from the safety of their own homes, a world where the hard-traveled Kingston was forced to sell his wrestling boots in order to make rent. So with nothing left to lose, and then-TNT Champion Cody Rhodes holding an Open Challenge for his title, Kingston took his shot and called out Cody during one of the few independent wrestling shows running at the time. This led to Eddie walking out on the stage on the July 22, 2020 DYNAMITE, no pomp or circumstance, and fighting Cody in a No DQ match for that championship. Eddie failed to become the champion, but he made such an impact on the AEW landscape that nine days later, Kingston got his “...IS ALL ELITE” graphic.


While Moxley went about building the AEW World Championship up with one of the most impressive streak of defenses amassed to date, Kingston drew men like Butcher, Blade, and The Lucha Brothers to his side, and when the opportunity opened up to take his shot again, Kingston didn't hesitate to take aim at a man who had been his friend for years...





That fight did not go the way of “The Mad King”, but the aftermath of it set the table for the violent affair that would result at FULL GEAR 2020, a match that would turn out to by Moxley's final successful title defense before losing to Kenny Omega at DYNAMITE: WINTER IS COMING 2020. Suffice it to say, the “I Quit” bout was twenty minutes of two men hurting the one they love, and came to an end with Kingston failing to claim the crown he'd risked destroying his friendship over...



Shockingly, despite how that fight came to its conclusion, when Moxley fought Kenny Omega in an Exploding Barbed Wire Death Match at REVOLUTION 2021, it was Eddie Kingston who came to the aid of Jon Moxley. That moment of sacrifice, Kingston's choice to put his own safety at risk to protect his brother, that was a defining example of the core relationship between Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley. They were brothers, two men who cared about and supported one another, whose passion for pro wrestling bonded them, and whose capacity for violence mirrored one another's. This reunion led Eddie and Mox into tag team competition, and a march towards The Young Bucks and the AEW World Tag Team Championship...



Though that DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2021 championship bout did not go in favor of Kingston and Moxley, it solidified their bond before the AEW faithful, and created a duo that continued on throughout the remainder of 2021, including a wild Lights Out fight with Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer at RAMPAGE: GRAND SLAM 2021. Then the FULL GEAR 2022 Eliminator Tournament began, and though the layout of the brackets meant Moxley and Kingston could collide in the finals, Mox having to pull out of the field ended that possibility, and Eddie losing to Danielson in the Semi-Finals nixed his hopes of challenging for the title. 


Moxley would return to the fold in January 2022, refreshed and ready for the fight, a return that would lead him into battle with Bryan Danielson at REVOLUTION 2022, and then into the formation of The Blackpool Combat Club alongside “The American Dragon” and William Regal. At the same time, Kingston was in the midst of battle with Chris Jericho, a battle he actually won at REVOLUTION 2022, but would only be the precursor to much greater wars as Jericho abandoned The Inner Circle in the aftermath and formed The Jericho Appreciation Society. The paths of Kingston, Santana, Ortiz, and The Blackpool Combat Club would converge at DOUBLE OR NOTHING 2022 when they and The J.A.S. went to battle under Anarchy In The Arena rules. Perhaps it should have been clear before the unit even stepped into Las Vegas that the inherent strife between Kingston's side and Mox's side would make success unlikely...



Still, the attempt was made, Kingston tried to work with Bryan Danielson as best he could, but in one of the most horrifying visuals in AEW history, it ended up with Eddie dumping gasoline on Bryan, as well as his foes, in a failed attempt to actually light them all on fire! Perhaps it was fate that Danielson got injured during the course of Anarchy in the Arena and was unable to compete in the Blood & Guts cage match that followed, but much to the chagrin of Eddie Kingston, his friend Jon Moxley would ally himself with yet another of Kingston's hated foes, perhaps the most hated of them all, Claudio Castagnoli.


The history between Kingston and Claudio has been well-documented since “The Swiss Superman” came into AEW, suffice it to say that it took everything Kingston had in him to fight alongside Castagnoli rather than rip his head off and chuck him off the top of the cage. The fact that Castagnoli, in Eddie's eyes, stole the victory for their team from him did not help matters, and it sent Kingston back on his own path, completely separate from Moxley, as Jon and The BCC pursued theirs.


But those paths would once again intertwine, as friendships often too, only this time the circle had come back around to their AEW beginning, and Kingston was standing alongside Moxley's enemies in The Elite, men he himself could not stand and did not respect, but his hate for Claudio burned far hotter. Strange bedfellows indeed...



This animosity put Eddie opposite his brother-by-choice at FORBIDDEN DOOR 2023 and during the course of that match, in unarguably the most emotional portion of the fight, the two actually came to blows. The scene would repeat two months later at ALL IN: LONDON, albeit with a twist, as Kingston allied himself with The Best Friends, Orange Cassidy, and Penta El Zero Miedo to fight Moxley, Yuta, Claudio, Ortiz, and Santana in Stadium Stampede! Eddie's team actually won the fight, though he and Moxley would throwdown with one another yet again, and it certainly left a question as to the status of their relationship moving forward. 


For Eddie moving forward meant finishing his issues with Claudio Castagnoli once and for all, and that meant facing him at DYNAMITE: GRAND SLAM 2023 with both Kingston's NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship and Claudio's ROH World Championship on the line. In front of his hometown, his family, and his loved ones, Kingston put the final nail in the coffin of his rivalry with Claudio Castagnoli, and became the holder of both the NJPW STRONG title and the ROH one!



For Moxley moving forward meant capturing a championship of his own, one he'd never held before, the AEW International Championship held by Orange Cassidy. That came to be at ALL OUT 2023, though the triumph turned to tragedy quite quickly when Rey Fenix dethroned him just 17 days later, and putting Moxley on the injured list for the next few weeks. Moxley's return to AEW competition meant failure in regaining the AEW International Championship, once again held by OC who'd beaten Fenix himself in Jon's absence, but then finding a new focus as the Continental Classic was announced.  Another man who found focus in the tournament was Moxley's brother Eddie, only he chose to up the ante on the entire game, putting both of his championship belts in the mix, to create an American Triple Crown Championship...



Thus on November 22nd, with the field split into two groups dubbed the Gold League and the Blue League, twelve men began their trek towards WORLDS END, the Continental Championship, and now both the ROH World Championship and NJPW STRONG Openweight Title. For Moxley the road began with Mark Briscoe, and was followed in successive weeks with fights against Jay Lethal, RUSH,  and Swerve Strickland. Four consecutive victories meant 12 points for the 3-time former AEW World Champion, and berth in the finals of the Gold League, all that remained was his final match with Jay White to either solidify his spot atop the Gold, or to turn the League Final into a more complex situation with a “Switchblade” victory. But that's exactly what Jay White did, he squeezed out a victory to tie up Moxley at 12 points, then Swerve did the same against RUSH in their fifth bout, thus leaving the Gold League with a three way tie to determine the victor. As we witnessed this past Wednesday night on DYNAMITE, Moxley would get his back on Jay White, and earn his spot in the Continental Classic finals this Sunday night!



With Kingston slotted into the Blue League, there was a possibility that he and Jon Moxley could end up in the finals together, but the road to get there would be long and arduous for “The Mad King”. Though his two championship titles were not at stake in each of his five matches, each loss brought him closer to losing hold of them without technically being beaten for them in a title bout, but that was the risk Kingston took when he threw them into the pot for the Continental Classic. Unfortunately for Eddie, he started the tournament off on bad footing by dropping matches to Brody King and Bryan Danielson in his first two bouts, the latter especially stinging given the dismissive rhetoric Danielson has long used towards Eddie.


Those losses also put Kingston in a position where each match became a must-win situation if he hoped to have a shot at keeping the two titles in his camp, and gaining the Triple Crown he'd created with his choices. The third match of Kingston's journey put him opposite Claudio Castagnoli, a man he'd only ever beaten once in their careers, and somehow Eddie found a way to make it two straight wins over this Blackpool Combat Club member. It was as if somewhere along the way, possibly the night he first held the ROH World Championship overhead in front of his mother and father, Eddie learned how to best handle his demons. He knew they were creeping up behind him, just waiting for him to slip up and stumble into their waiting arms, but instead of slipping, Eddie Kingston kept moving forward “humble in victory, humble in defeat”, and that made the difference as he rattled off a second victory in the tournament over Daniel Garcia, and secured himself a spot in the Blue League finals with a win over Andrade El Idolo.


That set Kingston versus Danielson as the match, and put Eddie in a situation where he had to do something he'd never done before: beat Bryan Danielson. Without a twenty-minute time limit hanging over their heads, the two warriors brutalized each other for nearly twenty-five, absorbing blow-after-blow, suplex-after-suplex, and surviving multiple submission attempts, before it came down to Kingston dropping Bryan with the same Kawada-style Folding Powerbomb that defeated Claudio at GRAND SLAM 2023 some months earlier.



With their respective wins in the Gold and Blue Leagues, for the first time since FULL GEAR 2020's “I Quit” match, Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley will go one-on-one at WORLDS END in the Continental Classic Finals with the winner walking away as a Triple Crown Champion, simultaneously holding the ROH World Championship, the NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship, and the Continental Championship! It also means, if Eddie doesn't want to see his last day as champion of the first two titles, he has to do something else he's never done before: beat Jon Moxley. 



This Saturday night on pay-per-view, as part of AEW's WORLDS END presentation, Eddie Kingston and Jon Moxley will do to each other what they've done for years now, hurt the one they love, and in the end they will either embrace one another as brothers, happy for the success of the other, or they will see the rift in their friendship gutted even deeper. For as important as the championship aspect of this fight is, for as historic a contest as it is, this is undoubtedly the most personal fight of either man's career...


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