Eddie Kingston Recalls Almost Retiring From Wrestling Before 2020 AEW Contract Offer

Eddie Kingston is seemingly on top of the world right now as the reigning NJPW STRONG Openweight Champion and ROH World Champion. But there was a time three years ago when that reality was merely a dream. During a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, Kingston recalled nearly hanging up the boots in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The pandemic hit when I was doing a three-month tour in the UK," Kingston said. "I had to pay like $1,800 to get home before they shut down. There were no indie shows, but I still had to pay my mortgage. I started selling my boots, gear, pictures, whatever I could. My career, it was over. I was ready to get a job outside of wrestling. I was at the door of leaving the business, but I did one indie show, then I fought Cody."

The summer of 2020 saw Cody Rhodes defend the TNT Championship regularly in a series of open challenges. During the July 22 episode that year, Kingston emerged to cut a heated promo on the second-generation star before they clashed. Rhodes may have retained, but the appearance landed Kingston a full-time contract to keep his career going.

"I got the contract in AEW, and look where we are now," Kingston said. "I still can't believe it."

While Kingston has been an integral part of AEW over the last three years, his STRONG Openweight title win earlier this summer marked an end to a championship drought he's had since 2019. He then returned home to New York on September 20 to defeat his long-time rival Claudio Castagnoli to pick up his first ROH World title.