Chris Hero vs Eddie Kingston
Last Man Standing
New Alhambra Arena, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States
(reviewed 05/18/2019) This isn’t exactly stellar, as it’s still early in this feud and King’s still coming into his own, but unsurprisingly another last man standing match proves to be my exact sort of match. Outside of one nutty botch-adjacent move, this match lacks the sort of big spot brutality of their later one-one-one bouts and instead focuses on a bunch of smaller spots. That allows them to really dig into some character work, which is rewarding not just because these guys are great at that but also because this feud begins to shift here. Hero’s a coward through and through so he spends most of this match shying away from Kingston’s physicality, attempting to wear his opponent down, and screaming bloody murder when he gets caught in a corner. Kingston (who’s made some uhhhh… regrettable comments, let’s say, in the build to this match) is so desperate to get his hands on Hero that he’s basically maniacal here. He cackles as he stomps down the ramp and shrugs off Hero’s weaker shots, either egging him on for more or enacting vengeance on him for such feeble blows. When referee Bryce Remsburg counts Hero down early Kingston shoves him aside, refusing to let the match end before he’s clawed out his pound of flesh. On top of dozens of great moments of selling or perfect reactions to specific spots, it’s stuff that this that delights me and sets up for the double turn coming down the bend. It’s not here yet, resulting in this being a match between an uncomfortable vicious babyface and a heel this crowd LOATHES, but it doesn’t stop this match from being tons of fun. Table slides out from under Hero when they’re doing a powerbomb on the floor, so when he regains his bearings back in the ring he low blows Kingston. Kingston returns the favor with a testicular claw as soon as he has the chance but when he allows Hero to slip behind him another trio of kicks between the legs sends him down for good.
HOW DOES THIS COMPARE TO SHAWN VS TAKER FROM WM25: Once again, I gotta side with the character work. There’s nothing in this match that holds up to the chokeslam or missed dive in Shawn/Taker but that match completely fails in telling me anything important about those characters and that situation. Kingston and Hero do all that and more, supplying another enjoyable slugfest to boot.
VERDICT: Better than Shawn Michaels vs The Undertaker from WrestleMania 25