Daisuke Sekimoto vs Eddie Kingston
Knights of Columbus Hall, Ridgefield Park, New Jersey, United States
(reviewed 07/30/2019) I bet this doesn’t look like much for folks who are conditioned to expect more (but not necessarily better) from their puro stars and imitators but I like this a lot for how it fits into Eddie Kingston’s year. A while back Kingston announced that 2019 would be his final year in professional wrestling and blessedly that’s led to some dream matches against his biggest influences and most notable contemporaries. After facing off against Shinjiro Ohtani and Masato Tanaka a few months back, next comes a reluctant Daisuke Sekimoto who, uh, doesn’t seem too happy to be here.
Considering Sekimoto’s insouciance, how simple and slight those Mania weekend matches were, and how Kingston’s hardly the wrestler he used to be, it would be easy to think that this match is doomed. And with how short and sloppy it is, clocking in at under 15 minutes of somewhat clunky action, I imagine a lot of folks will write this off as a dud. Still, I think it’s real good, building on who Eddie Kingston’s been over the last 16 years and who he’ll be as his career wraps up in the next few months.
Over the last few years Sekimoto has been more than happy to just play the hits, going through the motions in matches large and small, leaning on inauthentic vocal outbursts after the fire had died inside. He does all that here, sleepwalking through simple lockups and shoulderblocks early on until Kingston hits him and partially awakens something that has been years dormant.
That’s the thing about Kingston: he’s always been unassuming. He looks like a big guy, sure, and he’s got something hard and sharp in his eyes, something that’ll unsettle any man who lingers on them too long. But he’s always been fairly pudgy, always been a B+ player, always had a big mouth that gets him into trouble. He’s never been what the wrestling industry or wrestling fandom wants but that’s exactly what makes him great. It allows him to take opponents by surprise and drives him to prove everyone wrong, to prove his worth in a world that’s left guys like him behind.
So, when Sekimoto realizes he’s bitten off more than he can chew with a guy who’s giving it his all at the tail end of his career, he decides to fight fire with fire. It’s nothing spectacular but that, too, is what sets this apart for me. So often these “puro legend on the US indies” matches settle for being inauthentic recitations of shit we’ve all seen before and I think this match avoids being that. Kingston leaves his worst tribute spots at the door and Sekimoto diverts from the ceaseless sprinting and screeching that has defined his work of late. Instead these guys just hit each other hard, with Kingston’s selling and Sekimoto’s status telling the natural story of a second tier guy at the end of his rope trying to prove that he can hang with the big, foreign headliner, that he’s always been able to do so and just never got the chance. It’s the story that Kingston’s been telling for the better part of two decades, the futile, tragic attempt to leave a legacy in an industry built on forgetting the past. I doubt this match cements that legacy for him but I’m glad he got it either way.