WALTER (c) vs Eddie Kingston
PROGRESS Unified World Championship
O2 Academy Newcastle, Newcastle, England, United Kingdom
(reviewed 10/04/2019) The last time these two matched up I walked back calling it a carryjob. Here, after WALTER’s reached the potential he showed ten years ago and as Kingston’s winding down a storied career, we actually get that carryjob though it might not be the one you expect. If you’ve read my reviews from the last year or so, you would be able to track me completely losing interest in WALTER. What once felt like an unsung great getting his long-overdue recognition has decayed into mindless repetition and the most obnoxious booking around. Much of that continues here with a phoned-in performance from the big man, full of laughable forearms, weak boots, and gangling clotheslines. Hell, he even pulls out the tired “chop the corner post” spot before immediately moving on from it, too busy thinking about the post-show tikki masala he’ll order later to focus on one of his signature spots.
Thankfully the other guy in this match is Eddie Kingston, who can make anyone’s offense look good and buoy an otherwise unremarkable match. He utilizes all the usual tricks to make the big Austrian look good, collapsing under the weight of some strike moments before he meant to swing back or going weak in the knees after getting dropped on his head. In addition he’s hitting as hard as ever, matching and occasionally outdoing every one of WALTER’s famous chops while connecting with all sorts of other elbows and jabs and backfists.
Perhaps best of all he brings a real sense of character to this match. Much has been written—including by me—about WALTER as an obstacle for others to overcome, this featureless obelisk standing in defiance to other, more colorful opponents. I’ve got nothing against that in theory but in practice I’ve found it equal parts dull and annoying, especially whenever it leads into WALTER’s rare attempts at emotion. We get some of that here as he goes toe to toe with one of the few people on the scene who can match him for sheer physicality but it sort of just results in him feeling whiny, which is kind of the last thing I want from a big monster.
Contrast that with Kingston, who’s endlessly cocky in face of insurmountable odds…
…but who never goes down to the inevitable without a fight.
I love that. Can’t get enough of it. Watching arcs like that play out over and over again is what keeps bringing me back to Kingston, what makes him one of my favorite wrestlers ever. Wish I found anything as enjoyable in WALTER’s work.