Eddie Kingston on Suicide Prevention Month, Hip-hop and More in B/R Q&A
Eddie Kingston is one of the pro wrestlers who has been the most open about his journey with mental health, so he is helping to spread the word about Suicide Prevention Month.
Not only has he talked about it in multiple interviews, but he also wrote an excellent piece for The Players' Tribune in November about this topic.
In order to get their message out, All Elite Wrestling has recorded special videos featuring Will Hobbs, Aubrey Edwards and Kingston to help promote the new 988 helpline, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, and the Crisis Text Line.
The pro wrestling industry has lost many to suicide. Chris Kanyon, Hana Kimura, Daffney, Eddie and Mike Graham, Crash Holly and Kerry Von Erich are just some of the names we have lost too soon.
Thankfully, we have seen a shift in recent years with regard to the way people view mental health. Having people in prominent positions who are willing to open up like Kingston will continue to help destigmatize the topic and make it easier for people of all ages to discuss their own well-being without feeling ashamed or embarrassed.
The New York native spoke with us about this issue as well as a few other subjects such as hip-hop, movies, Malakai Black and more.
The Ripple Effect
How has suicide personally impacted your own life?
Kingston: "I've lost a couple of friends to it. Myself, I didn't attempt it. But I was extremely close to that breaking point, as I like to call it. It feels like the word 'suicide' has been around all my life, you know? It seems like it's always been there. I don't remember a day where that word wasn't around."
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
“You may think people don’t [care], but one person always does." <a href="https://twitter.com/MadKing1981?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MadKing1981</a> shares his story.<br><br>September is Suicide Prevention Month. AEW is committed to the mental well-being of our talent, staff & our fans. We encourage anyone struggling to reach out & get help: <a href="https://twitter.com/afspnational?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@afspnational</a> <a href="https://t.co/2m6tKDaDYK">pic.twitter.com/2m6tKDaDYK</a>
How does it affect other people when someone takes their own life?
Kingston: "When I got to that point, you kind of just think maybe you hurt one person. Or maybe you hurt nobody when you get to that dark place, you think nobody cares. But at the end of the day, one person cares. That, at least, I know for a fact one person will care. And then once that person gets affected by what happened, another person will get affected, and another person will get affected, and another, and so on and so forth.
"Because it's not just you that you're hurting at the end of the day, it's your friends and your family. Whether you think they are or not, they are there. And that's what I want people to understand is that you may feel alone, but there's always one person who will be hurt and will be affected by it.
"And all it takes is one person to be affected by losing you and then the next thing you know, they may get depressed, and they may get down now. And then they may do it to their significant other, and so on and so forth. So there's always a ripple effect."
How Do You Make Yourself Feel Better?
How do you pick yourself back up when you feel down?
Kingston: "It took years for me to realize that I have a good support system around me. Because a lot of times I would shut it out that I had good people around me because I was at that point where I didn't see any hope. So I just didn't care or want to know that people cared or I had a good support system.
"But the one thing I did learn is that I do have a good support system and to call them and to lean on them. And there's nothing wrong with leaning on other people, especially when they're good human beings who are there for you. And you're there for them. You know, vice versa, I learned that and I also learned to breathe through situations, which is very hard.
"Because when you're in the moment, especially when you're down and out or when you're angry, it's very hard to sit back and breathe and let your mind slow down. Because once you get to that point, your mind is gonna play tricks on you. And it's gonna be everywhere and you have to slow it down. That's the one thing I learned the most was calming yourself. Calming your mind down."
Building a Support System
Outside of Jon Moxley, Penta, Proud and Powerful and Ruby Soho, who are some of the people you lean on when things get tough?
Kingston: "Everybody you just said [laughs]. You know, there are others, but I like to keep that close to the vest. I guess you could say my character is me at 17. And so there's a lot of reality to what I do on screen. And Ortiz has been a huge, huge person in my life to help me out and to be part of that support system. And Ruby as well.
"Ruby's been around, We've been friends for many, many years, and I feel bad for her sometimes. But she's been around and she's always had my back. Same thing with Mox, you know what I mean? What you see is what you get on TV. There are others, but those are the main ones."
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
“It does get better. Keep pushing.”<br>September is Suicide Prevention Month. AEW is committed to the mental well-being of our talent, staff & our fans. We encourage anyone struggling to reach out & get help. <a href="https://twitter.com/TrueWillieHobbs?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@truewilliehobbs</a> shares his story. <br> <br>Resource: <a href="https://twitter.com/988Lifeline?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@988Lifeline</a> <a href="https://t.co/nY5cBRr7cg">pic.twitter.com/nY5cBRr7cg</a>
How did your friendship with Ruby Soho begin?
Kingston: "Oh, man. Wow, it's a while ago. I just remember when she first started out wrestling, I knew her trainer, Billy Roc. So knowing that I knew her trainer, and how much of a good person her trainer was, I decided to look out for anybody who is one of his students.
"And, you know, I do that for certain people. Like, for instance, another example is Pepper Parks. If I see that he has a student or he says, 'Hey, King, this kid's my student.' I'll look out for them. And then I give them advice and stuff. So, that's how it all really started. I knew she was one of Roc's kids, as I put it, and I just wanted to look out for giving her advice.
"And then as time went on, we started talking deeper about things. And then we just started, you know, clicking and understanding each other. It was very weird how the friendship grew so quickly, but she got me right away.
"I definitely pushed her away in the beginning, you know what I mean? And then the same thing with a lot of people who had my back who are part of my support system, I've tried to push them all away. And they've all been the ones who stayed to have my back. And I'm very lucky and blessed that they decided to stick with me. They stayed for the whole ride."
Using Pro Wrestling to Relieve Stress
Does pro wrestling cause or relieve stress for you?
Kingston: "It causes a lot of stress if you let it, you know what I mean? And I think that's with any job, if we let any job stress us out. But what makes my job different is that I get to let out my frustrations in the ring. And I get to let out my frustrations verbally when we do promos or segments or whatever people want to call it, whatever the TV people call it. I'm doing me at the end of the day. I tell people my promos are my therapy."
All Elite Wrestling @AEW
"It's okay to not be okay. It's okay to ask for help."<br><br>September is Suicide Prevention Month. AEW is committed to the mental well-being of our talent, staff & our fans. We encourage anyone struggling to reach out & get help. <a href="https://twitter.com/RefAubrey?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@refAubrey</a> shares her story.<br>Resource: <a href="https://twitter.com/CrisisTextLine?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CrisisTextLine</a> <a href="https://t.co/DV7jHd4lFu">pic.twitter.com/DV7jHd4lFu</a>
Hip-Hop and AEW
Do you have a favorite rap/hip-hop album of all time?
Kingston: "Oh, that's so hard. The first one that comes to my head, well the first two. Three. I just got it [laughs]. Nas' 'Illmatic,' DMX's 'It's Dark and Hell is Hot' and 'Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).' So I'm just gonna say those three because those are the first three that legit just popped in my head.
"But there's so many more. Pac's 'Me Against the World' and 'All Eyez on Me' albums. You know, there's Biggie's 'Ready to Die.' There's the Ghostface 'Ironman' album, and there are just so many I can go on and on. This is gonna be a long interview [laughs]. Also, my man Scarface."
If you could partner with one rapper for a tag team match, who would it be?
Kingston: "Oh, wow. I gotta say my man Westside Gunn. We'll get it done."
Malakai Black's Future
What do you see for Malakai Black's future?
Kingston: "Well, first of all, I do see him doing big things. I've known Malakai for about 15 years, maybe more. I don't know. Yeah, I first met him when I was doing tours out in Germany. He's going to be a star when he's ready and when he wants to. And I wish him nothing but the best and I wish him all the happiness in the world, him and his wife [Zelina Vega of WWE], because I know them as people.
"I don't know them as just performers or whatever, or pro wrestlers, but as a human being I know him and he's gonna be OK. And I know that and he has a good support system around him."
We always have AEW stars review a movie or show during interviews to give them an opportunity to talk about something fun and offer readers a chance to see a bit of their personality.
The Mad King took the opportunity to talk about a few different things he has watched recently.
"The last movie I saw was Thor: Love and Thunder," he said. "I don't really get to go out a lot because when I'm home from the road, I am home. I do not want to move from my couch. But TV-wise, I just finished watching the new House of the Dragon episode. I love Game of Thrones. Even though I hated the way the last two seasons ended, like many of the fandom, but I do love the GOT world and stuff like the lore.
"I'm one of those nerds who will sit down and watch the YouTube channels about the history of this house. I'm that guy. I read one of the books. It was A Clash of Kings. I read that book, and then the TV show just took over for me from that point on. I also gotta say, Rick and Morty. I just saw it the other day. Yesterday, actually. That's a funny, smart cartoon.
"So, Thor: Love and Thunder, I was not a big fan of. Too much comedy. I hate to say that because I like Taika Waititi as a director. I mean, at one point, I was just like, 'My man, this guy is trying to kill people, or whatever. He's supposed to be a god butcher and you're over here cracking jokes about it.' It was still a good movie, but some parts took me out of it."
If you are in the United States, here are some suicide prevention resources that are readily available.
- Call or text 988 or visit 988lifeline.org
- ASFP.org for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention
- Text TALK or HOME to 741741, or visit crisistextline.org
If you live outside the U.S., you can visit Save.org for a list of international resources, including crisis centers, online chat services and emergency services.
No matter how dark things seem, there is always someone who is willing to listen and there is always another solution. If you or anyone you know needs it, there is no shame in asking for help.
All quotes were given directly to the author and edited for clarity and conciseness. The full audio of the interview with Kingston is in the video above.