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Why National Suicide Prevention Month Is Personal for Eddie Kingston

The AEW wrestler tells SI that he lost a close friend to suicide and had suicidal thoughts himself.

SI.com’s Week in Wrestling is published every week and provides beneath-the-surface coverage of the business of pro wrestling.

Eddie Kingston on his Rampage match against Sammy Guevara: “It will be good for Sammy. He’s going to learn a few things”

Eddie Kingston carries the memory of Alexander Whybrow with him everywhere he goes.

Each time Kingston steps into the ring, he never loses sight of the fact that Whybrow should be there, too.

“He’d be a multimillionaire if he were still here,” Kingston says. “And I also think he’d be with us in AEW.”

Whybrow wrestled as Larry Sweeney. His 10-year career was best known for a run in Ring of Honor, though there was a plethora of highlights and moments that made him stand out before he died by suicide 11 years ago.

“That hit extremely hard,” Kingston says. “I’ve never really gotten over his passing. A lot of us haven’t. He’s with me every time I’m in that ring. I really feel him when Bryce Remsburg is refereeing, because they also knew each other very well.

“Let’s put it this way, he would have been the best man at my wedding. A day doesn’t go by when I don’t think of him.”

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, a time dedicated to building awareness and strengthening the ongoing fight against suicide. Kingston also shared there was a time when he had suicidal thoughts, and that he was saved by a phone call from a friend.

“Homicide [wrestler Nelson Erazo], who is like my big brother, happened to call me,” says Kingston. “At the time, I felt a lot of shame about how things were going. I didn’t feel like myself.

“That was a regular phone call. But he gets me. He understands me. And he believes in me. So I knew I could fight through it. He stopped me from making a decision that would have hurt so many.”

Kingston stressed the importance of people developing their own normal, especially considering no one else can truly feel another’s struggle.

“We need to get the word ‘normal’ out of our vocabulary,” he says. “We make our own normal. No one is us; no one feels what we feel. We make the normal.

“And it’s not weak to struggle. People who think that are wrong. There are times when I’m still struggling. It’s hard, but I know for a fact everyone has that strength to fight through it.”

Kingston will wrestle a high-profile match on Friday’s two-hour “Grand Slam” edition of Rampage against Sammy Guevara. The two initially appeared headed to a pay-per-view bout at All Out, but the program cooled after a backstage incident between the two that earned Kingston a suspension. Now, in the true spirit of pro wrestling, they will settle their dispute in the ring.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” Kingston says. “It will be good for Sammy. He’s going to learn a few things.”

The match will take place in Queens at Arthur Ashe Stadium, which is a homecoming for Kingston, a Yonkers native.

“There’s nothing like fighting at home,” Kingston says. “I wouldn’t say it’s going to be magic—but it is going to be me beating him up. I don’t doubt he’ll fight back. Sammy can go. There’s a lot you can say about him; there’s a lot I can say about the young man, but he’s a former champion—three different times.

“Sammy can bring it. He has a lot of pride, but pride is the first step to a man’s downfall.”

The (online) week in wrestling

  • After a phenomenal match last week with Chris Jericho, this week’s Dynamite will feature Bryan Danielson seeking to start his first (and overdue) world title run in AEW against Jon Moxley.
  • Bayley, Iyo Sky, and Dakota Kai have brought new life to Raw.
  • All the best to Malakai Black, who hopefully finds the peace he is seeking.
  • Bringing WarGames to Survivor Series is a perfect way to bring some new life to the event. Hopefully there is still a traditional five-on-five match, too.
  • A new NXT North American champion will be crowned in a ladder match at Halloween Havoc. The move was explained Tuesday night by Shawn Michaels, who did an excellent job showing his range in a serious role.

Roman Reigns has unexpected challenger in Logan Paul

Roman Reigns is defending the undisputed WWE Universal championship Nov. 5 at Crown Jewel against Logan Paul.

This will only be Paul’s third match, so asking him to step into the main event is a bit of a reach. And, naturally, there are far more deserving candidates.

But why not take a chance with Paul in the main event? Especially if WWE can include Jake Paul, it is a great way to bring something unique to Crown Jewel, which is a glorified house show.

The news was first broken by Dave Meltzer of Wrestling Observer on Friday, followed by a press conference Saturday announcing the match.

But there is one major problem with pairing Reigns and Paul. How are we possibly supposed to believe that Paul stands a chance against Reigns?

Suspension of disbelief aside, Reigns has wrestled the absolute best WWE has to offer—and always finds a way to prevail. Wouldn’t the most realistic version of this match be one where Reigns dominates?

Paul should be allowed his moments, similar to Jey Uso’s singles match against Reigns in the Hell in a Cell cage two years ago. Like that match, this should also end with Reigns pummeling Paul. If executed properly, perhaps that will even endear Paul to a larger population of the WWE fan base, who would much rather see Paul as a heel, as he will finally garner some sympathy.

Reigns-Paul shouldn’t be a tight race. It should be a landslide.

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It’s reassuring to know Finn Bálor has an appreciation for The Office.

Justin Barrasso can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @JustinBarrasso.