In a monumental showdown at AEW Dynamite Grand Slam in New York City, the fervently anticipated grudge match unfolded as Claudio Castagnoli, holding the ROH World Championship, clashed with Eddie Kingston, who put the NJPW Strong Openweight Championship on the line.
The electrifying bout not only captured the essence of a grudge feud but also marked a unique Title vs. Title encounter. With the hometown crowd rallying behind him, Kingston showcased unwavering resilience, defying Claudio's relentless assault, which included a barrage of uppercuts and the devastating Ricola Bomb sitout powerbomb.
Ultimately, it was Kingston who emerged victorious, sealing the deal with a spinning back fist followed by his own Powerbomb, securing the pinfall that ended Claudio's 284-day reign as champion. In an inspiring display of sportsmanship, the two warriors, Claudio and Eddie, shook hands, officially putting an end to their long-standing rivalry.
Claudio gracefully handed over the ROH World Title to Kingston, who reveled in the joy of clutching both championship belts. This monumental victory marked a career highlight for Eddie Kingston, a pro wrestler with an illustrious 21-year journey, who began his tenure with Ring of Honor in 2006.
Dedication to Xavier
Post-match, AEW's cameras caught up with an emotionally charged Kingston backstage, who shared his thoughts on defeating Claudio. Notably, he dedicated this historic win to his late friend, Xavier, the second-ever ROH World Champion, who tragically passed away at the age of 42 in August 2020.
Reflecting on his intense battle with Claudio, Kingston expressed, "I don't like him as a human being. But I shook his hand because, let's be honest, he was a great Ring of Honor Champion, and I've always said he was a great wrestler.
I just don't like him as a person, and that's not gonna change. But I can definitely show him that I've grown. I've grown up." Amidst his victory celebration, Kingston passionately remembered Xavier, saying, "This one's for you because people should remember who you are.
X marks the spot, baby. Love you, X. Rest in peace." With two prestigious titles to defend—ROH World Champion and NJPW Strong Openweight Champion—Eddie Kingston now embarks on a challenging yet exhilarating journey, poised to leave an indelible mark in the world of professional wrestling. Congratulations to Eddie Kingston on his historic championship triumph.
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