Date: July 8th, 2016
Place: HOW Arena
Main Event (in Progress):
Brian Hollywood vs Darin Zion
Winner Takes All the HOW Belts
This is it! I feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins. I got him exactly where I want him. With sweat beads rolling down my eyes, I sense he’s about to hit his finisher from out of nowhere. Time to end this! No denying my destiny this time! Time to end this mother fucker once and for all. I’m tired of everyone pointing and laughing. It’s time to win the High Octane Wrestling Championship. He’s “signing the papers right now: the Executive Promise looms in my future.
Right on his ass! Exactly where I want him! LOCK IT IN! Lock in the Catalyst Clutch! YES! I know Brian, he won’t tap out now. Time for him to fade into oblivion. Stop fighting it, Hollywood. Don’t crawl, just give up. You’re not going to make it towards the ropes. No use in struggling: give in. You’re a great wrestler; you’ve proven to the world you’ve got what it takes. You beat me to the top of the mountain, but it’s my time now. The grin on my face now covers my entire face. It’s the first time my confidence shows. I’ve waited my entire life to capture the top prize in professional wrestling, but this moment: I could walk out a Grand Slam Champion as HOW closes. No one could have dared dreamt Darin Zion’s meteoric rise to the top of the mountain as we die. Hell, I wouldn’t have expected this moment nearly two years ago when I joined HOW to spite my former mentor John Pariah. Now I will…
GOD NO! GOD DAMNIT NO!
My jaw drops as Hollywood grabs the ropes and Nigel Lette comes over to demanding me to break the hold or face disqualification. My heart stopped! I don’t have much more in the tank left to put Hollywood out of commission. I have to end him now. I cannot let him win. It’s time to end this match even if it kills me. It’s my dream. The only thing I’ve ever desired in my entire life. He’s already back to his feet. He’s going to…
Fuck him! He’s going for it AGAIN! This motherfucker’s about to…..
Date: March 29th, 2019
Place: San Diego, California
“It pains me to re-watch the ending of the last Friday Night Chaos. The last thing I remember in the final moments of the program: I had Brian Hollywood exactly where I wanted him. I locked a tight Catalyst Clutch that would have broken any other man in the process. It ended Jason Parker Davidson and John Sektor and gave my defining moment: the main event of our final show. I’d finally come into my stride. For the first time in my career, I felt validated. My confidence never reached those heights because I got to main event the final HOW show over Hall of Famers such as Rhys Townsend, Mike Best, or legends like Jason Parker Davidson. I felt like a super hero ready to conquer HOW’s version of Thanos. Hollywood dominated the last 5 months of HOW’s existence. I needed to vanquish him. My moment needed to happen that night. I felt invincible! I lived my gimmick out to the T. Watching my so called whore of a girlfriend ‘return’ after years playing off all the bullshit HOW hired me to fulfill from my time in PWX after coming in as Hollywood’s heavy…ending the fake life I lived for nearly a decade in the eyes of the fans. That High Octane Wrestling World Championship should have left around the waist of Darin Zion.
But it didn’t…
I should have anticipated Hollywood’s quick wit and adaptability. I shouldn’t have underestimated him at any given moment. We’d feuded for nearly a year. We tore down many houses and stolen many shows because we had a blood feud. I’d achieved many singles accomplishments in my two years in this company before he even could dream of it. His jealousy blinded his ass. I could have ended it all on top.
Tears immediately roll down my eyes. I could no longer fight the emotion I’d held back for nearly three years now. I hated not having control over everything within my life. I hated looking like some weak worthless pussy crying publically. It wasn’t allowed in my life ever. Rather I went home to home in foster homes throughout my childhood to my send off to live with an abusive protestant preacher. Hell, I wasn’t even allowed to cry after I’d met my biological parents months before they died in a horrific car wreck or even when Pariah passed away due to a suicide attempt. I needed to remain strong for everyone else in my life.
I hated everything I’d became while High Octane Wrestling went on an undetermined hiatus. Anger, fear, worthlessness…every feeling I felt after waking up in the hospital after that match realizing The Executive Promise connected, blacking out, and breaking my God damn jaw in the process. Waking up without realizing my full potential, not having any friends at my side to relish the moment together…realizing I had to say the one set word in my vocabulary I absolutely LOATHED. After wiping back the tears and regaining control of emotions; I needed to own that two words.
Clinching my fists as I set in the folding chair trying to contain every emotion I felt. I wanted to punch something badly. I took a deep breath and sighed for a moment as I looked down towards the ground, allowing every emotion, every memory, every iota of my existence flow freely from my mouth. I needed to liberate myself from the demons plaguing my existence since HOW’s hiatus. I needed it all to come to the surface flowing freely like a river. I had damned up this raging river and it was destroying everything behind the little damn I’d built. I let it destroy me for too long. I no longer could look at myself in the mirror in pride any more: only shame. I lost my confidence since that moment and I needed to once again find out what Darin Zion’s existence meant as the memories poured out of my mouth.
“I said it; I failed.
I ate and swallowed every bitter word in confidence in my previous promos to Hollywood as he crammed it down my fucking throat with that one kick. I let the character in spent 11 years absorb my entire life. I lived in a false little world believing nothing or no one could touch me. I believed I became God. Everywhere I went over 11 years; I paved my way and believed no one could best me. When they did; I wrote out all my excuses and blamed everyone else for my failures. It worked! I overcame all the Fisher Price bullshit PWX made me believe and believed in the lies of Sex and Money. I walked into this company living Hollywood’s lifestyle out behind the scenes covering it up. I wore suits, fucked gorgeous women, did lines of cocaine and smoked heroine in the backstage area trying to earn the approval of my peers. I forced myself into the middle of all the jokes and emulated HOW’s best in Mike Best because I wanted to fit in. I needed that championship to validate my entire existence and became absorbed in trying to earn higher pay checks and opportunities to validate an image of someone I wasn’t. I’d done that since my days in PWX, CWC, Boardwalk, and many other companies. I had clawed my way towards the top and let money corrupt me.
It wasn’t about the respect and prestige of High Octane Wrestling’s top prize that night. I tried validating my own God damn pride.
And it cost me… EVERYTHING.
I woke up after that match and gave up on my 11 years of hard work. I didn’t feel like living my lies out any more. I fell deeper into my demons. I spent my life savings from my professional wrestling career and threw it at cheap hookers and more drugs. When I drained my own bank account dry; the next thing I realized I signed a Diet Boardwalk contract and went 1-16 in their ring just to earn more money to pay for my worthless fixes. I sold out and became the worthless whore everyone called me. I believed their lies and tried to kill myself multiple times because I never earned the HOW World Championship. I didn’t have an identity and didn’t want to live anymore.
I let failure define me for the last 3 years of my entire life as that loss played in repeat daily for 3 damn years. So fuck it, I tried ending it all.”
Silence! Intensity flowed in that room as I let those words come out. From out of nowhere I pulled out my biological father’s beautiful hunting knife from out of my pocket. I gazed at it slowly for a moment as I pulled back the sleeves of my hoodie to reveal deep scars on my wrists from my suicide attempt. Slowly moving the knife up my arms where I attempted my release from this God damned life, lifting my wrists closer towards the camera. Passion flowed through my being as I spoke. My spine grew up, every fiber tensed up as my focus went towards the screen showing the beautiful 97red leather belt on the screen that eluded me.
“That’s where I was for the last 12 months; sitting in a recovery house reflecting on those moments and realizing my own humanity, my own failures and my own stupidity.
I’m not looking for a pity party. I’m here to earn the respect I never earned. My first run here I spent time burying people left and right discounting the wealth of talent that came before me. They burned the landscape of professional wrestling down and reformed it into greatness. Every name that’s held the HOW World Championship since its inception left a mark on this industry. If I’m honest; I don’t understand why Lee Best gave me this opportunity. I sullied our name the first time and shit all over it when I gave into my demons.
But by God’s grace, I pulled myself out of hell’s grasp. So you want to talk about how much winning this tournament means to me? It means everything. Sure, I’ve had bouts where I struggled and gave into the temptations of my past a couple weeks ago letting bullshit spew from my mouth. I own it. I lose focus; I’m a god damn human being. But the pressure’s back on. I’ve obsessed for the last 3 years of holding that belt. I’ve had vivid dreams about the moment High Octane Wrestling flipped the light switch back on and I woke up holding that 97red belt right next to me. I’ve craved it more than any drug or any sip of alcohol I’ve ever tasted.
And it pisses me off when half the God damn people tournament don’t understand the gravitas this belt holds in our industry. We’ve only announced our return and every God damn Tom, Dick, and Jane signed up to fight for the greatest prize out there. Every single one of them wants to get laughs, doesn’t want it to get over, tries starting worthless Twitter or wrestling wars, or spends too much time telling their back story trying to put themselves over. They underestimate just how cutthroat this tournament will become. People have lost eyes, gotten raped, and even died to get mentioned in the same breathe of Lee Best’s greatest creation. Meanwhile, I’m obsessed over winning this belt.
I know my damn field. I’m focused on these first two rounds because taking my eyes off that prize will cost me greatly again.”
Seconds later, Mike Best’s tweet flashes on the screen mentioning the $10,000 bounty on my head. My finger immediately points at that tweet, and the rage comes out as next the bracket with Madman, Jiles, and Dane comes on the screen. Every bit of fire, passion, and determination to attain the heights I once had in this industry comes burning in my eyes as I stand up and speak passionately from my heart.
“Mike Best gets it. He keeps his eyes focused on the prize and he knows while I’m not the same Darin Zion from 4 years ago with the all that momentum; he knows the wars about to take place in this ring. Out the gates he’s trying to distract me and cause me to lose my focus. He placed a God damn bounty on my head. And while I’ve got an uphill battle in the first two rounds with the list of opponents; he knows that money will attract hungry wrestlers. He wants me to lose that drive and focus my attention away from that belt. But I won’t. My minds on taking on former HOW Tag Team Champion Cool Cancer Jiles. My mind focuses on the impending threats of either UTA legend Madman Szalinski or the worst threat in this tournament: Eric Dane. I have the deck stacked against me because Lee Best wants me to prove just how much I want the honor and prestige of this business placed around my waist. It will be a tough two rounds and I will fight like I’ve never fought for that glory.
But not a single one of my potential opponents in these two rounds mention me. Why? They all underestimate me. I don’t blame them. I tarnished my own name and if I stood in their shoes with the same amount of confidence and lack of knowledge of HOW tournaments; I would look past me too. I’m the kid from 4 years ago spouting out verbal bullshit left and right. I haven’t earned my respect in this business back in nearly 3 years. In their minds; I’m just another shit stain on their boots.”
Immediately I leap from the chair and push it out of the way. Every muscle, every bone, and every inch of my body fluidly begins to animate as I look dead pan straight into the camera, longing for the moment I lace my boots and step back into the ring. Lingering for over 3 years in my pity taught me I couldn’t just sit back. I tried that in the corporate world, but failed. I couldn’t sit still and hated looking at Excel spreadsheets all day long. I’d wanted this the moment my biological father introduced me to this sport nearly 20 years ago. Sitting in my first independent wrestling show, I felt chills watching people sacrificing everything they had to make a name for themselves in the major leagues of professional wrestling. I watched many fail and sacrifice their own life. I felt their pain and passion. I knew from that moment; it’s all I ever wanted to do. When I signed my life back to HOW; I knew it could cost me everything again; including whatever pride and dignity I had left. I didn’t care. My dignity and pride got sacrificed for my moment; and I would fight with every God damn piece of energy flowing throw me.
“It’s exactly what I wanted. I wanted everyone to believe they will stand in the ring with the old Zion. I played the idiotic doofus. Meanwhile, I spent my time training my ass off, preparing for my return on April 8th. I thrive when I fly under the radar. Keep counting me out of this fight. It makes me more dangerous. I might not have the confidence I once had going into these two rounds standing with some of professional wrestling’s greatest waiting to leave me a blithering carcass in that ring. But I will fight like I’ve never fought in my entire life. I’ve got the heart of a champion. I’m the little engine that could I get to fight for redemption to absolve myself of all the sins I committed in my first run.
I’m not Erik Dane with loads of confidence and experience. I can’t pave my way with my victims through this tournament acting like strong willed asshole. I’m no longer that jackass who doesn’t know when the fuck to shut the fuck up like Madman Szalinski. I’m a nerd, but I won’t focus on cartoons and Twitter all day. And I’m not some humorous unfocused ding bat like Cool Cancer Jiles who spent more time talking about Cadberry Eggs and imaginary creatures that appear from acid trips. I used to value each of their traits. I dreamed of emulating them becoming one of the cool kids in professional wrestling.
But it’s time for me to take my first steps as the real Darin Zion. I need to focus on the basics and just be real. No gimmicks! No bullshit! All fight! 100% real! These next two rounds will define me. I will make an impact. I will keep all my focus on the prize and rest assure; there is not another damn wrestler here that has the heart I have for this business. You may break my dreams, but you won’t break my spirit.
I haven’t backed up my words in a while, but you can rest assured everyone, I will put you on notice. I’ve come for what’s rightfully mine. You will not deny me what should have won 3 years ago. It’s my time now to become the HOW World Champion.”
As I walk off of the camera, a familiar old clap pierces through the background. An old Irish man wearing a yellow coat walks from out behind the counter looking rather proud. He smiles approvingly as he hits the stop button on the Nikon camera he’s used to film the promo. He tries to sound out the words in his head, but stutters almost shaking as he speaks.
Old Man: “F-f-f-f-f-feel….f-f-f-FUCK…ASS…..feel better?”
Darin Zion: “Mickey, you forgot your medicine again didn’t you?”
Mickey: “Aye, boy I did. I hate those fuckin’ doctors. I get tired of takin’ me pill for Tourettes. It doesn’t flare up.”
Darin Zion: “God damn it, Mickey! Once a day! I shouldn’t have to babysit you, you little shit. I let you room with me in exchange for training, but God damn. You could have ruined that promo. It would have turned my back into the little shit head you found in the apartment next door. I gave you one job.”
Mickey: “Re-takes mean you have to keep reminding yourself of the humility you learned. You told me to keep you on a 12 step training regiment as you got back into wrestling. Gotta keep you accountable! Quit y’er belly aching, Zion. I love you like a son for adopting me as your life coach, but you’ve got a lot of work ahead of you if you want to shed your image. You have three threats ahead of you. Now it’s time to start acting like yer gonna…g-g-g…”
Immediately my hand goes over his mouth and I glare at him before he finishes his sentence. Taking a couple breaths to keep my cool towards Mickey while muzzling him, I nod accepting his wisdom. I knew my first round opponent was proved to me a challenge, let alone having two matches in one night. I wrap my arm around him, preparing for the great challenge ahead of me.
Darin Zion: “I have to back up my actions and let go of the past. I get it. I’ve heard the same broken record time and time again, Mick. Instead of belly aching and preaching the same old message; I think it’s time to finish the training and keep focusing on the 12 steps. It’s the only way I can truly attain the greatness I seek to gain.”
Mick nods and continues to stutter and twitch as grab his walker and head out. No longer could I hide behind the masks I hid behind for years. It isn’t some storyline a writer handed me. Nor is it some bullshit I threw together to sound beautiful. It’s my journey, my first steps towards the prize: The HOW World Championship. It’s time to train, time to fight, and time to prove once and for all, if I truly could face the tests and tribulations that the Best Family threw at me as I clawed for the top. Everything from this moment on was uncertain. Usually it set me with uneasiness.
Yet it was the first time in nearly 3 years; I felt a since of peace overcome me.