Imagine the looks on their faces.
Lee Best squints through his one good eye as she steps over the felled Bobbinette Carey and hoists the championship Lee had earmarked for someone he gives a fuck about.
Rhys Townsend looks up from his uber-futuristic cell phone, tacos stuffed down his gullet trying to swallow in time for him to grunt a ‘huh’ as he watches her throat chop Scott Stevens into another mental breakdown.
Chris America’s jaw slackens as she dickpunches Johnny O’Dell so hard he’s no longer missing and… I don’t know… I’m still new I don’t have individual observational slights directed at every single person, yet, but you can imagine it, can’t you?
The look on the face of every single asshole in HOW past and present as they look on at Florence “who the fuck is this person” Kearsey winning the Icon Championship Battle Royal to become the Refueled Era’s first Icon Champion.
Just. Fucking. Imagine.
She could almost cradle that strap right now…
Imagining this moment, sweet as it is, is the easy part.
She has to get there first.
(Insert poorly graded graphical break indicating narrative/perspective/paradigm shift here)
The Mook Yan Jong stands 4-feet tall. Also known more simply as a wooden training dummy, it stands upright with protruding wooden pegs reminiscent of limbs, and it’s made of a fetch mahogany perfect as a conversation piece if nothing else. I ordered it online from EverythingWingChun.com for about a grand because I’d seen it used in martial arts movies.
I ordered it because I decided if I’m going to kick ass, I’d better be able to kick ass in as many fucking languages as I can conceive.
I ordered it because I decided if I’m going to storm HOW and mean something I better make myself as lethal as anyone who dares step in the ring against me.
I ordered it because Halitosis had a montage. Everybody who’s anybody has a training montage. How else would anybody know I had aspirations of in-ring greatness if I didn’t demonstrate it through a training montage?
You can’t just say it. You can’t just imply it. You can’t just know you’re tough. You have to show it in everything you do.
Don’t just think you’re The One, Neo. Know you’re The One.
Thus, Florence Kearsey needs a training montage.
I’m not petty, (okay I am but that’s for later). I’m not jealous, (okay I am, but assume I’m not for the sake of obscuring weakness). Halitosis won, he moves on in the HOW tournament brackets and I don’t. I’ve lost many things in my life. I’m no stranger to loss. The loss by itself doesn’t bother me, what bothers me is the reasons for the loss.
Breath to the face.
Like I’m Dennis Nedry and Halitosis is that dinosaur that killed him by spitting venom, except it wasn’t even venom it was the guy’s breath. (they just made that up, hey? Dilophosaurus likely couldn’t do that. It’s bullshit.)
Fuck me sideways.
My stock can’t exactly fall when I’m nowhere near my peak, but there’s fewer humiliating ways to fail then being stanked to death. More fuel to the fire to propel me forward, I suppose.
Halitosis had a Rocky IV-themed training montage you were meant to laugh along with, but ended up laughing at, albeit apparently not in some cases.
I saw it. I get it. Right then and there I decided I’d go that one step further and have an Ip Man training montage.
Why be Rocky when I can be just like the guy who trained Bruce Lee, right?
So, I ordered this training dummy, some assembly required mind you so if anyone wants leftover number 3 screws lmk, and here it now stands in my personal gym.
While I await the camera crew slated to film my first ever HOW Training montage, I figured I’d better get comfortable with my latest acquisition. But there’s one problem: this isn’t easy. How come when I do it it doesn’t look like in the movies. Sure I can slip and grip my hands in between the obstacles but I’m clumsy as fuck.
Story of my very first wrestling match summed up in an attempt to learn a new fighting skill.
Why didn’t I win?
Why aren’t I good at this stupid ass training dummy I keep slamming my elbows and wrists off of? I should be able to maneuver my hands effortlessly through and between like this was nothing. Instead, it hurts like a bitch. I get more and more frustrated, perspiring amid a barrage of self doubt and pain. Watching a training montage, even one featuring Halitosis, is easier than actually training.
It’s hard work. Effort. I appreciate these things suddenly now, in defeat, more than I may have in victory.
This isn’t easy. It doesn’t come naturally. I don’t have a manual, I didn’t buy it because I thought I didn’t need one. This is not like the movies, I’m getting angrier until the frustration sends a tremor through my bicep, tensing my arm, I clench my fist and slam it as hard as I can into the side of one of the outstretched wooden pegs with a loud growl, snapping it clean off and immediately clutch my wrist in regretful pain.
I drop to my knees and feel like I may have broken my wrist. Not only that but I just bought this stupid thing and apparently I didn’t put it together properly. I’m out a grand, aren’t I?
Is this why I didn’t win my first ever wrestling match?
Is there a metaphor in here?
I’m sloppy, careless and reckless, unfocused, and undisciplined.
I should have been prepared for everything Halitosis threw at me, I should have been prepared for bad breath, I should have been prepared to have to pick myself up and try again. I wasn’t. I thought I’d pass him. I looked at Scottywood. I looked at Mike Best. I looked at the top of the mountain. I looked down the road too far, and I never made it past the first stop sign.
Now, sitting hunched on the gym mats, a ball of adrenaline looking at my shaking fist where the blood pools and congeals on an ugly, mottled cut spanning each of my knuckles I try to breathe and calm myself.
Dante Morrell thinks I should pack it in.
He’s kind of like my sidekick, he’s been with me for a very long time. I don’t take the words of men seriously unless the words are his. He told me to consider what I’m good at, and stick with it instead of attempting to pursue this career I’ve barely known.
He thinks this ‘wrestling thing’ is a passion, an interest, a hobby.
I think of all the talent currently signed to HOW, names I’ve only heard of, names I should revere, names with built-in recognition, and I realize that my name has no business being next to theirs unless it’s buried in the back of a scandal rag about how Dan Ryan was caught with some whore in the back of a limo.
Maybe Dante’s right.
I clutch my wrist and set up a bag of ice to rest across my trembling knuckles as I sit down in front of the laptop and peruse potential clients. My weak hand using the mouse to scan the computer icons…
Representations of the idea.
The computer’s got it right. No need to guess. The icon tells me what to expect. No need to click.
Trash bin. Where I put Mike Best’s phone number alongside a slew of red flags I’d attached to his name after I realized he was in up to his elbow with Kitty Petrova. This is where trash goes.
I’m not trash.
My knuckle quivers and I look down and breathe a steady, aggrieved sigh through my nostrils.
Can’t jerk anybody off with my hand looking like this.
“Fuck,” I hiss. What good am I with nothing to fall back on?
The icon Championship. Am I the Icon HOW needs/deserves/wants? Is every single person going to ask this exact question?
All the faces I might meet in this match, name them, I can’t guess who all will make an appearance, all of them can’t possibly look any worse than they already do without that championship.
Chris Kostoff just has to fart and you’ll all run to smell it.
Without the Icon Championship, what will he be?
Chris fucking Kostoff.
Pretty well goes any of you, really.
Without the Icon Championship, what will I be?
The same thing I am right now.
A fucking whore.
Again, I think of all the potential contestants I’ll see populating that ring at Refueled 2, each of them an accumulation of deeds in this business I can’t match up to.
Not now. Maybe not ever.
We’re all whores, at least I’m honest about it. That’s how I reassure myself in this moment of a shivering, iced fist and core laden with self-doubt and neuroses.
I have to win this thing to justify my existence to myself.
Without that championship, what will I be?
I’d rather see what I will be.
Just imagine the looks on their faces when I win it.
Imagine the look on my face when I win it.
It’s a distant thought, though, as I glance back to the gym, back at the quasi-broken wooden training dummy, and recognize how much hard work I have in front of me to move past just imagining.