The Real McCoy
Bright fluorescent lights kept beaming down from the halls of the waiting room straight into my eyes as I sat in the world’s most uncomfortable chairs in the waiting room of 9th Street Asylum. I kept tossing and turning in the chair as the ligaments in my back continued to throb in pain. I popped my neck hoping some solace from Dan Ryan’s stiff Humility Bomb at Chaos. I’d spent days in the same position not leaving the general facility to fulfill my promise to Crash. Dark circles formed around my eyes from exhaustion. My eyelids heavily hung on by a single thread. I continued dosing off hoping to hear updates on Crash.
He was my contingency plan after last week.
Our stable seemed soft after Mike Best caught wind of our plans. We looked like fools tearing down an arena to help the ring crew. We got beaten and bruised up last week on our debuting efforts. We lost important battles throughout the night. We needed the leg up in this war; no matter the cost!
I knew surrounding Crash around the 9s would either make or break him. I completely banked on the fact it would cause him to turn into an uncontrollable, unstoppable monster. The Order needs that Crash. We desperately need a leg up on the former Best Alliance. They held us at bay. They knew our weaknesses. They handled our guerrilla warfare tactics like professionals. It killed me to watch 6 of my closest friends get held back. I couldn’t allow anyone the opportunity slip through our fingers, especially not this week.
I pulled out my half of the HOW Tag Team Championships out of my duffel bag. I looked down at it, gazing endlessly at the silver shining in the light. These symbolized we made it. The Order conquered the vast mountains to hold championship glory in HOW. These belts mean everything we suffered, we fought to uphold, we conquered. It showed our dominance. They are our babies. I wanted to cherish them, hold them, and protect them no matter the cost. I needed to keep them secured in the Order’s camp. Now they faced the challenge of these….these…abusive neanderthals pillaging them from around Noah and I’s waists. They face torture, abuse, you name it. Our precious belts were in danger. I kept looking at them longingly like a proud parent would.
Noah Hanson: You look rough. You need sleep, Zion. Go back to the hotel room, climb in bed; and catch some z’s. You need your beauty sleep after last week’s fiasco. You need to let your body heal…
Darin Zion: And what? Let Disney Dane and Asshole Ryan run off with our babies without following through? Without unleashing our full potential?
My eyes widened like a madman as the delirium set in. Anger spewed from every pore of my body. The hair on my arms stood up. My face grimaced. Every fiber of my frustration kept oozing out bellowing across the halls. My eyes pierced passionate daggers straight into Noah’s soul. I took a deep breath in, crossed my arms, and just balked at him. Noah calmly sat down, quieting his voice hoping to reel me back to reality.
Noah Hanson: Look, you can’t put your eggs into this basket. You went too hard on Crash. I’m saying this out of love. You over invested into Crash and you focusing on this could cost us our Tag Team Championship. I care about these belts as much as you do. But you overreacted to two losses. You need to relax.
Darin Zion: That’s just it, Noah…I’m tired of relaxing. I’m tired of looking at my win-loss ratio sitting at 50%. I’m tired of getting a pat on the back, a treat dangled right in front of my face, and people shitting all over my hard work. I’ve put my body on the line to keep the lights on for HOW. I’ve brought them money. I’ve invested my time, my effort, my heart, my soul, my blood, my sweat, and my God Damn tears. For what? I get the good ole’ ranch hand jokes thrown in my face after I’ve spent 15 years busting my God Damn ass to make it here and have a serious career? These belts mean everything to me.
Noah Hanson: I get it. I am overlooked too man. I bust my ass in that ring night in and night out. You get noticed, run your mouth, and climax too quickly. You don’t…
Darin Zion: Back it up? We don’t back it up? We’re just the ‘fools in a mid-life crisis.’ I’ve heard that enough times from the god damn hypocrites to know better. I’m tired of getting disrespected after I’ve held 6 championship belts here and it still doesn’t get chalked up to being enough. Everyone balks at these tag team championship like they’re just another notch climbing up the proverbial ladder when they don’t take these things God Damned seriously.
I take a deep breath and rest my tag team championship on my shoulder proudly.
Darin Zion: After we’ve spent our time busting our asses to bring to the forefront of HOW. Eric Dane didn’t beg for a shot at them until WE won them. No one else gave a shit about these belts until WE held them, Noah. Until we ransacked Yuckling Arena, we added an arena to the HOW budget lines. We pulled off crimes like everyone else in HOW did to get ahead. But we didn’t do anything of ‘merit.’
Noah lounges back in his chair, listening carefully as the passion in me continues to swell. I roll my eyes at him.
Darin Zion: What? You got a problem with me being a little jaded? You think I’m wrong?
Noah Hanson: Maybe a little…I get why you’re pissed. Dane sucks off Mike Best in the back one night and gets handed a match against us for pinning O’Dell…someone who didn’t win these belts. I get that anger. We get overlooked constantly. But you’re casting your dreams and your visions on Crash. You see a hungry, young talent floundering around and you ‘punish him.’
Darin Zion: No, I EMBRACE his demons. I want them to become part of him. We need an insurance policy in case the rest of those idiot Best Alliance members decide to even up the odds…decide they want to involve themselves in our business to please Eric Dane’s fetish with people in power here in HOW.
Noah Hanson: Right? But at the cost of this kid’s sanity? I didn’t even do that to you when I trained you.
Heavily those words weight on my heart. Immediately, I flashback to my first month in PWX. So happy, so innocent! I remember the smile widening on my face as I walked the halls. I couldn’t wait to change the world and bring joy to all the fans. I longed for championship gold to dawn my waist. The sweet solace of those memories stirred in my heart before the darkness surface. The last 5 years I suppressed now resurfaced in my mind and all emotions left me. My face turns cold and emotionless. While the path and road ahead was narrow, I knew my decision.
Darin Zion: Sacrifices must be made, Noah. We can’t all be nice like you. Reality sets in. His heart remains soft, brittle and frail. He needs tough love. We all need it after last week’s embarrassment.
Noah Hanson: He needs our patience.
Darin Zion: No, Noah! Unlike you who freed his ass to come help in our war last week, I understand what he needs better than you do. Weeks ago, I told you we’ve unleashed the devil. We can’t go soft like the old me. We shouldn’t…can’t…fear consequences. You didn’t when you unleashed your anger on Curt Cannon a few months back or have you forgotten your bitterness controlled you once.
Noah takes a deep sigh and admits defeat.
Noah Hanson: Sometimes I feel like I’m talking to a brick wall with you. You’re so damn stubborn for your own good.
Darin Zion: Because I learned to embrace my demons from my trainer. I grew too soft and I realize it was wrong to stop you from destroying someone who stood in the way of achieving greatness when I watched you months ago. I just haven’t admitted it to myself until now…after seeing what the Bests do best, Noah. You warned me.
Noah Hanson: Because I care about you, kid. I always have and I always will.
Noah reaches down towards a bag and pulls out a styrofoam container with Chinese food in it. He tosses me a set of chopsticks. AH! The sweet smell of sustenance wafts into my nostrils before I let out a huge yawn. I stand up and stretch out and shake Noah’s hand before he smiles back at me.
Noah Hanson: And kid, get some damn rest tonight. I’ll stay watch over him. I promise I won’t interfere with your training. God knows I won’t hear the end of it. But if we have any hope of winning; you need to get out of here for a day, get some rest, heal, and train up.
Darin Zion: I promised Crash I would…
Noah Hanson: You’re not alone in this journey. Rest! If the situations get terrible I’ll call. Now go!
I roll my eyes, grab my Chinese food and simply nod at Hanson. As I walk towards the door, I look back at him, and mutter two simple words at him.
Darin Zion: Thank you!
At Chaos, we suffered a minor set back in our endeavors. We piled up the losses. We underestimated our enemies. We proudly held onto our accomplishments the previously achieved. We won gold, we burned down an arena, we etched our names into the history books of HOW. Those words sound trite to most now after our losses, but we clearly thought no one would contest us; 8 pissed off individuals looking to tear apart anyone in our ways. We could throw out the pitiful, inexperienced excuses…but we earned the red in our ledger.
We stood corrected.
Dane knocked me straight on my ass while Dan snagged a victory against O’Dell and I. Later on in the night, the sheer bond of the Alliance From Defiance’s friendship outmatched ours. They held us at bay to close out the show. They didn’t fear us. They merely mocked us, ridiculed us, and spit in our faces: the HOW Tag Team Champions’ faces. They strole arrogantly into this Chaos bragging how they’ve already won these belts after seeing the results from last week. They hurl public insults looking past us once again, celebrating a victory they’ve already deemed they’ve won.
They’re the unsung heroes of HOW! They want to tear apart the lamenting village idiots in their way. You know…us ‘worthless vacuum cleaners’ who ‘don’t earn shit.’
And like the 15 million other times these tools from Defiance do when HOW officials constantly hand them championship shot after championship shot; they’re already choking before they even set foot into the ring with us.
I’ve dealt with Dane and Ryan’s kind throughout my career. They obliterate anyone who talks shit on their careers. They chalk up victory after victory after victory. Their conquests grow exponentially with each passing week and spread throughout the backstage locker room. People ooze their praises left and right after analyzing their records and outside HOW accomplishments. These guys are gods. No one should bring their asses down.
Yet they continue to fail when it matters. Let’s run down this list:
- HOW World Championship — Dane chokes to yours truly…the underdog of the tournament.
- HOW ICON Championship — Dan Ryan ties then loses to the guy who’s DNA runs through HOW’s biggest loud mouthed court jester accompanying a Kael at every turn.
- War Games — Ryan and Dane embarrass Lee Best’s second greatest creation and they effectively kill the name the Best Alliance once had in HOW walking out with no championship gold amongst the two of them.
The facts don’t lie, gentlemen. Twist and turn them to your advantage all you want. Debate me until your asses turn blue and you die. It doesn’t matter. You can tell me I can’t take away your previous accomplishments which you flaunt around. You’ve battled great veterans in this business to win Defiance Championships. They line your records up nicely. Their legacies caused you to come together in strength. They make you vicious. I’ll give you that all day. Hell, I’m still reeling from the stiff Humility Bomb. Those accomplishments gave you the name recognition to allow HOW to put aside the great wars to pave the way for your careers in HOW.
But you don’t value those lessons you learned outside HOW. You don’t value our belts. You don’t value the hard work, persistence, dedication, and tenacity it takes to win these belts. You spend all day trying to write punchlines to get cheap laughs from the boys in the back. You obsess and write off one of the mentioned losses above because of a referee fast count. Hell you don’t value these belts because you would have traded your championship opportunities so you can knock your jollies off to a man who doesn’t bare any weight to this God damn match.
And it pisses me off.
I spent 15 years training to get here. I busted my ass in the Fisher Price leagues to even get offered a spot. I fought war after war chalking up accomplishments left and right getting a carrot dangled in my goddamn face only to get it yanked away from me. I came back, shook hands, and sure I made my mistakes on writing checks my ass couldn’t cash. I fell on my ass, got up, and repeated the process until I woke up and decided Max Kael’s words right.
I settled for mediocrity. I softened up those 3 years HOW kept the lights off. I lost that edge to hold championship gold. I lost myself. I held back myself back because I didn’t embrace this anger enough. I didn’t embrace those demons fully. I wanted to be HOW’s Knight in Shining Armour by doing things the right way: earning respect, not taking shortcuts, and believing in my dreams. I envisioned my hard work paying off. My obsession to championship took a back burner to being funny and popular. I held back and I woke up one day and it sickened me. I looked back at this cheery, bubbling idiot in the mirror and he sickened me.
That Zion kept choking. He didn’t want to do what it took to hold championship gold. He was naive. He thought the world was made of sunshine and rainbows. He looked past everyone so innocently, so sweetly, blinding himself to how sick and twisted people get here. He looked past the shovel murder, the eye gouging, and he thought merits and fairy tales existed. He believed once believed so hard that maybe just maybe his dreams could happen on wishes alone.
But that Zion died. I watched that Zion burn alive inside the ashes of the Yuengling Arena.
Yet I see parts of him when I look at Dane and Ryan. They want the satisfaction of knocking my ass around that ring and taking OUR tag team championships from around my waist. They crave the praise from everyone hoping they can break Hanson and I apart. They think they can win off brute force and sheer talent alone: their honor.
See what they fail to realize: I don’t care about honor any more. I care about championships. I care about glory. Noah and I want to have the longest HOW Tag Team Championship reign of all time. We want to make these the most sought after prize above the HOW World Championship because these belts are like us: people overlook their prestige and honor. They write these belts off as something that can cure the red in the ledgers: that it will bring solace to their careers and act as a course correction.
These belts mean so much more than that. Over the last few years they’ve been literally buried in the ground, egged on, and treated wrongly like us. Great ICON, LSD, and World Champions proudly held these belts above their heads. They main evented Chaos, Massacre, and countless other HOW shows because people treated them like a true prize. The Order wants to do the same. We will do whatever it takes to get the job done. Yet these so-called Best Alliance rejects want them to simply shut us up. They go around mindlessly beating us up like neanderthals hoping they’ll get lucky and strike the jackpot. They stepped into our business and threatened us and our livelihood until they got what they wanted.
Be careful what you ask for boys, you just might get it. These belts aren’t toys to me. They’re my obsession.
No more nice guys, Dane and Ryan. I’m tired of getting pushed to the side. I’m tired of my words not holding any weight. I’m sick and god damn tired of looking like a fool. On Chaos, The Order will retain our championships. We won’t sit back idly while you try and hold us back like you did last week. You might have come prepared for a non-title contest gentlemen, but this week; our bout won’t be friendly. You might have outsmarted O’Dell and I last week after I stepped in for Stevens unexpectedly, but this week it’s different. It’s personal. It’s not just some warm up match you don’t take seriously. It’s the real McCoy.
I won’t play fair for these belts. I will do like the devil does. I won’t play fair, I won’t play smart when I give it my all. I am going to fight dirty. I will fight to protect my children…our children…these HOW Tag Team Championship. I will show you like I’ve once showed Dane I mean business when gold is put in front of me. I will shed blood to keep them. I will break bones over them. I will go to jail for these belts if I have to do it. Because I take pride in my work.
I know these cavemen do too. I know you two will fight hard. I know you’ve watched our tapes. I know Dane’s obsessed to make damn well sure he pins my ass to return the favor for putting red in his ledger. You earned your spots on this roster. Dane and Ryan are two of the best talents to sign with this company. You proved last week you will stop at nothing to attain your goals.
But this isn’t an open mic night. Joking’s over after you stepped into our business last week in gaining the LSD Championship. We damn well sure won’t allow you to step in our way of retaining the Tag Team Championships. Sleep well these next couple nights. The moment you two step into the ring at Chaos; you better have eyes in the back of your god damned heads. We will strike when you least expect it. We will pay retribution for what happened last week. We will leave our mark on your hides, and we will damn sure make an example out of you both to stay out of the Order’s way. We will rebound. We will succeed. And we will leave you in a pile of your own blood for your sins.
We will make you kneel before us, gentlemen. And we will have no guilt on our conscience after we retain our championships for what we do to you. I asked Dane to show himself and take off the gloves, and now Dane; I’m returning the favor. I will prove I didn’t beat you in a fluke. I will prove just exactly why I beat you the last time.
I kept my eyes on the prize. And I’m damn sure keeping my eyes on our Tag Team Championships. I don’t underestimate. I expect perfection and I achieve it. I fight and I do whatever it takes to ensure our victory on Chaos this week.