Under the piercing beam of the doctor’s light, REAL LOVE’S® pupils reveal the aftermath of Darin Zion’s recent concussion problems. Yet, his vacant stare remains fixed, unyielding to the doctor’s probing examination. As Vickie Hall watches on, a chill runs down her spine as she senses the pure detachment emanating from Zion’s eyes. Haunting screams echo through Zion’s mind, transporting him back to a distant, traumatic past that seems beyond the grasp of reality. His shoulders tense, fists clench tightly, and goosebumps rise on his skin, as the memories of his abusive childhood flood back in vivid detail.
In a sudden burst, Zion’s twists and contorts, his hands grabbing for his head as he unleashes a guttural scream. The visions become more vivid; Zion cannot escape his inevitable punishment. He visualizes his father, smashing his thick bible against his skull again and again.
Zion’s body convulses with an overwhelming wave of pain. He can feel the weight of each blow as it connects with his jawline. Blood pours from his mouth as he desperately tries to crawl away. The orange shag carpet of his trailer park home offers him no refuge. Even now, the wailing of his father seems to echo in his ears, a constant reminder of Zion’s own personal hell. These memories cling to him like a suffocating shroud, overwhelming his senses and leaving him gasping for breath, with no escape in sight.
The sense of desperation rises in Zion’s voice as a series of urgent pleas shrill throughout the room.
Darin Zion: HELP! HELP! HELP ME! STOP IT DAD!
Vickie Hall’s PRETTY PINK® cheeks turn pale as she watches Zion writhe in agony. Despite feeling uncomfortable and uneasy, she remains steadfast in her commitment to support him through these struggles. Instead of being loud and blustery, Vickie assumes the role of a quiet, supportive presence, offering Zion her hand as they await the doctor’s diagnosis. She recalls how he’s been suffering like this for days, ever since he took Bobbinette Carey’s Epic Ending at Chaos 029.
Vickie’s tone is urgent, tinged with a bit of concern as she pleads with the doctor to take some action.
Vickie Hall: He’s been like this for three days. Jonathan and I have tried everything we can think of to snap him out of it. Please, doctor, we can’t sit here and watch him suffer anymore. You MUST do something about this now.
With unwavering focus, the doctor intently flips through Zion’s MRI scans. His eyes lock onto the computer screen, searching for any clues to REAL LOVE’S condition. Despite Vickie’s pleas, the doctor remains calm, unphased by Vickie’s perceived urgency. He delves deeper into scans with precision and gravity to find answers.
Vickie’s seething shows as her face contorts as she turns a dark shade of red. The doctor continues to disregard her pleas of help. Her arms tremble, unable to bear the unyielding silence any longer.
Vickie Hall: How dare you ignore me, Doc! Time is running out! This man is a shell of his former, loving self. War Games is in one month, and his ruthless boss will push him to wrestle again—no matter his current condition. With only 10 matches left on his contract, we MUST act now! We’ve got to get him healthy so he can go onto War Games and win the LSD Championship.
In the background, Zion unleashes an ear-piercing, bone-chilling scream from the depths of his lungs. His body now spasms as he lies down in the fetal position, tortured by his childhood nightmares. Zion’s voice quivers as he shouts out.
Darin Zion: DADDY! PLEASE STOP HITTING ME! I CAN’T TAKE ANYMORE PUNISHMENT. I FEEL SO WEAK.
Zion clutches his head, he begins rolling around as he continues to plea, his voice growing weaker.
Darin Zion: Pleeeeeeeeease! I promise I’ll do better next time.
As Zion breaks down into uncontrollable sobbing, Vickie’s heart sinks. She expels a deafening sigh while her head hangs low in despair. She hates feeling helpless as she watches her friend endure his misery. After taking a few deep breathes, Vickie composes herself to shoot the old doctor a venomous glare. He finally turns away from his computer, cautiously approaching the annoyed Vickie Hall. He slowly places his reassuring hands on her shoulder, offering her some solace.
Doctor: I’ve got some good news; Zion isn’t experiencing any concussion symptoms. He doesn’t have any swelling on his brain…
The tension in the room reaches a boiling point. Vickie’s clenching her fists, preparing to unleash a furious tirade. Before she can utter a single word—the doctor interjects with his thunderous, bass-filled voice. It reverberates across the room, slicing through the tension and preventing Vickie from exploding in anger.
Doctor: I’m afraid that years of repetitive blunt force trauma taken a toll on Zion’s cerebral cortex. These shockwaves have rekindled past traumas, leading to these uncontrollable panic attacks. The mounting pressure from his poor performance in HOW is exacerbating the condition. If left untreated, he may spiral into complete psychosis and lose touch with reality.
Vickie’s vacant, wide-eyed gaze seizes the doctor’s attention. It encapsulates the tumultuous seas of emotions the news stirred up. The sharp snap of the doctor’s mammoth fingers jolts her back to reality. Shaking her head with force, she regains composure from her shattered state of mind. Her unsteady voice resonates with the good doctor. She begins to bombard him with a deluge of disorganized thoughts.
Vickie Hall: This-this-is all G-G-GREEK to me. I-I-I don’t understand all this medical jargon. What’s he need? What can The Love Convoy and I do to help? Is there anything we can do to speed his healing up? Time is crucial here; we squander a single second.
Vickie seizes up, struggling the grasp of the situation. Her thoughts are scrambled all over the place, like a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Her emotions have overtaken her best judgements.
The doctor swiftly strides over to his cherrywood cabinet, his fingers dancing over its dark, polished surface. He retrieves two, small, orange vials of pills, their contents vital to Zion’s recovery. As the doctor approaches her, Vickie’s eyes light up with hope. Her hands tremble with trepidation. With a steady, reassuring grip; the doctor carefully places Zion’s medicine into her quaking palms. The weight of the vials serves as a poignant reminder of the gravity of Zion’s dire circumstances.
Doctor: These pills SHOULD address any undetected swelling and prevent his uncontrollable emotional break downs. But it’s crucial you also place an ice pack on his head daily…
Vickie Hall: And that’s it?!
The doctor folds his arms against his chest, his lab coat swishing as his body snaps towards Vickie. He glares at her, ready to continue his thoughts.
Doctor: You must stop him from pushing himself too hard. No intense workouts for the next few weeks. You’ve got to ensure he gets plenty of rest or he may snap.
Vickie feels a tight knot forming in her throat as she listens intently to the doctor’s advice. Carefully hoisting Zion off the table, she nods at the doctor, forcing a fake smile on her face to express her gratitude. Cradling Zion against her shoulder, she leads him out of the doctor’s office. As they exit, the gravity of the situation hangs heavily in the air, and Vickie’s mind races with worries and thoughts about Zion’s well-being.
The past few days have been a grueling journey for Darin Zion, filled with anguish. His much-needed recovery sessions have brought some semblance of peace to his uneasy mind. As he stands before the majestic, rolling red hills of Oklahoma, he takes a deep breath and gazes at the beautiful sunset. It’s been a long time since he’s felt this level of clarity. He’s finally processed his emotional distress. He folds his hands, expressing his gratitude to God for this recovery. Now, he feels a glimpse of hope like he’s released from the shackles of his dark past.
Zion extends his arms towards the vast expanse of the sky. With each graceful movement, Zion keeps transitioning between different yoga poses. He feels the rush of blood and oxygen flowing through his body. Each fluid motions brings him more balance. The soft, gentle breeze caresses him, carrying the delicate scent of wildflowers into his nose. As his muscles and joints relax, Zion’s overwhelmed with blissful serenity.
He feels a genuine love pulsing through his heart—REAL LOVE®. It’s not some meaningless phrase he uses to seek attention; it’s now his powerful mantra, signifying all the obstacles he’s overcome and will face. Now he’s found the foundation of his life, reminding him he’s overcome his trouble past.
As a surge of endorphins flow through his brain, the distance sound of his iPhone disturbs his tranquil atmosphere. Frantically rummaging through his duffel bag, Zion’s eyes scan through every pocket until he finds his phone. Swiftly smashing the answer button—his facial expression changes as he hears a familiar voice on the other end. The snarky tone causes him shoulders to tense up, encapsulating his shock and apprehension.
Meredith: Long time no talk, “MR. REAL LOVE®.” A little birdy told me you’ve hit a snag in your quest for the #LOVESTILLDOMINATES Championship…
Zion’s heart pounds heavily in his chest like a jackhammer. The sound of Meredith’s voice hits him like a ton bricks. His vocal cords paralyzed with anxiety, rendering him at a loss of words. He struggles to articulate his jumbled thoughts. His hands grasp his glass screen so tight his knuckles turn white. His shoulders hunch up, his eyes dart frantically while he measures his surroundings. He’s desperately searching for an excuse to end this conversation. The weight bares down on his chest, making each breath feel like an unbearable burden.
Darin Zion: S-S-S-Sorry Mere-Bear, I-I-I really can’t talk right now. I gotta focus all my attention on my big upcoming match with HOW Hall of Famer Alcedama. Don’t worry…everything’s fine…
Zion’s ears perk up as Meredith’s breaths become shallower. She’s been in this situation before, sensing the fear in Zion’s voice. She knows he’s trying to avoid the conversation. Her pent-up frustrations swell deep in her heart. Taking a long breath to relieve her hurting heart, her reply carries a weight of disappointment. Her voice trembles as she cuts Zion off.
Meredith: Zi—please stop it. I know when you’re trying to hide something for me. You’re putting on that mask you always do when trying to avoid difficult emotional conversations.
Darin Zion: Look, Meredith, I can’t deal with this right now. I’ve been through too much these past few weeks. I can’t handle another ghost of my past coming back to haunt me. I’ve got too much on my plate right now. Any more stress and it’ll send me over the edge. Please, let me be right now. I need some alone time.
Meredith: I heard about your panic attacks…
Darin Zion: I trying to work through them…
Both Meredith and Darin pause for a moment, the silence heavy with anticipation from Zion’s snapping. Darin senses the tension in Meredith’s voice. He knows this conversation will hit him deep in the gut. His stomach churns while he prepares to the worth. His palms begin to sweat, his legs shake as he kneels on the grass beneath his feet. He knows deep in his heart—he cannot ignore the truth any longer.
As Meredith’s voice fills his ears, a feeling of sadness and despair washes over his soul. Tears trickle down his cheeks. His throat tightens while he struggles to hold his sobbing back. Her calm, reassuring voice serving as another painful reminder of his shortcomings—even if that isn’t her intensions.
Meredith: Are you truly working through them? It sounds like you’re pushing your feelings deeper down in your soul. You can’t do that—they’ll come back even stronger…
Darin Zion: I know you care about me a lot, Meredith. I appreciate that. I got this, babe. I can do this on my own.
Meredith: I understand that Darin, but you’re not alone in this. We’re all here and want to help you. Jonathan-Christopher, Triss, Vickie…we all want the best for you.
Zion’s hits his boiling point, causing him to throw his arms against his chest. His breathing becomes ragged and shallow. His heart pound against his ribcage. As tears trickle down his face, the tension in the air increases. Zion struggles to contain his emotions. He clenches and unclenches his fists at a rapid rate, trying to regain control. But his internal anger and depression threaten to swallow him whole. His confusion causes him to blurt out all his emotions like an uncontrollable, sudden bout of diarrhea.
Darin Zion: I didn’t choose the life I lived as a child, Meredith. I didn’t ask for any of it. I didn’t want to get beaten by my father until I was covered in bruises. I didn’t like the kids shaming me for his ungodly actions. I didn’t want to see my mother stand idly by doing nothing to stop it. I certainly didn’t want to watch my older brother Jacob dying in my arms because Dad beat him within an inch of his life and refused to call for help…
Zion grits his teeth so hard as his body wrecked with uncontrollable sobbing. He stares off into the distance, trying to ignore everything around him before slamming his phone onto the ground. Flailing his arms wildly into the air, he pounds the earth with his fists again and again, his tears intensifying. The sound of his fists meeting the earth echoes through the air, a testament to the pain he’s feeling inside.
After a few minutes of bawling, he reaches over to the phone, sobbing for a minute. His voice quiets down while he continues to share the story.
Darin Zion: I didn’t ask for any of that. But it happened, and I have to live with it every day. You don’t need that burden on your shoulders. You’ve got enough on your plate with your family and your life.
A sharp, panging feeling develops n Meredith’s chest. Memories of her own abusive past flood her mind as she searches for the right words to comfort Zion in his pain. She takes a deep, audible breath, using the moment to compose herself.
Meredith: I understand your difficult past, but I don’t let it define you. I’ve been through the ringer myself, but I didn’t let it consume. Instead, I found closure when we dated all those years ago. I made a conscious effort to let go and move on with my life. I didn’t let it turn me into a stone-cold, emotionless statue.
Zion rolls his eyes, a clear sign of his frustration, but manages to keep his composure with Meredith. He begrudgingly admits under his breath her words hold some truth. He’s not willing to let go of the pain that holds him back from love. He feels torn between his desire to grow and the fear that letting go would mean it would change the core of his big, warm, loving heart.
Darin Zion: Honestly, I don’t know where to start. You got to patch things up in person with your ex. You mended bridges and built a beautiful life for you and your daughter in Missouri. Unfortunately, I am not that lucky. Both my dad and mom died…
While Zion contends with the seriousness of this discussion, the distinct sound of cowboy boots crushing dirt clods captures his attention. He swiftly drops his phone to the ground and turns around to find his brother, Jackson Thakker, standing there fully recovered from his stroke. Zion’s eyes widen in disbelief, and he rushes over to his brother, embracing him tightly with a bear hug.
However, Jackson’s stern expression quickly dampens Zion’s excitement. With his hands firmly planted on Zion’s broad shoulders, Jackson’s disappointment is palpable. Zion can feel the weight of his brother’s arms, and he knows that Jackson is not pleased with something. Meredith senses the tension and decides to end the conversation, knowing that Jackson is in on the intervention.
Jackson Thakker: Ma’s not dead…
Darin Zion: What are you talking about? I watched them bury her. I went to her funeral…
Jackson Thakker: That’s what she wanted ya to believe. She’s alive and well in Texas. We covered it up so your Pa wouldn’t find her…
Darin Zion: So, she got her fresh start?!
Jackson Thakker: Prolly…
Zion’s mind is still in turmoil, processing the shocking news. A mixture of emotions floods his mind. Despite this, he remains calm and rational, understanding his mother reasoning for departing the trauma.
As Darin’s lost in thought, Jackson steps in, pull him in tight, and gives him a comforting, brotherly head rub. The gesture is welcome as Zion feels the bitterness draining from his body.
Jackson Thakker: She’s lived on the border for years, wantin’ to reach out to you.
Jackson rummages through his pockets and manages to pull out a crumpled-up piece of paper left for Zion. Darin’s eyes widen when he sees her address scribbled on it.
Darin Zion: This means I can get my closure?
Jackson Thakker: If that’s what ya wantin’, I reckon you should chase it. Maybe it’ll help ya get outta this funk you’re in…
Zion gazes at Jackson with a glimmer of hope flickering in his eyes.
Darin Zion: I reckon you’re right, Jax. Maybe seeing her again will help me find my closure on this. Maybe I can find the ending to all this pain.
Jackson Thakker: Just promise me one thin’. Don’t go causin’ no trouble down there. Don’t reopen the wounds of the past.
Zion nods before giving Jackson one last hug for good measure. Zion walks away feeling a since of pride and resilience. He has faith this solution will help him find the closure and healing he needs to prepare for the throes of War Games. As Zion turns back, he waves at Jackson, feeling grateful for his brother’s support.
Darin Zion: Thanks Jackson. I won’t ever forget this.
“Let’s skip all this bullshit, Alcedama. We both know what’s at stake at Chaos. It’s the last sliver of hope and love which would give us some extra momentum heading into War Games. My patience is worn thin from dealing with my own personal demons. I’m looking to escape the little dungeon in my head and have one helluva fight. I damn well know you’ll give me some hell in the Great State of Texas.
You’re Lee Best’s cold-blooded killing machine. I know GOD ripped your heart out himself and stuck a bunch of cogs, gears, springs, and a fancy CPU to top it all off. You’re Papa Best’s solution to the Final Alliance’s biggest problem: me.
Admittingly, I’ve hit rock bottom since my heart-wrenching defeat against JPD. Truth is, there’s no excuse for me losing to Carey, even though I’ve spun my wheels trying to find the perfect one. Losing to some emotionless, transactional German Dungeon Sex robot would only add salt to my wounds.
Let’s be honest here, the hype is real. I’m sure everyone’s placed their HOG bets on Aceldama, and I can’t blame them. He’s a former HOW World Champion and HOW Hall of Famer; two things I haven’t even accomplished yet. Hell, I’ve watched Aceldama dismember two HOW World Champions right before my own eyes. I’ve watched him fight against some of the most ruthless bastards on HOTv. I cannot deny you’re the real deal and one of my greatest challenges to date.
I know you may look disdainfully down on me from the almighty pedestal of GOD, but this week, I intend to convey a loud message to you and the rest of the Final Alliance.
My fleshy, heart, pulsating with blood, will out endure your cold, mechanical one. You’re steeping into the ring against someone with a different pedigree.
You’re about to encounter an opponent fueled by a REAL, GENUINE LOVE. I’ve got a fiery passion for this business. My heart possesses an unparalleled intensity that drives me to do insane things. As Mike Best put it—I’m the most resilient member of this roster, possessing intense levels of intestinal fortitude. It enables me to preserve even when the odds seem insurmountable. I charge fearless into any obstacle with my heart guiding the way.
No one can anticipate the level of intensity my heart possesses. It’s my unique superpower, enabling me to vanquish any adversary. REAL LOVE is more powerful than any amount of sheer force you possess. It doesn’t rust, never breaks down, and doesn’t falter in the face of overwhelming challenges.
My heart draws all the energy from the fans—rather we’re in Houston or Mexico City. They’re the lifeblood that powers the REAL LOVE MOVEMENT. They’re the ones who will help restore me from the brink of darkness, providing me that last burst of momentum needed to conquer you, Aceldama.
My passion burns more intense than that steam engine lodged in your chest. It draws from the energy from all fans, from Houston to Mexico City. They’re the lifeblood that will restore me from the edge of darkness and give me that last burst of momentum before we head off to War Games.
Collectively, we’ll show you we’re not some vague platitude you can lightly dismiss. We’ll illustrate the true might and power of love and how it can triumph over some cold-blooded killing machine like yourself.
At Chaos, our hearts will intertwine to prove we aren’t some ambiguous cliché you can scoff or deride. We’ll show you the true POWER OF LOVE and how it will conquer all.
I don’t need to resort to your methods of heartless violence, brutal weaponry, bloodshed, or cheap underhanded Final Alliance Tactics. Instead, I will depend on my unwavering dedication, relentless determination, unyielding loyalty, and unwavering passion to secure victory over you. When we meet at Chaos, it’s why I’ll emerge victorious and gain that sweet, last ounce of momentum I need to win War Games. I will prove to you and the rest of the world REAL LOVE conquers all.”