Earlier Today: Rodgers, Arkansas
“More Hollywood than Hollywood”
The thought swirled around my head after a brutal battle Brian and I had at War Games. I left everything in that ring. Hell, I showed in respect even after he disrespected me! After all, he deserved it after he sacrificed himself to cement my legacy in HOW as it’s future uncrowned champion. Sure, it was a year’s away from happening. But he deserved it nonetheless. No one could take away that I pinned a former HOW World Champion. I was riding on Cloud Nine. But I couldn’t afford to take this week lightly as I will stand toe to toe facing off against Doozer.
He had every right to seek revenge against me. Especially after I left him in shambles to claim my second HOW World Tag Team Championship. He and the Egg Bandits got left in burning shambles of the Yuengling Arena after they lost those belts to me. I knew he was out for blood and revenge. I spent all week training for that match, but Mario thought it best I took some time off to relax and refocus my efforts before my triumphant return to Refueled. He wanted to do something fun and exciting. But I was committed to furthering the HOW brand on my off day. No one else differentiates their damn resumes around here. They always stick to the boring training montages, boring life stories….blah blah blah! They all sound like Brian Hollywood’s mansion at this point. I wanted to do something to stick out from the rest of the locker room.
Time to film a commercial!
Your Tyrant of the Territories, the High Priest of High Octane, the Prince of Pro Wrestling, the Aristocrat of Atlantic City, the Messiah of Missouri Valley needed to live up to that new moniker he rightfully earned. I received an email from the Happy Egg Company to come out here to this Podunk town! They reached out to me prior to War Games, but I couldn’t commit due to the importance of my match with Brian Hollywood. They still wanted my hands!!!! These famous hands that rolled up Brian Hollywood! Obviously they have a good choice in spokespeople.
Meredith and I made a trip down near the site of their headquarters. They shot their commercials at this old fashioned farmhouse a few minutes away. The outside looked like a decrepit shithole with siding hanging off it’s sides! But the inside! My God it was the kitchen of my dreams. Marble top counters everywhere! Stainless steel kitchenware at my fingertips! The most up-to-date kitchen appliances! It had it all! They truly impressed me with how renovated this shithole.
As I stood in my blue collared dress shirt; it truly creeped me out how close the cameras were to my hands. The director motioned to begin filming, I could feel the camera zooming in closer as I grabbed one of their organic Free Range Eggs! It felt perfect, it looked perfect! It was the spitting image of a Matthews endorsed product! It’s no wonder why they chose my hands over any one of those idiotic Egg Bandits! Slowly I moved the egg closer to the frying pan to crack it. With one swift motion, I hit the egg against the pan and then…
Egg covered my perfect hands. Violently I shake my hands screaming at the top of my lungs, “Ewwwww! Meredith!! Get this disgusting shit off my hands!!!”
Meredith rushes over to me with the towel as the director exclaims, “Cut! Everyone take five minutes! We will reshoot after a break.”
I snatch the towel to wipe this vile egg off my hands. It repulsed me so much. I shake my hands dry rapidly as Meredith stands there trying to console me. I take a few deep breaths in to keep calm, but something continues to eat at me. My anger and frustration boil up from under my skin about the thought of having another match after War Games. “I FUCKING HATE EGGS!” I exclaimed empathically as I look at Meredith as I continued to rant, “They’re so fucking vile! They’re slimy! They carry diseases! They’re so fucking bland no matter how you eat them! I could have died, Meredith. They carry salmonella, e-coli, or worse! I could get warts on these gorgeous hands! I can’t put myself at risk for that kind of shit. Not after the biggest win of my career. I can’t have it!”
“This is about your match, isn’t it?” Meredith asked while she wrapped her hands on my shoulders trying to calm me down. She could see the bright red coloration in my skin. My anger had taken me over as I nudged her off to the side, just clenching my fists together.
“I love acting, Meredith. It fits me perfectly. But I can’t take an egg to the face from those Bandits. Hollywood already ruined my perfect complexion when he broke my nose. If Doozer sinks a good egg shot on it; it could ruin my perfect complexion. Just the thought of getting into the ring with one of HOW’s resident jesters repulses me. I want to be training. I want to destroy Doozer with ease. My heart’s not here right now. It craves that win over Doozer…”
I take a sip of water and begin to text my concerns about the match to Mario. While I hammer away at my keyboard vehemently, I flashback to Yuengling Arena back to Tampa Bay.I kept seeing Doozer’s face lying in the wreckage. It wanted revenge. He lost the HOW Tag Team Championship to me and got left for dead by my hands. A man never forgets that kind of look. I knew he would be out for blood, especially with him taking a mentorship with Chris Kostoff. He wanted to maim me for that night. He bided his time and waited for his opportunity to get revenge. As I finished my text, Meredith rushed over to look over my shoulder. Her curiosity got the best of her. I yank back and glare at her exclaiming, “Don’t ever look over my shoulder again!”
I didn’t want her to see what I had done, especially with her past. She wouldn’t like Mario’s ‘business.” She would kill me if she knew I rubbed elbows with the mafia, especially to get her ass to Normandy to help me out. She looked concerned as I threw my phone in my pocket. She nodded before she spoke. “I just wanted to see if there’s something I could do to help you get through this. I know it’s taken a long time for us to get to know each other, but I’m here for you. I wouldn’t have gone to Normandy to help you out. Nor would I have continued to push you forward to get your HOW contract. I know this is bothering you.”
“It’s fine, Meredith. I just needed to check in with my boss regarding plans at Refueled. Can’t let you know everything. Besides, don’t want to trouble you with all the details. Mario’s got big plans for our future. I’ve heard there’s gold in it after the win at War Games. That 24th accomplishment to my name will pay off big for you and me. You could get that house you’ve been talking to me about for you and your daughter.” I pat her on the shoulder for the job well done. However, she looks down, rather saddened that I wouldn’t let her in. Like something continued to bother her. She plasters a fake smile on her face as she says, “Oh, okay. I just…I understand. I don’t want to get into this business. It’s like the mafia.” I nod as my phone vibrates loudly.
BZZZZZT! BZZZZT! BZZZZZ!!!
His picture pops across my text screen with his words sticking out in big capital letters.
“TRUST THE PROCESS!”
What the fuck did that mean? What did he have up his sleeve this time? Was it another favor? The questions continued to circle through my brain at a million miles an hour. The director screams into the megaphone loudly “30 seconds! Wrap your shit up everyone! We’re under a crunch for this new commercial.”
I had no time to worry about it all. Meredith handed me my bottle of Dasani water as I chugged it at light speed before chucking it towards the trash can while muttering under my breath “KOBE” as it bounced off the side and made it. Mario was right. I needed to take my mind off my impending match and focus on building my brand today. Otherwise, it would result in my new found HOW winning streak to come crashing down at my own hands. I was banged up and bruised from the match and my body needed rest. I was fighting my second match in two weeks time. Clearly it’s not as sharp. I needed to focus on the task at hand: the commercial. I needed to take a load off and add another notch to my magnificent resume as a future celebrity.
Now: Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri
We open up to Darin Matthews sitting in his lavishing library back at the Lake of the Ozarks. It’s covered wall to wall with books with a nice fireplace and leather chair. The camera zooms in on Matthews wearing a red, velvet robe.
He is resting his feet on his bright burgundy footrest in front of him. He holds a book with a Forest Green cover. Holding the book by its spine, he opens it up, reading it straight at the camera.
“It’s story time Doozer…”
Matthews shows off the cover to his newly ‘penned’ story: “Humpty Doozer”, an old Humpty Dumpty book christened with Matthews’ brand of WordArt from Microsoft Word. He lacks any graphic design skill to design a new one. He licks his hand to throw open the book. As he intently reads it, he reveals a picture of Doozer’s face slapped onto Humpty Dumpty’s body.
“Once upon a time, there was a little egg who sat on a wall, but had a great fall. I admired this egg. He was a true fighter no matter what the cause. Everyone in the Egg’s Locker Room said he had a heart of gold. He had a certain moxie and spunk to his character. Hell, they said he had the tenacity to call me Zion after he witnessed just how much I destroyed Brian Hollywood’s psyche at War Games. He was a respectable egg. He made a lot of good Egg friends. He held their merry Egg band together even if his career was contaminated. They still loved this egg no matter what he did in his past. And my God that past was horrible!
I couldn’t argue that fact. He had conviction. I admired him a lot. Hell, he stuck with those eggs when it cost him the most. He stood toe to toe with the HOW ICON Champion Cecilworth Farthington nearly 1 year ago. He fought so valiantly for a belt in which The Man More Hollywood than Hollywood actually held under the 23 accomplishments. After fighting his hardest and getting taken to the limits, he cracked under pressure.”
Matthews flips from the picture of Cecilworth Farthington dressed up like a goblin to pictures of Egg Bandits dressed up like dwarfs freaking out. We see Lindsay Troy summoning her minstrel Max Shell trying to save Humpty Doozer along with a Kimera Version of Kostoff going down into a pit, but alas, it’s no use! Doozer’s falling down the deepest darkest pit, waiting to turn into eggshell fragments.
Matthews proudly laughs as he continues to share ‘his new book’ with Doozer on the camera. You can see the sarcasm in his tone from miles away.His tone brightens up, becoming more lively as he reads.
“And boy has he cracked under pressure folks. The Egg Queen used Max Shell’s magical music to summon a big bad monster named Kostoff to save him from cracking on the ground. He dives into the pit hoping to protect Humpty Doozer from certain doom.
But Humpty Doozer still fell, they still couldn’t catch him. He watches all his friends fade into darkness, leaving him with the regrets of his past. He’s helpless! He can’t avoid fracturing against the ground. It leaves us wondering what will kill Humpty Doozer first: the failures that rot him to his core, his own wasted potential, or the fall itself?”
Matthews slams the book closed. He leans towards the camera crossing his hands together recounting his journey. As he retells the tail, you can see something weighs heavily on his heart. The anger burns through his skin as his face turns beet red. His eyebrows lower. His face scowls. It pangs him to recount the past he put behind him.
“Keep lying to yourself, Doozer. Tell yourself the fairy tales of how the good guy slays the ruthless bastard and gets his queen. Keep naively telling yourself everyone joined the Bandits because they liked you and cheer you on to success.
But your Tyrant of the Territories knows how this story ends. I too used to be like Humpty Doozer. I wanted to fight that good fight. I prided myself on decisive wins. Hell, when I pinned Erik Dane to that mat in a quick count; it killed me inside that I didn’t win decisively. I didn’t get the pride of smashing his jaw in and making him eat the piss and shit he spewed. I had beaten people like him so easily 5 years ago. I tried pushing that narrative that I was HOW’s hero right until my contract got terminated.I lost 6 whole years of my life in one instant. I sat around trying to please everyone in the locker room, trying to keep the innocence of Zion around. Look where it got me after 6 years of dedication.
I did the same thing you did during that 6 years of time. I reached out to many veterans who held HOW’s top championships. I tried capturing my killer instinct while maintaining my marshmallow like personality. I continued doing the right thing until it hurts me. I wish I could tell you my story ended well, but…it wasn’t until I lost my contract I realized I had lost myself in the process of pleasing others.
It killed me inside as I got to watch you and the Bandits continued cutting jokes in my ring while I spun my wheels trying to find my killer instinct.
I sat at home flashing back to the best 5 years of my life when I kicked down the doors of HOW, debuting leaving a pile of Hall of Famers in the dust, winning the Tag Team Championship, the ICON Championship, the LSD Championship, main eventing HOW show after HOW show, trying to find that killer instinct that once made me an unstoppable force. I flashed back on that moment we first met Doozer, when I burned down the arena and got chastised for being the stage crew for Mike’s announcement. I remembered that I unleashed my killer instincts inside to crush you, Jiles, and Bobby Dean’s dreams of having a long Tag Team Championship run. I kicked your ass along with a few other friends as we torched that worthless Tampa Bay arena into fucking rubble, leaving your ass for dead. I dominated you. I left the future of HOW ICON Division left in the scrap heap.
I spent months searching for what made me that Darin. That successful Darin! And I realized I didn’t have a heart. I didn’t give a shit about compassion or friendship or all that gooey, oozy shit you Bandits throw around.
I put myself back together. I put myself first! Debate if I have compassion or if the old Zion lies sleeping dominant. I don’t give a fuck about your opinions. I only give a shit about winning and reclaiming gold in HOW right now.”
Matthews sits the book off to the side as he looks over towards an old picture of him back in PWX with his buddies, just snuffing it off as it meant nothing. Those old memories he still continued to bury behind him. He pulls a couple of pictures from a newspaper recounting a couple of situations close to his as he speaks, proudly thrusting them towards the camera when needed. Stories of champions, just like he saw himself.
“I had no remorse for killing off Zion It had to be done. I left what was comfortable, what I knew. It felt good not to have some murderous Jiminy Cricket on my shoulder spewing lies of hope and promise. I used my own remorse to conquer MVW to win their Men’s World Championship. Sure there’s some blemishes in that story, but we’re human. Not machines! I won my championship creatively, I might have broken a few of my opponents’ faces in with my lead pipe. But it sent chills down my spine. I no longer lived in a fairy tale like you do. It made me realize I have to win using any means necessary. I mean it, Doozer. Any means! It made me accept the cold-hearted truth about this world. History doesn’t care about the lovable losers like Zion, Stevens, and Doozer. It only cares about the winners.
Look at Tom Brady’s career! He deflated balls! That took some creative thinking! 6 Championships later and his career was made. The Houston Astros won two pendants for filming their competition. Good for them! They knew how to get ahead! Look at me! I threw my feet on the ropes pinning the Albatross who held my career back these past 5 years. Go ahead and cry like all the Karens out there that I broke their precious kids hearts. Continue to decry my methods to get an extra boost for my win. Throw on your Mountie uniform, Doozer Do-Right and wag your finger at me. At the end of the day: I still won! It didn’t give me any heartburn! I slept like a baby. It felt great to be a winner again. And it feels great to have the spotlight shining on me for a change.”
Matthews’ smile melts away. He knows the pain of chalking up loss after loss in HOW. He tries to reason with Doozer, looking straight into the camera. He knows his opponents aspirations to win again. He’s felt the same way. But you can see the vindication kindling through Matthews’ eyes. He will not back down from this stance. He reaches out towards the camera, like he’s trying to reach out towards someone he’s concerned about his opponent. Sure, it’s a facade, but you can tell he’s got a motive. He slams his finger down at the book trying to hit home a point to Doozer.
“It kills you to hear that story Doozer. I don’t blame you one bit. You want to do the right thing. You want a fair fight. You’re the last good soul fighting the good egg fight. I felt it the same way you do now. You’re craving that win. You don’t want to let the Eggs Men down as you seek revenge against the dastardly bastard, Darin Matthews. I wronged you guys! I made your tag team look like a joke. I left you guys for dead. It’s a valiant fight, and if I had friends like you Doozer, I would have done the same thing. I would have promised the same damn things.
But at the end of the day, you’re lying to yourself by making promises you cannot keep.
I respect you enough Doozer to tell you about your weaknesses. You’re just like your incompetent egg brained compadres. You judge the book by its cover. You forget to turn to the end of the book. You miss the morale at the end of the story. You know it: cheaters always win! They don’t end up dancing around like a rodeo clown wearing an egg on their face while they get led to fight with the bulls. Yet you keep waving that red cloth hoping I won’t charge. But bulls like me dominate and control this industry with an iron fist. They always have tricks up their sleeves.”
Matthews lifts his arm up, uncovering a button to the fireplace. He presses it to turn it on. Quickly, he snatches up the book and places it under his right arm. A sinister smile covers his face like he’s hiding something. He stands up with a book in tow, walking towards the camera, coming closer and closer, emphasizing his point. As he gets closer and closer, his voice grows louder and louder, filled with conviction.
“By mocking you, you may think I am taking our match lightly and undermining your credit, but I assure you; I take our match VERY seriously. I know you threaten my dominance. You’re a major threat to my conquest to reclaim HOW gold. You vividly remember that night I pulled out all the stops to secure the HOW Tag Team Championship from around your waste. You don’t want history to repeat itself. I know the impending threat of Kostoff watching out for his little buddy. I know you have an army of Egg Bandits ready to swarm the ring to stop Meredith. You’ve taken into account every factor to assure I can’t weasel another win out.
But I can assure you, Doozer, you won’t outsmart me. If you truly know me like you claim you do; you know I’ve always got something up my sleeve. Stop playing with eggs and start looking at my track record! I strike with a vengeance when you least expect it. I did it with you. I did it to claim the MVW Men’s Heavyweight Championship and I did it to retain it for 3 whole months. I will do it again. When you work for Mario Maurako, you’re always ten steps ahead of your opponent. While you have your Bandits. I have a family watching over me, and they have a vested interest in seeing me secure my second victory since returning to HOW.
Hollywood was the warning! You will be my message! Don’t Mess with The Family! If you do, you will be laid to rest.
You don’t know the gravitas of this match for me. I will fight to win by any means necessary. It’s my future on the line. Cut your jokes out while you still can. Fight while you still have the good fight left in you, because at Refueled XXX; I’m beating the rest of that fight out of you. I will break your psyche once more. I will send you back to your dark place. I will transform you. I will beat the morale of my story into your being until you cannot fight your dark urges anymore. Playtime is over. Business will pick up when you fight me.
You will pay for your sins of mentioning my old name. You will learn to say my new name and put some damn respect on it. Even if I have to beat it into that egg-shaped head of yours. It’s Darin Matthews! Matthews! M-A-T-T-H-E-W-S! You will face your reckoning at my hands. I will break you just like I broke Hollywood, Humpty Doozer, and by the end of the night, you’ll wish the damn ground broke your fall.”
In his rage, Matthews tosses the “Humpty Doozer” book into the fire. Vile laughter pours out from his belly as he sits back down in his chair to rest comfortably for the night. The scene fades to black as Darin’s smile curls up to his face, as he knows Doozer’s fate at the end of Refueled XXX.