June 27th, 2020, 12 PM
We open on a bright, sunny day in the Chicago area. The sun beamed through the clean windows on the Cornell Street shop. With my back towards the door, I looked down as Mario Maurako finished up his sandwich impatiently looking down at his watch. I grew tired of waiting on the plan. The phrase “Trust the Process” continued to echo throughout my head as I waited for Mario’s plan. I intentionally secluded myself from the news because something in my gut told me I would be angry. As the lunch crowd continued to hustle in to pick of their sandwiches, I let out a deep, pain-stricken sigh. I grew weary waiting on Mario’s contact after finishing lunch. I wanted to hit the gym to prepare for my match with Doozer that night. As he finished his drink, I rush to get up and pay the bill, but his voice echoes back with frustration.
Mario Maurako: I said stay until he comes. Trust the process.
Darin Matthews: I’ve heard this all day, Mario. And don’t get me wrong I do! I just can’t keep putting off my training against Doozer. I want to beat that fucking shit ass bleach blonde hair dye straight out of his hair. I need this win.
Mario Maurako: Don’t worry about your win this week. I’ve got bigger plans for you.
Mario’s smile curls around his ears as he places his hands together looking right past me and towards the door. I hear the bell in the background of the deli go off when all of the sudden:
I recognized the sound of those boots. Every bit of sincerity dies in me. My cocky smile never felt so forced. My face beamed bright red. My fists clinch together as those boots got closer and closer towards the table and the person shook Mario’s hand.
Darin Matthews: Why the fuck did you bring, Hollywood into this?
Brian Hollywood: I was about to ask the same fucking question. This fucker destroyed my family’s business. He fucking beat me at War Games, yet you expect me to ‘play nice” with Matthews.
Darin Matthews: Go fuck yourself, Hollywood. You’ll get more action out of your hand than your failed romance attempts with Blair Moise.
Brian Hollywood: At least I can land a girlfriend and not keep fantasizing a dead corpse Mr. Man to..
Darin Matthews: I should have fucking killed you at Normandy. I should have ended your fucking career right like I want to do right now.
I grab the napkin holder in front of Mario and prepare to bash Hollywood’s skull open again. Hollywood proceeds to grab Mario’s glass and pulls it back ready to return the sentiment. Before either one of us strikes, both of Mario’s hands grab us and he glares with an anger I’ve never seen. He sternly points down to the red booth seats as he lectures us.
Mario Maurako: Shut up! Both of you! I swear you two act like a more prepubescent version of Andy Murray and Joe Bergman. And you both have shittier records and trash talking skills too!
Brian Hollywood: Yeah, clearly, I’m Andy Murray! I’ve got the long hair, and the best championship victory to back it…
Mario glares at Hollywood ready to grab the knife in front of him and shank him in the middle of the restaurant. He cracks his knuckles trying to release all the frustration inside of him.
Mario Maurako: Thought so! Maybe those basics your ass better get back to is stop looking like a drug induced Sharon Stone with your shitty ass mop head. You should think twice about back talking to someone who could send your ass to MVW next. Now both of you shut up and read.
Mario cracks Hollywood in the back of the head with his fist as he reaches underneath the table into his briefcase and slaps two thick file folders right in front of both Hollywood and me. While Hollywood struggles to read it, I rush to open it up to find a picture of the night Hollywood and I wrestled Tara Michaels-Davidson and Mike Best and I pinned Mike Best’s ass in the middle of the ring to retain the HOW Tag Team Championships front and center: the night I caused Mike Best to start calling up UTAH on the phone. Underneath the caption read: “WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS,” the song Hollywood and I kept singing to brag about our HOW Tag Team Championship win over John Sekton and Ryan McKenna. As I continued to thumb through the file more memories of Hollywood and I were posted right in front of me. I turned over to see Hollywood absorbing those same memories as Mario nodded in approval.
Mario Maurako: Warms your heart, right?
Darin Matthews: Yeah, anytime I beat Mike Best…
Mario Maurako: Not that, Matthews, you fuck stick! That!
Mario takes his finger and slaps it straight down on the HOW Tag Team Championships with force. He smiles as he looks fondly at the HOW Tag Team Championships as he continues to speak.
Mario Maurako: The HOW Tag Team Championships! The true main event of HOW. Most those idiots don’t even realize many Hall of Famers held those belts and achieved greatness. They cemented their legacies with those belts. Hell, look at you two! Together when you were Sex and Money. You were unstoppable! You knocked off 5 former HOW World Champions together. Some of them great Hall of Famers in their own right. No one could touch the Tag Team of Darin Matthews and Brian Hollywood…
Brian Hollywood: Get to the point, Maurako. I don’t have all day to listen to this shit. I’m only here because I owe you to get my hands on this sick fuck in front of me.
Darin Matthews: The faster I can rid myself of this dead weight, Mario, the better off. Besides, I’ve got to go kick Humpty Doozer’s ass around the Allstate Arena, someone who can wrestle better than the 3-time former HOW World Champion in front of me.
Mario’s had enough! He slams his fists straight down on the table in front of him.
Mario Maurako: I swear to God, Zion, one more peep and you’ll wish you could go back to PWX. I will end your career if you don’t listen. Same goes for you, Hollywood. I’ll slap you so hard you will be able to finally read the sign outside Mike Best’s academy…
Hollywood and I both gulp under our breath as Mario continues to rip our asses.
Mario Maurako: I’m going to put this bluntly to you two get it: I own you both now. You don’t get to say no to this career move. You accepted your fates and you owe the Family your favors now. Andy Murray and Joe Bergman didn’t work out so you’re the next best option. Quite frankly, you both are sleepers with how you’ve both performed over the last year in HOW. I watched your tapes and saw how easily you disposed of the Tag Teams in the second era of HOW. How you two pushed each other to new lengths. How even when you two bickered you continued to push yourselves continuously up the card when everyone else doubted you. I’m going to pull both of your heads out of your asses.
Mario straightens his suit tie for a moment before reaching over for Hollywood’s files. He rips the HOW Tag Team Championship out of the picture and holds it in the air to make a point.
Mario Maurako: Now I know… I had Matthews destroy Hollywood’s precious family business. I lined Hollywood up to lose. I broke you down like Lee broke down Matthews to rebuild you from the ground up. And Matthews, you’ve had your head so far up your ass with your arrogance. It’s time to humble you. It’s for both of your own good.
Darin Matthews: But…
Mario Maurako: No buts! I don’t want to hear the excuses. You both bicker like two brothers who need their asses spanked. FOCUS!
Mario pulls out a piece of paper he pulled off the Fax Machine with the No Remorse Card tentatively planned and slapped it in front of us. His finger goes straight down to the Tag Team Championship match. In big bold letters it read: Hollywood Bruvs vs Egg Bandits. His eyes lit up with intensity as he continued to speak.
Mario Maurako: A little birdy told me those Bandits are getting a Tag Team Championship match soon. And we can’t have that, now can we?
Hollywood and I both look at each other blankly sitting in silence. Mario walks up towards Hollywood before he gets straight up in his face.
Mario Maurako: CAN WE?
Darin Matthews: No, Mario, we cannot.
Mario Maurako: Exactly! That’s when Hollywood comes in! Brian, fast count for Matthews in that match. This isn’t an ask, it’s a demand. You fast count for Matthews and make him win or so help me…
Hollywood gets up from the table and slams the papers straight into Mario’s chest. Defiantly, he marches up to Mario and gets face to face with him. You could feel the heat and anger off radiating off Hollywood from the booths. He scowls at Mario then spits at him.
Brian Hollywood: Fuck off! I don’t need this shit. If I do it, it won’t be for him. It’ll be to get out of owing your ass another favor so I can get my hands on that dipshit right there.
Hollywood storms walks off out of the restaurant. As Mario brushes off his suit with a look of disgust on his face; I stare a hole straight into Mario’s soul. I vehemently hated this idea. I didn’t want to have to carry Hollywood’s ass again. As I sat their motionless, Mario just grasps his head as the scene fades to black.
July 7th, 2020
HOW Training Facility
Numbness best described how my shoulder felt after the loss to Doozer. He jacked my shoulder up so I couldn’t answer the stalled 3-count. I had taken the previous week off to recuperate my injury in the match. It embarrassed me! Your Tyrant of the Territories couldn’t even answer a stalled 3-count! After Hollywood spent much of the match at Normandy beating it out of its socket. Doozer fucked it up and I couldn’t even win the match Mario rigged for me to win. I hated this feeling: humility. It felt do degrading on me. I couldn’t wear that ugly shady of baby blue in my soul! FUCK THAT! Every minute I ran on the treadmill, the thoughts continued to swirl around in my head. I let Mario down. I failed. I couldn’t even beat a fucking Bandit! One that I left burning alive in a Tampa Bay area arena.
But every moment in that match: I kept thinking back to the Deli. I kept focusing on Hollywood. How every moment, he fucked with me in that match. He toyed with my emotions until he finally snapped out of his shit. He kept fucking with me fast counting and toying with my emotions after leaving Mario high and dry: after Mario made his career again! The nerve of that disrespectful cunt! With each step I ran, with each beat in my heart: I kept flashing back to the distractions, the frustrations that kept my mind off Doozer. With each passing moment, I kept seeing that Hollywood sneer in the corner of my eye until he knew I was knocked out. He knew I hurt my shoulder. He fucking knew it all.
As I pumped up the tune of Shinedown on my eye phone, I closed my eyes just running, pushing my body for my tag match with the Bandits. I knew I didn’t have a true partner. I just had a fucking sandbag in my corner that sat there, helpless as fuck without me. A worthless hot air balloon with empty catch phrases that meant jack shit, the kind of jack shit like Max Stryker’s career in HOW meant. As “Bully” blared in my ears, I kept releasing my hatred and pushing forward with my cardio until I opened my eyes and there he stood.
I pulled the emergency stop without hesitation as those cold, angry eyes continued to stare back at me with hatred and vitriol. No pleasantries were exchanged: just hate. As I walk off the treadmill, he slowly straggles over towards me and extends his hand out.
Brian Hollywood: Look, I’ve been doing some thinking and…
I lost my shit. I slammed Hollywood’s body against the glass with every fiber in my body. Blood started to trickle down the back of his head as he let out of a loud scream. My breathing intensified as the veins in my forehead started to pop out. My muscles tensed out as I held him up by his collar just scowling at him.
Darin Matthews: Don’t you fucking dare! Don’t you dare…
Brian Hollywood: I owed you for what you did to me. But I’m…
Darin Matthews: Sorry? Sorry for disrespecting me on National TV because I owed you something for the check, I cashed on your ass at War Games? Fuck that shit! You fucked with my career for the last time. And after Mario fucking gave you a chance?! You better give me 1 good reason why I shouldn’t fucking deliver your head on a silver platter personally to Mario’s desk right now. RIGHT NOW!
Hollywood just stands there and stares blankly back at me. He said nothing for once in his life. He just hung in my fist, reflecting for the first time in his career. I dropped his ass on the ground as I trapped him against the mirror and continued to yell for the entire world to see.
Darin Matthews: You fucking left me to get proverbial egg on my face, and I want nothing more than to beat your fucking ass around Chicago, IL until I leave you as a disheveled corpse for the homeless population to feast on. You almost cost me my job again. Do you know what lengths I went to rebrand? Do you know how hard it is for me not to want to log onto Twitter and fucking rip into dipshits who want to fuck with me? It took me six months to bust my ass, carry MVW on my back alone, and hold its championship only to have to fight and get signed by who I knew, not my own merits. And you think that sweet revenge means more than my journey…
Brian Hollywood: You ruined my family’s…
Darin Matthews: FUCK YOUR FAMILY! I WAS YOUR FAMILY! I cared for your ass on the road when your family left you high and dry. I gave you food, I clothed you, and I made your ass after no one considered you a singles wrestler. You kept getting tag title shots when I excelled over you. I let you room and board with me for free when I didn’t fucking have the job to cover rent alone because I thought you’d have my back.
Brian Hollywood: Who cares? You destroyed my grandfathers…
Darin Matthews: Worthless pendant? After you took the only family, the only job I fucking cared about. You bet your ass I would do that again. I don’t regret a damn fucking thing I did to you after you fucked with me, Hollywood. Yet here you are trying to take away my only father figure, my only dream back away from me again. So yeah, you better believe I fucking don’t trust your ass.
I slapped Hollywood straight across the jaw with force, dropping him towards the ground. I kick him straight in the gut as he just lets out a big wad of spit. I grab him by his long, glorious hair and I make him look me directly in the eye.
Darin Matthews: This is called tough love! It’s time I fucking showed it to you, now that you’re supposedly “my family.” Fucking gravel, fucking resist, I don’t give two fucks what you do Hollywood, but if we’re teaming up again; I better fucking see the old Brian Hollywood out there this week. I won’t accept another loss to the Bandits, especially since they hold a shot to the Bruvs at No Remorse. You know what that means if we win?
Hollywood groans on the ground as he holds his ribs and nods.
Darin Matthews: It means I get my 24th accomplishment and we both walk out with a shot at our 3rd reign with the Tag Team Championships. You know how much I like my accomplishments, you worthless mother fucker.
Darin Matthews: Well? Do you want to speak?
Hollywood coughs for a moment and sticks his finger up trying to stop me as he pulls himself up from the mirror defiantly. He smirks with his evil, deformed smile courtesy of me as he flips me the bird. He wipes the blood from the back of his head as he chuckles for a moment as I let him speak. He slowly sputters the words out of his mouth.
Brian Hollywood: It’s funny, Zion…
Darin Matthews: Matthews…M-A-T-T…
Brian Hollywood: I don’t give a fuck about your name this week, Darin. I take one look at you and see all the disgusting things I did in my career and I regret them all. Watching how you turned into the spitting image of me 3 years ago makes me sick to my stomach. I don’t regret stepping away from my grandfather’s legacy to find myself one bit. I don’t regret fucking with you last week. Nor do I regret selling my soul to Mario to guarantee myself another match with your ass. But if I can’t beat your ass this week, Matthews, rest assured; when I step inside that ring with you in my corner; I going to beat the holy fuck out of those Bandits like I will do to you the next time we fight.
Hollywood stumbles off and I watch as he pulls himself along the mirror and smile as I revel in his pain.
Well Doozer, congratulations are in order. You beat a me when I was a shell of myself last week. Can’t say I don’t blame you for celebrating. You’re living on top of the world. You’ve beaten “The Ordinary Man” Darin Matthews last week and not your Tyrant of the Territories. Good for you, you left egg on my face. You got the last joke. You beat an injured and distracted man. I’m super proud! I’ve sent your participation trophy in the mail. You can decorate Cardboard Dan or the remains of Bobby Dean’s fat folds; however, you see fit.
But this week, I mean business! I took last week to heal my wounds. The doctors said my shoulder healed nicely and my ego is on the mend. And yet again, you get a lucky break. You get to face me and Brian Hollywood in Tag Team action. That’s a cake walk for the Bandits right? Two best friends who love each other so well like you and Zeb Martin get handed two heated rivals ready to kill each other. It’s padding for that future Tag Team Championship match right now. Easy win, right?
Wrong! This week I’m angry. I’m furious I lost. I’m furious that Mario’s making me team up with Hollywood. I know I must carry his weight and mine. I’m used to it these days. I carried my weight in the SEC in MVW. I carried my weight in the Order, I carried my weight in Sex and Money. I hold the whole weight of the world on my shoulders. And it’s made me strong. It’s made me bitter. It’s made me hungry for some gold.
The way I see things, I beat you and Zeb; maybe Mario rips your tag team title shot and puts it around the waist of a true Tag Team Wrestler: Darin Matthews. Let’s face it, Bandits, we all know I’m the star of the newly minted tag team: The Self-Proclaimed Darin Matthews Band. The success of this new tag team will be all because of me and my glorious shoulders. The shoulders that hold 23 different world recognized championships! You guys haven’t done that. My partner hasn’t done that. I’m the star sensation of our team.
I mean I have a good shot at beating Deputy Doozer. Last week, I was distracted. I had an injury. I didn’t perform the way I did at War Games. We all know that. We know my mind was tending to other problems. I can’t wrestle a match like that. You can claim you beat the great Darin Matthews after six months. You pinned my shoulders to the mat. You’re the first one to do it. It’s all great. I’ll let you have that accomplishment. But I won’t let it happen again, Doozer. I won’t accept failure a second time. It just doesn’t look good on me anymore.
After all, I can’t accept failure like Zeb Martin did when he tried to graduate from the Hooked on Phonics courses. Shit I bet Brian Hollywood and he were both classmates! He could do the reading and Hollywood could do the talking. But I digress. I can’t lose to someone who beat also beat Brian Hollywood on his debut in HOW. I won’t allow it to happen. Don’t care if it’s by hook or by crook, I’ll make sure we win that match with or without Hollywood’s help.
Let’s face it, Bandits! Your party is over. I’m stopping it. We can put away the eggs, throw Cardboard Dan in the trash can. It’s done. I’m ending it this week. We’re ringing in a new era of Tag Team wrestling this week on Refueled. The Darin Matthews era! The one where I dominate the tag team scene with some random delusional stalker Mario stuck in my corner. I know, it seems impossible for me to do. But mark my words; I’ll win it for us this week. I’ll take my new team on the road and I will earn myself a shot at the HOW Tag Team Championships by beating the number 1 contenders.
Rest assured, I am not playing this one nice. I’m not playing fair. I will give it my all. And so, help me God, if I must cripple Brian Hollywood to do it; I will beat you Egg Bandits this week. Mark my words, I will do it; and I will do it do it for my own glory.