We go live just a mere hour after Refueled LXII has ended inside the Staples Center, in Los Angeles, California. A confident smile is seen on my face from a job well done tonight taking care of Ray McAvay earlier. I stride my way towards the back entrance of the building with Madison by my side. The sound of the wheels on concrete echoes throughout the building. The source of the sound coming from the black suitcases that Madison and I are each dragging along with us.
“Did we really have to pack ahead of time and bring this luggage with us?” Madison asks, already tired of having to drag her suitcase.
“We’re in Los Angeles, California.” I began. “Did you really expect me to fly us all the way across the country just to go home and pack now? Just to do that and fly all the way back out here to board the ship for next week’s show? Don’t be ridiculous.”
“We could have spent the entire week back in Florida but someone had to season Ray McAvay in eleven herbs and spices tonight.”
I narrow my eyes and glare over towards Madison.
“You think I was just going to let him slide on what and his floozy did to us after my match last week? I bet he wishes he never would have left that 214 section to use the restroom now.” I stated proudly.
“I just wonder what he’s going to come out like, original recipe or extra crispy?”
“Can’t say I didn’t warn him. I told him he wasn’t going to make it to the War Games match in one piece. Maybe now everyone knows I’m a man of my word.” I said with a shrug.
Madison and I reach the back entrance doors and push them open. The cool night breeze hits us in the face as we step out into the parking lot. Suddenly the sound of my cell phone ringing echoes out from my pocket. I stop in my tracks and wave to Madison to hold up a second.
“Let me find out who this is, then we can go.”
I reached into my pocket and pulled out my phone. I looked down at the screen but didn’t recognize the number that was calling. My first instinct was to let it go to voicemail but I said fuck it and answered anyway.
“Hello, who is this?” I asked as the person on the other end spoke.
“I don’t know if you’ll remember me, but my is Linda. I’m the stripper you met in Vegas that you handed your business card to. I’m calling about the job offer.”
“Oh right, I remember you Linda. Glad to hear that you want to be a part of the team.”
“I gave it some thought and the stripping thing just isn’t working for me. Just what are looking at money wise with this job?” Linda inquired.
“First off you’ll be working with some high profile clients and everything is kept on the down low. Pay wise you’re looking at about $200 per massage and up to $1,000 for any additional services rendered, if you catch my drift.”
“That sounds wonderful! When do I get to sign on the dotted line?”
“I’ll get you in touch with my sister Bailey, she handles the day to day business while I’m on the road competing. She’ll send over the paperwork and then you can get started immediately. For now I gotta run, I got a boat to Japan to catch next week. Talk soon Linda, buh-bye.”
I ended the call and slid the phone back into my pocket as the sound of a female voice makes me raise my head into the air.
I turned and looked over at Madison who was playing on her own phone.
“What do you want Madi?”
“The hell? That wasn’t me!”
I raised my eyebrow in curiosity as I began to scan the parking lot trying to find the source of the random female voice. My eyes fixed on a female figure leaned up against a black 2021 Lincoln Navigator. However this wasn’t just any figure but the body of someone I hadn’t seen in years.
“Well I’ll be damned.” I exclaimed wide eyed.
The female figure pushed herself off of the Lincoln Navigator and began to walk over towards where Madison and I were standing. She looked Madison and I in the eyes as she stood under the glow of one of the lights in the parking lot and there was no denying who she was.
Former HOW superstar Carmen Jennings.
“Who’s the broad?” Madison asks as she nudges me in the ribs with her elbow.
“I could ask you the exact same thing but then again… I really don’t want to know.” Carmen replied sarcastically as focused her eyes on me.
“Okay ladies play nice, no need to unleash the claws. Madison this is Carmen Jennings, she’s a former HOW wrestler.”
“A former ICON Champion is what you meant to say.” Carmen interjected.
“Your reign as ICON Champion was back in 2012 and lasted seven days, so settle down there killer.”
Carmen steps forward and raises her right hand into the air to slap me across the face as hard as she can.
“Want to say that again?” Carmen questioned as she placed her hands on her hips.
I raised my free hand up to the side of my face feeling it stinging from the hard slap. Madison took a step forward but I reached out and pulled her back.
“Alright, clearly we got off on the wrong foot. Let’s start over. It’s good to see you Carmen, how about a hug?”
I offered as I extended both of my arms out wide towards Carmen who just shakes her head.
“That’s going to be a negative, I know where you’ve been.” She uttered pointing towards Madison.
“Then why exactly are you here Carmen? Are you looking to get back into HOW? All you gotta do is have sex with Lee Best and you’re as good as signed.”
I pointed out as Carmen’s face distorted into pure disgust over the thought of intercourse with the GOD of HOW.
“Honestly, I’d rather stitch up my vagina before letting Lee Best anywhere near it. And for your information, my wrestling days are far behind me so I don’t exactly want back into HOW as a superstar. However, I do want some of the perks of being one.” She said with a bit of glee.
“What exactly do you mean by perks?”
“You’re shit out of luck toots, I’ve already claimed the role of his manager!” Madison shouted.
“I’m not talking about managing him, I’m talking about the trip to Japan.” Carmen groaned.
“You’re kidding, right? You want me to bring you along on the USS Octane, so that you can get a free trip to Japan? You’ve lost your fucking mind, lady! I got an important match next week that I need to focus on. Then after that it’s War Games, so excuse me but I don’t have time to be your personal travel agent.”
I grabbed a hold of Madison and pushed my way past Carmen. Yet before I could get too far Carmen reaches out and grabs a hold of my arm to stop me.
“An important match you say? You mean that cakewalk of a handicapped match you have against Darin Zion? Oh, I can imagine that’s going to be so tough for you.”
“Are you really trying to judge me here? I’m a member of The Best Alliance and it’s my job to take out anyone that dares opposes us. Sure I might be teaming up with Steve Solex and the HOW World Champion Cancer Jiles but it’s Zion’s mouth that wrote a check that his ass can’t cash.”
“What happened to you? Doing Lee Best’s dirty work? Teaming with the HOW World Champion? The Jace I knew would be the one fighting against three other people and winning. The Jace I remember wouldn’t be holding hands with the Champion, he’d be taking that title away from him.”
I bit down on my bottom lip in frustration as I spun around to look at Carmen and the smug grin that was on her face. Sure she had a point but War Games was right around the corner and there would be plenty of time to put gold around my waist.
“Look, right now my focus is on Darin Zion. If he can manage to beat not just me but two other Best Alliance members. One of them being the HOW World Champion, all by himself? Then we might as well shut down High Octane Wrestling for good before ever getting to Japan.”
“If Darin Zion Beats you ever then you might as well retire again cause you surely don’t got it anymore.” Carmen remarked.
“Is this how you try to convince someone to take you to Japan for free? Maybe you should hunt down Zion and ask him to take you, I’m sure Meredith hasn’t gone as far as to touch his no-no square yet. So again thanks for the walk down memory lane but my answer is no.”
“Sayonara bitch!” Madison chimed in while throwing up the peace sign.
“Shame really, I guess you’re going to miss out on getting me to work for you.”
“You? Work for me?!” I asked as I pointed towards Carmen then to my own chest.
“I need a job, gotta make payments on that beauty over there.” Carmen pointed over toward the Lincoln Navigator. “And I hear you’re going around hiring massage therapists.”
Madison goes to speak up but I extend my arm to silence her.
“So you’re saying…”
“Walk with me and I’ll tell you exactly what I’m saying.”
Carmen headed back over towards the Lincoln Navigator as Madison and I looked on. After a moment of thought I shrugged my shoulders and decided we should follow behind her.
“So after wrestling I needed to find a purpose and a way to make money. So I decided to become a trained and licensed masseuse.” Carmen explained.
“A trained and licensed masseuse and you want a job from me? You do realize the kind of clientele that I deal with and the services that are offered, right?”
“I’m used to dealing with athletes and didn’t I just tell you I was a trained and licensed masseuse? There will be no extra services rendered from me.” Carmen commanded.
“Then tell me why I should hire you?”
“Right now you’re dealing with mid-level talent. Now if you want to really get some high profile clients, you’re going to need people who know what they are doing. Not just someone who can massage a groin area.”
Carmen opened the back of the Lincoln Navigator then invited Madison and I to place our suitcases inside. With no limo in sight waiting for us we took her up on her offer.
“So basically, you will work for me as a trained masseuse to attract more high priced talent. And all I have to get is get you aboard the USS Octane and give you a free trip to Japan?”
“That is the deal, take it or leave it.”
“Something tells me I’m going to regret this but fine you got a deal.” I stated sealing the deal with a handshake.
“Hop in and I’ll drive you back to your hotel room then we can discuss my salary.”
“Does no one realize I need to prepare for Darin Zion?!”
I shouted into the night but Carmen pays no attention as she slides into the drivers side of the vehicle. Madison and I enter the Navigator as the engine roars to life and the scene fades.
Stop. Rewind. Play.
No matter how many times I rewound the tape it was the same thing every time. Even here at 3:46am on Thursday morning I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why of all the moves in the world that Darin Zion chose…
Darin Zion stands at six feet tall and weighs 223lbs and he really thought a discus clothesline was the move that would punch his ticket to victory? I can see if it was Dan Ryan or Chris Kostoff we were talking about. That would make sense but clearly Darin Zion and sense don’t mix.
Did he really expect a move like that to work against Arthur Pleasant? Sure, he was about the same weight as Zion but stood three inches taller. And let’s not forget Clay Byrd who stands six foot seven inches tall and nearly 300lbs. Did Zion really walk into that match going yeah I’m going to discus clothesline the fuck outta this guy and win?
Loss, after loss, after loss and yet here he is spinning in the ring like a top trying to hit that damn clothesline. Sutler Reynolds-Kael is one of the smallest members of the roster and you didn’t see him trying to finish off Dan Ryan with a spinning clothesline. No, he waited until he had an opening and he rolled his big ass up for the win. Zion is about the same size as Lindsay Troy. A woman, one that doesn’t go around trying to win matches against her male opponents using a spinning clothesline.
Yet here this motherfucker is…
Even the name is fucking stupid. It’s something Lee Best threatens Zion with when he just doesn’t shut the hell up. Does Zion believe he’s ripped with 24 inch pythons? Maybe one of them dorky elbow pads is loaded with something? And yet the guy wonders why he’s on a losing streak.
I’m almost tempted to just stand there and take the full force of one of his Ban Hammers just to show him how much of a futile effort it is. I don’t need to look out for this move, I don’t need to scout this fucker. All I need to do dump Zion on that big dumb head of his then stomp his cranium out on the canvas like the butt of a cigarette. Then just like every other match on this tape, this match will end with Zion staring up at the lights.
Saturday afternoon had rolled around and I found myself back inside Carmen Jennings’ 2021 Lincoln Navigator. Carmen was behind the wheel driving towards where the USS Octane was docked. I was seated in the back of the vehicle alongside Madison who was sitting beside me. Madison held her rose gold IPhone 12 in the air pointed directly at me. I guess Now was as good as time as any to address Zion.
“Zion, just what have you gotten yourself into? A three on one handicapped match against three Best Alliance members. One of them being the current HOW World Champion and of course one of them being The King of Everything. I can see you’ve come up with a plan of attack going into this thing. A training camp out in the desert digging toilets in the ground.”
I shake my head at the sheer absurdity of it all but then against this was Darin Zion that I’m talking about here.
“Forgive me if I don’t see the connection between shitting in the desert like it’s your personal litter box and a three on one beat down. I guess shitting in a hole is better than shitting your pants. Yet somehow all of this has given you a stiff upper lip and it seems you’re trying to tackle this thing head on. However remember you asked for this Darin. You called out The Best Alliance, you picked the 214 side and now your punishment has arrived.”
I paused for a moment and stared out of the window as the world buzzing by as Carmen continued to drive to our destination. I let out a small sigh and turned back towards Madison.
“Naturally all your flip flopping and multiple personalities has got you to the point where you’ve got a mountain to climb. Just last week you played the humble card and actually thought it was a good idea to ask forgiveness from Lee Best. You realized you were alone in this fight since the 214’s could give less than a desert shit about you. Now this week you’re back to rawr do it for section 214! Make up your fucking mind already you asshole!”
I reached up with my right hand and rubbed my fingers through my hair slowly before plopping it back down onto my lap.
“Either way, the match is made and the stage is set. You’ve got your little plan and you’ve spotted the weak link in Solex. Good job in figuring out the obvious, dipshit. Hell, you’ve even designated a promo for each of us. First one for Solex, second for the Champ, and of course you saved the best for last. That’s because you know I’m the biggest threat in this match. I’m the guy that set Ray McAvay on fire, so what do you think I’d do to you Zion?”
I asked with a tilt of my head to the side but of course I knew I wasn’t going to get an answer.
“You see Jiles wants to toss you overboard. Solex would rather be baby oiling himself, but me? I want to hurt you Zion. It’s a shame really since I know you look up to me. From day one you wanted to be everything I was. A champion, my success, my fame, my women. You wanted it all so much that even though I treated you like shit you followed me right over to 4CW after HOW’s doors closed. So how are you going to tackle me, Zion?”
I raised my right hand into the air and extended all five fingers.
“You going to talk about how I left HOW on more than one occasion even though you stayed until the bitter end?”
I curled one finger.
“Are you going to talk about how Stevens ended my career for five years?”
“Maybe you are going to talk about my ex-wife Tara and my divorce?”
A third finger.
“Makes no difference to me Zion because the sad truth is you’ll never be as good as I am. You don’t understand the price of greatness. You can’t comprehend the weight of dominance. You have no idea what it’s like week after week getting everyone’s best shot regardless of the opponent. You don’t know the toll it takes on your body when your name alone brings out everyone A+ game. This is why Lee doesn’t trust you with nothing more than mid-card garbage. Instead of understanding you just run off at the mouth.”
I open and close my right hand repeatedly as if to emulate Zion flapping his gums.
“You’re liable to say any stupid thing that comes to mind like this juicy quote from one of your promos where you say and I quote ‘You’re fighting two men who are angry they’ve not been shafted time in and time out.’ I mean really, Zion? Shafted by who? Lee Best? Are you angry at The Best Alliance because Lee hasn’t bent you over his desk and given you the old bottom line from behind? Ridiculous, absolutely pathetic that you don’t think before you speak.”
I laced my fingers together and cracked my knuckles which echoes throughout the back of the vehicle.
“Yet you just keep going and you think Solex or not that Jiles and I are going to sit back and let you win this match. This isn’t a match Zion, it’s a brawl, it’s a fight for your very survival. The moment we see Solex slipping one of us is going to jump in and destroy you. Maybe it’ll be after the match. One way or another you’re leaving this match with a limp. All the Ban Hammers in the world can’t save you. This pressure, this price of greatness is way too much for you to handle.
“That’s because you’re broke in more ways than one.”
And with that Madison stops recording and lowers her phone. It isn’t long before we reach the majestic USS Octane and stand in awe of what is about to go down in just few hours as the scene fades.