Hopeless Wanderer

Hopeless Wanderer

Posted on May 29, 2024 at 11:50 pm by Darin Zion

It’s been an agonizing night for Darin Zion, haunted by the shocking loss at the hands of Scott Stevens. A single, swift, and fateful Toxic Sting obliterated Darin’s momentum in one cruel, devastating instant. After a flawless streak of victories in singles matches against Stevens, the sting of defeat cuts deep, each moment feeling like the final, crushing blow to his career. The weight of failure looms heavily, an unbearable burden as he grapples with the reality that he couldn’t accomplish something so simple for his father: destroying Scott Stevens.

Every step Darin takes feels like an eternity as he drags himself down the aisle, the walk of shame through Gorilla Position seeming interminable. The backstage area is a blur of sympathetic faces, but he doesn’t dare meet the eyes of his father’s staff, the shame too overwhelming. His face is a mask of despair, hidden beneath a black and #97Red towel. The echoes of the arena’s roar now mock him, each cheer a reminder of his fall from grace.

Darin’s thoughts spiral into a dark abyss as he contemplates the ramifications of his loss. The once-unblemished record, the accolades, and the pride he carried for his father now seem distant memories, replaced by the harsh reality of failure. His spirit feels crushed, his War Games dreams shattered, completely far off, and the bitter taste of missed opportunity lingers. With every step, he feels the weight of his shattered dreams, the bitter taste of missed opportunity, and the crushing realization that his spirit may never fully recover from this devastating blow.

As Darin rests along the wall, he’s suddenly surrounded by a camera crew, focusing on him during his weakest moment.  He’s drenched in sweat and weariness, fuming as he proceeds forward.  His shoulders slump, his head hangs low, each step heavy with the weight of his transgressions. The muffled roars of the audience linger in the background, a reminder of the match lost. Zion wipes the sweat from his face, trying to clear away the frustration.

As he walks further backstage, he’s abruptly stopped by Brian Bare, HOW’s resident interviewer.  Bare eagerly thrusts a microphone in front of Zion’s face. Bare, with his oblivious look, his big nose, his nose and a wide-eyed look, stammers out his question.

Brian Bare: Brian Bare here!  I am here interviewing Darin Zion after his heartbreaking loss to Scott Stevens here at the Best Arena tonight for HOWrestling.com.

Darin’s heart drops into his chest realizing he’s not even worthy in his father’s eyes to be featured on the main HOW program tonight.  His disposition completely changes as he slowly sinks down to the wall sitting on the ground.  Brian Bare doesn’t pick up this and follows Zion’s moments, continuing with his interview for this new HOW feature.

Brian Bare:  Honestly, everyone has ebbs and flows in their career.  However 2024 hasn’t been kind to you.  You’ve only picked up one loss over the LBI winner in tag team action.

Darin’s completely seething now.  His trademark veins begins to throb in his forehead, indicating he wants to kill Bare in this moment.  Through his better judgement, he continues to take the brutal, cold hard truth being presented to him.

Brian Bare:  Tell our viewers at home. What are your future plans?  Do you think you have a chance of being drafted onto any War Games team now with the performances you’ve been giving over the past few weeks?

Darin pulls himself off the ground, rage coursing through his veins, his eyes locking onto Brian Bare with a fierce intensity. His breaths are ragged, each inhale and exhale fueled by a cocktail of anger and humiliation. Slowly, deliberately, he advances toward the veteran interviewer, his presence menacing and overpowering. With each step, Bare’s eyes widen in terror, his back pressing against the cold, unforgiving wall as Zion corners him. The camera crew captures every agonizing second, their lenses trained on the unfolding drama.

As Darin reaches Bare, he grabs him by the collar, the fabric bunching under his white-knuckled grip. With a terrifying calmness, he begins to hoist Bare off the ground, the interviewer’s feet dangling helplessly.

Before Zion can dress down Bare verbally, a large figure charges into the scene. Big Mack Rossi, towering at 6’ 4” and weighing 257 pounds, steps into frame, his presence immediately dwarfing both men. Darin quickly drops Bare to the ground carefully while Rossi pushes past him.  Rossi’s grizzled face and intense stare make Bare take a step back in fear. In a gruff tone, Rossi issues his threat.

Big Mack Rossi: You’ve got some nerve, you pencil necked little dwarf, addressing my boy Zion’s failures.  Why don’t you leave that to a businessman like me.

Bare’s eyes widen, his hands trembling as he clutches the microphone. He glances nervously at Zion who’s is completely devoid of emotion, then back at Rossi, clearly intimidated by the old man’s stature.

Brian Bare: I-I um okay…

Brian Bare is completely paralyzed in place, still wanting to proceed with this interview segment.   Mack continues to bark orders at the vigilant Bare.

Big Mack Rossi:  Did I stutter?  Darin’s not available right now for interviews.  If you’d like to continue; you could meet my “boys” and they’ll definitely show you just exactly Darin Zion will be feeling after such an embarrassing performance this week.

Brian Bare:  Look, I’m not trying to start any trouble with you, mister.

Big Mack Rossi:  Call me, Big Mack.  I don’t like being addressed formally

Brian Bare:  Riiiiiight!!!! Big Mack, listen.  I’ve got a job to do.  I can’t leave here without getting something for Lee Best’s website.  With all due respect, he’ll do worse things to me not addressing HOW’s Prodigal Son.

Cutting Bare off mid-sentence, Big Mack immediately cracks his knuckles, the sound echoing ominously through the corridor. He steps closer to Brian Bare, his broad shoulders casting an intimidating shadow. His nostrils flare with barely contained fury, and his chest heaves as he puffs up, his presence radiating raw, unrestrained power.

Brian Bare:  I’ll just be heading on my way now.

Bare excuses himself while he stumbles backward, nearly tripping over his own feet. As he scurries away, the microphone dropping with a clatter. Meanwhile, Zion, still nursing his wounded pride, looks at Rossi, then shakes his head, muttering under his breath with frustration in his tone

Darin Zion: Not now, Mack!  I’m not in the fucking mood to hear it.

Big Mack Rossi: Of course not!  In typical Zion fashion, you don’t want to address the failure you’ve become.  Let me guess, you want time to spin fuckin’ excuses for what happened tonight.  You’re fuckin’ pathetic!  You’ve become a weak, soft little nerd and you deserve every ounce of wrath the GOD of HOW will bestow upon you.

Without warning, Zion turns and exits the conversation, his footsteps echoing in the now quieter backstage corridor. Rossi watches him go, a mix of annoyance and something else—perhaps understanding—flickering across his rugged features. He sighs, then glances at the retreating form of Bare before turning his attention back to the direction Zion disappeared in.

Big Mack Rossi:  You can’t walk away from me that easily, Zion.  I can promise you, Zion; our business isn’t finished.  Not by a long shot.  When my colleagues find you; I can promise you…

Zion completely ignores his business manager, continuing to storm off into the distance.  The camera lingers on Rossi for a moment before Rossi yanks it out of the camera man’s hands.  He tosses the camera down before the scene fades off into static.

==========

“And the GOD’S anger was kindled against Zion, and he made his son wander in the wilderness forty years, until all the generation that had done evil in the sight of the GOD was gone”

—Numbers 32:13, or some shit Zion made up in his head.

Darin Zion trudged aimlessly through the scorching desert, each step a laborious effort as the unforgiving sun beat down on his weary frame. The harsh rays sapped his energy, leaving him feeling more exhausted and hopeless with every passing moment. His once pristine Final Alliance jacket was now caked with dust and sweat, the tattered clothes beneath it remnants of his former glory at the Best Arena. Zion was a pitiful sight, far removed from the confident wrestler who had once captivated audiences with his prowess and charisma.

The desert’s relentless conditions had taken their toll on Zion’s appearance, accentuating the inner turmoil that ravaged his spirit. A five o’clock shadow had formed on his once clean-shaven face, casting a shadow of neglect over his features. His hair, which he had always kept meticulously styled, was now a tangled, matted mess, strands clinging to his forehead and neck with sweat. The disarray of his outward appearance mirrored the chaos within, as Zion grappled with a deep-seated loathing for the man he had become.

Under his adoptive father’s guidance, the GOD of HOW, Zion had hoped to find purpose and strength. Instead, he found himself spiraling into self-doubt and disdain. He no longer recognized the reflection staring back at him, a man defeated not only in the ring but in his own heart. The weight of his recent failures, particularly his humiliating loss, crushed his spirit. Zion loathed himself deeply, the once unshakable confidence now shattered. As he wandered the desolate expanse, he couldn’t escape the gnawing feeling of having betrayed both his own ideals and the expectations placed upon him.

He’d become a man lost in body and spirit. The vast expanse of barren sand began to mirror the desolation he felt within, a stark contrast to the roaring crowds and blinding lights of the ring.

Zion’s mind was a tumultuous storm of regret and shame, his thoughts circling endlessly around his recent failure. He had forsaken his adoptive father, the GOD of HOW, with his dismal performance, and now he wandered this wasteland in a self-imposed penance.   While he didn’t have 40 years to wander the desert; he felt that 97 Hours and 97 Minutes would suffice.

For Zion, he was on a spiritual quest, trying to find something deep down he’d lost.  He longed for wisdom in his personal exodus from society, hoping to gain clarity or some lesson.

Darin closes his eyes, trying desperately to flash back to some point in his past where Mack had taught him some valuable nugget.  Hell, he’d take an old flashback to one of his moments of promise from the glory days of his HOW career.  He clasps his hands together praying, hoping to find something in the labyrinth of his own shattered psyche.

Unfortunately there was nothing left!!!

All vestiges of the past were burnt up amongst all his treasured possessions of last week.  Zion dropped to the sand, pounding it, tears rolling down his eyes.

Darin Zion:  This is fuckin’ meaningless.  Absolutely meaningless now.  I have nothing left!   All I’ve got is a broken heart, filled with rage and anger.

Zion’s stomach began to rumble, cutting him off mid-sentence.  He rushed over towards a cactus, enduring the brutal pain to give his body any form of substance.

As he wallowed in self-loathing, a glimmer of this week’s Chaos card flashed through Darin Zion’s mind, a memory collected from one of the wrap sheets posted in the backstage area. He recalled the unsettling realization that he would once again face off against his fellow Best Alliance members. This time, he was teaming up with Drew Mitchell, the former HOW LSD Champion.

“GREAT! I’M ANCHORED DOWN BY ANOTHER LOSER!” he thought bitterly, anger beginning to swell in his rumbling belly. The frustration gnawed at him, intensifying his sense of despair and fueling the growing tempest of rage within the depths of his soul.

Knowing deep down he needed to deliver something to the HOW faithful, Zion pulled out his dust-covered phone. Typically, he preferred to cut more polished promos, but this time, he didn’t care about maintaining his image. Fueled by rage and deep frustration at being punished by his father, he recorded a seething, hate-filled promo, unleashing all his pent-up emotions in a raw, unfiltered torrent.  Darin’s voice trembled with simmering frustration.

“Week after week, I pour every ounce of my soul and undying love into this company, into serving my father. While every other cog in his well-oiled Machine gives their top-performances, I’ve offered nothing but my unwavering loyalty and respect. Even when I needed to step away, I didn’t flee to UTAH or PRIME like some coward. No, I remained here, in the heart of HOW, giving everything I had to him.”

His words echoed with bitterness, the weight of his sacrifices heavy upon his shoulders, bitterness creeping more into each word he speaks. “Sure,I may have toyed with his enemies during those times. But every action, every alliance forged, was a testament to the love and care the GOD of HOW claims to embody. And yet, what do I receive in return? Punishment. Humiliation. Betrayal.”

Anger simmered beneath the surface, threatening to erupt as Zion’s voice grew louder, his frustration boiling over.  He clenches his fists tightly together, shaking them while he continues his tirade.

”Week after week, ever since the inception of 2024 War Games season, my father sees fit to tether me to some sorry excuse for a competitor in desperate need of a boost. It all began with Scott Stevens, a temporary pairing that only served to drag me down. And now, the burden of my perceived transgressions falls upon the shoulders of Drew Mitchell, a former LSD Champion who couldn’t even overcome the likes of Evan Ward to secure the last captain spot for War Games.

Drew may have promised to keep his focus, to stay out of his own way, but what happened when faced with the unbridled chaos of Evan Ward?

He lost his damn mind, losing sight of the finish line in a fit of unchecked frustration. Instead of aligning me with Solex and Sektor, as befits a Final Alliance member in training, I’m shackled to a man whose grip on dominance in the most brutal division of HOW is slipping. It’s a slap in the face, a betrayal of everything I’ve worked for, to be paired with someone who can’t even maintain his own stature in the ring.”

With a heavy heart, Darin Zion draws in a deep, labored breath, the weight of his disappointment evident in the way his chest rises and falls. He cracks his neck, a sharp snap punctuating the air, releasing some of the pent-up tension and anger that courses through his veins. As he speaks, his voice carries the weight of his despair, each word tinged with bitterness and frustration.

”He sees me as nothing more than a warm-up dummy, a disposable pawn to be sacrificed for the sake of grooming his so-called cream of the crop talent within the Final Alliance.

Apparently, even those adorned with the coveted jackets require practice sessions this season to ensure another War Games victory over our rivals—the nerds, the lovable idiots who, in truth, I do not deserve to be associated with anymore. Yet here I am, forced to aid in salvaging their pathetic chances at claiming victory in the damn event.

No, I belong at my father’s side, despite being relegated to the disheveled left hand of the GOD of HOW. I am worthy of standing among his chosen prophets, destined to inherit his legacy.

Even the greatest have faltered before; even the best have tasted defeat at the hands of Scott Stevens once. But apparently, my father continues to see my actions as a betrayal, and I am made to bear the burden of my performance sins. Even after proving my worth by shaking the worlds of his two prized champions; the 2024 LBI winner, Steve Solex, and the most dominant HOW World Champion in history, Christopher America.”

A chuckle escapes Darin Zion’s lips as he flashes back to that pivotal moment, reliving the satisfaction of driving Steve Solex’s head into the canvas and pinning his shoulders to the mat. In the midst of his recent string of misfortune, it stands out as a proud achievement, a flicker of triumph amidst the darkness. The memory fuels him, reigniting a sense of purpose and determination within him.

”You see, I’ve already proven that I can handle the challenges that GOD throws my way. Remember when the odds seemed stacked against Darin Zion and Scott Stevens in that tag team exhibition? Well, I not only faced the challenge head-on but excelled at it. I took down The Manliest Man of HOW, the chosen one, and son of GOD himself, Mike Best.

I tore the last shreds of respect from Steve Solex’s floundering career, watching him crash and burn in front of the millions of HOW faithful. And now, he’s paired with the longest-reigning HOTv Champion in history and the man whom the HOW World Title continues to elude, John Sektor. By all accounts, I should be a goner at Sektor’s hands. He’s one of the best competitors in HOW today. Yet here he is, weighed down by Steve Solex’s dead weight, unable to produce anything worthwhile.

Indeed, that very same Steve Solex, touted as the greatest man to ever win the LBI. I dismantled the individual Lee and Mike hold in the highest regard, regarded as one of HOW’s most formidable soldiers, and shattered all his aspirations and ambitions of gaining any momentum in this War Games match.”

Darin Zion’s breath catches in his throat as a sudden epiphany washes over him, a surge of clarity piercing through the haze of uncertainty. With a decisive motion, he rips off his bedazzled custom Final Alliance jacket, casting it down onto the unforgiving desert sands. In that moment, fueled by an unwavering determination, he resolves to defy the insurmountable odds that lay ahead, alongside Drew Mitchell, this week.

”Well, here’s my big revelation: this week, I’m raising the stakes to the damn max. I know, without a shadow of doubt, that I damn well deserve to ascend within the ranks of the Final Alliance. I deserve to stand shoulder to shoulder with the victors of this year’s War Games. One hundred percent, I merit the honor of representing Michael and Lee Best’s team. Maybe I resent the hand I’ve been dealt, maybe it seems like ingratitude for what’s about to unfold.

But no, it’s quite the opposite. I’m laying it all on the line, taking a leap of faith that I believe should earn me favor in the eyes of the GOD of HOW. I’m stepping onto that Go-Home Show with everything I’ve got. I deserve my promotion to full-fledged membership. I deserve to stand among the legends of HOW and claim my redemption on the journey to War Games.

This week, it’s put up or shut up time. If GOD wants me to continue exposing just how far his alliance has fallen, then so be it. I’ll expose the weakest link. I’ll bring down Solex once again. And mark my words, I’ll repeat what happened two weeks ago. I’ll crush his skull in. I’ll ensure Sektor is neutralized. And once again, I’ll walk out with another victory etched into my belt as we head into War Games.”

Darin Zion powers down his phone, resuming his trek through the unforgiving desert, steeling himself for the monumental tag team match that awaits—the defining moment of his career, where he aims to reaffirm his unwavering devotion to his Father, the GOD of HOW.  With a chip on his shoulder, he marches with purpose, ready to make his opponents feel the anger he feels deep inside.