Tuesday, August 3rd, 2021
Crown Point, IN
Back Alley of the OPW Headquarters
The street lamps beam a hollow, bright orange in this alleyway Jarome sealed off from the public. Everywhere I turn I either see ramshackle brick walls or barbed wire fencing. Under the dingy, run down street lights; Jarome stood with a confident stride. Wearing some old basketball shorts and a tank top, he doubles his fists up.
As he motions, he asks. “What’re you waitin’ for, Zion? I told you that you have to make the first move.” He motions for me to charge him, taunting me in a flamboyant way. He extends his hands in the air. I bob my head from side to side assessing the situation. Something doesn’t feel right about this rendezvous. Jarome is always two steps ahead of his opponents. Goosebumps tingle up and down my spine as I approach him with caution.
My head snaps around at a rapid pace. Whew! It’s only raccoons scavenging around the trash bins behind the building. Walking up to him, my eyes squint to display my heightened awareness.
“You never let me have the first move, Owens. What’s the catch?” I ask him with a sense of doubt. I hobble over to him as his chest protrudes out.
“Nothin’! No catches here! “ Jarome responds with a wicked smile that outlines his face. His eyes expand, highlighting the callousness in his heart. Comprehending the fact Jarome would not show his hand until obliged, I cave in. I stroll over to him, cock my fist back, and swing at him with all my might.
Jarome capitalizes on my naivety in one swift instantace. Reaching behind him to retrieve his cane, he sweeps my knees out from under me. My ass falls straight into the pavement with force. Snapping his fingers Mr Owens summons his OPW Tag Team Champions Sledge and Sludge. Their collective is only known as Bulldozer Incorporated. All three of them begin an onslaught of kicks aimed at my ribs.
Stuttering as I attempt to roll out of the way, I stutter out, “This ISN’T fair!”
Jarome ridicules me as his two mastodons resume my bludgeoning. “LIfe’s not fair, kid. You’re stepping in the ring with the motherfuckin’ Best Alliance this week. You of all people on God’s green earth struggle to acknowledge that truth. Lee throws you curveballs weekly trying to break your spirit. Hell, Sektor isn’t opposed to getting down and dirty. When in the fuck are you gonna realize, you gotta fight back.”
Jarome slaps his bodyguards on the back. “Carry on, boys! His brain’ll kick in eventually, if he wants to survive tonight.”
Both Sledge and Sludge lift my limp carcass off the ground and hurl me into the corner. My eyes dart around looking for any way out of this predicament. In an abrupt flash, they lock onto an unopened bottle of Jack Daniels in the corner. Cracking open the bottle, I chug as much of the liquid I can. I smash it against Sludge’s head in a cold, calculated demeanor. I lunge my shoulder right at Sledge’s gut. My nerves kick in and I bash his skull first into the wall as his fat ass drops to the ground.
Immediately with a free opportunity, I set my sights on the mastermind of the set up. Owen’s mind is aloof as he boasts to himself about the whole operation. Without a second of hesitation, I kick the cane out of Jarome’s hands and grab it. After clocking him with the gold head of his cane, I wrap it around his neck. Squeezing the lock in with all my might, his face turns a vivid purple tint. Cinching the lock in airtight, everything in the background fades from obscurity. This was it; my revenge! Jarome’s gasping for air at MY hands. For the first time in forever, confidence oozes from my eyes. They burn with an intense fire. I slug my right knuckles into his chest a few times for good measure.
Yet it’s still another empty victory for Zion; both of Jarome’s heavies yank me by my shoulders. My feet glide through the air as the OPW Tag Team Champions drop me to my knees. Brushing off the dirt and grime from his shoulder, Jarome arrogantly hobbles to his feet. He chortles at my dismay. He balks at me with a raucous tone.
“It’s a real shame, boys. The protege takes his eyes off the prize yet again. And here I thought he found the confidence he lacks. HA! I admit he fought in a valiant style. But Darin Doorite loses this unexpected 3 on 1 handicap match we set up for him. Tisk! Tisk! Tisk. I’m ashamed to call you a friend.”
He motions for Sledge to cling to my nose. On a dime, my jaw flings open gasping for sweet air. Extracting a silver flash from his shorts, Jarome pours the contents into my mouth. He presses my jaw closed at once. He growls at me with fierce hatred burning in from his eyes. “Swallow your damn medicine like a man, Zion. This is what failure tastes like.”
YUCK! The liquid he gave me is straight gin! I fucking hate gin! Spontaneously both members of Bulldozer Inc. slam the back of my head point-blank against the concrete several times. They knock the wind out of my lungs, and I gasp for air out of desperation. Jarome pulls another small baggie laced with a white powder. I glare at him helpless to his next step of his nefarious scheme. He barks out as he leans in to pour the powder, knowing I’ll inhale it.
“Nighty, Night; Darin Doorite! Now you’ll suffer the consequences of your insubordination!”
Thursday, August 5th, 2021
Motor City Casino Hotel Bar
After checking in and settling my belongings into my room near the site of this week’s show, I could finally rest. My head proceeds to pound, agonizing me with every step. My bloodshot eyes twinge at an accelerated speed. The symptoms of withdrawal keep panging at me. I am exasperated from all the abuse dealt to me at the hands of Mr. Owens. Bruises cover my arm up and down. I couldn’t hide the scar underneath my eyelids. My appearance gives the aura like I strolled out from the depths of hell. My soul desires to cloister myself off from the surroundings of this busy casino. I only want to sit at the bar, enjoy a drink, and process my emotional turmoil.
But as I progress to the curved countertop of the bar; my eyes spy a familiar face: Teddy Palmer.
Teddy’s posture emits a warm, welcoming vibe. He’s sharing stories while sipping on his trademark cocktail: Jack Daniels and Coke. I hobble over to him with caution, trying not to draw attention to my appearance. As I flag down the bartender to order the same thing, Conor Fuse Style; his eyes meet mine. A smile extends from his grizzled face while he greets me.
Immediately, he blurts out at the top of his lungs, “What the fuck happened to you, Zion? You look like a bag of shit!”
“I don’t want to talk about it….” I murmur in a reserved tone. “My training sessions this week are the epitome of hell on earth.”
The bartender slides me a bottle of Coca-Cola. I guzzle it down before I smack the bottle against the marble countertop with vigor. Shaking my head at my conundrum, I try ignoring the misery gnawing at the pit of my stomach. Teddy’s bushy eyebrows rise and his interest peaks. He asks me point-blank. “Hell you say? Gimme the deets.”
“I put all my trust in the wrong person. He continues exploiting my past and belittling me every step of the way.” I say it with a long face, just gazing off into the flatscreen television in front of me.
Palmer raises his glass up to finish off his drink before motioning for another. His eyes bulge awestruck. “Damn!” He exclaims. “That fucking sucks!”
“Tell me about it!” I retort as I casually crack a smile.
I could read Teddy’s desire to be a brotherly figure towards me. I unfold my arms and swing my body open towards him while I sipped away at my Coke. I lay out all my grievances with Jarome as I continue.
“He’s got an…unorthodox way of getting me into Sektor’s mind set; I don’t understand these methods. They feel off-putting to me. It’s like he wants to witness another failure. I only asked him to sharpen my style. I’ve got to hit Sektor hard and fast. John’s got an aggressive nature in that ring. He always pounces on top of you at any given moment.”
After nodding unequivocally, Teddy interjects his opinion with his enthusiasm. “Speaking from experience; he ain’t wrong. Sektor gets flustered when he ain’t in control inside that ring. So don’t you let up, not for one fuckin’ second. Don’t hand those reins over to him. YOU need to dictate the pace of that match.”
“Oh…” I mumble under my breath, folding my arms around my chest to close myself off from him. My eyes sink straight down to gaze at the beautiful black and white marble top counter. Sitting in silence for a moment, I muster up the rest of my courage to finish my thoughts “I see…”
Teddy’s eyes open wide, acknowledging the change in my tone and mannerisms. “Don’t get it twisted, I ain’t saying you lose yourself in bad advice. Forget that dipshit trainer of yours, just focus on the underlying lesson. You gotta show some confidence out there against Sektor. You let any weakness shine through and he’ll rip you apart.”
I look up to the ceiling rolling my eye balls. I take in a deep breath yammering on in a deflated, frustrated voice. “Textbook Sektor! I’ve lived through it for the last week. I’m exhausted because if I’m being honest here. I want to be on the card at Bottomline. It’s exasperating to always fall short and get thrown into a clusterfuck match last minute. I’m hungry for more. Clay Byrd and John Sektor continue to scheme on how to pick you apart limb by limb. They expect the Best Alliance will have the advantage walking into the Best Arena. For once, I would like to disrupt the BA’s plans. I don’t want to fluke my way into the situation. I want to earn it. Sektor’s on a tear and I want his LSD Championship reign to end at my hands.”
As my eyes flare up, Teddy smacks me a few times against the chest. “That’s your fuckin’ spark right there, buddy. Bring that hunger, that passion to the ring against that leather-skinned skid mark. He doesn’t have the heart you do. He’s The Machine, right?. Well throw a wrench into his fuckin’ gears. The crowd believes in you. Fuck, I believe in you, Zion!”
I chuckle under my breath before sliding the bartender my card to pay for both Teddy and I’s drinks. Teddy smirks at me. “Eh, you didn’t have to do that, bro.”
“Well maybe it’s nice to hear some encouragement for a change. I hear it every week from both you and Conor. But after all the years that HOW has torn me down; it’s hard for me to buy into the idea of self-confidence.” I respond back to him
Palmer extends me an invitation. “If you have some time right now, I could give you a few pointers before the night ends.”
I pause for a moment as my iPhone vibrates against my hips. Reaching down to extract it out of the pocket of my jeans, I skim the message Jarome left me.
“Come outside now! I got a remedy for that headache of yours”
My shoulders droop down and my face elongates because I know I have to turn him down. “Sorry, man; I’ve got some ‘business’ to tend to outside. Maybe we can catch up at rehearsal tomorrow at the arena and I can take you up on that offer.”
Teddy shakes his head in agreement. “Handle your shit first and I expect to see you first thing in the morning. Don’t miss it!”
I salute him as I rush bitterly towards the door. My fists clench together tightly before I exit the hotel. I can’t let them fester up any more. It’s now or never. It’s time to show the confidence I’ve lacked for the last few years.
Thursday, August 5th, 2021
Outside of the Motor City Casino Hotel
Heading towards the back of the hotel; Jarome notices me right away. Pulling out another baggie from his suit coat; he flaunts the cocaine in the open. He shouts out to garner my attention. “I GOT THE GOODS, ZION! RIGHT HERE!”
Cracking my neck I jaunt right up to his face. . Sweat flows down from my palms as my eyelids twitch. Not going to like his offer tempted the fuck out of me! He continues to seduce me, dangling the bag right in front of my face. “No freebies any more, Zion. You gotta pay for the good; and I know you want ‘em! I see how your shoulders flutter from side to side. You’re holding back your cravings buddy. Go on! Give in again, my friend. Indulge for a change. Jarome’s your man! I’ve got you! You need to let off a bit of steam before you throw down with the Sekt Man. Do the right thing, Darin Doorite. Give in, man!”
Wavering in the moment, I fumble into my pockets trying to find some cash. Before I can finish the transaction, Teddy Palmer’s voice echoes in my mind.
“Don’t listen to that disphit trainer. You DICTATE the pace. Show your confidence off.!”
Without a single bit of hesitation, I haul off and slug Jarome Owens across the jaw. He flies back down to the pavement with style. I smash my fist into his nose once more for good measure. I grab him by his collar, look him directly in his beady little eyes, and I take command of the situation.
“Fuck off, Jarome! I don’t need your shitty business tactics in my life. I’ve got my shit together now, and I won’t back down. You’re damn right I needed to find my moxie before I step foot into the ring with John Sektor, and this is IT. I’m my own damn person and I’m going to pave my way without a fuckin’ fix. My fix is that LSD Championship and I won’t let you or anyone else fuck that up for me.”
I storm off not looking back at him. He vehemently calls out with rancor in his voice. “You’ll regret crossing me, Zion. You will rue this day. Mark my words; I will make you pay.”
I scream out with confidence as I continue back into my room. “Go to hell, you fuckstick.”
For once, I didn’t sit on anyone’s advice. I got aggressive and took care of my business. I’ve grown tired of wearing my heart on my sleeve. I’ve been the shit stained doormat in my own life story far too long. Tonight, I seized control of my story. I dictate it’s pace. It’s mine now; and I choose the LSD Championship over any of my past vices. It’s time to stop using crutches and bring that aggression into the squared circle. If I don’t; it’s another chance for you to capitalize on my naivety. It’s another notch of disappointment. And worse yet, it’s another squandered opportunity at championship gold.
It’s my damn time to win some singles gold; I’m going to yank that LSD Title right off John’s waist without any qualms about it. I’m leaving Detroit with some new hardware. I will create my own brand of chaos as I head into Bottomline as the LSD Champion.
“¡Si la perra muerde fuerte; muerdes más fuerte!”
Bet you didn’t expect me to know any Spanish. You’ve always viewed me as a thick-skulled simp so I’m betting you’re shitting yourself right now. I’m not an uncultured swine, Sektor. I have layers. I’m more than the stubborn, boisterous kid that buys into his own hype. I’ve grown since our last few encounters. Helps when you’ve shed the weight of a deadbeat tag team partner.
At this moment, I can feel you begging for me to be that old dipshit Hollywood Boy you squashed. You’re craving those moments where I run to my well of cringe-worthy one liners. You want to hear the sweet tone of classic Zion lines ringing through your ears. Those trite lines of “Dollar Store Danny Trejo” or “Deadbeat Dad of the Year” always show my lack of creativity. It’s the same low hanging fruit everyone lobs at you. It fits the “Lazy Zion” narrative you and the Best Alliance always try to hammer home to your buddies. You want me comfortable in my complacency. It’s an easy exploit you can expose to destroy me in that ring in Detroit. It gives you the control you desire so you can keep that LSD Championship around your waist.
Ever since you returned in the Refueled era, you’ve had my number in every encounter. You toss me around like I’m some rag doll. You beat me within an inch of my life and cut a month off my career. You battered and broke my spirits. Hell, you ended my dreams to walk out of War Games with the HOW World Championship. You seized an opportunity, picked up my scraps to lock in the Sektor Lock, and you injured my neck.
I’m not going to lie about it; all that shit has stuck with me. It’s festered deep down inside me giving me so much fuel to train harder. I don’t blame you for doing your job. You’re one of the most aggressive HOW wrestlers on this roster. Your loyalty to Lee never waivers; and you stop everything in your way to complete a task he assigns you. Shit, I’m not even jealous of your talents.
I’m mad at myself for neglecting that fact in our last encounters.
See that Spanish line I threw out; it has a lot of meaning to me. Back in my training days out in San Francisco; my favorite trainer always repeated that line. “If the bitch bites hard; you bite back harder.” I didn’t realize it until now but he was telling all his young prospects to cling to their confidence and hunger.
You say I took a step back, but I’ve moved forward with my career when I moved back to Crown Point. Sure I’ve taken missteps and misjudged old friends, but that’s the beauty of mistakes: you grow from them!
I’ve chased complacency for a long time, Johnny Boy. I knew that luxurious mansion held me back from my potential. It allowed me to rest on my laurels and cost me many opportunities. I embraced those flaws and moved into a tighter space. I plunged into the cutthroat town where my wrestling career soared. I knew it’d bring out some pent up aggression that I’ve allowed to lay dormant for the past 3 years since I returned to HOW.
I’ve grown weary of chasing those glory days. I want a new challenge in my life. I’ve embraced those journeys and struggles as I move forward. But you haven’t. See you might not be chasing briefcases of cocaine, bottles of liquor, or Marlboro Reds; but you have a new fix. You just haven’t admitted it to yourself.
Nostalgia’s a helluva drug, Sektor! It stimulates your brain to crave more. It makes you hallucinate that you can capture that glimpse of glory you once held. But it’s ultimately the depressant that kills off ingenuity and creativity. Your gears get stuck in that shit and it stunts your growth.
You keep chasing after that Old John Sektor mentality. To your credit, it brought you a lot of gold. You attribute this newfound violent, combative nature of yours to the good ole’ days. But I remember an older version of you kept handing over wins to a younger version of me. If you ain’t careful; history could repeat itself in Detroit, Michigan.
What’s sad is, I’m more afraid of the present than the ghosts of your Christmas past. I’ll admit flat out, I was more confident walking into my Sutler match last week than this one. I could rely on my old fix of complacency. I didn’t have to challenge myself to find my aggressive nature. I could coast off my oblivious nature and watch the crowd roar. I could be the same bumbling idiot and get my jollies off on almost coming close.
But this week, I’ve got a new craving and desire in my heart.
I’m desperate to win some singles gold. Every opportunity has eluded me for the last 3 years. I’ve always been the bridesmaid and never the fuckin’ bride. It’s crushed my soul every time I’ve taken repeated loss. I’ve come so close for so long, it’s pathetic at this point. And what’s worse; my hunger gnaws at me viciously each day it’s ignored.
You can judge me for flaws and errors; but I won’t let you or the Best Alliance dictate my story anymore. I’m the agent of chaos about to derail all your plans for the “Lee and Sektor Division.” I plan on bringing my own flair to the LSD Championship. For 3 years I’ve harbored a lot of lethal and sadistic thoughts over every one of my losses. At Refueled LXX, I’m going to unleash every one of them in my offense against you.
I won’t let up or back down; I will control the pace of this match. You will see a Zion no one has ever seen in that ring. I am bound and determined to win that LSD Championship no matter what the cost. I’m going to tip the balance in the Bottomline match up and make it a Fatal Four Way.
It’s time to punch my ticket to Chicago and earn my spot on a Pay Per View card.
You can lean on your bromance with Lee or Clay all day if you want. I don’t give a fuck. You won’t escape the inevitable tide changing. Detroit’s where I write the closing moments to this chapter filled with drought.
I will be the new LSD Champion and I will get the instant gratification of ending your reign of terror, Sektor.