FADE: on the infamous blue eyes, of one High Octane Wrestling’s newest superstars, Triple X.
“What’s crazy is…”
The worn, aging, rugged, infamous grizzled old ring veteran closed his eyes, inhaling deeply…
To Be Continued…
“I think I’ve got it figured out.”
Ivy McGinnis-Stevens was mid-bite of her Lobster pasta when she realized that this probably wouldn’t be their usual dinner date. Sure, there were all the typical bells and whistles, Sean had suggested a fancy restaurant by the beach – at a private, candle-lit, VIP table, outdoors, with an incredible view – that was close enough to hear the soothing sounds of the waves crashing ashore, but far enough to not get wet.
It was a beautiful, relaxing day, but Ivy’s intuition prepared her in advance for the conversation that was about to transpire, thus preventing her from truly being able to enjoy it. Sean had been in a literal trance for the better part of the day, deep in his thoughts and Ivy learned a long time ago that when he was in this frame of mind, it’s best to let him clear his head, then talk his way through it when he was ready.
The woman previously known as ‘The Psycho Bitch’ wiped the corner of her mouth, “Yeah? I assumed you would. What’s the verdict?”
Trance or not, Sean most certainly looked the part. Clad in a white, linen, short sleeved, button-up shirt, blue khaki shorts and matching dark blue crocs, his hair had grown a bit since he was last seen on television, but it (and his beard were) in definite need of a trim.
Fortunately, Ivy loved his mountain man look.
“I need to take a step backwards,” Sean replied.
“No going backwards, babes.” Ivy cut him off.
“I know, I know. I’m speaking more in terms of my mentality. When was I at my absolute best? What was my mind like back then? What drove me?”
“Respect.” Ivy quickly responded, shrugging. “You showed up like a big swingin’ dick and nobody accepted you back in the day –”
Stevens smirked arrogantly, “Nobody? How’d that turn out for you?”
“Quite well, eventually “Ivy mumbled under her breath “…dick.” Blushing at his arrogance, that she still stubbornly refuses to admit she loves so much all these years later.
Stevens winked, happily getting at least one over on his motormouth wife.
“But you were still relatively young, babe. It took a minute, but you eventually did everything in your power t’try and show the boys that’cha respected ‘em and that’cha were part’a the locker room atmosphere. That’s when they started seein’ what I saw.”
“That’s my point. I’m not as good as I was. I was never the most imposing guy, and I would never insult anyone’s intelligence by pretending I was the best wrestler in the world, but I was always smarter than almost everyone I wrestled. That, plus the talent that I did have put me in position. But it was the ruthlessness … I didn’t care what I had to do to win, or who I had to step on.”
“Babe. You threw a man off a roof because he got in your way. You don’t have to remind me of who you used to be.”
“Right. I was a monster. Channeling the worst part of me worked wonders for my career. Once I stopped caring about being friendly, I started gaining the notoriety I craved. I’m wondering if that’s what’s missing?”
“But Sean … you’re a much different man than you were back then. You know this ish, dunno why I’m sayin’ it, but… dude, you’re an incredible Father and husband and – most importantly, a fuckin’ partner – but … you know the shirt you always leave on the bed when you hit the road for a stretch’a shows? I might call you out for it, but… I still sleep with it when I miss you the most.”
She looks down, shaking her head as if to chase these vulnerable thoughts away.
“Babe. Those moments get me lost in my thoughts. How crazy of a whirlwind this ride’s been with us. Thankful I am that I didn’t listen to my gut at the time and gave you the chance you deserved.”
Ivy tilts her head, revealing a vulnerability that doesn’t look natural on her. “I’m a lucky woman, Sean, and I don’t know if I want the old Sean back.”
Stevens ran his fingers through his scruff for a moment, then looked deeply into his wife’s eyes.
“I am a different man. And I will never change or neglect my family for anything or one, let alone the wrestling business. In fact, I need my family–
“–I need you more now than I ever have. You’re the missing link to all of this.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Just enjoy your dinner, my Love. We’ll work out the details later.” Sean leaned over their table and planted Ivy with a passionate kiss, as they continued eating, while the beautiful scenery around them did what beautiful scenery does best.
What’s crazy is…
I was going to turn heel, Steve.
The camera zoomed in on the closed eyes of Triple X. And then he opened them. There was a look of determination that hadn’t been seen since he returned to professional wrestling at the beginning of the year.
I was two seconds away from saying fuck this comeback tour, fuck all of you disrespectful, ungrateful, punk ass, pissant, sons-of-bitches, and I was going to terrorize this place in a way that was familiar to me.
Because then, and only then – deep in those thoughts of burning this company to the ground – did I feel normal.
Trip did his best to prevent the devilish grin – that eventually broke through on his face – from surfacing. He couldn’t help himself, though … visualizing the best moments of his wrestling career tended to bring out that side of him.
Listen man, I’m two up and two down this year.
I’ve lost matches to people that aren’t worthy of carrying my bags, and I’ve beaten a legend that I’ve had the pleasure of traveling up and down the roads with for a stretch that I have immense respect for. I’m on a two-match win streak, and I seem to have found my footing around here.
But don’t get it twisted, you little ass boy. I did that shit on auto pilot.
Just imagine what I could do if I cared enough to interject myself in the current goings on around here? Imagine if I really paid attention, watched film, and stuck my nose in the title picture? Rivaled with some of you? Or … what would happen if I decided to care enough about someone that I’d be willing to hurt them if they pissed me off?
Steve, I don’t know if you can hear it in my voice, but that shit makes my blood boil and my body tingle. That’s the part of wrestling that I love. That’s the part of wrestling that I missed when I went away for so long, and that’s the part that I thought I needed to reclaim, in order to do what I came here to do, and that’s win another World Heavyweight Championship.
…and, then you attacked me.
A loud pop echoed as Sean cracked his neck.
…and, I’ll call a spade a spade … You got me good, too.
I didn’t see you coming at all, and you were smart about it. You caught me slipping after an emotionally draining victory, where I went into that match questioning if I was good enough, or if I should retire.
You beat me up so bad that I had to get help to the back, because even though my brain told me I could get to and through the curtain on my own, my body reminded me that I’m a forty year old man.
And, as I made my way up the ramp, slowly, I heard you speak. And, the more you spoke? The angrier I got. I became so enraged, Steve. My body began to tingle again in that way that it did when I thought I had to be evil to exist in this place, and it was when I stopped at the top of the ramp and looked back at you that my blood began to boil in that bad way, but instead of busting a vein, or retaliating right then and there … all I could do was smile.
Because you did it, Steve.
You made me feel again. You made me care.
Prayer hands emoji.
And now? My days, my nights … I am borderline obsessed with—
Sean paused suddenly, then began laughing uncontrollably at the thought..
—Listen, I was at my kid’s football game the other day, thinking about beating you the fuck up. Thinking about the look on your face when I gave you your receipt, and pushed over your dumb ass concession stand, and watched your merch scatter everywhere, watching your arms flail, looking like an idiot as you tried to recover whatever you could.
I have become consumed with you. I’m almost ashamed to admit that I’ve salivated at the thought of putting you in your place. Putting you in your bitch ass, retro, wash, rinse, repeat cycle, bum ass, boring, 80’s wrestling throwback, place.
So, where does that leave us?
Being honest, before you disrespected me a month or so ago, I didn’t even know who you were, and that’s more my fault than a knock on you, but it’s my truth. But as you found out, I’m a fast learner. I know how to find you, just like you knew how to find me. I know how to cheap shot you, or attack you from behind, and you’ve proven to be equally as skilled in that department.
But we don’t have to worry about all of that anymore. Your name is on the dotted line and so is mine.
So that means no more sneaking up from behind. You think you’re better than me? You want the mantle of Legend Killer? You think you’re good enough to dispose of everybody in High Octane with notoriety?
Well, now you get your opportunity. Come see what the fuss is about. You get a bird’s eye view of the hype, and you’re either going to make a statement and a name for yourself, by destroying one of the most illustrious reputations in the history of professional wrestling, or you’re going to do what every single person before you has done.
You’re going to try. You’re going to fail. Then you’re going to make excuses, because making excuses is a lot easier than looking in the mirror and facing the reality that you, young man, are not as good or as special as you thought you were, and your dumb ass gimmick heavy Tag Titles run is about as good as it’s going to get for you.
Me? I’m going to Starbucks to get an Iced Grande upside down Caramel Macchiato with Almond milk, and a lemon pound cake for my Wife. Because while you may not know or want to accept it … this is one of the biggest moments of your life.
And for me? It’s Tuesday. You, me … this … is just another ordinary day in my week on my list of things that concern me. Right behind the late fees that I’ll accrue by not picking up my dry cleaning on time.
FADE TO BLACK.