Next Level

Next Level

Posted on June 17, 2022 at 10:49 pm by Darin Zion

Storytime 4Z Network fans—

Your Zenith of Generation Z could spend all day peddling TM-Z narratives.  I could spend all day spinning narratives like a tabloid.  I could air out all the receipts from all the times Mike and Lee Best lied straight to my face.  Everyone expects me to waste my valuable time pouting and crying crocodile tears in this promo.  Let’s face it the world’s worst kept secret got put out in the open.  Ray Charles could actually see this 16 year scathing rivalry imploding.

I could give the dirt sheets another reason to blast some rumors.  But War Games changed everything.  You all saw that moment on camera.  The 4Z Network came rushing down the ramp, all jacked up on adrenaline.  I rushed the ring like a fat kid in a candy store.  Without a single care in the world, I hit that ring with force.  In one instant, I dashed my own War Games dreams.  Now a giant scar lives on my back as a constant reminder to me.

Laying in the infirmary, getting stitches, listening to gunshots bursting in the background can bring your career into perspective.  I’ll admit for a brief moment, I contemplated retirement.  My mind kept me awake, casting visions of doubts I’d heard for the last 3 years non-stop.

“This isn’t the same Zion from 4 fuckin’ years ago.”

“He’s a goddamn joke.”

“Do the most original thing you can do. Quit this business! Get the hell out! Never return!”

And then reality came crashing down like a 2 ton piano straight on my head.  It felt like I entered one of those old time Tom and Jerry cartoons.  It’s time to fully embrace who the fuck you are at your core.  Every single one of Simon Sparrow’s lessons finally hit that CTE filled brain of mine.  It reawakened a Zion I laid dominant a long time ago.

I’m a bleeding heart rebel with a cause.  After the ink dried on my first PWX deal, I knew I entered on the wrong side of wrestling history.  I wore my heart on my sleeve like a badge of fucking honor.  The first time I stepped into an HOW locker room, I knew I reopened Penguin Hunting Season.  I could feel the scathing gazes from the locker room cutting my back like cold, dull knives, ready to shank me.  But my cold, calloused heart didn’t give one shit about making friends. Day 1, I readied my AK-47s like an execution squad.  I fought back without relenting and I proudly became the most ruthless motherfucker in this company.  I touted I retired Mike Best off to UTAH, just like I retired John Sektor today.  I came in strong, punching back hard against all my fucking doubters.

But as time went on, I grew fuckin’ soft.  I let friendship and reputation blind me while I forged relationships with the locker room.  I became softer than the fuckin’  Stay Puft Marshmellow man out of the Ghostbusters movies.  I lost my own purpose and mission all to my delusions of grandeur.  I lost the root of my cause and wasted valuable time off my career.  And now I’m pissed.  Gone are the days I accept my fate as the personal punching bag of the Best Family.  I’m punching back like Mike Tyson.  Hell, I’ll bite your ear off too.  

Tyler, I want you to understand this because you’re stepping into the ring with that baby back bitch everyone thinks I am.  You’re stepping into the ring with a man who remembers his goddamn purpose.  Use all your daddy’s SKIM reports about my career you want.  Take that gold plated shovel he used to bury Kostoff.  Sling all the fucking feckless, trivial trash talk you want kid.  Because when we step into that ring, I don’t give one damn about your meaningless feelings. Contrary to what society teaches you today; your words hold no power over me.    It’s okay, go ahead and crawl into your fucking safe space like your generation does.  It won’t make me go away.   I ain’t gonna be Marcus Stroman, pitching you any soft pitches, shit head.

It’s about time someone pulls your overinflated head out of your ass, and teaches you discipline. This Winfluence bullshit is what’s wrong with today’s society.  Everyone thinks they’re entitled to their parents’ success.  Parents keep protecting their kids from any kind of failure.  That’s why their kids become the STD’s grafted to the taint of the world. 

TAB, boy, you’re like herpes…and more than you know.  Hell, your mother probably spread it to you when you came out of her pussy.  She probably got it from your dad too.  You let those sore fester too long, and they become insufferable…like you. But lying about their existence doesn’t successfully cure them.  It leads to a slow, painful death.

Failure helps you grow and mold your future successes.  They can craft you into becoming the most dangerous professional wrestler.  God knows how many times I’ve fallen on my ass.  And look where it took me.

I’ve won 7 HOW Championships and 18 other belts outside of this company.  I’m a two time War Games winner.  I’ve fuckin’ main events countless HOW shows over my career.  Hell, I’ve done more in my 15 seconds of fame than you kid.  And I’m more over than your pathetic ass with the crowd too.

So don’t patronize me you pompous, spoiled brat!  If you think you’re gonna hear me give you an offhanded compliment for winning War Games; FUCK YOU!  You haven’t done enough in this business to earn my fuckin’ respect.  Maybe instead of hiding behind that hedge of protection daddy gives you, carry my fuckin’ bags.  Set up the goddamn ring.  Take your hot dog and a handshake and be fuckin’ grateful.   Don’t waste your time getting edgy tattoos.  Man the fuck up.  Stop acting like a child.  HOW already suffered through Sutler Reynolds-Kael, and we don’t need another carbon copy. 

You think your fuckin’ special?  Your shticks become banal and trite.  Everyone groaned when the big reveal happened.  They all lived through your father beating that story into the ground.  Your cousin Sutler bastardized the concept.   The horse is dead, kid.  Your family flogged it too many times.  No need to go back to the well to kill it any longer. 

The Best Privilege story is dead; it won’t save your career. Congratulations on topping the charts for two weeks.  But you’re about to become the disgrace to the Best Throne.  Like A-Ha, you’re about to become a One Hit Wonder.  You’ll take on me but your career won’t survive to tell the tale.  No outside interference will save you from my war path.  I give Uncle Jace, Daddy Mike, and Grandpappy Lee a chance to run out and protect you.  

I’m gonna open up an honest can of whoop ass on you. I won’t waste any time in ripping that silver spoon Mike Best jammed in your mouth.  I’ll jab it so hard into your face; they’ll cast you as Sloth in Goonies 2.  By the end of the night kid, I’ll make you wish your mother aborted you to save you from the miserable existence.  I’ll make you look just as insufferable your attitude does, kid.

It’s about time someone humbled you, kid.  And that someone is me!  Contrary to popular belief, you didn’t squash the revoluZION at War Games.  You won’t stop The Great LiberaZION happening at the Refueled C.  Just because you and America beat Conor doesn’t mean it dies.  I’ve realized my purpose in this life.  I’m here to act as the eternal thorn in the Best Family’s asses.  I don’t care if you make my life a living hell.   Go ahead and bury my ass 6 feet under. Throw another $97K in fines at me.    I will keep rising up out of the ashes like Kostoff until I raise ole #97Red.  No amount of suffering will keep me from realizing my destiny.

And Sunday’s the chance to do it.  Spoiler Alert to all the marks out there.  We damn well know you called Grandpa Lee up about enacting the Captain’s Advantage.  It’s no fuckin’ surprise a brat like you would screw his own team mate over.  You probably don’t have the balls to fight America like your father did anyways.  Typical cheap Best tactics on display.

But I pray you did it.  I hope to GOD you fuckin’ make that mistake, child..  Because when I beat your ass in front of the world.  I punch my damn ticket to the HOW World Championship.  I will do the impossible and upset the fuckin’ champ after a brutal War Games.  There’s no sweeter vindication than embarrassing the child of Mike Best to stake my claim at main eventing a Pay-Per-View.

You think you can cast doubts?  Bitch please!  The 4Z Network’s thrivin’ now.  The inevitable heist of the century will happen.  No matter what the cost, Tyler; I’m gunning for the win.  I’m clawing for that HOW World Championship of yours.  There’s no distractions keeping me from ole #97Red.  Not even your fuckin father’s mind games.

This is my time to take the reins of the locker room.  And you damn well bet I’ll force you to respect your new, benevolent locker room leader.


Once again, I tap the record button on my iPhone 13 Pro to end the recording.  A heavy and exasperated sigh comes from my exhausted lungs.  A few taps later and I upload my promo to the HOTV website.  Rolling my eyes a couple times into the back of my head, I gaze over to a picture frame.  I can’t take my eyes off it.  It’s a picture of Lexi and Meredith.  The vivid memories flood the cortex of my brain.  Three familiar smiles haunt me as a small tear rolls down my eye.  It’s Lexi’s birthday party over in England.  Wiping away the small tear, I take a deep breath.

“No!  Can’t look back!  Not during the biggest match to date of my career.  It’s long overdue I break through that glass ceiling.  Time to take my career to the next level.  Tired of punks like Best Junior strutting to their top.  None of these punk ass bitches have set up the damn ring here.  Lee and Mike hoist those generational talents to the board room.  Fuck that shit!”

I look utterly foolish talking to thin air.  After looking past the concussion from Jace’s stomp, a glimmer of pre-War Games shenanigans surfaces.

“FUCK!   That’s right.  I haven’t replaced Chives yet.  Poor old bastard went tumbling down the stairs.  Accidents happen I guess…”

A brief moment lapses when everything blacks out.  After shaking my head, everything comes back into focus.  I pull myself out of bed to look around the vacant log cabin around me.  After War Games I flew back to the states to an undisclosed cabin in Arkansas.  Instead of focusing on stupid shit like streaming; I spent time living off the land.  It felt nice to escape the constant barrage of Tweets, messages, etc from fans. It was mutually refreshing to escape the constant critiques of my peers for a week.

I needed to enjoy the simple things in life.  Outside of a day binger last night with the final bottle of whiskey in my secret cabin, I’d stayed away from the stuff to maintain focus.  It’s highly important I don’t lose one ounce of focus…for her….

“God damn!  6’o clock!  Fuck I slept in!”

Realizing I’d overslept, I rushed to throw on a short sleeve shirt and some cargo shorts.  Hobbling out the front door, I stretched and woke up.  Processing the To Do List, it seems like I’ve got a good day of training ahead of me.

  • Cutting wood for lumber, cooking, and building purposes
  • Cooking a hearty breakfast.
  • Catching Fish for Lunch and Dinner
  • Daily Workout Regiment of running, kayaking, etc.
  • Watching my little tapes of Tyler Street’s career.

Fuck my bones ache!  Taking some time to enjoy the cool, refreshing morning air; it made my body feel 10 years younger.  Too often I’d spent a lot of time planting my ass down and reading dirty sheet bullshit.  I wanted to course correct every which way.  But after having a small mental breakdown at War Games; I couldn’t get distracted again.  I’d rented this cabin to purge myself of the distractions.

But here I sat in bed, looking at that dumb fuckin’ picture from the past.

“Once again, no one here to fucking cheer my on.  How typical!”

The swelling bitterness of my heart rises to the surface.  I clench my fist tightly towards my side while my face burns red.  This year’s loss wasn’t like the GL214 loss.  Everyone went their separate directions outside Jatt and myself.  And let’s face it, while I love Jatt,  I needed a few days to soul search away from him.

Outside of the wrestlers who support me, I’ve chased all my friends away for her…

And don’t get me started with my family!  Between all their deaths and my deadbeat parents.  I fuckin’ hated it.  Grinding my teeth together, I reflect on how great Tyler Best has it.  Little cunt’s got daddy’s money to pay for everything now.  Bastard never watched his paychecks fall apart because of the inflation problems.  Hell, daddy probably never fined his ass.  Not like his ass couldn’t handle the $75K fines I had…FUCK THAT SHIT.

My phone starts buzzing and I toss it off to the corner.  Spraying half a can of Axe body spray on, I walk over towards the kitchen sink.   I crack open the window and a massive heat wave slaps me straight across the face.

“FUCKIN’ HELL ON EARTH!  Good, it’ll prepare me for the heat.  I need to strengthen and condition my body.  SHE needs me to do it for her…”

A nervous tick occurs while I hobble over to reach for my ax.  Tensing up, my back aches with a sharp pain for the barbed wire.  But I had no one else to do the chores.  Everything lied in my hands.

“I look inside myself

To see my heart is black

I see my red door

I must have it painted black”

I sing under my breath marching along in the woods.  As I get to the tall oak trees further in the woods.  I raise my tool towards the sky and smack it with force against the tree.  Repeating the process until the damn thing fell, I kept chopping up the wood.  Every motion kept strengthening my muscles.  After a few hours, I walk back over to my porch, with sweat drenching down my face.  I reach down for a washcloth to wipe my forehead, but notice…a picture of her.

“#97Red…oh how the last 4 years have haunted me.  I’ve tried and tried but fate keeps me from reaching you.  But now, I’m away from all those voices in my head.  I’m away from the distractions.  It’s only you and me out here now.  You’re inches away from me.  If I can put an end to that snobbish little brat of Mike Best’s.  But he won’t kill our dreams of being out here.  OH NO!  He won’t strike gold 3 times…”

Rocking back and forth for a moment, a sinister smile twirls across my cheek.  My body shakes while a crazed laugh comes out from my belly.  As it grows, so too do my body tremors.    While I crack my knuckles together, an unknown ringtone snaps me back to reality.  An unknown number calls me.  I rarely have those.

Ringing once…

Ringing twice…

Ringing thre…

“Hello?!” I responded, hanging on the line for a couple of minutes.  The silence almost maddens me more while I sit patiently in my wooden rocking chair.

A deep, gravelly voice plays in my ears.  I lean forward, tapping my fingers together and listen intently.  “I know you want that HOW World Championship more than life itself.  I can see the obsession growing in your eyes more and more every day.   It PAAAAAINS you to have to sit on the sidelines, waiting for your turn.  It crushes your soul so much, you’ve basically cast aside the only people that you care about in the world.  The #97Red does that to you.”


The voice wastes no time in cutting me off and mocking me some more.  “The 4Z Network, Cool Refreshing Iced Z…we fuckin’ know.  You obsess about it only 500 times a promo.  Fuckin’ give it a break man.  The Vi-Zion-ary clearly needs some Clear Eyes.  Otherwise you’re gonna burn down everything Jatt Starr gave you.”

“It’s Sir Simon Sparrow to you douchebag.  The Rembrandt of Wrestling wouldn’t appreciate you using the incorrect name.”

“Don’t you correct ME?!”  The mysterious person barks at me.  Taking a deep breath, my eyes start burning with hatred.  Leaning back, I entertain this person.

“Alright, quit fuckin’ around.  You’re cutting into valuable training time.  I don’t need this shit right now.”

Silence…I can tell the voice doesn’t like me pushing back.  “Tick tock, Zion.  You want to unleash that inner darkness in your soul.  You got a choice to make.  You’ve only got another 5…4…3…2…”

“I’m ready!!!  I’m READY!”


The line went dead.  A regular occurrence that’s happened the last few weeks.  Perplexed, I gaze down to my cell phone.  No reception!  FUCK!  Before picking my ax up to hit the grind, I reach down into my pocket.  I pulled out the now crumpled up picture of #97Red.   A tune comes out of my mouth.

“It all belongs to me.  Everything I see.  North, South, East and West.  I caress it cause I possess it.  It’s MINE!  MINE!  MINE!”