The space was an elegant, executive style office with a brown luxurious desk and high brown leather chair but was otherwise cold. The right side of the office, however, displayed a much more personal atmosphere. This is where his gym was located. There was an assortment of exercise equipment from benches, barbells, and racks of free weights to elliptical machines, stationary bikes and treadmills. This place was truly his sanctuary, not because of the gym per say, but because of the framed wrestling posters/ads with which the walls were decorated.
Capone took a deep breath as if it were the first time he laid eyes on these priceless mementos (to him). This was all the motivation he needed to keep going. Kevin came up to the first one, a cheap Kinko’s flyer with colors faded like a book cover left out in the sun. The event featured Capone’s debut match in wrestling. Every match except his was listed on the card. At the time, he didn’t care. He was just happy to finally get paid. Here’s an excerpt:
CONCRETE JUNGLE WRESTLING
Great Action on display!
The CJW Tag-team Champions – The Fruits in Suits take on The Broncos…plus much much more!
May 14th, 2001…Lost Battalion Hall – Queens, NY
Tickets only $5
Capone poured himself some seltzer water in short glass. He fell back into his high chair and stared off pensively. He began turning the top of the glass with his thumb and index finger in a never-ending cycle. His pondering glare never once leaving the poster on the wall.
A small private gymnasium. The lights are dimmed and the gym is empty except for two figures, dressed in workout gear, each respectively standing under and by a bench press rack. Upon closer inspection, one of the individuals is Kevin Capone. Capone was on the bench and turned to his partner.
“Hey, urgh, Murdock,” Kevin managed to spew as he racked the bar, sweat beading on his George Jefferson with dreads. “Put another plate on.”
Murdock reached over to the rack and added a fourth plate to both sides of the barbell. He then walked behind the bar and prepared to spot his partner. Capone laid down and re-positioned himself under the bar. He took a deep breath, grasped the bar, and raised it off the stand. The sound of breathing was heard through each rep.
“Come on, man” Murdock began, while towering over Capone at almost 7 feet tall. “You got this. All you, all you.”
Capone continued lifting, noticeably at a slower pace due to the added weight.
“Kevin, listen man. Hey. Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what you have here. That’s what you’ve earned here. One match. If you wrestled ’em ten times, they might win nine. But not this match. Not at Refueled Seventy. At Refueled, you grapple with them. At Refueled, you run the ropes with them. And you shut them down because you can! At Refueled, you are the greatest wrestler—”
“Woah, woah, Stop,” Kevin said cringing, courtesy of the weight and words.
Murdock looked perplexed as Capone racked the bar. Kevin pulled himself up and looked over at his workout partner.
“Why are you quoting, ‘Miracle’?” Kevin asked, eye-brows furrowed and head slanted.
“What do you mean?” Murdock retorted confused. “I was trying to pump you up and help you finish. That was me giving you some pre-match encouragement.”
“That was Herb Brooks’ pregame speech from the movie, ‘Miracle’. Verbatim,” Capone continued with more than a tinge of annoyance in his voice. “You just took out the hockey jargon and replaced it with wrestling lingo.”
Murdock scrunched his face sheepishly, “Yeah I guess.”
“Well, knock it off,” added Kevin, a horrible combination of age and the gravity of the matter at hand getting to him. “You sound like an idiot.”
Just then, a young woman walked toward them wearing workout clothes as well. Her ever done long black hair was flicking back and forth as she made her way carrying three water bottles. Murdock turned to the woman as she approached.
“Cindy, don’t you ever get pumped up watching old sports movies?” Murdock questioned turning his attention to the less grumpy of the group. “Like Rocky, or the Little Giants?”
Both Kevin and Cindy gave him a raised eyebrow.
“Well, I don’t know about all that,” Cindy said tossing Capone and Murdock each a bottle of water as Capone got up and headed for the heavy bag. “But I will admit, when I was playing softball in college, one of my superstitions was watching ‘A League of Our Own’ every Thursday night before a game. I can practically recite that movie by heart.”
“Hey Kurt Russell,” Kevin yelled across the room while removing his workout gloves, grabbing a roll of tape, and beginning to tape his fists. “You wanna cut the chit-chat with Geena Davis and come over and hold the bag?”
Murdock and Cindy arrived at the punching bag as Capone finished wrapping his hands. Murdock steadied the bag as Kevin tossed the roll of tape to the ground. Kevin began jabbing.
“I’m telling you man, some Rocky music right now,” continued Murdock, not letting up his grip on the bag nor his persistence. “It’ll take you to another level.”
“Some ‘Eye of the Tiger’, or a little ‘Gonna Fly Now’. Or better yet, that song from Rocky 4. You know, the one that’s like, ‘Heeaarts on fiiiiire! Strong as fiiiiire . . .’’’
“Is that how it goes?” Cindy interjected, her annoying habit of tapping her acrylic nails against something, in this case a barbell, not relenting.
“Something like that.”
Capone continued to hammer away at the heavy bag, working up quite a sweat. He seemed to punch harder with every word.
“Don’t you get what I’m saying though?” Murdock asked through the clanging of the chains holding the bag and his arms bobbing from the impact of the punches.
“You’re trying to motivate him to be the scrappy underdog who overcomes the odds, “Cindy responded.
“Exactly!” Murdock busted out emphatically. “Just like Rocky and the 1980 team and Clubber Lang.”
The clanks of the chains above became silence and Murdock’s arms stopped bobbing.
“Wait, hang on,” managed Kevin through a very visible double take and snarly face. “What?”
“In their first fight,” Murdock began again ever so insightfully. “Clubber was the underdog. Rocky was still the champ. . .”
“No, not that,” Capone added still noticeably perturbed. “You said I was the underdog?”
Murdock and Cindy exchanged looks.
“How the fuck do you figure that?” Kevin questioned with no change in his demeanor.
“Hey woah. Look, it’s nothing against you,” Murdock added, arms half-cocked in the air. “We’re not saying you’re not gonna win at Refueled. It’s just, you know, you’re kinda like the scrappy dude that nobody expects.”
“Look man, our money is on you,” Murdock said patting Kevin on the shoulder not providing any consolation, “You know that. It’s just, you know, Jace Parker Davidson is like a big-ticket name in this business.”
“And I’m not?”
“Weeelll,” Murdock struggled to muster words. “You said it yourself, High Octane Wrestling is the big leagues and JPD is like a legend there.”
Cindy was quick to add her two cents, “Not to mention, he’s running mates with the Best Alliance. The best alliance in wrestling.”
“He’s a –” Murdock started to pile on again.
“Three-time World Champion and likely future Hall of Famer,” Kevin interjected accompanied by an audible sigh. “Yeah, I get it. Guys a stud…But what about the tale of the tape. Surely, after all this rambling, you give me a puncher’s chance. We’re not that much different in size. He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like me.”
“Well, he’s still bigger,” Murdock continued.
“Stronger, probably too,” Cindy added, index finger in the air.
“Definitely has WAY more experience in a HOW ring,” Murdock astutely explained while Kevin’s eyes rocked back and forth between both pals as if watching a game of pong.
“I mean, he was away for five years and look at him,” Cindy now.
Murdock seamlessly continued, “He’s been back and still whooping ass like he never left.”
“I’m sorry, should I leave the room?” Kevin answered back, the deep sweat on his garbs not all coming from working out . “Give you two some privacy?”
“Sorry man, not trying to sell you short. Just saying, you know.”
“Yeah,” Capone nodded along. “I get you.”
Capone began hitting the heavy bag again.
“The underdog, huh?” Kevin added with another forceful blow to the bag. “Well, you know what? Maybe you’re right. Maybe I should embrace my inner Rocky.”
“Or Clubber,” Murdock interjected much to Capone’s chagrin. “Depends on which movie we’re talking about.”
“People have been doubting me my whole career. And I’ve made a career out of proving them all wrong. I’ve stepped into the ring with men bigger and better than me, and yet I still find a way to come out on top. And at Refueled, I’m gonna find a way to come out on top again.”
Capone laid a couple of vicious combinations into the bag.
“And, I’ll tell you this,” Kevin said, his own index finger not only up, but on Murdock’s chest now. “Once I win at Refueled and become HOTv Champion, nobody’s ever gonna doubt me again.”
Capone landed a final right hand before turning and stalking off to the next station. Murdock turned to Cindy.
“Think that’ll get him going?” Murdock asked, wearing a smile on his ragged, bearded face.
“Oh yeah,” Cindy responded along with a wink and smile of her own.
A run-of-the-mill kitchen – cabinets painted in a pine stain, white top-freezer refrigerator, along with a generic stove and countertop. The only other room is adjacent to the kitchen, however, there is a wall obstructing the view. There is, however, a narrow archway that gives a glimpse into the aforementioned room.
Sounds emit from an ancient, small, tube television in that room, though the images are not visible as the shot is from the side of the TV. What is visible, are the mountains of DVD’s, yes DVD’s, stacked and resting next to the old TV on a dresser. A box with the words: “HOW ICONIC 2012” is seen… “HOW Monday Night Mayhem” with subtitles JPD vs. Max Kael 5/12/14… “HOW March to Glory 2015 – LSD Match 2 out of 3 Falls.” Somewhere inside the pile of vintage media is the DVD player. A clock on the far wall of the tiny studio apartment reads in bright red letters:
The flickering of a television changing images is apparent as is the sudden halt and signature sound an old tube tv turning off. Footsteps are heard approaching and it’s Kevin Capone. He cracks his neck to the left and to the right.
“A lot of people covet the HOW World Title. Hey, as they should. The old saying goes ‘you shouldn’t be in this business if you aren’t in it to become World Champion.’ So, I don’t blame you when you’ve said in the past that the ultimate goal is to become HOW World Champ again…But you know, throughout history the unheralded Titles, just below the World Championship, have meant a great deal to the legacy of those fortunate and talented enough to have held them. You should know that better than anyone, Jace Parker Davidson.
From the time you beat Evan Ward in a hellacious match at Rumble at the Rock 2012 to capture your first of three LSD Championships to your record shattering twelve Title defenses and two-hundred-fifty-seven-day reign of said Championship to now being the defending Champion of the recently created HOTv Title. Your resume, your legacy wouldn’t be complete without those hallmarks.
A whopping four-hundred-and-nineteen total days as Champion. You took the LSD Title to a whole other level with your accomplishments in that division. If there is anyone who can do the same for the HOTv Championship…it’s you. So, I couldn’t help but nod in agreement when I was watching you on TV tell Steve Solex that you would take his belt and turn it from a mid-card Title to THE Title in HOW. You’d done it before. What’s one more time?
But then it hit me, you’re also the same guy who wasn’t sure he wants the workload that comes with being HOTv Champion so soon after coming back. You’ve recently talked about the responsibility of defending the Title every week while injured and trying to shake off ring rust and how that might not be the best situation for you. I’m just a rookie here so what do I know, but it doesn’t sound to me like this is the same Jace Parker Davidson I watched, from afar, run rough shot damn near a year from 2014 to 2015 in the LSD division. That guy seems gone. The words there, but the passion apparently absent. The skills without a doubt still there, but the drive in question. In his place? Someone who doesn’t sound a hundred percent committed to the cause. The cause that you started. To make the HOTv Championship the most desired in High Octane Wrestling.
Then there is me. I’ll wait for you to stop laughing…I hope you’re done, because I’m not laughing at all. I challenged management to grant me a match this week so I could find out if I belong. Whether to rub it in my face that they don’t feel I don’t stand a chance here in HOW or to legitimately give me an opportunity to prove myself, perhaps even to keep you on your toes, it was penciled in for you and I to square off for the HOTv Title. If you felt a kind of way that Rah was given a Title shot in his very first match back, I can only imagine how you feel about defending against me. The highly decorated JPD versus who exactly? But thing is, while you certainly have the credentials to beat me on any given night, do you want this match more than me?
Who views the stakes as higher? Who covets a win and the HOTv Title more? I’ll tell you this much, I almost feel it would be a relief for you to have the Championship taken off your hands. So at Refueled in Detroit, it won’t just be Jace Parker Davidson versus Kevin Capone. No, it will be Jace Parker Davidson versus…the man in the mirror. You’ll have to look at your reflection and ask if the guy looking back at you is the same guy I’ve been watching tape of all night. The same guy who beat the likes of Silent Witness, David Black, and Scott Stevens on his way to make records no wear near being broken or if you’re the guy who lost to Tara Davidson never to give thought to the LSD Championship again.
Capone continues to stare intensely.
Why are you fucking riling up Jace Parker Davidson of all people, Kevin? Because I’m FUCKING starving. Is he? A fat contract and strategic alliance. Both comforts I don’t have the privilege of knowing. I understand competition. And I know there isn’t a week where the competition won’t be formidable in HOW. It’s funny, I said that last week on Refueled Sixty-Nine and here I am. In a position to face stiff competition every week if I win the HOTv Championship this week. I said it before and I’ll say it again, I could give two shits. Do they want it more than me? Sure, it sounds good, until you’re in Jace Parker Davidson’s position and have to show up every week. Then it’s a different story isn’t it JPD? Can I call you that?
I’ve waited a long time for this. I’ve been preparing for this.
Kevin Capone, the HOTv Championship, 20 years in the making…
New wrestler, new Title, new…history.
You probably think I’m still not ready… YOU will find out with me!”
Fade To Black