Jet lag is a bitch! I slowly drag my feet across the carpet of the Dallas Fort Worth airport as look around the sunny Dallas skyline. I let out a huge yawn as I stretch my body out after sitting on a couple hour flight. After fumbling around in my pockets, I pull out my cell phone, open the calendar app and scroll down the itinerary for the next few days before Refueled. Another autograph signing, another talent meeting, another HOW training session, another night in catering…
It’s the same old shit, different day. Working caused my muscles to tense up. I could feel the pressure forming in the back of my neck. I let out a deep sigh before I unenthusiastically pull my rolling carry on bag behind me as I trudge along like the other thousands of travelers did like zombies.
As I passed by the first bar in the airport; I quietly muttered under my breath.
Darin Zion: Fuck it, I’m buying a beer.
Dashing desperately over to the counter, I plopped my wallet down and look the bartender directly in the eyes without hesitation.
Darin Zion: What’s the darkest beer you have on tap?
Bartender: Guinness is all we have.
Darin Zion: Fuck it! I’ll take it. I’ve got a long week ahead of me. Give me the tallest glass you have.
I hand the man behind the counter my Discover card as he turns around and swipes my card before he begins to prepare my order. I barely see his long brown hair as I bury my face down in my screen focusing on the autograph signing later tonight. UGH! Longingly letting out another sigh, I blankly stare at my screen day dreaming about my glory days in HOW. My muscles continued to stiffen up as I sat down on the tall barstool just staring off into nothingness.
The last few weeks in HOW were rough. With my losses in the LSD Championship Contendership Street Fight and against Hughie Freeman, it felt like I was just going through the motions. As the sound of my glass hit the counter, I quickly reach over for my Guinness and chugged down a few gulps.
Darin Zion: AHHHH! That hit the spot!!! Much better!
The bartender shook his head as he continued to clean the stack of glasses off to the side while I desperately chugged my beer down. Normally, I hated Guinness. Every bar in Missouri carried this shitty stout and it usually made my stomach turn. Weirdly enough, today I savored it. It had been a few months since I just enjoyed a good beer and it perked me up just to have a moment to sit down, drink, and relax.
As I closed my eyes to enjoy the smooth mixture of alcohol and coffee in my mouth; the sound of Meredith’s high heels clopping across the tile of the bar area echoed in my head. As she desperately rushed over to the bar; she plopped her ass right next to mine. Immediately the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. My entire body stiffened up as I came out of my daydream. I turned my head to look her in the eyes. Her eyes looked blank and distraught. Her high-pitched voice shrieked out as she shoved her phone straight into my face.
Meredith: Darin! Darin! Have you checked out the match card?! HERE LOOK!
I ripped the phone out of her hands to take a look at the full Refueled Card. I studied it for a few moments before I slammed her phone on the counter and rolled my eyes. I shook my head.
Darin Zion: For fuck sakes! Connor gets a shot at Jiles’ HOW World Championship? That asshole plays video games all day. I got leap frogged again. That’s fuckin’ bullshit! I’ve beaten Jiles and his shitty Egg Clan for the Tag Team Championships. Lee overlooked me again…
Meredith: Well, your streak isn’t too…
I shoot Meredith a glare before I scroll down to once again to see I’m curtain jerking another HOW show before I just drop my head into my arms and hold back another scream. My body literally begins shaking as I push the phone back towards Meredith and take another drink from my beer.
Darin Zion: At least I got booked on this week’s card. There’s a silver lining for once. I guess things can’t get worse, right?!
I reach for my beer glass and put it up to my lips before Meredith taps me on the shoulder again. Exasperated, I turn my head towards her as she hands me her Airpods.
Meredith: Just watch Arthur’s promo…
I place her Airpods in my ears and she hits play on the video as I intently watch it downing the rest of my beer. I flag down the bartender and motion to him while I continue to watch Arthur rip me down left and right. As the bartender drops off my next beer, I take another swig of beer and hear his Brand X comment echoing loudly in my ears.
As my face turns a bright red, a vein protrudes in my forehead as I spit out my beer. Adrenaline flows through my body. I clinch my fists together ready to punch a hole right through the counter. He called me BLAND. He actually had the audacity to tell me, an HOW veteran down on his luck, I’m Brand X Diet Rite. As I grit my teeth together, Meredith slowly rubs my neck.
Meredith: I haven’t seen you this quiet before, Darin. Are you okay?
I close my eyes to reflect for a moment. Maybe I have been too hard on myself lately. I’ve let the combination of the pressure and my ego get the best of me. Everything seemed banal and trite and I had wanted to give up more lately. But this just flat out woke me up. I take a few deep breathes and crack my neck before I turned and directly looked Meredith in the eyes. Quietly, I slowly pace my words as I issue Meredith a command.
Darin Zion: Meredith, clear my schedule NOW!!!!
Meredith: But, Darin, you can’t let the Dallas fans down. They’ve been so excited…
Darin Zion: You know I love them half to death, Meredith, but I need to train.
Darin Zion: I don’t want to hear it. If this shit head thinks I’ve got a snowball’s chance in hell at beating him; then I need to focus every ounce of energy at beating him. I’ll be the first one to admit it to you. I’ve been going through the motions. But it’s about damn time I wake up from this dream world I’ve been living in.
As I place my hand on top of her hand, my eyes burn passionately as I crack a mischievous smile. I nod at her.
Darin Zion: We both know I’ve coasted. I’ve gotten rusty in that ring. I’ve expected my handouts from being Mr. Reliable. It’s time I earn them and mop the floor with this Fisher Price shit talker. I know it’s going to be a tough battle with him this week. He’s chomping at the bit trying to use me as a stepping stone. I’ve got to bring my best when I step into the ring to beat him.
Meredith nods at me as I hand her my beer. She immediately opens up her phone and frantically gets to work.
Meredith: I understand completely. Arthur’s got an impressive resume outside of HOW. While you…
Darin Zion: SHUT UP! I don’t need that negativity right now. I’m focused. I get it. I don’t need to be put in my place right now. Right now, I need to teach that newbie a lesson. Find me the nearest gym and schedule me a…
Meredith: Gold’s Gym and I’ve got an Uber on its way. It’ll be here in 15 minutes. I’ll wait behind and gather your bags and handle the rest of your appearances. You just focus on kicking that kid’s ass.
Before she can finish her words, I reach down and hand her my baggage claim ticket from out of my pocket. I wrap my arms around Meredith’s shoulder as she rests her head on my shoulder. After I pat her on the back I reach down, grab my bag and nod as her as I frantically begin dashing down the corridor to catch my Uber ride.
Darin Zion: Don’t worry, Meredith; I’ll give that jackass rude awakening. I’m going to make sure I give him a “warm” welcome. He’s about to find out just how different of a beast HOW is compared to the Fisher Price Federations he’s wrestled over the last 25 years. Mark my words; I’m going to humble his ass.
I wave good bye and walk down the aisle with a pep in my step. I know I’ve got a long way to get back into peak Zion shape, but it’s the most focused and determined I’ve been in the last three years. As the scene fades to black, my upper lips curls, forming a mischievously evil smile as I day dream about the beating I’m going to give Arthur Peasant on Refueled.
“Arthur, I’ll give you a lot of credit, kid. You’ve got a lot of moxie shooting your mouth off. You came out of the gates swinging. You’ve got some chops on you, kiddo. I’ve seen a lot of rookies cycle in and out of that revolving door here in HOW, but you have some balls. You shot your shot pretty hard at someone in HOW that’s accomplished a lot. You climbed right on that high horse of yours and planted yourself firmly on it.
It’s just too bad I’m going to knock your ass off it.
You’ve travelled the world. You’ve set out to accomplish the goals you’ve set. You beat that big chest of yours. Big fucking deal! Everyone has done that before they’ve come to HOW. It’s why your ass got signed. I’ve won 17 different championships outside HOW before re-signing my HOW contract. But they’re merely participation trophies. They mean jack shit here. The moment you signed your contract; you flushed the last 25 years of your career down the toilet. You hit the reset button on your damn career and committed yourself to fighting with the best talent in the industry. All of those hardcore matches you keep bragging about mean jackshit here.
The only claim to HOW your insatiable thirst for Brian Hollywood’s dick. You’re lusting after a man who couldn’t even lace the jock straps of the greatest HOW World Champions in the game.
Sit your rookie ass down, son.
Your Fisher Price ass is writing checks it can’t cash after winning 1 singles match in HOW.
I’ve wrestled with some of the greatest names that ever graced HOW. I’ve won my first War Games match. I went toe to toe with Jason Parker Davidson in one of the most hellacious battles I’ve ever had. I’ve wrestled against Mike Best multiple times. I’ve beaten countless Hall of Famers and most importantly I’ve held 7 different championships throughout my HOW career.
I might have fallen asleep at the wheel the last few years in HOW, but at least I didn’t fail at securing information about my opponent at the Dallas Social Security Office. I fucking know how to operate a Google search like a respectable human being. What’s your next trick, grandpa? You going to pull out the yellow pages and struggle to find my phone number?!
It’s easy to talk trash after you have a win under your belt. Trust me, I’ve been there, kid. I once wore those shoes you’re now wearing. I had a 15-year career outside of HOW. I debuted back in 2014 and went on a 10-win undefeated streak before I got my ass humbled. I struggled to find my footing, but I went on to find relevance here in HOW. I built my credibility up. Sure, I’ve fucked up the last few years, but I have everything to gain by beating your ass this week on Refueled.
You have a lot to lose when I beat your rookie ass down at Refueled.
You’ve built your high horse up. You overlooked me. You let that ego of yours overinflate your hype. You climaxed a few weeks into your HOW career. When you fail to beat the so-called Brand X Court Jester you called me; you’ve lost all your steam. You have no hype. Everyone will pass right by you and laugh you out of the building because Zion beat you. You won’t be able to clean THAT egg off your face.
It’s a trap all newcomers fall into when they step into HOW. I’m going to make an example out of your rookie ass.
See, rookies like you are a dime a dozen around here. You stride confidently into this roster, and when someone like me kicks your ass and smears you around the ring; you pack your bags, you shit the bed, and you run crying back to your shitty ass Fisher Price home where you established your roots.
I never quit even when everyone’s laughed at me. I stood with stood the tests of HOW. I took my abuse like a man. I’ve faced trials and tribulations throughout my entire HOW career! And sure, I’m down on my luck. I haven’t taken HOW seriously lately. I’ll be the first one to admit I’ve coasted on my past merits. It’s easy to do when you’ve wrestled here 6 years going through the motions. But you have to earn your opportunities. You have to scratch and claw your way to the top. You don’t get handed your opportunities by sucking cock and recycling the same shitty joke everyone else does.
You pave the path to your own career here. You fight for it!
You can joke about which face of Zion you’re facing this week in Dallas, but rest assured; you’re facing a hungry Zion. You’re standing toe to toe with a Zion who has everything to prove and nothing to lose. You’re facing a man who is jaded and wants to get noticed. I’m tired of getting overlooked and sitting around accepting complacency. I’m coming to Dallas looking not only to fight, but win.
Sure, you’re a fighter. You’re cocky and confident. You see the shiny new toy that HOW seems to you. It’s easy to shit talk when you see the shiny new toy. I know I’m going in weakened because I’ve been here. I’ve faced everyone. I’ve grown bored and struggled to self-start.
But I’ve reawakened that same hunger I once had. I’m ready to fight and prove my worth. I’m ready to earn my greatness back. I’m ready to bury the jokes and rub that stench all over your so-called promising career.
You may be laughing your ass off at your shitty stand-up routine, but it’s closing time at the comedy club. You’re getting the Ban Hammer before Lee Best hits you with it. It’s time I get serious. You’re in for one helluva beating this week. It’ll eclipse any of those so-called wars you had in Saudi Arabia or any other feds you came. It’s time to awaken from this slumber I’ve been in. I’m looking to kick your ass and humble you.
I know you’re looking to prove your worth. You’ve got an impressive resume and I’m going to have to fight like I’ve never fought to pin your shoulders to that mat. I’ll give you that, Arthur. I studied all the tapes on the internet and put in the work this week because I know if I take you as lightly as you took me; I take the loss and I won’t let that happen.
You shit in your bed, now you will lie in it.
It’s time I put some respect back on my own name. It’s time for you to face reality. You’re staring a different kind of beast in the eye when you step in the ring with me in Dallas. You’re facing off against a man who proudly represents the HOW way. You’ve barely scratched the surface in HOW career.
I’m welcoming to the real machine in true fashion this week, kid. You a’int fighting Fisher Price style anymore.
You’re getting in the trenches when you step in that right to fight me. I’m knocking off your fragile ass off your high horse, Arthur. I’m going to humble you and show you how we do shit around here. And I promise you, kid; I will walk out of Dallas with the win.”