Posted on May 10, 2023 at 3:18 pm by Evan Ward

I thought it would never end

It was a dark and stormy winter evening. The Ward family had said goodbye to 2021 and had been enjoying 2022 for a few days. So far the year was looking more positive than the last one. Evan had managed to negotiate a pretty good deal with Tony, the gym owner down in Cardiff, which allowed Evan to keep training the handful of kids still wanting to pay for wrestling classes. Evan just had to help out as a personal trainer at the gym and Tony would cut out the fees for hiring space at the gym to give classes. It was beneficial to both sides, Tony had been thankful to all the extra business having a World Champion around had drummed up and Evan would get some extra cash for his help. Cash had still been tighter than it was but at least they had a proper income again. Over the last year of working at the gym he’d managed to get the word out about his wrestling classes to a lot more than his old clientbase, the next term of classes were looking quite full up. Alright, he still gave less classes now than he used to but at least they were filling up again. A couple of the promising young stars in the Welsh indie scene had even enquired about private coaching. It was positive, but not enough to quit as a trainer in the gym, as much as he loathed that job.

That night, Evan had arrived home, tired and worn out from a day appeasing the demanding gym members. Evan didn’t like to think they were unreasonable when they were not listening to his advice and just demanding whichever routine or equipment some random jerkwad podcast had bigged up the night before… but they were unreasonable. He prided himself on being an easy going, friendly guy who never rose to the antagonising jabs of the punters, but boy it was hard sometimes.

Evan was glad to be home but was fed up and grumpy after being talked to like shit for hours, however a relaxing evening to get himself back together wasn’t on the cards. Sara had been invited to a baby shower so Evan was left at home with both kids to feed and settle down to bed. It had started just fine, there had been minimal shenanigans at Aiden’s dinner time, but as the night wore on it had degenerated.

All through feeding Rowan, Aiden had made demand after demand and moaned and complained, which Evan couldn’t do much about while feeding the baby. Now, at bed time it was even worse. It was mostly because it wasn’t actually bed time, that was two and a half hours ago. Evan stood by Rowan’s cot, holding her in his arms as he rocked her back and forth and strode to and fro. The colicky baby was crying, she was extremely tired and uncomfortable and, bloody hell, how on earth could a child so small make such a massive noise? Evan’s head was pounding, every shout from his daughter was like a sledgehammer to the base of his skull, driving in a railroad spike,

Every time he had thought she was settled, every time he had tried putting her down she would startle herself awake and start screaming again just because she wasn’t being held. Or, at least most of the times he had thought she was settled. The other times were failures because Aiden chose those moments to come in and start demanding a drink or complain about how he doesn’t need to sleep and shout how unfair it all was. Why does Rowan get all the attention? Why couldn’t daddy sit with him to settle him to sleep? Why couldn’t he stay up and play?

Even could feel his heart beating stronger in his chest. It wasn’t a wave of anxiety, crashing down on him all at once, it was a rising flood, building up and up, getting worse and worse.

“Buddy, I need you to go back to your room. “ Evan said to his son, who had reappeared to tell Evan he wanted his mummy. Evan tried to keep his voice calm and level, but mostly only managed to keep it quiet. You could hear it cracking. Rowan had just stopped crying again and Evan couldn’t handle her waking up like a banshee again.

“NO! I WANT MUMMY! GET HER NOW!” He wasn’t sad she wasn’t there, he was angry she wasn’t back yet.

“Dude, please, I’ll be in soon, I just need to get Rowan to sleep.” Evan pleaded, so close to the edge of losing it.

“I DON’T WANT TO GO TO BED!” Aiden yelled. The baby started crying again.

The flood had pulled Evan under. He put Rowan down in her cot, still wailing away because she was a baby. He didn’t like to put her down in such a state of distress but he felt he had no choice. His head was reverberating and his heart felt like it was going to burst out his chest. He turned around sharply and loudly said “AIDEN, GET BACK TO YOUR ROOM!”

…Or at least that was his intention. Instead he blacked out and crashed to the floor.

Sara was pacing back and forth in the waiting room of the Accident & Emergency department of the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. Aiden knew how to call her from the house phone and she managed to decipher the gist of the situation through Aiden’s wild sobbing. She had called an ambulance and hopped in the car to head straight home. She had only just got there as the paramedics were loading Evan’s unconscious body into the ambulance. They assured her he was stable and not in any immediate risk but he was still unresponsive.

She couldn’t go with him in the ambulance, she had to wait with the distraught children until her aunt arrived half an hour later. She hightailed it back down to Cardiff but when she got to the hospital they wouldn’t let her in to see her husband. She just had to wait in the waiting room for what felt like hours, constantly asking if there was any news but only ever getting the same response: “They’re running some tests now to find out what happened, we’ll let you know as soon as we can.”

So Sara waited and paced back and forth in the waiting room. If you had ever been in a British A&E department you would probably recognise it, they pretty much all looked the same. At this time of night on a Friday they pretty much all had the same sorts of people waiting in them too: there were the old people who looked at death’s door but we’re probably just lonely; the youths who had dared each other to do a stupid stunt for TikTok and ended up missing an appendage or two; the battered drunks who spun tales about how many wankers they had just beaten up but had really just passed out and cracked their face on their kerb; the half naked kinksters with towels or curtains wrapped around their lower halves to hide whichever foreign object had gotten lodged in their rectums this time. One of them had someone else’s legs coming out of the back of the Peppa Pig duvet cover, giving the impression of a pantomime horse, which raised many questions Sara did not want the answer to. To her dismay she overheard “tongue piercings” and immediately tried to forget about it.

Luckily she had a lot to distract herself with, such as panicking about her husband’s health. It felt like she had been there for hours. She approached the desk and decided to ask again.

“I need to know what’s going on.” She demanded, voice quivering slightly despite her best efforts. “I need to see my husband.”

The frizzy-haired receptionist smiled kindly at her. It was a well practised smile, the sort psychopaths show to their victims to lull them into thinking it was genuine but behind it they were calculating the many ways to carve you up. Sara had seen that smile so many times tonight she wanted to punch it.

“The doctors are doing all they can, Mrs. Ward,” The receptionist, used to dealing with the most belligerent of coked up rangers, explained calmly. “As soon as anything happens they’ll call down and I’ll let you know.”

“But why can’t I see him yet?” Sara demanded.

“Yeah, why won’t you let her in? She needs to see her bloke, you know?”

“Shut up, Evan, you’re not helping.” Sara replied to the voice behind her on instinct. Her brain caught up to her ears and mouth, which then told her limbs to turn around, allowing her eyes to see Evan was standing behind her. Her brain grumbled about having to do even more work upon seeing him. “Evan!” She exclaimed as she jumped at him with a massive hug.

“Woah, easy!” Evan wobbled slightly. “Deadman walking here!”

Sara thumped his chest. “Not funny.” She said, wiping a tear from her eye and gave a much more gentle hug. “Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m all good.” He smiled at her, but she still looked concerned. “Seriously, I’m good. Docs just said it was your usual cocktail of stress and dehydration and anxiety, like my brain got overloaded and was like, nah, and turned itself off. Nothing to worry about, he just told me to drink more and take it easy.”

“So it wasn’t anything serious?” Sara asked.

“Not at all!” Evan cheerfully put his arm around her shoulder and guided her towards the door. “Come on, let’s go home.”


The drive home was quiet. The roads weren’t busy, but it was also quiet in the car. Evan’s enthusiasm for his good health had quelled a bit and he had spent most of the journey staring pensively out the window. It concerned Sara but she convinced herself it was fine, the endorphins of being told he was fine and allowed to leave the hospital had probably worn off and left him feeling wiped. She couldn’t blame him, but there was a nagging feeling like there was something he wasn’t telling her.

When they got home Evan went straight upstairs to check on the kids while Sara thanked her aunt and saw her off after explaining the situation. As she closed the door she noticed a letter on the floor. It was addressed to Evan and had the HOW logo on it. She picked it up and opened it, expecting it to be yet another request to appear at a convention or even return to the federation. What she read as she opened the very formal letter was possibly the thing she expected least.

“Evan…” she called out as she climbed the curved staircase. “Did you know about this? They’re inducting you into the Hall Of Fame!” She frowned as there was no response. This was the sort of thing Evan would have a lot of trouble not shouting with excitement about.

“Evan? Are you okay?” She called as she walked past the master bedroom, her heart pumping while her thoughts jumped to bad conclusions. “Evan?!”

She walked into the nursery to see Evan sitting in front of Rowan’s cot. She breathed a huge sigh of relief.

“Evan, you scared me, I thought you’d collapsed again.” She relaxed and approached her husband. “You’re a Hall Of Famer, isn’t that great?” He still didn’t respond but she noticed he was sitting with his head in his hands and his breathing was jagged. “Evan, are you okay?”

He looked up at her, tears streaming from his eyes. “I can’t… I can’t.”

“Evan, you’re worrying me. You can’t do what?”

“This. Us. Everything. I just can’t.” Evan stuttered. “I can’t do this, Sara… Not anymore.”

“What?” Sara was in a state of shock. She couldn’t work out what he was trying to say.

“I’m sorry.” He said, getting up to give her a hug. “I’m so sorry. I love you.”

Then he left. The room. His house. His wife. His family. He never returned.


So I calmly accept my fate

Evan had packed his things and was ready to leave. He looked at the dilapidated gym with nostalgic eyes. This place bore so many memories for the wrestler. His formative years in the industry had been spent here, toiling for hours under his late mentor’s tutelage to be shaped into the world champion, hall of fame recipient veteran he was today. When he had first arrived he was an arrogant and cocky rookie who thought he knew it all, that his heritage was enough to mean he was a world class athlete and didn’t need the formal training which Jorge El Vasquez had delivered.

Evan was, rather obviously, very wrong. His time here had shown him that for all his book knowledge and well practised moves, he knew nothing of experience or hard work. What he had been through here had taken that raw rock he was and refined him, crafted him into the gem he was today: an arrogant and cocky veteran who knew he knew it all.

He was leaving to head to Mexico City, which happened to be in Mexico Country. Evan had been far too wrapped up in his own bullshit to even acknowledge the fact he was about to go wrestle in the very city where his mentor had made his name so many decades ago, one of the greatest luchadores of all time but his legacy stamped out by the same malevolent businessman who had tried and failed to control Ward’s own budding career… but all that soap opera bullshit was long dead and buried. The old Evan Ward would have made a big deal about dedicating Ward Games to his mentor’s memory, he would have gushed over how much of an honour it was going to be to win his second World Championship on the same ground where El Vasquez had won so many… But the new Evan Ward, as already mentioned, was too wrapped up in his own bullshit to acknowledge it.

He was about to leave the gym and he knew it would be very unlikely that he would ever return. The extent of his nostalgia stretched to the thought that this could be the last time he would see the place and wanted to give it a proper farewell. A bon voyage. A viking funeral. He happily hummed what he thought was the tune to Alouette to himself as he poured petrol all over the ring and trailed it around the room. So many memories, it was such a shame to see it go but after Evan was gone there was no point in it still being here. He stopped and stared at the scene, taking it all in, breathing in the familiar smells and getting all foggy headed with emotion… though that might have just been the fumes. Everything was just so worn down and broken compared to when he first arrived, a fitting metaphor for the degeneration of the human condition as it gets ravaged by the sands of time, Evan posited to himself in a wankilly philosophical way.

“Don’t worry, baby, soon it’ll all be over.” Ward said to the gym. “You’ll be out of your misery, all gone up in a puff of smoke like Darin Zion’s dignity as STRONK makes him the team bitch. That’s Real Love. I’ll make sure it’s over quick, you won’t feel a thing” Ward frowned for a moment. “Well, apart from the hours of burning agony while you’re cremated from the inside out, but you know, it is what it is.”

Ward’s phone began to ring in his pocket, which annoyed him as it meant having to carefully put down the petrol can he was using to soak the place and put the lid on. He didn’t want to accidentally knock it over, petrol is a pain to clean up.

“Hey, best buddy, old pal!” Ward said chipperly as he answered the phone. It was Christopher America. “How’s it going? Did you manage to get to the bog in time?” Ward grinned at the incredulous response on the other end of the phone. “You know, the toilet, the loo, the shitter. The way you ran out on us at Chaos, it looked like you had a turtle head poking out, prairie dogging like a motherfucker. No other reason you’d leave your best buddy hanging, is there?”

Evan moved the phone away from his head so the shouting didn’t hurt his ear. “Hey, hey, hey, it’s all cool, I’ll just make sure Lee has a portapotty in the cage in case you get the runs again.” Ward was laughing to himself on the inside where America couldn’t hear it. Unfortunately he was also laughing on the outside where he definitely could. “Anyway, dude, what’s happening? Yeah, you’re down in Mexico already? I’m just finishing up some business and then I’ll be on my way down. We should hook up and get the team together.”

There was more yammering from the other end of the line. Ward picked up a lighter and started to idly play with it. “Come on, dude, we’ve talked about this, don’t be so racist. Give them a chance, I’m sure Charlie is doing his absolute best to be American and it’s not like Aceldama can help being a meat headed German lug. Just give them a chance. I mean, without them we won’t be able to defend your wife together, will we? Oh fuck!”

The exclamation was because the lighter, a classic Zippo style thing, slipped out of his hand and landed on the floor in such a way that it sparked. Right next to a puddle of petrol. Ward froze for a moment. Nothing happened. “Phew.” He breathed again. “Anyway, dude, what’s the lowdown on Solex and STRONK? You’ve hung around them for longer than me, any secrets and shit we can exploit to fuck them over in the match?”

Ward picked up the lighter and put it in his pocket while he rolled his eyes. “Yes, I know we’re all in the Final Alliance, but we’re all backstabbing scumbags after the title, am I right? Solex is chomping at the bit to win the belt off you and become Lee’s favourite dog, he’d have no problem setting STRONK on you and picking up the pieces.

“Oh, no no no,” Ward looked shocked, shocked at the accusation he’d heard from his teammate. “I don’t mean I’m after her, I would never touch 97RED! Not unless it was to keep it out of those grubby bastards’ hands.” Ward was visibly trying to backtrack away from the hole he’d been digging. “I’m not a backstabbing scumbag and you aren’t either. We’re just regular scumbags, you know? Okay, okay, let’s talk about it when we meet up. Catch you soon, my BFF!”

Evan hung up before America could respond. “What an awesome chump. Such an absolutely brilliant patsy. Love that guy. I’m going to enjoy winning his belt.” It turned out Ward hadn’t hung up, as proven by the angry noises coming from the phone. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck.” Ward stabbed the hang up button repeatedly. Satisfied it had hung up he shoved the phone in his pocket and resumed spreading the juices of fiery love around the gym while singing his merry tune.

“Darrrrin Zion, he thinks he is a lion. Darrrrin Zion’s really not a lion. Darrrrin Zion, just a kitty with a cry on. Darrrrin Zion is gonna take a bump.” He lobbed the empty petrol can across the room and spun like they do in musicals. “Little Joey Bergman has an evil empire. Little Joey Bergman kissed Wrexham’s umpire. Little Joey’s bedroom witnessed something dire. Now Little Joey Bergman’s got a tummy bump.”

The slightly loopy hall of famer breathed a deeply satisfied sigh. “So long, aufiderzein, ta ta, good bye. I salute you, you good old gym.” Ward saluted a very silly, over the top salute. The sort of salute one would do in an attempt to mock it without any actual idea how to salute and just end up looking like an idiot. He imagined it was the sort of salute Solex gave the American flag every day with his morning wank only, you know, without the spray.

Evan paused for a moment and looked at the lighter in his hands. It was a moment of clarity yet a moment of confusion, a moment where Evan questioned what he was doing. Did he really want to do this? There would be no going back… but then going back was never an option anyway. He had made his decision months ago and had long gone past the point of no return, so he had to see it through to the end. The question of whether it was the right decision or not probably would never be answered and at this point it really didn’t matter. Evan had done too much and sacrificed everything based on that decision that it had to be the right one in his mind, regardless of if it was right in anyone else’s.

But his mind really couldn’t be trusted anymore. He wasn’t some roid raging psychopath like STRONK, actions entirely dictated by the chemicals pumping up his muscles. He wasn’t some loved up loony broken by childhood trauma like Darin Zion. He wasn’t some culturally appropriating asshole like Bergman who thought he was Welsh just because he went to a shit hole of a city to see some Hollywood stars make a mockery of the beautiful game. It wasn’t even like he’d fought in a war and was left shell shocked and overcompensating for his inferiority complex like Solex. Evan was just… Evan. He knew exactly why it was happening to him but there was no reason for it, nothing he could blame it on.

He was still Evan, but different. Fractured like a mirror, each part reflecting a distorted aspect of his whole, a few important shards fallen and lost amongst the rubble. In moments of lucidity like this he was fully aware of how differently he acted alone in his fits of depression compared to the front he put on when others were around and how, as the mirror splintered further, the fragments mixed in together. He knew how far he’d slipped away from what he was, especially after what had gone on in the last couple of months. It really wasn’t surprising, though. He knew the risks and knew what it would do to him, which was why he was committed to it. Still, it worried him, as it would worry anyone else in his position. He felt it deep down in the pit of his stomach, building up the pressure as the tension grew. It would carry on building up until…

Evan let out a massive reverberating fart. “Bugger, I should have lit that one. What better way to burn down a building than lighting it with a fart. It would’ve been awesome! Ehhh… I can put this off forever. Time to go…”

The Hall of Famer flicked the lighter open and sparked it up. He held it out, ready to drop, when the gym’s doors burst off their hinges. In stomped a man who dwarfed the entire HOW roster, the world’s only one-eyed midget afflicted with gigantism, Trent.

“You fucking motherfucker!” Trent bellowed. “You fucking thought you could hide it from me? You’re a fucking dead man, Ward!”

“Oh Christ on a fucking bike,” Ward shut the lighter and slouched back towards the ring in a huff. “Not again!”