The New Deal

The New Deal

Posted on May 1, 2024 at 11:42 pm by Darin Zion

In the solemn silence of Best Manor’s sacred halls, footsteps thunderously resonate, casting an ominous pall over the stillness of the night.  Amidst the cadence, Darin Zion remains deeply engrossed in a photo album from Lee’s past.  As the echoing footsteps fade into silence, Bartholomew, Darin’s faithful manservant looms besides him, hands tightly clasped together.  A heavy sigh escapes his lips in a futile attempt to draw Darin’s attention.  The undertones of urgency fail to captivate Master Zion, hinting the gravitas of the situation.

“There’s no alternative, Darin.  Lee says if you want in War Games this year; you’ve gotta do it.”  Bartholomew uttered; his voice burdened.  A solemn look of resignation fills his face, especially after Darin’s loss to Lexi Gold a few weeks ago.

Zion’s lips contort into a sinister smirk as he places the photo album beside him.  Darin’s hands clasp together with a fervent grip, his composure wavering, grappling with GOD’S plan.  Each word hangs in the back of his mind, causing the young master Zion to twitch.  Every nerve sets on the edge.  Bartholomew senses Zion’s tense posture, backing away slightly.

Bartholomew’s voice trembles with uncertainty, betraying him with the increasing turmoil.  Each word he utters is fraught with tremors, conveying his emotions.  He throws his hands up in the air, pleading with Zion.  “Darin, you understand your father’s expectations.  Lee shows no favoritism towards any wrestler, including his own sons.  You must earn your place in War Games.  Hard work is the sole currency of…”

“I comprehend the burden I impose upon my father with my recent actions, Barty.  The Machine always grinds on…” Darin acknowledges his sins of losing since joining the Final Alliance.  Darin rises up from the old wooden chair, his hand gripping Bartholomew’s feeble arm tightly.  He draws his manservant in, coiling his fingers around Barty’s shoulders.  “I think both of us understand the steaks my father laid out for me this year in contract negotiations.    I didn’t expect any handouts…but….”

Darin slams his phone onto the table, displaying the picture of 3-Time HOW World Champion Scott Stevens.  His anger continues boiling over; his veins bulging out of his forehead while he vents his frustrations.  Meanwhile, Bartholomew cowers int the corner, retreating from Darin’s fury.

“I’m sick of propping up a dead weight competitor like Scott Stevens.  He shouldn’t require me to babysit him.  Show me where in my job description I’ve gotta saddle up and be Stevens’ bitch.  He’s won 3 World Titles, defeated the SON.  He’s more than capable of being a threat if he’d stop wasting time with lackluster promos.  This is the ‘warm-up’ Lee Best gleefully texted me about this week.”

Darin’s primal roar resonates through the vast halls, a raw expression of his emotional state.  In one swift motion, Zion releases all the tension, dropping his arm to his sides.  His gaze fixates on a glimmering silver Montblac Pix nearby.  He clenches his teeth, shaking while Bartholomew comes to console him.

“Stevens and you should have no trouble taking on Hugo Scorpio and…”

Before Bartholomew utters another word of encouragement, Darin Zion seizes the pen with lightning speed from the mahogany table.  He plunges it mercilessly into Bartholomew’s right eye, releasing his cruel laughter at his servant’s plight.  With a savage twist, Darin yanks the pen free before wielding it triumphantly.  He then plunges it into both Bartholomew’s hands, each thrust more vicious than the last.

“You’re fired, you worthless piece of shit,” Zion sneers. His tongue darts out, licking his lips, savoring the sight of pooling blood.  With a callous flick of his hands, Zion summons the EPU guards to remove his former servant.  As the scene fades, he gestures for Bartholomew to be discarded like trash, a chilling testament to his newfound cruelty.

==========

“In Chess, the pawns go first”

–Magneto, X-Men: The Last Stand

It’s clear to me that I have forsaken my father GOD.  I can feel the weight of his expectation bearing down on me each week I continue to lose.   It would be futile for me to keep denying the inevitable truth.  I didn’t need some divine intervention after losing to Lexi Gold a couple weeks ago.  When I saw I got saddled with Scott Stevens as my partner; I couldn’t honestly contain my frustrations as we face Hugo Scorpio and Brian Hollywood for the 100th time.

It would be easy for me to continue to try and show everyone love and compassion like I’ve done the last 5 years.  Let’s hear all the positive affirmations that Zion will speak into existence week after week.  After all, he’s the epitome of REAL LOVE, right?

As many wise wordsmiths say; you cannot pour from an empty cup.  And GOD himself knows my cup is fuckin’ empty right now.  He knows I grow weary spinning my wheels against a bunch of nerds like Hollywood and Scorpio.  Dad sees the depletion when he mentions Scott Stevens name around me.  He understands how much it kills me inside when I have to share the ring with worthless plebs like them.

Because deep down; we both know I’m better than this shit.  We both have seen the pedigree I brought into HOW back in 2014 and just how hungry I once was standing inside an HOW ring.  Sometimes I often wonder if I can recapture that essence of Zion in a bottle.

I was angry, had a chip on my shoulder.  I wanted to rub it in everyone’s face that some penguin project could hang with the Best Family.   I spun my wheels endlessly trying to get recognition and validation. 

But now, I’m just some bitter husk filled with love and kindness…and what exactly has that fuckin’ earned me over the last 5 years?  What exactly has my futile attempts at seeking love, encouragement, and hope gained me?  ABSOLUTELY FUCKIN’ NOTHING.

I’m done wasting my fruitless projects.   I’m tired of spinning my wheels and “paying my dues” for sins that have been absolved for years.  I’m not going to waste any time giving Hugo, Hollywood, and Stevens their flowers just because it’s the right thing to do in this business.

I’m going to Chicago simply to make a statement on why I deserve an opportunity at this year’s War Games.

No, I do not plan to call up Scott Stevens to talk about a game plan.  I have no interest in letting that asshole get a win to solidify himself.  I have no interest in paying my respects to Brian Hollywood and Hugo Scorpio over their blossoming HOW resurgences.  I’m not even going to go to wrestle a standard tag match.

I’m marching down to the Best Arena to leave every single person in the match in a pool of their own fuckin’ blood.  I will not accept anything less than leveling all friends and foes in that ring.

This week, it’s not about the W or the L.  It’s about making a statement that I have no love left to give for anyone in HOW.  I don’t need to worry about pleasing the worthless commoners.  I’m not going to kiss your worthless, fat baby nor am I going to pull out the microphone and sign karaoke like some loser so you can laugh at me.

I’m going to go out there and destroy the so-called cornerstones of High Octane’s undercard.

I’m going to take pleasure in crumpling Brian Hollywood up into the fetal position.  I’m going to relish in the pain of squashing Hugo Scorpio under my size 12 boot.  I’m going to revel in smashing Scott Stevens skull in with a steel chair.

This week, I bring back the Chicago Riots.  Chaos is where REAL LOVE dies.   It will be the birth of The Dead Shot.

==========

Amidst the tumultuous winds of the Windy City, a haunting chills seeps into the back alleys.  It cloaks an unsettling atmosphere.  A ghosty mist swirls from the sewer covers.  The wind shrieks like a vengeful spirit, relentlessly scratching the skin, causing goosebumps on your skin.   The soft murmurs of activity barely resonate through the dimly illuminated area.  The lights casting vast shadows amidst the quaint hustle and bustle of booming business.

Concealed behind the bustling throughfares, we chance upon a rusted steel door.  It evades the appearance for the naked eye.  A cloaked, shadowy figure approaches the door, tapping it gently to avoid unwanted attention.

“Password?” booms a beautiful bass voice from behind the door.  The distant cracking of knuckles causes the man to recoil with surprise.  He pauses to gather his thoughts before proceeding to slip the guard a crisp $100 bill.  The cracks open, welcoming our mysterious person.

Lowering his cloak, Darin Zion unveils himself to the underground world known as the Steel Cage Syndicate in most circles.  His presence amongst the patrons ignites a spark of intrigue within the hallowed smoky-laden halls.  Each step Zion takes through the labyrinth, anticipation mounts.  He reaches the end where a big, burly man sits dragging on his cigar.

“It’s been a minute, Big Mack” Darin remarks, drawing the gaze of a man clad in threadbare white suit.  The man’s fedora barely conceals his bald spot.  With a sinister chuckle, the man blows a plume of cigar smoke into Zion’s face, reveling in the act of mockery.  He flaunts his gold chain in Zion’s face as he motions for the former ICON Champion to come sit next to him.

“Here to do business with the Iron Fist at last, huh?  Remember, Mack Rossi doesn’t offer second chances.”  Mack’s warning comes with a hint of menace, emphasizing the high stakes at hand. A pair of hefty enforcers flank Mack’s side, looming over the situation. Zion skillfully defuses the situation, throwing his hands up in the air.

“Let’s say I could use…a bit of a makeover,” Zion quips, hinting at his intentions.  “I’m tired of being the nice guy.  Lee Best isn’t keen on seeing an insignificant geek sporting his Final Alliance jackets.”

Mack’s stunned by the news of Darin Zion joining the Final Alliance.  Memories flood Mack’s mind from when he last encountered Zion as a young man.  When Zion was 17 years old, he was eager and hungry for a fight, seeking to make his mark in the world of combat sports.  Ultimately, Zion wanted to escape his horrible abusive parents.  The Iron Fist took notice of Zion’s untapped potential.  Big Mack spent time grooming Zion for the underground fighting scene.  Despite his best attempts, Zion ultimately chose another path, option to pursue a career in professional wrestling.

Ultimately, it made Mack feel like he wasted his energy from grooming the young prospect.  It disgusted Mack to see Zion pursuing scripted fighting when he had the power behind his fists.

Mack’s taken back with Zion’s complete transformation from the once-dorky kid he once knew.  But Mack grasps Zion’s desperation.  Eagerly rubbing his hands together, Mack grabs his beer, taking a hearty gulp as his excitements fills the air.  His eyes widen with a malevolent gleam, betraying the sinister intentions lurking beneath his surface.

Unaware of Mack’s intentions, Zion stands before his old mentor, weight down by defeat and despair.  Deep down, he understands this week is the catalyst for something bigger.  He recognizes Mack’s talents in MMA training could correct the course his career is taking, making a significant impact heading into the War Games PPV.  His recent loss to rising rookie sensation Lexi Gold hangs heavily on Zion’s mind, intensifying his desperation.  Determined to make an impact at any cost, Zion’s willing to sacrifice everything to gain Mack’s assistance.  It could turn the tide of his fortunes.

“I apologize for ghosting you 17 years ago.  I was a young, foolish, brash child unable to appreciate your talents,” Zion admits with a tone of regret and sincerity.  His gaze reflects his desperation as his eyes lock with Mack’s hazel eyes.   With a weary sigh, Zion pleads on, his words weight his exhaustion and frustration.  “What’s it going to take?  I know beneath those iron fists lies a heart of gold.”

Mack’s unyielding demeanor sends a clear message to Zion.  He extends out his palm demanding payment.  With no room for negotiation, Zion lets out an audible exhale, his frustration evident, rolling his eyes at the imposing figure standing before him.  “Alright, I’ve got a $1000…”

Mack’s booming laughter fills the base, reverberating off the walls like thunder.  The booth both men sit at shakes from Mack’s lung power.  The Iron Fist scoffs at Zion’s offering, finding it completely insulting.  Darin’s face falls, his pride wounded by Mack’s mockery.

Mack interjects hastily before Zion can counter offer.  “Oh no, my friend!”  Big Mack asserts, his voice dripping in excitement at this opportunity.  “You don’t get to walk in here after rejecting me all those years ago.  Big Mack wants to make some serious cash after you screwed him all those years ago.  I want 25% of your earnings—I want to be your business manager.”

As the offer sinks in, Zion cringes at losing a quarter of his hard-earned paycheck.   His frustration bubbles to the surface, evident at how he’s clinching his fists, visibly shaking.  Yet beneath all his emotions, there’s a gnawing certainty that if he doesn’t change; Lee Best’ wrath will be far worse than any financial loss.  The weight of this decision presses on his like leaden blanket, leaving Zion torn between his pride and the harsh reality of constant losses.

Reluctantly, Zion reaches his hand out to Big Mack.  “You’ve got yourself a deal,” he concedes realizing he holds no bargaining power.  Before Zion can even begin to celebrate the new deal, two guards swiftly whisk him away to the back room.

Big Mack’s voice echoes urgently as Zion’s dragged away to the back, his cry almost lost amongst the commotion.  “Training starts now!  Don’t disappointment me like you did with your dad!”