March 11th, 2021
New York City
While the air was warm for a mid-March afternoon in Times Square; the sky was the perfect shade of gray to match my mood: gloomy. A gentle breeze circled around me as I continued to walk the same path up and down completely obsessed. I needed to know my environment well. I needed to know what tools were at my disposal.
In the wise words of Thomas Szasz, “eat or be eaten.”
Saturday’s Times Square LSD Number 1 Contenders Street Fight continued looming heavily on my soul. I could have spent the entire week training in the ring. I could have perfected every wrestling stance, every wrestling move, and every single strike down to a T. I’d grown accustomed to wrestling comfortably inside a wrestling. Too comfortably, I could almost coast after 15 years.
Deep in my soul: it would have been a rookie mistake.
I knew wrestlers would gather around the town; trying to find ways to groom their craft. Sticking to the task at hand. I watched the tapes. I felt what people like Scottywood, Scott Stevens, and Brian Hollywood felt in that street fight. They let out their primal instincts. They fought to survive that match.
I knew I opened my mouth and signed my own death warrant.
Not that I haven’t fought in the mean streets of Chicago while growing up. My family never gave two shits about me. I had to fight off many scummy people on the streets just to survive my childhood. I had to prevent them from stealing my lunch money. New York was an entirely different beast. Chicago paled in comparison. It was next level kinds of shit.
You always had to be aware of your surroundings. You may not carry a weapon, but you had to know where one was to fight off any threats. I’d heard about it from some of my classmates who moved out here. Develop your killer instincts or die trying.
I’d spent most of the week out and about on the streets of the Bronx late at night. I’d travelled around Hudson Bay. I walked down the streets of Brooklyn just unleash a dormant trait I let die off. I carried nothing with me other than the clothes on my back and a couple of big flasks of Jack Daniels.
It was easy playing the nice guy. I’d let the roster steam roll me for the past two years. But this required something I let stay dominant since I left the Bingo Halls in Crown Point, Indiana.
I wanted to go back to my dark place.
As I travelled down the down the heartless streets of Time Square; my eyes constantly shifted around searching. Every moment they’d lock on something and I’d make a mental note and let my imagination run away with me. I didn’t just want to win the LSD Championship this weekend. I wanted to make a statement. I wanted to maim everyone who stood in my way of getting the shot at the belt that escaped me. My list of ideas consisted of:
- Running Brian Hollywood over with a Taxi Cab
- Choking Hughie Freeman out with the Hot Dogs he craved before burning him with tools from a street cart
- Crushing Zeb Martin’s skull in with a manhole cover
- Dropping Teddy Palmer off Times Square like a New Year’s Eve Ball
It might result in murder and I might do time, but I didn’t want anyone in my war path to gain the LSD Championship. I wanted desperately to earn my credibility back. As every thought became more gruesome, I chugged more Jack out of my flask desperately trying to unhinge, losing myself. My mind constantly unlocked more weapons with each sip I took. I didn’t have time to process everything:
- Used Syringes
- Street Performer Guitars
- Protest Signs
I’d gone wild. My eyes widened and slowly I began laughing manically under my breath. It was like the good old days when I dove off sets without thinking about the risks, I took the next day. I felt at home rallying behind the cause—the war for the LSD Championship. I slowly became me. I felt the courage flowing through my veins and—
“DARIN! You alright, buddy” a familiar voice echoed behind me as I jumped startled. I took a few deep breaths to code myself back to reality. I couldn’t show him I was thinking about—her. I couldn’t show what I would do for—her—not to him.
I turned around and smile as one of my best friends from high school, Mark Manning stood with his arms opened wide. Quickly, I rushed over to hug him, tightening the embrace. His bushy, thick black beard almost absorbing my head in as I felt a sigh of relief overcome me.
“Sorry to startle you, mate; but you asked me to come and check on you today. Gotta keep that accountability. You lost in your dark place, yet?”
I flashed him a fake smile as my eyes slowly twitched. My back stiffened up. My heart raced as I rushed to down another shot of Jack. God! It was stiff this time. My eyes shut and I groaned, coughing up from the taste.
“I’m where I need to be…I’m where I need to be…”
Silence lingered on as he raised his eyebrows as he stroked his thick beard before nodding at me. “I think we are done here today, mate. Your body is telling you enough—soooooo—enough!” He sternly exclaimed as he approached me.
As he slowly moved in closer; I rushed at him yanking directly on his beard and pull myself in to meet at his eye level. I yelled at him:
“I’VE HAD ENOUGH WHEN I SAY I’VE HAD…ENOUGH! I DECIDE WHEN THIS ENDS! YOU DO NOT!”
I pushed him back glaring directly at him. As he continued to lecture me about the importance of mental breaks, my head turned to catch a glimpse of a nearby local sports store along with a local hardware store. My mind registered the barbed wire and hockey sticks laying out in the window. PERFECT! Another mechanism of my torture. My opponents would soon feel this pent-up rage I’ve been harboring for two damn years. However, before I could enjoy the sweet bloodlust of watching Hollywood’s face decorated in a crimson mask, I felt Mark shaking me:
“Earth to Darin! Come back please! I need you to focus!”
I shook my head bringing myself back to reality. I placed my hand on Mark’s shoulder and handed him back the flask of Jack Daniels. My eyes started drooping downward and exhaustion hit me like a ton of bricks. Painfully I look him in the eyes.
“I need to go back to the hotel room. It’s weighing on me, man. It’s weighing on me. I feel like I’m trapped and I need to…I need to….escape it right now.”
“I know, Darin. It’s why you brought me here. The HOW LSD Title means a lot to you. You’ve spoken passionately about it the last few days,” Mark said as I put my around his waist. “You want to dedicate yourself to your craft. But you need to save that bottled up frustration you’ve been keeping bottled up for the big fight. I know the streets weigh on your soul. I’ve lived here for the last 15 years. I thought I saw it all in Chicago, but boy, I was wrong. I’ve watched how these streets treat people with an innocent heart like you’ve molded.”
My shoulders loosened up. The glow slowly returned to my eyes as I took a deep breathe as we walked back towards my hotel.
“Heh Heh, well newly innocent. I tried to erase the Grand Crossing out of me as best as I could. I’ve desperately wanted to erase my past. I need to embrace it. Lots happened and I’m not proud of those days before I walked the straight and narrow. But I need to go back to it. It’s the heart of why I got into this business. I wanted an outlet to let that steam off…”
“Save your rambling for later. You don’t need to unpack your emotions when coming back. Save them for the real fights and wars you’re gonna have, this Saturday. It’s when you performed your best in that ring. I’ve watched you.” He said as we both laughed.
“Yeah, but I can’t let it wear on me, man. I feel the pressure. I’ve choked a lot lately. But this. This is mine to win. I’ve battled hard and I passionately believe this title needs to be saved from that lazy, no good for nothing Jatt Starr who doesn’t give two shits about her…I mean it. He treats it as a fucking participation trophy. He doesn’t know what blood has been split over it. He doesn’t know the passion, or the dedication people placed into that belt. None of those cozy mother fuckers know it. Only someone who’s walked the walk these years and experienced it feels it. They think it’s all just about a wrestling accolade for me. I see the meaning in that belt. People used it to let out their darkest tendencies. They etched their names in it with their blood. They fought to survive to hold it. I need to rescue it. I need to save it. I need to bring back the violence and destruction. It needs to be treated like a true prize.”
As we walked up to the hotel room, he handed me back my room key and my wallet. We shake hands before I wipe the sweat off from my drenched forehead. I let out a sigh after a long day of walking and embracing my demons. I nod at him slowly. He softly says:
“Well you’re dedicated to your craft, Darin. Don’t obsess too much over the pressure. That’s what’s cost you the past. Keep focused on the prize, man. You’ve come a long way. You lost control of those demons once before trying to seek out attention. You have to use them in a productive way…”
“That’s the plan. I stepped in that squared circle and I could flip the switch. But as I got older; I didn’t cherish it. I faltered and I made mistakes. But this time, I promise, I didn’t grab Lee by his balls without expecting to earn the opportunity. It’s just tough revisiting that pain.”
I cracked a smile at him while I head up towards the door.
“I understand. Just go break a leg, or good luck—whatever they say in the professional wrestling biz. Knock them dead.”
I nodded and smiled at him before I went inside. I waved at him before I shut the door behind him. As I started walking up to my hotel room, my smile crinkled from ear to ear as my eyes widened. I cackled sadistically under my breathe.
“You have no idea how far I’ll go to make sure I protect HER image.”
March 11th, 2021
DoubleTree by Hilton near Times Square
Police sirens kept sounding off in the background as the city kept hustling and bustling along. My body ached from all the mischief and adventures I’d been on the last few days. Slowly, I struggled and sauntered over towards my hotel desk where I left the bottle of Johnnie Walker whiskey sitting on my table. I reached over and pulled the two drink glasses on the table and reached for my ice bucket. The plinks of ice cubes barely echoed through my quiet hotel room. I flipped on the lights and slowly began to pour the last of the whiskey bottle into the glasses in front of me. I laughed hysterically as I slowly spoke and slurred my words.
“You—you don’t know how lucky you are that I’m here!”
Nothing pierced the sound barrier but a faint voice in the background. I clapped upon hearing it while I continued to go sip on the cold, smooth Johnnie Walker in front of me. I raised the glass up in the air.
“You’re damn right, I’m top shelf! Top FUCKING Shelf! No one knows how much fight I’ve got in me. I’ll always fight for you. ALLLLLLLWAYS!”
I scratched my chin the room continued to spin around me.
“No one knows what’s in…what’s in…what’s in store for them. They don’t know how much I need you. How much I want you. How much I CRAVED you.”
I stumbled, hitting the table and everything in my path tripping and fumbling as I made my way to my dresser where SHE sat. Decked out in her beautiful black and gold outfit; my replica LSD Championship sat in front of me as I grabbed her off the shelf and embraced her tightly.
“It’s been almost five years since I last held you. I know I let you down too. You were the one that got away from me. I had the chance to hold you for a long time. BUT I LET HIM come in between us. I let HIM get to me and my emotions. I let HIM destroy me.”
I pulled a picture of the Hollywood Boyz off the table with Brian Hollywood’s face X’d out in front of me. I shook my head before cackling hysterically again.
“HE got in our way the last time. He played mind games with me. He out strategized me with the emotions. But I promise you. HE won’t get between us. None of them will this Saturday.”
I kiss her before I set her back down on the dresser and smiled.
“I let Big Red get in our way. But I promise to fight hard to make damn sure you’re one step closer to being around my waist again. I won’t let you down. I won’t let ANYTHING stand in my way this time. ANYTHING! No emotional past bullshit. No Lee Best. Nothing! Nothing! Nothing! I will fight hard and mark my words…I will not take my eyes off the prize at all when I go to war this Saturday night.”
I fall back on my bed as the liquor hits me as fade off to sleep.
“It’s funny to watch everyone and their God damn dogs in this match starting to pivot now. They’re starting to realize how shitty the LSD Championship division has gotten over the past 3 months. We’ve only two lack luster LSD Championship matches while Lee Best fondles himself over his 3 other divisions. Now everyone and their fucking dog is bragging about how they deserved this shot; how they’ve now seen the potential in this championship, how Lee’s noticed their hard work and good efforts.
I’ll let you in on a little secret boys:
Lee Best doesn’t give a shit about any of you guys. In fact, Lee Best probably hopes we bash the shit out of each other’s brains; you know so he doesn’t have to honor our Goddamned contracts. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, boys. You’re all great damn wrestlers. You busted your asses for the HOFC Championship, the HOW World Championship, the HOW World Tag Team Championships. You know the only three belts Lee Best touted. You four fuckers jumped through the hoops like good little bitches and followed his whims and wishes. Good job! He gave you fuckers a dog treat.
You didn’t cut inspiring promos. You just coasted your happy fat asses into this match. And I’ll give you another little bullet point or tap dance you fuckers can put in your god damn caps to validate you:
You are good little work horses. I’ve watched Hollywood kicking ass in the ring night in and night out to earn his opportunities. I’ve watched Teddy Palmer attempt to develop a personality, albeit, it’s still like watching paint dry, but I digress, it’s improvement. I’ve seen that pikey change over from one damn hardened prized fighter to the dick sucking slut of the Best Alliance for his glory. He finally shut the fuck up about all his bullshit and put his ego aside. I’ve seen Zeb Martin fight tooth and nail for his tag team title shot and not bitch like the rest of us divas. You all have claims to fame in a wrestling ring—
But that’s just it: your accomplishments and statistics bullshit were done in a wrestling ring.
On Saturday night, we ain’t going to tap dancing classes to be in a fucking Broadway musical. We ain’t rolling up in a limousine going into cutthroat business meetings stealing millions of dollars. We ain’t going fishin’ neither, hayuck yuck yuck.
We’re stepping into the cutthroat streets of fucking New York City. We’re stepping into one of HOW’s most lethal matches ever discussed to this day for a shot in a division where either eat your fucking competition or you get massacred.
We are not stepping in between ropes and beating each other in the cushy padded ring until we get a concussion. If you’re thinking we’re in the same damn clusterfuck wrestling match we were at ICONIC; you’re about to be hit by a bus: literally.
You fuckers don’t understand the kraken I’ve unleashed upon HOW. I didn’t expect to walk out of Times Square on my own two feet after winning. I planned to beat the absolute shit out of each and every single last one of you assholes until you couldn’t walk into the next couple shows. I planned on Lee throwing the toughest challenge my way and literally fighting for my life. I didn’t want the same song and dance bullshit we’ve done the last two damn years.
Yes, I’ve lost in that ring. Let’s all beat the damn dead horse dry. It’s the same tired song and dance fucking pony Mike Best uses. But instead at least Mike runs creative circles around your jerk offs. I’ve choked time in and time out because I get excited and let my mouth do the fucking work my brain should do. But I didn’t want the LSD Championship handed to me based off my fucking promo. That’s the fucking easy path. That’s how I get tripped up in my own shit.
I wanted to make a fucking statement and earn it.
I knew what needed to be done the second Scottywood announced the match.I needed to harden my heart towards the world. I needed to embrace my inner Zion. You know, the one Mike Best runs off to Lee and fucking cried about 8 years ago because I was too damn brutal. Because that Zion used to jump off shit and live to tell the tale. He didn’t bitch about getting inserted into hardcore matches weekly. He fucking grabbed a glass clown head off a pier and beat his opponent with an inch of his life Zion.
I lost that edge. I lost that ability to not give two fucks about you worthless shits.
Go ahead and tout you deserved this fucking match. Write off that promo. It’s not like any of you fucks cared. Pound your worthless chests. Get it out of your system. Swing those pathetic limp dicks around. Because clearly outside of the basic vanilla midget shit we all do, you lack intensity. You lack passion for this division. You lack that vision. You never had a clear path since fucking December anyways. You needed Lee Best to give you the match.
I didn’t. I marched the beat of my own damn drum and I took the risk. I took my own balls back. And you damn well know if I took the risk throwing away the job I love with a passion for a chance to earn an LSD Championship Opportunity; I’ll damn well put everything on the line to make certain I walk out victorious.
I didn’t need to throw a damn tag team match and through a piss baby hissy fit like Brian Hollywood did to get Lee’s attention. Clearly that shit only works at 11:59 and then Brian Hollywood turns back into the rotten stale pumpkin the red headed stepchildren throw away. I don’t need Lindsay Troy and Zeb Martin to validate my fucking worth. I don’t need to be a prize fighter and treat every championship like it’s a second-rate plaque that a worthless blue-collar worker needs to validate my career.
I need to fight passionately. I need to fight fervently. I need to fight angrily and like hell to earn that championship I let escape from my grasps five years ago. I tossed her aside to chase Big Red. I lost myself because I took my eyes off her. I let that hope I had for her die because I didn’t treat her like a god damned prize.
I won’t let her get away from me again. I won’t make the same mistake of easing up like I’ve done with Teddy Palmer last week. I won’t ease up and run all over the place like I did at ICONIC. I won’t get lost in having my name on the lights of another HOW Pay Per View this time.
This isn’t Broadway and we ain’t tap dancing around this shit this time.
I see a future for this title, and it isn’t about being literally safe like you pansy asses want to do.
I see a lot of blood from the loyalty and sacrifice coming.
You all don’t because you’re wearing rose tinted glasses. And it’s quite sad because two of you fuckers have held this belt and one of you fought in the first iteration of this damn match. You all lack those killer instincts. You all stand for the pomp and circumstance I don’t thrive in.
You guys are bringing knives to the sniper fight and it fucking shows.
You’re all Zioning the Bed right now. You’re rolling around in your own god damn shit digging yourselves and fucking doghouse with cute New York references and bragging about shit that come Saturday won’t fucking matter.
So, go ahead, say all your cute fucking catch phrases about honor and prized fighting and basic instincts. Talk about your fake killer instincts you’re trying to get back into the HOW World Title Division like every other God damn wrestler in existence does. Be the boring, bland fucking do-gooder wrestlers who need to prove their worth. They need to say their prayers and eat their damn vitamins and be the basic bitches of HOW that you are.
I’m not doing that this Saturday. I will sacrifice your blood on the proverbial alter to LSD. I will beat your asses within an inch of your damn lives. I will cut you in your god damn feels and piss you off along the damn way until I beat you within an inch of your life.
That’s what you do for the things you love. That’s what you do when you care about a title. You don’t treat her like a fucking stepping stone. You sure as hell don’t make it about you.
You fight to survive on those damn New York Street. You destroy any and all friendship in that match. You give her everything and treat her like she’s Top Shelf fucking liquor. You make it about her.
So look me in eyes right now because they’re burning with fire and anger. I’m tired of sitting on the damn sidelines doing the same shit you fucks are doing. I will break out of the mold this Saturday. I will splat your brains and guts all over New York City. I will sleep soundly at night knowing that I’ll have inched myself one step closer to that belt with Lee’s god forsaken name.
And mark my words; New York City, HOW nor I will give a damn what happens when I’ve won that match.
I will become HOW next LSD Champion; no matter what it costs me.”