Tough Love

Tough Love

Posted on November 11, 2021 at 11:51 pm by Darin Zion

Tuesday, November 9th, 2021

3:00 AM

Alford, Scotland

Alford Bed and Breakfast


Never in a million years did I ever think I would hear the term “Fuck Zion” not used in a derogatory sentiment. The culmination of a 13-year dry spell ended tonight.  Frankly, the enchantment of the evening rose above all expectations.  The last time I had a European sexcapade, the woman of my dreams got murdered.  The daunting thoughts of emotional trauma still lingered after all these years.  I halted anything I planned to do with Meredith for months.  Fortunately, fate finally shut my damn brain up.  When you’ve gone through a rugged war for your woman’s honor; the dopamine flows at an exponential rate.

After an exquisite date around the Aberdeen area, Meredith and I checked into a cozy little hotel.   Chemistry happened and sparks flew throughout the entire night.    Once we returned to our room, let’s just say a different type of wrestling match occurred.  I’ll spare you all the details; after all, this isn’t a Jace Parker Davidson tentacle fetish porno.

Meredith’s body toppled over onto the bed before she bundled herself in the sheets.  She draped her arms around me, constricting my neck.  Her delicate fingers wave around my ab muscles.  A radiant smile beams like a beacon on her face as she leans over to kiss me on the forehead.  “God, I love seeing this version of you.  Your confidence is fucking attractive.  I love it!”  She exclaims in a playful voice.  Her fingers now caressing my hair as she gazes at me with a loving look.

A sensual grin forms on my face as I whisper back to her my deepest most thoughts.  “To be honest, I haven’t felt like this in a long time, Meredith.  It’s awkward not feeling that sense of stagnation.  When you were gone; it made me realize what matters in the grand scheme of things.  Seeing the torment in Lexi’s eyes during your absence made me realize my trajectory in my life.  I’d turned into my shitty stepfather.   I couldn’t subject Lexi to that life of torture.”

Meredith leans over to give me an energetic peck on my cheek.  “Parenthood brings everything into perspective.  Hearing my mom describe what you did for Lexi when Xander abducted me warms my heart.  You proved my intuitions were wrong about you.  If I’m being honest; I didn’t see you ever rising to the occasion of fatherhood so well…”

“Don’t count me out!  We both know I have a track record of fucking golden opportunities up.  I lived in a fucked-up house.  I’m bound to make some mistakes along the way.”  I rebutted her with a light chuckle under my breath.   Admiring Meredith’s beautiful, beaming, blue eyes, my smile sparkles back at her.

Meredith unleashes a playful punch against my left shoulder, jolting me back.  The glee in her laughter reverberates off the walls.  “Ease up there, Tiger!  You earned your praise.  Nothing in life ever goes perfect.  Trust me for a change.  Lay back and enjoy the ride for a change.”

The desire burns in my eyes and the urges start panging at me.  My eyes narrow as I nuzzle closer to Meredith.  I avidly ask her while pulling her in.  “You know I love me a good fight.  Is that an invitation for Round 2?”

The primal urge in her eyes intensifies as she pulls away, denying the request.  “I wouldn’t want to wear you out before your big day tomorrow.  You can’t miss your flight to Belfast.  Remember?”

Exhaling a drudgingly long sigh, my palm folds up against my forehead. God! Why did she have to remind me? Tomorrow marks the first time in a decade where I would meet up with biological family. The blush, red coloring in my cheeks washes away fast while I stare up at the whirling fan above us. My hands fold over my neck as my stomach performs summersaults. My eyes roll into the back of my head as the anticipation of meeting up with my Uncle swells. Deep in the pit of my gut, I knew he would lecture me. The notion of his blusterous voice lingers in my head. Visions of his stern look materialize.  Turning a cold shoulder towards Meredith in defeat, I let out an exasperated sigh.

“Don’t remind me…” I say in a monotone voice, admitting defeat.  I pout as I toss and turn, trying to fall asleep.  Without a moment of dithering, Meredith’s lips press against the back of my neck.  Soon her fingernails run up and down my spine, causing goosebumps to form on my skin.  I melt under pressure and turn around to stare at her waxy eyes.

“Let me help ease your mind some more, honey.”  She purrs before climbing back on top of me to continue our little session.

While the blood rushes from my head to other parts of my body, achieving her desired goal.  While business picks up tomorrow; tonight, I enjoy the pleasures of success.  Tomorrow, I knew I had hell to pay on my path to ICONIC.   Tonight, I was going to reap the rewards of my hellacious war at Rumble at the Rock.


Wednesday, November 10th, 2021

10:21 PM

Belfast, Ireland

Belfast International Airport

The roaring of airplanes bustled throughout the terminals of this swamped airport. Passengers scrambled through the corridors, attempting to escape. Most of the business wrapped up for the day, and travelers sought after rest.  Unfortunately, I awaited on the plight of a brash, drunken Irishman, waiting for a fight. My arms fold against my chest while I propped my suitcase against the side of my leg. How typical of the old man to make his youngest nephew wait. The bastard was probably knee deep into his fourteenth pint of Murphy’s. Tapping my foot to display my impatience, my head searches over the sea of cars, hoping to find him. I shake my head as I gaze down into my Apple Watch.

Exhaustion sets in from the previous night.  My eyelids sag and my shoulders droop at my sides.  I mutter under my impatient breath, “10:25 PM!  Great!  I’d have better luck flagging down a fucking Uber. I only want to fuckin’ slee..”

“BOYO!!!!”  My Uncle’s voice bellows from his burly chest startling me.  Flying back into his firm chest, he points and laughs at my tribulations.  My nose crinkles at the poignant scent of booze.  Unable to read the room, my Uncle extracts a couple of cans of Kilkenny underneath his wool sweater.  Looking up, I attempt to glare him in the eyes; but his long white locks block them.  Jabbing my finger into his chest, I lecture him.

“The next time you scare me like that, Uncle Morris; I’ll fuckin’ floor your ass.”

“Don’t be silly!  Yew couldn’t even take my 6-foot 8-inch ass to the ground.  Yew damn well know I feckin’ hold the Irish Golden Boxing gloves from my days in the Navy.  I’ll knock your ass out before yew can take a damn breath.  Besides, I’m not the one who ignored his uncle for 16 years.”  He balked back at me as he pulled me into a stern headlock.

Tuning him out for a moment, I take a moment to size him up as he continues to yammer on and on about his disdain for my father.   As he cracks open his beer, he jabs me right in the ribs with a stiff right hand.  “Come on, Boyo!  Time for you to take a load off.  Let’s get a pint and throw down with the mates. Gotta brag about me wrestling champ nephew from over in the states.  They feckin’ won’t know what hit ‘em.”

Closing my eyes for a minute, my intuition kept begging for rest.   After tossing and turning in the tiny airplane seat, my body cries out for a quick siesta.  But with Uncle Morris’ hooting and hollering up a storm, I recognize his persistence.  Shaking my head in defeat, I saunter towards his beat-up Green BMW.

The night skyline of Belfast blurred around me as we aimless drive down the road for fifteen minutes.  Not even a claymore could slice the silent tension during the drive.  Only the Dropkick Murphy’s riffs rocked the tiny walls of the car.  My eyes continued to sag closed.  Between the dream realm, I could swear I heard myself snoring.

Morris’ loud, deep voice rocked me back into reality.  “WAKE THE FECK UP, KIDDO!  We’re here!!!”  My eyes slowly shoot up to a dilapidated, wooden sign painted gold.  It stuck out like a sore thumb within the township.  The sign read “The Worthless Coin Tavern” in blood red lettering.    Holding my throbbing head, my bloodshot eyes glare at my uncle.  “Do we have to do this tonight?”  I ask in an annoyed tone.

“Of course!  Family tradition here!”  He tugs me straight in through the two tavern doors.  As both doors slap me across the face, the pultrude smell of moldy beer wafts through my nostrils.  Plumes of cigar smoke sail towards the ceiling.  Glasses clang together before the piercing sound of shattered glass perks my ears up.

Two random patrons waged war over a woman or something.  I could barely hear their words as the music from the jukebox loudly played throughout the tiny halls.  Their bodies bump up against mine before I push them out of my way.  Plopping my impoverished body down on a bar stool, my uncle observed me.  Stroking his thick, white beard; he notices my tense shoulders.  His tone changes as he addresses me.

“Yer not that same, spunky 19-year-old I met those years ago.  Last time we came here, yew feckin’ destroyed anyone without hesitating.  No one could threaten the man named Zion.  Did something change?”

My eyes lower down to the floor for a moment before I speak under my breath.  Uncle Morris leans in as I let my feelings explode.  “I lost that Irish Spark you taught me, Uncle Morris.  After HOW closed 3 years ago; I lost my desire to fight.  Everything set in and my perspective about the wrestling business changed.  I’d alienated everyone I cared about along my way to the top.  I didn’t appreciate that journey…”

“…And it softened yew up?”  He interrupts me mid-sentence to finish the thought still daunting in my head after Rumble at the Rock.  I nodded at him as he flags down the bartender to order two beers.  I cut him off mid order to stop him.

“I don’t drink anymore either.  I ended up doing some bad things and ended up in jail.  I’m a struggling alcoholic and I don’t need that stuff in my life anymore.”  I lecture him before he finishes my order.

“Fine, I’ll drink his beer then,” he exclaims before the bartender walks off.

Everything happened in an instant and I couldn’t process it.  I pause for a moment before resuming my thoughts.  “Anyways, it’s why I came here to Belfast.  Rumor has it you have yourself a little Underground boxing circuit going on.  Thought I could participate in a few training sessions and fights before we leave the UK.”

Uncle Morris angles himself towards my ear before muttering his next sentence.  He completely ignores my feelings and cares more about his business.  “How the feck did you hear about it?

“I have my sources!  ANYWAY, I’ve got a loft goal.  I challenged a serial killer to a title match at ICONIC.  Lee Best gave me a tiny warm up match against an old friend at Refueled.  It’s about time someone teaches Doozer some tough love in the middle of that ring.  Think you can handle the task?”


Before taking any moments to think about the offer; Uncle Morris slams his fist straight into my gut.  His eyes light up light up like a Christmas Tree.  “Boyo, you’re in for some tough love.  It’s real love coming from me.  But I’ll make damn sure yew’ll dismantle that friend of yours.  When I’m done with yew; you’ll ship that boy’s body back to the states in a body bag.  You’re the one who has to be up for it.”

Stroking my chin for a moment, I ponder his offer.  The good memories of Doozer and the Egg Bandits swirl amongst my thoughts.  However, the overpowering feeling of responsibility pierces right through it.  Flashbacks of Lexi’s night terrors emerge in my mind.  The idea of losses piling up and my thinning bank account plague me.  Jamming my fist down on the table, I punch Uncle Morris’s hand.

“Thank you!  I promise I won’t let you down, Uncle Morris.”


““In a world that has gone soft, tough love is a necessity.”

― Asad Meah


We’ve shared a lot of great times over the past three years Doozer.  Not a lot of people know how much I respect you as a talent on this roster.  When everyone else rode my ass; little did they know what happened behind the scenes.  You always supported me.  You’ve had my back even when we went out of the curtain and fuckin’ killed it.  Rather we burned down the Yuengling Center literally or we wrestled a basic singles match.  No one understood our brotherhood behind the scenes.  Hell, you’re one amazing talent when you put your damn mind to it.  I’ll be the first one to admit; I secretly fantasized you and I would rock a PPV for singles gold one day.  It’s a marquis tale of two HOW dipshits overcoming the odds and proving their worth.  Both men clawed and scratched their way past their lazy images we’ve portrayed for the last three years.   It’s the storybook ending everyone would have loved to see for our characters.

But you fuckin’ squandered your shot at fame.

I hate to be the man to bust someone’s fucking balls on this roster.  God knows I’ve needed to hear this talk myself at times.  I know I’m the pot calling the kettle here.  But if it’s anyone who’s gonna be a true friend to you, Doozer.  It’ll be me.  Your performance at Rumble at the Rock fuckin’ sucked and it pissed me off.  It belittled the work both of us have put into our craft over the last three years.  GOD only knows how many times I wanted to quit while having a losing streak here in HOW.  I fought through hell and high water for meaningful Pay-Per-View matches for three years.  And when I got that chance at War Games this year; I came out swinging. Even though I got a breakout 3-on-1 handicap win, everyone in that match knew Zion wasn’t going to win it.   Hell, deep in the pit of my stomach; I knew I wasn’t ready for the responsibility of being the HOW World Champion.

But I didn’t fucking run away from the chance of cutting a damn promo and doing my job.  I dove in headfirst into the damn deep end.  I flailed around in the pool and drowned until Conor Fuse came to rescue my career.  He showed me compassion and mercy.  Best yet, he inspired me that I still had a wing and a prayer to fight for in this damn company.  The whole interaction led me to the HOTV Championship…you know the belt you fuckin’ fought for at Rumble at the Rock.

You disrespected my Greenie!  You devalued her name after you got the opportunity of a lifetime.  You got thrown into Alcatraz with a made chance to prove you were the better Bandit.  You let your jealousy fuel your damn cause.   But when your lazy ass partner Jiles got handed his fucking shot; you ran like a fuckin’ jilted lover and disrespected the work I’ve put into making my Greenie mean something around here.

Sure, I’ve lost and haven’t held her in my loving hands.  But I’ve damn well fought the hardest out of any of the other contenders to secure her and put her proudly on my waist.  I wouldn’t have run away from a clusterfuck.  I would have risen from the damn dead after Scottywood nailed me with a Zamboni to win her honor from that reckless murderer.  But you didn’t!  You didn’t even put any effort into trying.  You stood their like a deer gazing into headlights.  You looked pathetic and held back the other performers in that match.  You could have shot your damn shot you kept clamoring about and walked out with Greenie around your damn waist.  Yet you blew the chance of a lifetime, and I’m pissed about it.

Word of advice, Doozer; don’t show up to this match.  Flee!  Run!  Do it the Doozer way!  Because unlike you, I’m on a goddamn War Path to ICONIC.  I’m going to cut anyone down on my path to Greenie.  I don’t care if they’re my best friend or foe.   I’m so damn angry that if I see you appear in that ring at Refueled, Doozer; I’ll end your damn career.  I’ll break your damn arm out of its socket and I’ll send you back to the United States as a bloody mess.  You’ll be leaving the SSE Hydro in an ambulance, breathing out of a damn tube.

That’s what envy looks like Doozer.  It manifests into anger and pure determination.  Never in my illustrious seven year career have I had a singles championship match at ICONIC. I’ve had a bunch of salivating morons like yourself thrusted into clusterfucks to overshine MY opportunities.  And like a fuckin’ court jester; I let it happen.  I wanted to be the ‘bestest friend in the locker room ever” and give everyone an opportunity.  But it came at the expense of my hopes, my dreams, and my family’s paychecks.

This year’s ICONIC; I won’t give in.  I will bulldoze any and all roster members HOW officials put in my path.  And I don’t have any qualms about teaching you some damn tough love, Doozer.  When it comes to championship glory, it’s all about putting in the damn work and effort.  Sometimes, it might look like some clusterfuck of logos Frankie and Scottywood put together.  God knows I’ve fumbled through some ugly ass promos along this road.  But I’m the damn workhorse around here.  I’m the gatekeeper.  I’m the most persistent damn worker.  I might come up short in all championship matches, but I’ll never squander a chance to reclaim singles gold.

And that’s what’s driving me in this match, Doozer Boy.

I’m going to bring Lexi home something she can appreciate what her new father does.  I’ll sit back idly watching her proudly play with Greenie like a new best friend.  My eyes will twinkle every moment she enjoys the fruits of my labor.  I’ll proudly flaunt my Greenie over my shoulder and prove what a true representative of this brand looks like.  And it starts by setting an example in that locker room.

Go ahead Doozer, insert a Zion joke here.  I’m waiting!  Make the same old trite plays that Jiles and Dean always make in their promos.  I’ll lob you a freebie.  “Zion’s serious alright, a serious choking artist.  He’s gonna blow this opportunity.”  Take your little treat like the proud little bitch you are.  Parade it around.  Because it’s the last free damn thing you get handed here.

Laugh it all up while you still can do so, Dooze.    Because I’m walking into Glasgow ready to shatter your damn jaw.  I’ll break your damn spirit like I did to Xander.    I overcame that image when I killed 11 basement dwelling morons at Rumble at the Rock.  You’ll be my 12th one.  I won’t show you mercy like Lee did.  I will show you what it takes to survive this damn Machine known as HOW.

Run, Doozer, Run!  Because The Red Rings of Death are upon you!  Because I promise if you don’t default this time, Dooze.  Everyone will leave the SSE Hydro truly stunned at what lengths I’ll go to once again become a singles champion.