“I’m still trying to process the last week. I know that I have the potential to do great things and win…but that’s not what plagues my mind today. It’s the fact that my past has literally reached out and try and grab me by the fucking throat! Now I don’t know if you all believe in signs or coincidences..particularly I don’t believe in coincidences…you’ve heard me preach all about that for the last several years, several times. However, sometimes there comes a time when something happens in your life that you simply can’t ignore anymore…”
“I mean…I woke up in a hospital room in Los Angeles and the first thing I see is one of my dearest friends, Gerald Reeves. So now I had to ask myself first..how the fuck did I get here? And secondly WHY the fuck am I here? I found myself trying to answer the latter question with little to no results. So now I think I have to really probe the reality and really dig deep down inside to find the answers…just like I used to. My mind is constantly running and I was always good at putting the pieces of the puzzle together. So now it was time to dive deep down and go seeking for those answers…even if I didn’t like what I found or how hard it would be to stay away from the temptations that the past presented to me…no matter what. So I went looking for the answers…in the last place I wanted to find myself at…it was the only way…”
Los Angeles, California
The Port of Los Angeles
June 1st, 2020
The scene opens up at a familiar pier…a pier we haven’t seen in quite some time. The camera pans out full frame as we see Brian Hollywood looking out over the pier and the open water. You could tell there was plenty of things on his mind as he takes a deep breath and sighs.
Brian Hollywood: “I gotta say man…it’s been a long time since I stood here down at The Port. There are A LOT of memories here…some great and some not so great. But it seems this is the only place that I can really come to try and piece together everything, you know? Usually I would be here alone…but something told me to have a friend here and I really do appreciate you being a good friend.”
The camera pans out again and this time we see who it is that Hollywood is addressing. It’s none other than Phil Woods, the truck driver Hollywood met months ago after crashing his rental car. Phil then nods his head as he addresses Hollywood after carefully listening to him.
Phil Woods: “Well I do appreciate yer aforementioned kind words and respect, Bri. I’m humble and honored to call ye a friend as well. I just wanna say…I know how hard it is to be vulnerable…I mean, I’m a god damned trucker for Christ sakes! I’m as stubborn as they here come! However, if ye want me open, friendly two cents, I think yer doin the right thing in tryin to seek out the answers and you’ve got my support one hundred percent!”
Hollywood nods his head and lets out a brief smile as he’s genuinely relieved to hear Phil say his peace, as well as being on his side. Hollywood had fewer and fewer friends and allies on his side these days it seemed, but was definitely a sigh of relief to hear that he had at least one.
Brian Hollywood: “Well, I really do appreciate the kind words, Phil. It’s not easy for me to just let everything like that out. It’s been a long road for me and it’s not getting any easier. Especially now that people have to pry into my life and make things personal. Of course, I mean Darin Zion…hundred percent.”
Phil Woods: “Darin Zion? Don’t ya mean Darin Matthews?”
Hollywood shakes his head and lets out a small laugh as he easily corrects Phil.
Brian Hollywood: “Haha, no I mean Darin Zion. I would see how it would be confusing if you weren’t following along with everything happening in HOW from a week to week basis. But no…Darin can claim he’s under a new name…but he’s STILL and will ALWAYS be Darin Zion! Plus it pisses him off every time he’s addressed as Zion instead of Matthews! The man thinks he’s reborn..but he’s still the same motherfucker he always was. He’s trying to forget his past and bury it..but the truth is he never will. If he wants to take it to personal levels with everything with me and acknowledgment, than that’s what he will get!”
Phil Woods: “Damn…I reckon there is a lot of bad blood between the two of ya. But I gotta say that ye gotta be careful with there say Zion. He may very well be the same person…but there’s an element about himself that makes him a tad bit dangerous, ya know?”
Hollywood shakes his head in disagreement as he knew Phil couldn’t be more wrong.
Brian Hollywood: “No man…Zion will ALWAYS be Zion! He’s taken this thing so fucking personally for all those times I buried him within an inch of his life. Now, he wants to try again…and by him changing his attitude isn’t going to save him any favors. He’s still the same person…just as it would appear I’m the same person…”
Hollywood pauses as he seemingly hit a nerve himself. A lot of things flooded his mind and sometimes they were borderline almost too overwhelming. But Hollywood stands there in deep reflection of himself as he tries really hard not to let all the emotions overwhelm him…emotions were starting to become a problem for him lately….he didn’t understand why he all of a sudden was experiencing all these emotions. Hollywood was never an emotional person…but now it’s gotten to the point where they were bombarding him daily, and he definitely didn’t like it let alone the fact that they clouded his judgment. But now Hollywood was deep in thought about what he just said…trying to analyze everything he just said to Phil as the words start to resonate with him. Phil pats Hollywood on the back as he can easily see Hollywood is in pain.
Phil Woods: “It’s alright, Bri. I totally understand where ye comin from. I’m just tryin to help ya be the voice of reason here. It sounds like ya’ve got some demons yer tryin to absolve. Now, I don’t really know that much about yer past outside of seein ya in a HOW ring…but I’m here for ya if ya ever need an extra ear or help ya solve anythin. Just want ya to know that.”
Hollywood nods his head as he lets a smile cross his face. Hollywood hadn’t been all cheery or happy in quite some time, but being here at The Port definitely helped Hollywood clear his mind…even if there were a lot of old memories flashing Hollywood’s mind. Hollywood pats Phil on the back as he continues to look out to the open water.
Brian Hollywood: “I do appreciate everything you’re saying and everything you’ve done for me, Phil, I really do. You’ve helped me out a ton in the last several months and I’m forever in your debt. However, I know you couldn’t possibly understand everything I’m going through. There has been a lot of things behind the scenes that you haven’t seen me do….or the kind of shit I’ve been up against. But this…too….shall pass…at least I hope it does. I just am not sure what my path is supposed to be…”
And there it was again…Hollywood’s been torn within himself…battling himself and fighting two sides of himself. One obviously trying to be good and stay on his new path in making himself a better wrestler..while the other half of himself dwells on the temptation in turning around and giving into his older self. It was the easiest route…by far…but Hollywood was battling with his conscious because Alan Ventura was helping him see that there is greater potential within himself. So what if the Five Time became the Six Time…Hollywood was too busy training and making himself better than to pay attention what Mike Best and the Group of Death were doing….sure he knew Mike had won another ICON Championship….but beyond that, Hollywood hadn’t been keeping up with current events…just what involved him in the short term. The short term was that he had another match coming up this weekend on Refueled against Steve Harrison…another HOW rookie…and Hollywood was just about done with rookies.
Phil Woods: “I know ya’ve had a rough time lately, Bri, but I know I couldn’t begin to understand to know of the pain that brews deep within yerself. I’m just tryin to be here to help any way that I can, ya reckon?”
Brian Hollywood: “Of course I understand what you’re saying, Phil. I’m just trying to cope with the help and tell you the best way that I can. I have a painful past…and a past that is constantly at war with the world. There has never been a dull moment in my life, especially presently. It just seems like I’m missing something important…like a particular war is coming…one that I’m not sure won’t engulf the entire landscape. But I can’t focus on that right now…right now I have to focus on my opponent this weekend. Steve Harrison…you ever heard of him?”
Phil shakes his head after thinking for a few moments but doesn’t come up with anything.
Phil Woods: “Can’t reckon that I have, Bri. The name seems to sound familiar…but I’ve got nothin. What about Steve, though? You seem pretty bothered by the guy. Why is that?”
This is what caused Hollywood to fight with himself. There were several rookies Hollywood had fought…but none of them paled in comparison to Steve. Hollywood was already getting used to the prospect of fighting rookies…but there was something about Harrison that particularly rubbed Hollywood the wrong way. Something about Harrison that, quite frankly, was keeping Hollywood up at night…besides the beatdown he received at the hands of Matthews a couple of weeks ago. Hollywood sighs once more before he lets out a frustrated, but tired sounding sigh.
Brian Hollywood: “It’s just…Steve Harrison is a businessman…and I’d like to think that fighting him was no accident from Lee Best. Lee knows how to push the buttons of his wrestlers in HOW…and this one is no different. Just Harrison makes me jealous! You know..jealous of what I used to have! It makes my blood boil, Phil! I just am tired…tired of proving to myself that I’ve reformed who I am. But I digress…maybe this path, this road is supposed to lead back here. I can’t help but to feel that that is the case! I mean, it’s got to be a sign or something! Just a couple weeks ago I dialed Niles Omega…FOR A REASON! And then, not even a week later, I wake up in a Los Angeles hospital with my other good friend, Gerald Reeves sitting there and he’s the first one I see. It’s just like…are these all signs? I can’t help but to feel the irony in all of this…I know I’ve already have stated that I don’t believe in coincidences…but this is too much not to simply just ignore and brush off my shoulders, you know?!”
Phil nods his head slowly as he seemingly is able to understand what Hollywood is saying. Phil knew that Hollywood had been battling a war within himself for months and now it seemed that Phil thought it was coming to a breaking point with Hollywood.
Phil Woods: “Look Bri…I reckon I can’t tell ya how to live yer life, but these temptations…these urges ye’ve been fightin within yerself, maybe that’s the point? Maybe yer just tryin to fight those urges so ya can better yerself. Ya reckon? At least that’s what I gathered from ya. I know ya’ve got a lot of things boilin within ya…but ya can’t give in to those temptations if yer not meant to…then again, maybe ya are supposed to give in to it. To channel that old self. Maybe this entire time, that reflection of bein a better wrassler…maybe it was supposed to make ya edgier and help give ya some self reflections. I don’t know…maybe I’m just here ramblin…or perhaps I speak a little bit of truth…”
Hollywood’s eyes widen as if something Phil said resonated with him deeply. Maybe he didn’t need to completely change himself. Maybe it was fate…and no matter how much you try and change who you are…you can’t outrun fate as fate would let everything unfold the way that there supposed to. Hollywood turns back to Phil as if the words Phil hammered into his brain really stuck to him. However, the jealousy was still there on his face…and it was undeniable how much it was really bothering Hollywood.
Brian Hollywood: “You know…maybe you’re right, Phil! Maybe I’m trying TOO hard in making myself better and trying too hard in leaving behind the man I once was. But if fate has any say in the matter, than all roads lead back to one…and that’s the path no matter how you get there. Maybe it’s time I stop trying so fucking hard and just embrace who I am! But I still can’t fight what’s really at the pit of my stomach…what’s really down deep in the subs of my conscious…and maybe it’s time I stop fighting those urges and embrace what’s there…I know that I’m going to meet Harrison in that ring this weekend…and if he wants to know just who the fuck I am…I have no problem dishing that shit out!”
Almost as if he’s been given another purpose of his current quest, Hollywood actually sighs breathing fresh air as he lets out all the toxic poison that has been consuming in his body. All the negativity that has been weighing him down…an anchor that was clamped keeping him from breathing, let go. Hollywood smiles and nods his head, thankful for Phil’s philosophy.
Brian Hollywood: “You know something…thank you, Phil. I gotta say…I’m not really used to hearing some good advice from friends…I don’t seem to have many of those anymore…so thank you. It might be hard for me to really hear that a lot of the time…but as painful as those words are hearing sometimes…I needed to fucking hear them so….thank you!”
Phil Woods: “Hey, no problem, Bri! I’m always happy to lend an ear and a couple pints of advice! If ya ever need someone to talk to…ya know I’m always a phone call away…I know that sometimes I’m on the road and can’t meet in person, but that doesn’t stop me from havin a phone conversation with ya…ya reckon?”
Hollywood smiles as he nods his head as Phil looks down at his watch as his eyes widen with alertness.
Phil Woods: “Ah fuckin coleslaw! I gotta get back on the road man! Ya need a ride anywhere before I hit the road again?”
Hollywood lets out a small laugh before he shakes his head firmly.
Brian Hollywood: “Nah man…I’m good. I’ll be hitting the road shortly. Got that match against Steve Harrison this weekend. Besides, I’ve got to get back to Chicago and somehow get a little bit of training in…you know, burn off these thoughts…”
Phil Woods: “Alrighty my friend. Just so happens I’ve got a here shipment to pick up further north California. So looks like we’ll be goin separate directions. Just know, Bri, I’m only a phone call away brother! Ya take care of yerself, ya hear?”
Brian Hollywood: “I will my friend, and thank you! You be safe and keep in touch, you here?”
Phil nods his head in acknowledgment before shaking Hollywood’s hand as he turns around and proceeds to leave the Port leaving Hollywood alone once more to air out his thoughts. Hollywood turns around and looks back out towards the Port, losing himself back in thought as he ponders once again Gerald’s warning last week. He had no idea what Gerald met by consequences coming if Hollywood stayed on his current path, but Hollywood found himself quickly and quietly placing those thoughts on the back burner of his mind as he starts to contemplate more about his opponent Steve Harrison, as the sun begins to set over the Port of Los Angeles as Hollywood loses himself further in his mind before the scene slowly fades to black…
“Finally getting myself back in Chicago, I’ve had a lot of time to really ponder everything. This weekend, I face off against newcomer, Steve Harrison. Yes..another HOW fucking rookie. But you know something? This rookie here is the the one rookie that has me deep in thought over all the other ones that I’ve had to face. Why the fuck is that? Well, turns out this particular rookie and I have something in common…at least did have something in common.”
“I know for a fact that you happen to be a businessman. At least, that’s what I’m to understand about yourself as I’ve seen your file. You seemed to have made a name for yourself, kid. It’s not easy being a businessman…let alone one who has had as much success as you’ve had. But make no mistake, Steve..that’s where it fucking stops! If there’s one thing I’ve fucking learned in the HOW business…it’s that it doesn’t matter how decorated or how successful you’ve become. It all stops at that front door here in HOW, Harrison! Now if I’ve gotten myself correct on this…it’s the fact that you haven’t wrestled in over ten years! That’s a long fucking time to be away from the business, kid! You may think you’re ready to step back into the ring, and step into the ring with me, but I assure you it’s not going to be how you think it will be!”
“I’ve seen your work, what you had to say about me. If that’s the case, you should KNOW how dangerous a man that I can be and HAVE been! I don’t know how rusty you’ve been, but I can damn sure tell you that you are FAR from ready to step into the ring with me! I know I’ve had some injuries to myself in the past couple weeks, but that didn’t fucking stop me from tearing Steve Solex apart! Jesus H fucking tap dancing Christ!…What is with me facing Steve’s lately? It’s like I’m fucking cursed or something! It feels like Dejavu…or that I’m stuck with Bill fucking Murray in Groundhog Day! The day just keeps on repeating itself. The only difference being I’m going about the day a little bit differently each time. But from what I have been able to gather…you’re FAR from ready to face me! Let me give you some advice, kid…”
“I’ve been a very successful businessman, but that endeavor caught up with me quickly in the ring when it came to opponent awareness. You want some fucking free advice? Stop being tied down with your businesses and start preparing for your matches more! I learned that the HARD way and it fucking cost me EVERYTHING!!! Literally FUCKING EVERYTHING! However, I’m not going to bore you to death or beat a dead fucking horse about it. I’ll just let you know that if you don’t prepare for me properly, you’re going to find yourself in a world of fucking hurt, Steve. I promise it’s not going to be a walk in the park. However, I know that you are very capable of adjusting. Hell, I fucking did…and if I can….SO can YOU! Everyone in that HOW locker room knows how difficult it was for me to do that…I mean, if they even gave a fucking shit! But I digress…it doesn’t matter what the world thinks of you. That’s something that I’ve been able to successfully block out with myself. I’m just here to proceed week after week, improving MYSELF and that’s what I’m going to continue to do…regardless of who my opponents are and what kind of work they do that is similar to mine. Because at the end of the day, it just becomes a basic instinct of mine to press forward…and that’s what I plan on doing straight up this Saturday, Steve!”
“Say what you will about me, Steve…the fact of the matter is that there has been some current events going on that has me seeing red lately. Just like Solex, you’re in my way of standing in front of me from getting my hands on Darin Zion. I still have all the rage in the world that runs through these veins, Steve, and I plan on using that rage and making an example out of you. Nothing personal, kid…you’re just standing in my way of getting to Zion. But I digress…welcome to HOW…but it’s not going to go the way you think it will. In the end…you’re just another casualty on my path of revenge…when its all said and done…in the end…all you are is just another victim…but to me…a….”