It was the day after Refueled 66 here in the nation’s capital which meant it was the Fourth of July. Normally I would have headed straight back to Miami but the thought of catching a flight on the holiday made me cringe. So Madison and I decided to stay another night here in the Kimpton Hotel Monaco in downtown Washington D.C. You’d think I’d spend my holiday eating burgers and hotdogs or watching the fireworks display being held.
Neither was the case cause I found myself seated on the beige faux leather couch in front of the television watching a replay of Refueled. I was fuming as I stared at the screen while holding a glass full of Jack Daniels in my right hand. In my left hand was an ice pack placed directly on my groin. You’d think the reason for my mood was watching the replay of Eli Dresden hitting me below the belt, however Eli was the furthest thing from my mind. My mood was directed at the ending to the main event of the show where Steve Solex retained the HOTv Championship belt.
“Are you feeling better?” Madison walked over holding the bottle of Jack in her hands with concern in her voice.
“My groin is feeling alright but I just can’t get this show out of my head.” I hissed before raising the glass in my right hand to down the alcohol inside which sent a slight burning sensation down my throat into my chest.
“Listen, I’m sorry about what happened between you and Eli last night.” Madison said as she placed the bottle of Jack down on the clear glass table that separated the television and the couch. “It’s just when you two are around each other you both instantly go into attack mode and things get out of hand.”
“I’m not worried about Eli. Sure, I’ll get her back for what she did to me but for right now I’m more concerned with watching Solex celebrate like he just won the Super Bowl.” I extended the index finger on the hand holding the whiskey glass and pointed it towards the screen.
“Not happy for your fellow Best Alliance member?” Madison inquired as she lowered herself down on the couch beside me before crossing one of her flawlessly smooth legs over the other.
“It’s no secret that I’m not exactly buddy buddy with anyone in the Best Alliance but this bastard was the weak link. He gets one lucky win and now he gets to celebrate like the show is all about him? Fuck that shit.” I spat as I watched the fireworks go off behind Solex and the Eagle landed on his arm.
Madison leaned over and grabbed the ice pack from my groin before placing it down on the glass table. “Championships have a way of changing people and seeing as how this is Solex’s first Championship win in HOW he’s doing it up big.” Madison ran her fingers on her left hand through her long purple hair before reaching for the bottle of Jack. She removed the cap on the bottle and carefully refilled my glass.
“Yeah but this is Solex. The man that had trouble beating LT, Zeb Martin, Zion, and pretty much anyone else outside of HOFC. The Best Alliance practically has all the belts now and I’m the odd man out. That should be me with gold around my waist.” I let out a defeated sigh before taking another sip from my newly refilled glass.
“Opportunities pop up all the time. There is still Bottomline, Rumble at the Rock, and Iconic to think about this year. This week is the HOFC show. We can take the time to rest and help you refocus on something other than Eli. Your time will come.” Madison leaned back and let her body sink into the faux leather couch. She held onto the bottle of Jack with other hands letting the top of the bottle rest against her ample chest.
I reached for the remote with my left hand and turned off the television with disgust. I threw the remote down but the sound of my cell phone ringing filled the room. I downed the rest of the glass and reached into my pocket for my phone. I answered the call and placed the phone up to my ear. It was Lee calling to tell me news of what he had planned for the week following the HOFC show. Another Best Alliance perk getting to know before anyone else. After a brief conversation I ended the call as Madison looked at me with questions sparkling in her eyes.
“Interesting call?” Was the simple question Madison asked as I slid my phone back into my pocket.
“Very interesting. It was Lee and apparently I don’t have to wait very long for my time to come. I have a match booked and tomorrow we head to Florida to train then it’s off to the Carolinas.”
About a week passes and from the moment I got back home to Miami I’ve been doing nothing but weighing my options about this match I have booked against Steve Solex for the HOTv Championship belt. At first I was excited but the more I thought about it the more I realized what all went into being HOTv Champion. I wasn’t even ten matches in since my return to High Octane Wrestling. I was still trying to kick off five years worth of ring rust.
I wasn’t sure that winning the belt and being booked every single week was the right decision for someone in my situation. Not to mention the fact that Steve Solex has been on a hot streak since War Games and this was his first HOW Championship. However I was tied for eighth in the standings and the higher I went the closer I would be to contention for the HOW World Championship belt. That was the ultimate goal and loss to Steve Solex would hurt any credibility I had started to build up as a top contender to the belt.
Either way I wasn’t just going to lay down for Solex on Refueled so that’s why I had found myself at the Fighting Evolution Wrestling school in Miami Gardens, Florida. Inside of the building were about twenty different students all of different shapes and sizes. They were all surprised to see an established competitor like myself walk through the door with Madison and Carmen by my side. Once the introductions, greetings and autographs were out of the way I got right to work. I picked a kid about my height and weight to train with for the next two hours.
I paid the kid who was trying to make it under the gimmick of ‘Florida Man’ $200 to hit me with as many Solexecutions and Solexplexes as he could muster. I was flipped and slammed on the mat of the ring with white ropes and bright red turnbuckles. It didn’t take me long to figure out if I wanted to kick out of the Solexplex I needed to work on my leg strength. I always came up with the plan to work Solex’s hands and legs. If he couldn’t keep his fingers gripped it would make it easier to kick out. And if his legs were shot he wouldn’t be able to hold the bridge for the Solexplex. Even with that I kept going through it over and over. My back ached, my chin felt like it was cracked, and the sweat dripped from my brow and pooled on the canvas.
Madison had watched each move and exchange closely but Carmen seemed uninterested and spent most of the session playing on her phone. After two hours the kid was gassed and I decided to give him a break. Madison handed me a towel I used to wipe myself down with as I exited the ring.
“I bet that kid is never going to forget the day he got to hit The King of Everything with more stunners than he could count.” Madison raised a water bottle into the air and squirted some of the contents into my mouth.
“He gets to tell the story to all his friends and I got to work with someone relatively the same size as Solex. So it’s a win-win situation in my book.” I arched my back a bit trying to get the throbbing to stop as I turned and looked over at Carmen. “Hey, the kid needs a breather. Want to jump in and take his place for a moment?”
“Sorry, I’m just a masseuse. I don’t do those types of things.” Carmen replied sarcastically without even offering a glance in my direction.
“You’re kidding, right? You’re a former HOW ICON Champion.” I retorted back at her with the comment that she’s thrown my way more than a couple times since we ran into each other weeks before the War Games event in Tokyo.
“We had a deal, Jace. You got me back and forth to Japan and I would—“
I interrupted Carmen and finished her statement for her. “And you would work for me so I don’t see why—“
This time Carmen interrupts me before I could finish and inserts her own perspective. “And I would work for you as a Masseuse. Not as your personal trainer, so sorry but not sorry.”
“What is your problem? You helped me train for War Games and now suddenly it’s an issue?” I took the towel and wrapped it around my neck then grabbed each end with my hands.
“I’ve also been doing things like driving you around like your personal chauffeur and filming your promos. I don’t really feel like those things have been appreciated as much as they should be.” Carmen turned and looked me directly in the eyes with a stern look taking over her features.
“Uh huh, and what do you exactly mean by ‘I don’t really feel like those things have been appreciated as much as they should be’ Carmen?” I stepped forward and looked down into the blue eyes of the brunette.
“Hey I got an idea!” Madison added as she tried to step in between myself and Carmen as the tension began to boil over and garnered the attention of everyone else in the building. “Why don’t I step into the ring and help you train?” Madison asked as she wedged herself between Carmen and I.
“You helped me train for War Games but that was just hitting me with weapons. I need someone with a grasp of technique and you don’t have that. Your training will start soon though.” I took a step back and looked down at Madison.
“You’re going to do the training, right?” Madison asked excitedly as she clasped her hands together in front of her chest.
“Well actually…” I started before looking past Madison back over towards Carmen who still had displeasure written all over her face. “I was going to have Carmen start your training by teaching the basics of a woman taking on men twice her size but I don’t think that’s going to happen now.” I stated poignantly in Carmen’s direction.
“Why do you want me to help you or anyone else with training?” Carmen exclaimed while extending both of her arms out wide. “First off I don’t even like her and secondly why help you when you can’t even make up your mind on whether you even want to win this match?”
I bit down on my lower lip and pondered my words carefully. “Are you saying you’re just not cut out to do it anymore in the ring?” I added the right amount of snark to my question which causes Carmen to scoff.
“Clearly, you’ve lost your mind. I might not have wrestled competitively in years but I’m still better than you at this point.” Carmen reached over Madison like she wasn’t even there and pointed her index finger at me. “Mister oh I’ve been booked in a title match and I don’t know if I can handle the responsibility of being Champion. King of Everything? More like King of Sweet Fuck All, the way I see it.”
“Oh really?” I could feel the rage building up in the pit of my stomach. “You want to know what my answer is to whether or not I want to win this match? Pull out your phone and start recording!”
Carmen pulled her index finger back and ran her fingers through her hair nonchalantly. “Sorry, that’s another luxury I feel you don’t appreciate. You want a promo? Use Madison as your tripod.”
“You want to be appreciated? Make yourself useful and get into the ring to train Madison. Trust me, I’ll appreciate you handsomely for your efforts.” I put an emphasis on the last comment. Carmen and I stared at each other in a heated silence for a few moments before she finally responded.
“Fine.” Her reply was short and sweet as she rolled under the bottom rope into the ring and waited for Madison to join her.
Madison reluctantly slid into the ring as the student I was training with before ‘Florida Man’ made his way over and offered to record my promo on his cell phone. I accepted the offer and grabbed a hold of the water bottle Madison left sitting on the ring apron. I squirted a healthy amount of water into my mouth as ‘Florida Man’ got his cell phone ready to record. He gave me the signal that he was ready as I began.
“Steve Solex, the first ever HOTv Champion. Words I never thought I’d be saying based on past performances from the so called enforcer of The Best Alliance. Yet here you are coming off your first successful title defense where they shot off fireworks and had an eagle land on your arm. Hell, Sutler Reynolds-Kael won War Games and he didn’t get a celebration as elaborate as the one you got. You must be on cloud nine right now with your first ever HOW strap.”
I lowered my head a bit and ran my right hand across my bare, titleless waist before looking back up at the phone.
“As you can tell by looking at the website I’ve been doing some thinking about this match we’ve been booked in. If I’m being honest I never really had my eyes on the HOTv Championship belt. After all it was meant to be a mid-card title since the World and LSD belts can have only so many contenders. However I was backstage watching your match with High Flyer in the main event and I had to shake my head. I couldn’t believe this was a main event match with Cancer Jiles vs. Conor Fuse on the card. The way people exited the building to beat the traffic was just disgraceful.”
The sound of Madison being slammed down to the canvas and screaming can be heard as I take a moment to sneak a peek. I chuckle a bit at the scene in the ring then focus back on what I was saying.
“I’m sure the people that did stay only stuck around for the fireworks. Watching the replay over and over again I made up my mind. Chemistry in The Best Alliance be damned, I’m in this motherfucker to win it. Oh and this day couldn’t come any sooner Solex. You might be the hottest wrestler in HOW at the moment but when I first came back you were shitting the bed harder than anyone else. So how dare you go and find Championship gold around your waist before me? Especially when you cost me the HOW World Tag Team Championship belts in my first match back. Two weeks ago you had your crowning achievement moment in HOW. Yet you’re the one at fault for my most embarrassing moment in this company when you cost me a three on one handicapped match against Zion.”
I balled both hands into tight fists with white knuckle intensity as I gritted my teeth together and hissed towards the phone.
“Your entire fucking promo was pretty much ‘I’m going to lose to Zion’ from start to finish. Then to top it all off you have the nerve to puff out your chest and boast about getting into the Hall of Fame. I could wipe my ass with your list of accomplishments in this company but that would still be too classy. Know your place WordPress monkey. You’re not a HOF worthy talent, you’re not Championship material. #1 Dad-Soldier? Lee Best’s right hand man? Go fuck yourself. I was Lee’s right hand man, I carried this fucking company on my back and all you’ve done is stumble into wins against Zion, Zeb, and High Flyer. Good job Soldier, unfortunately for us you came back from those tours on two feet instead of a shopping bag. Too much? Blow me, bitch.”
I take a moment to pause and suck in a deep breath. I hold it for a few moments then exhale through my nostrils to help quell the rage inside of me.
“Don’t even get me started on the fact that you’re not mentally fit to be a Champion right now. Always tucked away in a corner arguing with yourself shouting We? We? We?! Actually I think it was my first match back that all of that started. There I was in the ring taking care of business and there you were on the apron having a heated conversation with no one in particular. So I’m going to do what’s best for everyone and that’s keep stomping your head into the canvas until the voices stop. I’m walking out of Refueled as the second ever HOTv Champion and you can go on talking to yourself in the corner about that one time you had an eagle, the American flag, and fireworks. Believe me it’s the last time you’ll ever be relevant in an HOW ring.”
I unclench my fists and look down at them. I could almost feel the weight of that Championship belt in my palms. Soon, the clock is ticking on Solex’s reign.
“And I don’t really care how awkward this is going to make things afterward in The Alliance. Take your loss like a fucking man. I didn’t join to make friends, I joined to make money and win titles. I’m taking your belt from you and I’m going to turn it from mid-card title into THE title in HOW. The days of High Flyer and sub-standard talent being in the main event are over. There are no amount of stunners or Solexplexes that are going to stop me Steve. It’s time I rise to the top of HOW once again as a Conqueror but at least you’ll get to be a footnote in my legacy.
With that I take the towel from around my neck and toss it at the phone and decide it’s time to get back to training.
Hours later we all arrived back home tired and exhausted from all the training. I had already showered and changed so now I was in the mood for something to eat. But first I planned on keeping my promise to Carmen. I grabbed a hold of a wad of $50 dollar bills and headed towards Carmen’s room. I reached her door which was closed shut and knocked on it gently.
“Hey Carmen, you got a minute?” I asked, waiting for a response.
Inside the room the steam from under the bathroom door located inside the bedroom indicated that Carmen was in the shower. However there was someone else in the room. Madison could be seen tip toeing across the lush white carpet as she was going through Carmen’s personal belongings.
“Shit.” Madison whispered to herself as she heard me knock at the door. She quickly placed everything back into its proper place then made her way over towards the closet to hide.
“Come on Carmen, I’m trying to do the right thing here.” I said out loud as I knocked again at the door.
Again there was no response but I could hear the water running. I grabbed a hold of the door knob and turned it to open it and step inside. The light and steam coming from the closed bathroom door confirmed my suspicions about Carmen’s whereabouts. I made my way through the room then headed towards the bathroom door as a thought crossed my mind.
“No, that would be a bad idea. Focus Jace. You already got hit in the groin by Eli, no need to have your balls ripped completely off.” I whispered to myself as I decided against opening the bathroom door to sneak a peek or join.
I made my way over towards the night stand and placed the wad of $50’s down for Carmen to see after her show then exited the room. I closed the door behind me and headed towards the kitchen as Madison peeked her head out of the closet. Once she noticed the coast was clear she exited the closet and made her way over towards the night stand.
“Motherfucker, I knew he would leave her some more cash.” Madison whispered as she reached down and grabbed the wad of cash. She thumbed through it quickly and then pocketed it for herself as she heard the water from the shower turn off. Madison exited the room and closed the door behind her like she was never there.