Thursday, May 12th, 2021
Burnt Boot Obstacle Course
Depression barely scratched the surface on how I felt. I’d reached my wits end. Sleep eluded me for the past 53 hours. Anytime I tried dozing off while working; Sarge loudly blared an air horn straight into my ear drums. My eyes sagged from exhaustion. My ears persistently rang from all the damage to my ear drums. My bones cried out in agony. Muscles I didn’t think existed in my body throbbed intensely.
The sun zealously burned me causing my skin to welt. The dry, dusty, desolate, desert air narrowed my airways. As my lungs desperately gasped for air, my legs seized up restricting my ability to run faster. After Tuesday night’s fiasco: Sarge plunged me into the depths of hell. Nothing was off limits. I’d peeled potatoes, scrubbed toilets with a toothbrush, cleaned Sarge’s tanks, and ran nearly 10 miles.
Accomplishing all those feats without any food, water, or rest is worth celebrating, but it all caught up to me. Jittering unceasingly my legs began buckling underneath me. I forcefully grit my teeth together while trying to push forward. I had to hasten my pace to survive. My eyes caught sight of a wooden pillar off in the distance in the middle of the obstacle course. If I could make it there I could rest up and tune out the Sarge’s yammering. Just a little further…just a little further…
Collapsing to my knees in front of Sergeant Edwards’ boots; I crawled to his feet desperately trying to hoist myself off the ground. Struggling to pull myself back up to my knees, Sergeant Edwards nails a swift kick directly into my empty stomach. He reaches for my head and smashes it against the hard dirt clots sticking out of the ground.
“Is the pain too much for you, raasssssler? Your spirit’s finally breakin’ down. You gonna cry to mommy and daddy, yet? Well they didn’t fuckin’ want you anyways! They probably wished you’d die in a gutter after you chose that profession of yers” he cries out mocking me. Fumbling around before kipping back up to my feet; I brush the dirt off my clothes. I clench my teeth together tightly barely moving my lip as I sarcastically respond.
“Then you better fuckin’ run some more, maggot! Your ass keep gettin’ slower and slower with those times. You’ll be lucky to get supper if you don’t improve this next round. GO! GO! GO!” He barked his marching orders as my feet fluttered against the brittle ground. I barely picked up him muttering “Fuckin’ Rassler” under his breath as I made it around the corner of the obstacle course to the wall.
Flopping completely drained; I noticed my arms dangling at my sides. I huffed trying to catch some wind back in my lungs. I needed to collect my thoughts.
Not once had I thought about how this entire experience could better equip me to handle Jace Parker Davidson. Incontestably, Jace made my other two opponents look like schmucks. As one of Mike Best’s standout proteges; he transformed his career with his dominant LSD ICON Championship reign. I’d heard the stories when Jace first entered HOW. Buried underneath the burdens of HOW; he single handedly pulled his miserable ass out of the dumps and transformed overnight
Jace oozed both talent and charisma both in and outside the ring. Everything came naturally to him. The legends about his innate ability for competition barely paled in comparison to actually experiencing it first hand. I lived through them. His precision and control in that ring made him especially dangerous. He’d lure you into a false sense of comfort and would capitalize on your ego. When you went to war with him; he battered the hell out of your body until he broke whatever spirit you had left.
The mere thought of standing in a right with him again caused my body to seize up. The chills running down my spine in the middle of this heatwave should be a testament to how much I loathed facing him in this handicap match. He made Sergeant Edwards look like fucking Barney the Purple Dinosaur. My descent to the bottom of the card continued to plague my mind. I knew Jace was scheming his big shot to kill off the rest of his career. I’d been an incessant pest in his side all those years ago. I cringed just overanalyzing his revenge schemes.
“Quit fuckin’ daydreamin’ you worthless piece of shit. Do you want to disgrace that dead girlfriend of yers? She left this earth to find better man to man action, fuck face. She never loved you!” Sergeant Edwards bellowed within ear shot. As the words seared into my brain; my head shook and my face began glowing red. Tears rolled down my cheeks and I slid down the wall letting my emotions take over.
Sarge rounds the corner and locks eyes with me. Cold, calculated, and cruelly seizing my neck he pulled my body up against the wall slamming it back and forth against the plywood multiple times. “CLIMB THAT FUCKING WALL! CLIMB IT NOW, PUSSY!” he kept chanting repeatedly like a madman before smashing my body against the ground. Powerlessly dragging myself to the wall; I latched onto the rope with dear life. Wedging my quivering feet against the wall hoping to secure them; I started ascending up the wall, pausing to get my baring underneath me.
I felt nothing inside in this moment of time. Everything was meaningless to me now. Sarge broke my soul into a million shambles. Devoid of any remaining passion; my hollow husk of a body continued to saunter up the wall muster the remaining adrenaline flowing through every vein. I can do it. I’m almost there. Just place your left foot up firmly on top of the wall and you’re home free, Zion. As my foot came down to reach the wall; the ground felt light beneath it. Oh shit! Gravity caused my body to sink back to the earth.
The sound of my face echoed throughout the camp as it hit a pile of mud below. Before Sarge came bolting around the wall; instinctively I pulled myself off the ground. Clouds whirled around in my head as I felt every muscle in my body go limp. Recalcitrantly standing in place swiveling; I noticed my arms dangling at my sides. I lost myself feeling the crushing pressure in my head. Battered and broken down I remembered this last time I felt this overwhelming sense of pain.
War Games 2015
It was the first time I recollected that night after suffering a concussion at the hands of Jace. Feeling the overwhelming aspiration to prove my worth to Lee Best; I intentionally signed up to compete in two War Games matches. After signing my HOW contract; I sold my soul completely out to the brand. I coveted the chance to cast away any doubts.
I’d acquired the PWX stench from my 9 year stint before getting the chance to tussle with the greats in the professional wrestling business. I was overzealous; pouring my entire heart and soul into both matches; I took hellacious bump after hellacious high spot trying not only to win over the crowd that night, but my peers in the back.
All I wanted was respect and the time to earn it was now. Impoverished and egotistical; I wanted JPD in that ring. I bought into the idea that the fans could give me an extra burst of energy. I thought my jealousy and disgust would power up every blow I threw at him. Instead it drained the last bits of energy out of me before the big finally. I pathetically tried swinging my arms and kicking my feet with all the effort; but Jace outsmarted and outlasted me. He’d jeered at me before firmly planting my head into the mat and covering me to secure his victory.
It started my journey of always being the bridesmaid but never the bride.
At that moment it dawned on me Meredith watched that match. She’d overheard me bickering about that night for months without end as she’d exited the room multiple times when I just needed to vent. Meticulously studying my flaws; she’d called up the best person she knew could build up my stamina for this handicap match. She knew I’d fuck it up along the way. Everyone knew my blatant character flaws in HOW. She wanted to tighten everything up in hopes I’d survive.
This whole trip was to prepare me for the final boss holding me back: and it wasn’t just Jace, Jiles, or Solex.
It was my self-doubt.
Throwing in the towel no longer was an option knowing Meredith had faith in me. Shaking my head viciously a few times to jar myself back to reality, I watched Sarge race up to me. I could feel his warm breath curling the hairs on the back of my neck. Screaming at the top of his lungs, his spit flies directly into my eyes. He assertively pokes me in the chest, ripping me a new asshole. “YOU DARE FUCKIN’ FLIP FLOP MONKEY YOUR SHIT TO GET OUT OF WORK?! DO YOU FUCKIN’ SMELL BURNIN’ TOAST, MAGGOT! DO YOU NOT KNOW HOW TO WORK PROPERLY?!”
My arm snaps up to salute him without a single hesitation. “No sir!” I bellow out firmly from my lungs and execute a perfect Thumbs In stance. His eyes almost leap out from his head. He double takes for a moment knowing I’m hiding the pain and weakness in my body. His tone immediately shifts.
“Well, maggot; go run that obstacle course again,” he stammers as I stand frozen in place with perfect precision.
I responded, “Sir! Yes, sir! But may I ask a question before I continue with the course.”
Twirling his mustache, he motions with his hand to continue.
“I know I’ve acted like a little shit head the past few days. I came in here unprepared. But I’m hungry, exhausted, and broken. May I at least grab the remaining scraps from the breakfast hall before hitting the course again to prepare for the final test?”
He nods at me in approval, “You got ten minutes, maggot!”
“I’ll make it five, sir!” I nod at him before forcing myself to rush towards the mess hall like a starving pack of wolves. Before getting out of Sarge’s line of sight; I salute him once again trying to make the Mess Hall before they toss away what little food they might have left.
My last few days might have been hell, but I gained a new appreciation for the Alliance. Maybe I’d balked at the system for years because I’d grown tired of trying to prove my worth to everyone and started coasting. But I appreciated the life lessons I would take home from boot camp. I damn well knew I was entering the Seventh Circle of Hell going into Refueled. It was a fight for survival come Saturday night. I knew Lee wasn’t playing around.
He wanted to squash the longest standing member of the revolution sweeping HOW across the nation. He wanted to use me as an example trying to break the spirits of Grapplers Local 214 because while he knew I’d written a check my ass couldn’t cash; he knew my spirit would infect the rest of the locker room. He’d seen it happen before over my 7 year HOW stint. He wanted me to surrender to the Alliance and break the most unbreakable spirit to ever sign to his roster.
What he didn’t estimate was I was preparing for war. He might have thought I was target practice. But he didn’t anticipate I desired nothing more than to leave the biggest blemish on the Alliance’s long standing history.
“Well look what the cat drug back into HOW! It’s everyone’s favorite attention seeking whore Jace Parker Davidson. Can’t say I’m surprised; retirement isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.
How’d that stint in 4CW treat you? You fared better than me over there. You held gold. Your investment to make Perry’s shithole fed the next HOW must have paid off! Oh wait that’s right! Perry closed up shop. 4CW’s stonks came crashing down just like how your body did at Stevenspedia’s hands.
We don’t have to talk about that; it’s best we both closed that chapter of our careers. Besides you learned your life lesson the hard way just like your other buddies did. The grass is always greener in HOW.
I guess you could always fall back on your side hustle of shilling Tara’s used tampons to sad HOW fanboys on eBay. She always had more marketability than you ever did. There’s no way you can’t make bank off that!
Ewwwww! I forgot you went through a nasty divorce. Guess that investment cyberfucked you too. Welp I just made things awkward with your new side ho Madison.
Clearly we know the well ran dry, Jace. It’s okay to admit you needed the money to maintain your luxurious lifestyle. We get it; wrestling pays the bills and feeds our egos. It’s why we all keep signing contracts and taking copious amounts of punishment.
We could exchange pot shots and pleasantries all day; but I’m not interested in rehashing a 5 year old Twitter war live on Refueled. You’d love that. You’d exert no effort to eviscerate me, saving all your energy for your big War Games match. You always loved it when Lee tossed you freebies.
Contrary to my tone; I know the position I’m in right now. Wrestling injuries have taken a toll on me over the last few years. I’ve dug my grave time and time again. I’m running a race with half a leg waiting to be shot in the backfields of a pasture. We get it. My situation looks bleak now. I’m not the same wrestler who stood across the ring from you at War Games six years ago. Valiantly I defied the odds to survive until the end of two War Games matches in one night. Today I’m just an unequipped wrestler about to enter the world’s most vicious gang bang. I’ve grown soft over the years. I couldn’t find myself.
You’d just love it if I backed myself into the corner having another emotional meltdown before shitting the bed at Refueled. You’re hoping I overthink and make the slightest miscalculation to slit my throat once again. You want me to pound my chest touting how I’ve beaten you for the LSD ICON Championship in a ladder match thinking I’m looking past the gravitas of this match.
But I’m not going to do that.
We all know you checked out to 4CW. You’ve already put that asterisk on that victory to humble my ass. I let my jealousy and hatred blind me my entire career. Hell, I’m not afraid to admit it anymore. I low key hated you not because you were the epitome of every wrestler I hated in this business. I was envious at how naturally gifted you were in the squared circle. You got blessings from every HOW legend to secure yourself a contract. You busted your ass to get your position and it pissed me off to see such a talented wrestler weasel his instantly back into the title picture.
I let that shit hang over me for my entire first run in HOW. I had to work three times as hard as you to even get noticed by Lee. I didn’t have any votes of confidence trying to get here. Hell, I only settled with the penguin just because he was the only one printing contracts for random schmucks. I hit the ground hard to earn my spot in this business and I tripled my workload coming here trying to wash off the stench of dead fish off my career. I leaned on that crutch for 16 years. On Saturday night I throw all my crutches into the trash and earn everything I’ve promised again.
Yes, Einstein Parker Davidson; I fucking know this is a brawl. Hell, let’s call it what it truly is! It’s a goddamn massacre. Did Stevens really scramble that gnoggin of yours that badly in 4CW? You should be ashamed of that fact. It’s pretty pathetic! These days he can barely push a pencil without shitting himself all over a Discord server.
This ain’t a presidential debate. I ain’t looking to earn points in a verbal joust. I don’t have to cure cancer or solve world hunger by targeting Solex or cutting three separate promos about each of my opponents. Save that shit for the news networks.
I’m fighting to survive.
In wars like these, you take shortcuts, use weapons, and fight dirty. You do whatever it takes!
At this point in my career I know the damn Alliance like the back of my hand. I damn well know Jiles and you will protect your brother in arms. Hell, even if Solex fails to show up; Lee will add three more Best Alliance members to our handicap match to tip the odds more in his fucking favor. He wants me to give up. He wants to drag my ass to Alcatraz and indoctrinate my ass at this point.
But I won’t back down even if this is my last stand. Fearlessly, I will fight on as hard as I can until the end. I won’t needlessly exert energy going into this match. I don’t care if it’s you, Jiles, or fucking Solex I pin. I’m going to crack your damn skulls with the brute force of the Ban Hammer to add insult back to Lee Best himself. I’m going to use all three of your egos to expose your blind spots. I’m going to keep my mind grounded, focused, and disciplined going into the match to keep my stamina entact. I’m going to fight more ruthlessly than I’ve ever fought in my entire career. That’s how I’ll win.
I’m not going to stoop to your fucking level any more.
I’m going to embarrass you three in front of the entire world and prove my own damn worth around here for a change.
I can’t afford to take another loss. My spirit can’t handle it any more. I’m tired of being viewed as HOW awkward little brother. I’m tired of being everyone’s punching bag.
I’m punching my ticket to War Games and beating the entire Best Alliance like I vowed I would.
So pull out your check books, boys. It might borderline insanity, but I’m betting on myself. Hell, I might put my yearly HOW salary on this.match. It might be awkward prediction, but #Zionstonk is about to become a thing.
And for the first time in my career; I’m about to pay back some dividends.
I promise you all at the end of the night; you’ll end up with a better retirement plan than Jace Parker Davidson did.”