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View Full Version : [EPW vs. PRIME] Lindsay Troy vs. Dusk



TH
08-07-07, 07:26 PM
Interbracket matchup.

RP deadline is 8/15 @ 11:59:59 PM Eastern Daylight Time. All regular rules apply.

CraigM
08-14-07, 06:39 PM
I stand on the balcony at my house and look out at the rising sun. Wearing only a pair of pants, I find myself lost in my thoughts that have become the norm for me as of late. With so much going on in my world, it's a wonder and amazement on how I'm able to keep up. With a whirlwind schedule with PRIME, people began to ask me why I would do something crazy like join TEAM. Of course, after I joined TEAM I had to go and sign up with NFW. Most of it was the work from my manager and agent, but at the same time there was a fire burning inside of me that compelled me to join the two federations. Even with exhaustion starting to set in though, I'm nowhere close to being ready to give up. Instead, that fire continues to burn as I can feel destiny creeping up on me.

This week though, I have a challenge ahead of me that I'm not ready for; not by a long shot. It's that very thought that is weighing the most on my mind. If my destiny is to die sooner than later then I know that I don't have much time to compete in that ring. It's the ring that feels most like home to me, it's where I can find myself immersed in the hunger to win, and the drive to compete. Yet, the same question continues to hound me from my own personal feelings and the world around me. Am I ready?

Am I ready to face Lindsay Troy?


Death of a Champion
Birth of a Legend
Part One of Two


I tell myself no time and time again, but I know that I don't have much of a choice. As I look back on the past year since I returned to the ring, I think about all of the chances I've had that I haven't capitalized upon. A few losses in the Infinite Gauntlet. A loss in GTT6. Losing the Dual Halo. I even lost against Jason Snow in the PTC Unification Match. Even recently, I had lost in the Tournament of Champions, a shot at the Free For All Championship, and the Intense Title in PRIME. Have there been some bright spots? Yeah. I won the International Title in Global Wrestling. I defeated Nova and Karina Wolfenden for the PTC Extreme Championship. Hell, I even beat Devin Shakur for the Intense Title. But, for the most part one word could sum up everything.

Failure.

Most people would laugh at me if I told them that, but I know it deep down. I'm not one to let chances slip out of my fingers, but in the past year that's exactly what I've done. There is no other way to describe the past year other then classifying it as a complete and utter failure. That's why I look at Lindsay Troy, a person I respect and can consider as a friend, and know I'm not ready to compete with her. Over the past year our careers have taken very different paths. While I let my chances slip away, she made good on them, and had become arguably the best wrestler in the business, having crossed boundaries never thought possible. I need more time, but there is none left. It's either time to show what I've got or shut up and walk away.

If year two is supposed to be any different, then there's no better start against the best in the world. If I'm going to have a chance though, I need to be in the best shape of my life. Instead of doing the best I could I've let my focus get away from me. There's so much going on in my world that I forgot the one thing that I love. Competing. Wrestling. Today, that all changes. Today, I begin to fulfill the potential that so many see in me.

For a few more seconds, I look at the sun and then I turn around to see a friend of mine who was even a mystery to me.

"Morning, Katie," I say and she smiles as she wraps her robe around her. Behind her I can see that she's put a pot of coffee on in the kitchen. As I look at her, I notice the sleep in her eyes and knows that she wishes she could go back to sleep.

"Morning," she mutters, her strength not quite there yet. "You're up early this morning." I nod my head and walk past her into the kitchen while she follows me in as well. I immediately walk over to the cupboard and pull out a mug.

"Yeah, gotta get ready for my match," I tell her before walking over to the pot of coffee and pouring her a cup. As I walk over to her, I pick up an apple, and put the cup down in front of her as she sits down in the leather chair. I sit down across from her and take a bite out of the apple. I can tell by the way that she's looking at me that she can see the look in my eye. The look of hunger.

"Nervous?" she asks me and even in the short time that we've known each other she knows me far too well. I simply nod my head as I take another bite of the apple. "Why?" The question is simple in the terms of words, but complex in the answer. A million things cross my mind in rapid fashion and try to figure out what to tell her. For Katie, she's not aware of the wrestling world, and is still naive about a few things. Matches normally do get me nervous, work me up, and I become quiet as I lose myself to yet another world. The feeling of being a chess piece was not lost upon me as that's how I've been feeling over the past few months. For me, I'm a mere pawn in the game of life, and wrestling is only one of the aspects. Some days I feel like it controls me more then I control it.

"Stepping into the ring is... like a test. You don't get a re-do, you don't get a chance to do it all over again. Instead, you have to leave everything in that ring for better or for worse, and when it's all said and done you either have it or you don't. Some of it has to do with luck, but so much of it has to do with your abilities and your talent. I know that I'm talented, that much has never been in dispute. It's the fact that I can't shake this feeling that I'm not living up to people's expectations," I tell her and she looks at me before taking a sip from her coffee before reaching towards the center of the table where there's a large ceramic bowl filled with fruit. She takes a pear and looks at it for a moment before looking back at me.

"That's other people. What about you? What do you expect out of yourself?" she asks me and as she finishes her question I can only sit back in my chair and let the question hit me like a sack of bricks. She looks back at me with a smile on her face and then gets up out of her chair before walking out of the room with the coffee cup in her hands. For so long, I’ve gone out there with the thought of doing it for everyone else. Now though, when I look inside of me I have to ask what do I expect out of myself. The answer isn’t an easy one, one that I don’t have an answer for. I get out of the chair and I can feel that my legs are heavy. I ignore that feeling though and walk back outside, and I can feel the humidity already trying to suffocate me. Yet, I push it away, and jog down the steps before I slowly run around towards the front of my house. I need to get away, to run away from it all, and the only way I can do that are with my legs.

For so long, the pressure has been mounting upon me. I know that I should be grateful for the life that has been given me, or at least aspects of it, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not grueling at the same time. Most people fail to see that the work you put in behind the scenes is just as tough as performing up there whether it is wrestling, playing basketball, or singing at a concert. Everyone expects us to perform at such a high level when in all reality it’s impossible to do it every single night of the week as I’m a testament to. Yet, if I don’t expect the best out of myself then how can I expect the best? At the end of the night, I expect nothing less out of me, and nothing less is expected of me from the people that I surround myself with.

Kanye West says to try hard is to die hard. I guess I’m going to die the hardest.

My feet continue to pound on the pavement, and I can hear each step as if my ear is close to the ground. The sweat starts to build up on my forehead, and my breaths become more painful. This is my life though. I continue to push through, refusing to give up until I have nothing left. I can feel the minutes ticking by as the cars pass me by. People look out of their windows and watch me, boys and girls alike, and I know that they’re mesmerized. Some would say that’s conceited to think that, but I’m not naïve enough to think that I’m not somebody’s role model. Unfortunately, somebody out there, a little kid who idolizes the sport wishes he could be like me. It’s a scary thought with the horrors that I’ve committed in my life. I know though that I can’t fix those problems, instead I have to deal with what I can control. If there’s one thing that I can control, it’s making sure that the part of me that people can see is at the best.

I then think about Lindsay Troy and I can feel the intensity inside of me begin to rise. For the briefest of seconds, I want to punch something, but am able to refrain from doing so. Instead, I let that anger fuel me as I continue to run. Greatness has found her and I’m happy for her. But, I’d be foolish to not want the same greatness that she has. As they say if you want to be the best then you have to beat the best. Lord knows that I want to be the best. I made a promise many years ago to do exactly that, and I’ve yet to live up to my end of the bargain. Soon, that will change. Soon, I will be known as the best around. If I have to defeat a talented wrestler like Lindsay Troy, someone I hold in the highest regards, then that’s exactly what I will do. The thought of doing so brings me a heavy heart, but instead of letting it get me down, I carry the weight just like I do with the rest of the weight on my shoulders.

I round the corner and can see my house. When I had left the sun was just beginning to rise. Now, it has fully risen, and is beating me down as if I’m in a twelve round match with it. My feet begin to slow up and I can feel the wave of nausea that I’d been repressing for the past two hours. As I walk up my driveway, I can feel my insides eating away at each other. Immediately, I know what’s coming. I walk over to the grass and drop to my knees before the bile explodes out of my mouth; dehydration has set in.

As I expel everything out of me, it hits me. I need to start from the beginning. I need to remember why I started down this road all of those years ago. There’s only way to move forward and that’s to start at the beginning. The only place like that for me is home.

It’s time to go back home.

I get up and look at the vomit in the grass. It’s only a small bit of what I’d give to defeat Lindsay Troy.

Before it’s all said and done, I’ll end up sacrificing everything.

It’s the only way.

It’s the only way to become the best.

To Be Continued.

QueenOfTheRing
08-15-07, 11:34 PM
"You don't have to tell me. I already know."

Fade-in: Lindsay Troy--current PRIME Universal Champion, former EPW World Champion--sitting rather smugly on a steel chair in front of an Empire Pro Wrestling backdrop. Absent from this scene is said Universal Title. Where it would be displayed gloriously around her waist if she was playing for the other team, Troy opts to leave it out: after all, it's not good business to flaunt some other company's gold around when you're not repping them.

"Don't think I haven't heard the whispering amongst my peers in the PRIME locker room once the Dupree Cup teams were announced, Craig. Don't think I've been too focused on reminding Sonny Silver just who is, was and forever will be the best half of Silver and Gold to not tune into the water cooler gossip amongst the boys. I've heard everything loud and clear, as much as you guys have tried to keep it all hush-hush.

"I've heard the gasps of shock once it was announced that I'd be representing Empire Pro and not PRIME, and as the Universal Champ, I get how bad that looks. Blaine Blair wanted the best representation he could offer and I can't blame him for coming to me, wanting me to champion the PRIMEates as they took on all comers, opponents that the majority of our locker room wouldn't be aware of, but whom I knew and knew of, for the most part.

"But Blaine was beaten to the punch when Dan asked me to champion the EPW team first.

"I know you don't know Dan Ryan from a hole in the wall, but let me impress upon you the nature of his person, because it's through that understanding that you, Monsoon, Winters and VanNess can come to terms with the reason why I'll be standing across from you this week instead of lining up alongside you.

"You don't tell Dan Ryan 'no.' And even though I may get a free pass here and there because he's my brother-in-law--take notes, that's important--the Dupree Cup wasn't an instance where I could.

"I may be PRIME, but I've been EPW for far longer.

"Don't mistake me: I've found a home amongst the PRIMEates and amongst their raucous fanbase, but Empire Pro is where I hang my hat. It's where I first got a taste of what life is like at the top of Mt. World Title and I made that my domain for over two years. Two plus years of holding a world title and being the first woman over in that neck of the woods to do so.

"It goes without saying that PRIME as a whole should be very scared if I have another run like that. I steam-rolled over every big name in that company for over eight-hundred days, and it'll be an unprecedented feat if I do it again.

"<i>When</i> I do it again.

"I'm well aware of the spoken, and unspoken, guidelines of what being the Universal Champion entails and it goes without saying that if it were possible for me to play for two teams, I would. But this isn't a rec league where we play ball with modified rules and drink beers on a wooden bench afterwards. This isn't for sh*ts and giggles.

"I want more glory, Craig. I may not have the EPW title anymore, but whenever anyone talks about Empire Pro, they talk about me. <b>I</b> am the Tchu, the Killean, the Rolo of EPW; <b>I</b> am <b>synonymous</b> with this company. In time, I will be synonymous with PRIME.

"But not now. Not right this moment. Not in this breath, or in my next, or in your next.

"One day. But that day is not today.

"If you were given my same choice, what would you do, Craig? Would you do what's expected, to represent the company whose World, or Universal, Title is the last one you have a grip on after the others were taken from you? Or would you take the rougher road, the road that's going to have you be talked about for days, months, years to come by your peers, by your critics, by your friends and by your <i>family.</i>

"I wouldn't change my answer for a second.

"I may have made my bed for choosing EPW over PRIME but, despite whatever friendship you think we have, I'm not ready to lie in it.

"You're not going to put me to bed, Craig.

"I make up my own rules now..."

FADE...

CraigM
08-15-07, 11:57 PM
Death of a Champion
Birth of a Legend
Part Two of Two


My eyes open as I feel the world around me shake without any kind of warning. I'm pretty sure that the world has swallowed me whole and is tossing me around like a rag doll, but then I remember that I had been on an airplane when I fell asleep before. I look around and see that we've landed in Sacramento, California, a city that I haven't been to since the day that he died. On my birth certificate, it says that I was born in Los Angeles, but ask anyone else and they'll tell you that my birth occurred here. It was in this city that I found everything and at the same time, lost everything. My past was here and that would never change, no matter what happens to me in life. The background noise is just that to me, noise. There are a few children crying in the Coach section, and I pity those who had to suffer through it all. As I look to my right, I see Katie sitting there, still fast asleep. It was quite odd to see her nervous getting on the airplane, but once it took off she had fallen asleep. Of course, she didn't know that I'd spiked her drink with some basic sleeping pills.

With it being in the middle of summer in the rest of the world, you tend to forget that California is not part of the world. Instead, it's almost like its own island, separated from society even though it's only mere miles from it. The weather here is completely different then it would be in Florida in terms of the humidity and temperature. It's one of the things that I miss the most about the West Coast, and time and time again I think about moving back out here. Maybe it was time for me to come back home, to where I felt like I belonged. Slowly, the plane rolls into its gate, and I prepare myself for the worst. I tap Katie on the shoulder and she slowly wakes up, grogginess having taken over her. She looks at me for a brief second and I can tell that she is contemplating going back to sleep. However, by the look in my eyes, she knows that it's time for her to wake up. She then stretches out her arms and looks at me with an inquisitive look on her face.

"I hate you," she moans as she wakes up the rest of her muscles. I laugh out loud at first before I look back out at the window to see the terminal is full of people. After a few seconds, I look back over at her as she begins to sit up in her chair and folds her arms across her chest with a stern look on her face.

"What'd I do?" I asked her, obviously knowing what I had done, but pretty sure that Katie didn't have the slightest clue.

"Um... you drugged me," she tells me and I nod my head. She then slaps my arm in retaliation and I just laugh as the signal that we can unbuckle our seats flashes off. She then gets up and seems to be upset with me as she grabs her jacket and her bag from the overhead compartment. I then follow her and have to duck in a hurry as she swings her bag at me. The look in her eyes is far from what I've come to expect from her, but I also know that eventually she'll soften up on me. Frankly, I was impressed when she told me that she wanted to come with me to Sacramento. I hadn't even thought of asking her to come with me, but when she told me that she wanted to come I knew that it just felt right. I grab my things and follow her down the narrow aisle and as I reach the front, the flight attendants smile at me. Slowly, I begin to pull for my pen, half expecting them to want an autograph. I'm quite surprised when they wave their hands at me.

"Nah, we imagine that you get that several times a day, and I'm sure you'll get plenty of it as you walk out into the terminal," one of the women tell me. I nod at the blonde haired woman and continue to brace myself as I had started to do minutes ago. One of the things I hated the most about the celebrity status that came with the sport was the inability to walk anywhere without being surrounded by a crowd of people. I personally loved the interaction, but also needed my personal space. My feet drag me up the stairs and into the terminal as Katie walks in front of me. I look around and from the look in their eyes I can tell immediately that a few people recognize me.

"Katie," I call after her, but she doesn't reply. Then, I groan as I race up towards her and she turns her shoulder to me.

"I don't appreciate being drugged, Craig. That's befitting behavior for a rapist or one of those little boys at the club who like to spike girl's drinks with illicit drugs, but not for a grown adult who is a celebrity in the world," she tells me, and I look around to make sure nobody else hears her. The last thing I need is for this to show up in the New York Daily News' Page Six. I'm pretty sure they would that juicy tidbit that I've drugged some woman. After seeing that most people didn't hear her, I turn my eyes back towards her hoping to soften her up.

"I was just trying to help. I knew that you were nervous and just wanted you to be able to sleep through it all," I tell her, trying to lie my way out of this. She looks at me and rolls her eyes, and I know it's going to take more than this. As we keep walking though, I'm unable to think of anything to say to her, and then a few people walk up to me with pieces of paper out.

"Hey, man, you're awesome! Can we get your autograph?" one of the kids says and he can't be any older than fifteen years old. A few of his friends are with him and I nod my head as I start signing things. As I begin to sign some stuff and making it out to specific people, the throng of people begins to get larger and larger. I sigh slightly as I had hoped to get out of the airport a little bit more quickly. In the back of my mind, I make a mental note of the fact that from now on that I should probably take the late night flights when there are less people around. People keep calling out my ring name and I look over at Katie who is obviously overwhelmed by all of this. She makes her way from the crowd and I see her walk over to a nearly column which she leans up against while she waits for me. I smile at the people as I continue to sign away. Part of me loves doing this as I make myself better night in and night out for the fans that have supported me through the years. Yet, the other part of me knows that I came here for a reason, and with my schedule the way it is as of late that I won't have much time to spend in the city before I have to fly out to my next destination.

"Hey, look! It's Lindsay Troy!" one of the members of the crowd yells out and I look around hoping to see Troy. In that very instant, my world comes back into focus, and I remember everything. The weight of the world crashes down upon my shoulders as I think about the fact that I'm going to have to face Lindsay Troy tomorrow evening. My insides begin to churn again from the anticipation and as I look around, expecting to see the six foot wonder of the world right before my very eyes, I realize that she's not there. I turn back around, wondering what they were talking about, when I see Troy on the television screen talking. Unfortunately, with it being an airport terminal, I'm unable to find out what she is saying. Even with all of the respect I have for her that she is not going to go lightly on me in the ring and out of it as well. I can only imagine that she's making fun of me in the way that only Lindsay Troy knows how to do. It's one of her many talents and I smile as I look over at Katie who nods her head. Quickly she whips out her cell phone and I'm sure she's plugging into some network downloading the video as she speaks. One of the kids, easily ten or eleven years old, walks up to me with a notepad in his hand.

"I think you can beat Lindsay Troy," he says in the most timid voice. I smile back at him, and as he looks into my red eyes I can see not fear, but appreciation in his face. It makes me smile as I sign his book for him. People ask me sometimes why I do this, travel on the road every single night of the year, and wrestle some two to three hundred evenings a year. Deep down, I know they'll never understand in the fashion that I do. Performing on that stage, the lights shining down upon you, and having the fans yell your name is an experience that you can't duplicate. Each night it's something different, unique into itself. If you try to replicate it, it won't be sincere like it is in that ring. You sweat and you bleed because you want to impress them, because you want to remind them why they chant your name and why they shower adoration and love upon them. It's surreal. There's nothing else like it in the world, performing for millions to see on any given night.

"Do you really think you can beat her?" another kid, this time a girl who is around the age of seventeen, asks me and I look at her. Honestly, I don't have an answer to that question. A year ago, I might've said yes, but now, I'm unsure of even myself.

"We'll have to see," I tell her with a smile and sign her autograph book. I then look at all of the kids and smile at them before I walk away from them, knowing that I can't spend all day in here. Instead of walking towards Katie, I walk towards the exit needing some fresh air. Behind me I can feel Katie's eyes upon my back and know she is following me. Once I reach the exit, I can feel the air hit me at full blast right in the face. It's a welcome feeling as I felt like the walls were starting to close in around me. No one looks at me as I exit and I'm grateful for that. There are some days that I wish that I could just leave it all behind, just for a few minutes, and enjoy the life around me, but I know that's not possible. If it was then life would be much simpler. It wouldn't be like this.

"You okay?" the voice comes from behind me, and I already know who it is. Katie wraps her arm around me and pulls me towards her to comfort me. Having a friend like her has been a life saver these past few weeks, and knowing that she's there for me means the world to me. The past few days, I've felt it all start to hit me like a train running at full speed. From the very get go she realized everything that was happening to me, all of the pressure that had been put on top of me, and all of the pressure that I was putting on myself. To compete against the likes of a Lindsay Troy, it's never easy. It's been a while since I've competed in a World Championship match, but Troy she does it night in and night out. People have started to hoist me up on this pedestal and I'm not ready for it. Competing in the main event of a show like Colossus IV had been more detrimental than anything else. Now, PRIME had made me the captain of the Dupree Cup team, and who was I going up against? A woman who had been crowned the wrestler of the month twice since the beginning of the year alone. A woman who was the world champion in two or three different feds in just the recent months. What chance did I have against a woman of that stature?

None.

It’s for that very reason that I’ve come back to Sacramento; to find myself all over again. I have to wonder if it’ll be all for naught, but I know that I have to try. If I don’t try then what chance do I have against Troy? Once again, that answer would be none. After letting myself get lost in my thoughts, I look at Katie who has a smile on her face.

“I knew you couldn’t stay mad at me for long,” I tell her and she smacks the palm of her hand against the back of my head. I laugh as she lets go of me.

“Well, you did look pitiful,” she tells me and I glare at her for a brief second. Then, I look at the cell phone in her hand and wonder to myself what Troy has to say about me. I know that even if we were the best of friends that she would rip me to shred simply with her words. It’s her way. She separates business and personal life rather well, sometimes to the point that you have to wonder where you really lie in her world.

“Let me listen to her,” I tell her and she shakes her head. I look at her, lost, and I wonder as to why she won’t let me listen to her.

“Not now. Later. When you’re ready,” she tells me and I nod my head. The truth is that I’m not ready. When the night begins to set though, I hope I will find out if I’m ready or not. I then walk to the edge of the stone sidewalk and look around for a taxi cab.

“Taxi!” I yell, the minutes starting to count down before I find out if I’m ready or not.

Even I don’t know the answer to that one.

---

Three hours have passed and as I feel the steaming hot water crash against my skin, I can feel sleep trying to wash over me. I hang my head low as I feel my muscles twisted and torn from the many battles I’ve been through as of late. Sooner or later I know that I’m going to have to take time off, but I know if I do that then I’ll be relinquishing my spot. It’s not much of a spot, but it’s my spot and I’ll be damned if I’m just going to give it up. I turn around and then twist the knob on the faucet to turn off the shower. Without hesitation, I reach for a towel and begin to dry myself off. I then step out of the shower and walk into my hotel room where I see Katie sitting there. Immediately, I stop in my tracks, and tell myself that I’m pretty sure that I got separate rooms for the two of us.

“You’ve really got to stop doing that,” I tell her and she smiles at me as I wrap the towel around my waist. I shake my head as I walk away from her and back into my bathroom. She gets up off the bed and I sigh.

“You know you like it when I come in here after you take your shower. It’s so dramatic and sexy at the same time,” she tells me, obviously joking with me. I roll my eyes as I walk back towards her. A smile creeps across my face as I look her and she sits back on the bed.

“I bet you wouldn’t like it if I came into your hotel room and sat there until you came out without a towel on,” I reply, winking my eye at her and she laughs for a brief moment before looking at me with a gaze that I’ve never seen from her.

“You don’t know how often I’ve dreamt of that,” she tells me and I can tell that she is fighting her hardest not to break out into a smile. However, as I stare at her, she just busts out laughing and I laugh with her. She calms my soul and I’m happy for that. I walk back into the bathroom and then begin to wonder why she is in here.

“So, what’s going on? I’m pretty sure this isn’t a booty call,” I tell her and she snickers under her breath, thinking that I can’t hear her.

“Don’t be so sure,” she says, and before I have the chance to fire back my own retort, she continues on. “I’m going with you to the cemetery.” I look at myself in the mirror and wipe my face down with my hands. Then, I walk out of the room and look at her. I simply nod her head and can see in her eyes that she’s ready to protest with me. But, I stop her before she can even get to that point.

“No, this I need to do on my own,” I tell her, but she doesn’t seem convinced at this.

“Things haven’t been getting easier for you Craig. Let me help you with this,” she replies and I drop my head slightly.

“Things have never been easy for me Katie. This, this is personal. This is a part of me that I just don’t open up for people. When I’m in that ring, I’m alone,” I tell her and the look in her eyes objects to that. “I know you’re there for me Katie, but the truth is that it’s me against the world when I’m in that ring no matter how hard you try to change that. If I plan on having a chance against Lindsay in that ring, I need to find my strength and my motivation by myself. Doing it with you, it won’t be pure,” I tell her and I wait for her to fight back. She bites her bottom lip and she tries to find an argument that will change my mind, but I can read the defeat in her eyes.

“Okay,” she says and she gets up, dejected and rejected. I look at her, wanting to say something to calm her down, but know that it’s no use. She walks to the door and opens it up before walking out without another word spoken. I can feel the sadness in my heart and I push it away before it finds a spot there permanently. Eventually, she’ll understand. Eventually, she’ll understand the burden that has been placed upon me.

---

An hour later, I find myself at the grave that I’ve never seen before in my life. When he died, I couldn’t bring myself to come here. The pain was far too strong. I felt betrayed and left alone. Instead of coming to the funeral, I left that night with the dream of never returning to Sacramento and making something of myself. There had been shows scheduled in Sacramento, and I made sure that I was never booked for an event if that were the case. Instead, I stayed as far away as possible. I feared this place, I feared this city.

As I look at the tombstone, I feel a bevy of emotions. Betrayal. Despair. Grief. Fear. I can’t make sense of it at all. My knees begin to lose feeling in them and I nearly fall to the ground. The tombstone is rather simple in text.


Frank Little
July 16th, 1940 - February 27th, 1992
The World is Larger Without Him


I read it over and over again, and take the meaning of it all in. He was never the complex type though his views on the world could sometimes be complex. He taught me everything I knew and everything I would eventually need to know. His lessons in the ring brought me tutelage of not only the ring, but life in itself. He had somehow connected life with wrestling, and it made perfect sense. When Frank found me, part of him was looking for someone to impart his knowledge upon, in the wrestling world and the real world. When he came to the end of his journey, he found that he had nobody there, and an emptiness opened in his heart. I was that which filled the hole, and I couldn’t be happier for that. Yet, as I look at his grave, I feel like there should’ve been more. More time. More lessons. However, there was none of that. Instead, we got a few short years together, and he gave me as much as possible.

I ask myself if he ever saw my future when he looked at me. I wonder if he knew what would become of me, not just in the wrestling world, but in the insane world that surrounds me. Did he ever think that I would become so manipulated that I would kill for a living? I hope not. I hope he never has to see me in this light for fear that he would be disappointed in me. He left me though. I can’t ignore that. Willingly or not, he left me and took a part of me with him when he did. It hurts so much to look at the grave and know that I’m not the person that I promised to be. I lived his dreams and now my dreams. I’ve failed him though, I know that much. Could he see me now? Was he looking down upon me? Could he see that failure and just be disgusted with it all? Would he be happy with the path that my life has taken?

Then, my thinks about Lindsay Troy, and I wonder if he would be disappointed in me for being so apprehensive towards this match. He would love the respect aspect of it all, but he would want me to do what Troy does so easily. But, the steps that you take to face a champion of her caliber are long and tough. Mine hasn’t been. I haven’t earned the right to step into the ring with her. I’m not ready because I haven’t taken that path. I think about it and I nod my head. It’s almost as if Frank is whispering in my ears.

We never are. We can never be ready until we’re in that moment. You can train all you want, study every single tape, and yet that will never truly prepare you for that moment. When you step into that ring, you’re exposed to the world and that’s how it is. You don’t just become ready for that moment by training, you become ready for that moment by doing. Never can you know if you’re ready for that moment if you don’t try. With him though, there is no try. There is do and do not. I can feel my fists curl into balls and the heat off my skin begins to rise in temperature. I think about Troy and I see respect, but I see a dream; I see passion. If there’s ever a time to do this, now is the time. Show what you’re made of when that time comes and you’ll know who you are. That’s what he would tell me.

I walk over to his tombstone and kneel onto his grave.

“This one is for you, Frank,” I whisper and then I kiss the tombstone.

I get off of the dirt a few minutes later and begin to walk away with only one thought in my mind.

This one is truly for you.

---

The sun begins to rise once again and I sit on the edge of the bed, just waiting and watching. I feel renewed, the vigor inside of me ready to fight. For me, this is the match of a lifetime, but I’m going against a person that I know I can beat. Deep down, I know this because I can’t base myself off of what I haven’t been able to do, but what I’ve done. I’ve accomplished a number of things over my career that many would be proud to have. Yet, I’m not done. Not far from it. If I have to fight Troy, if I have to destroy her to move on then I’ll do exactly that. Respect is that. I was once a champion. Now, that part no longer exists. I dream to be a legend now. That road begins now.

A body under the sheets stirs and I just lay in waiting. She slowly opens her eyes and I move towards her face so she can see me. As they land upon me, she nearly screams from the surprise.

“Morning,” I tell her and she nearly smacks me across the face. “Hey, it’s no shower, but close enough.” My words couldn’t be any truer and she smiles back at me.

“Unfortunately for you, I’m wearing clothes so you don’t get to see anything,” she tells me and I snap my fingers sarcastically at this news. She smiles as she sits up and looks at me. “You look better. Happier. More secure.” I nod my head and look at her cell phone.

“Let me see what she said,” I tell her and she nods her head before she picks up the cell phone. She quickly taps away at a few of the keys and then hands me the phone. A video begins to play and I see Lindsay sitting there and she begins to talk. I listen to the words and I nod my head. To the side of me, I can feel Katie’s eyes fixated upon me, but I ignore them. My eyes are fixated upon Lindsay’s face and my mind is locked in on her words. As the video finishes playing, I sit there for a minute before handing the phone back to Katie who looks at me and has to be wondering what I’m thinking.

I stand, my feet planted firm into the ground. Slowly, I walk over to the window and look out at the sun. It is in this instance that I realize that she and I are no different. Lindsay wants exactly what I want and I can’t blame her for it. Short and sweet, to the point, that’s Lindsay. Always has been, or at least as long as I’ve known her, and I’m pretty sure that will always be here style. Words are no good to her. Actions are better. She stands over six feet tall and is every bit intimidating. She could wear feels and an elegant cocktail dress, and you would still have to worry about her. It’s the fact of life when you’re dealing with her. I’ve known that for a long time now. Deep down, I always knew that the road would go through her. It always does when you strive to be the best.

You have to beat the best.

Without even turning around, I can feel Katie behind me. She walks up to the side of me and instead of letting her looks do the talking; she decides to let her mouth do it for her.

“So?” she asks a question so simple. I look over at her and I smile.

“What is there to say? I don’t fault her for joining EPW’s team. Never have, never will. It’s her choice and in the end, it’s a choice that she has to make. For me, PRIME is my home. For her, EPW is her home. How do you criticize someone for that? Sure, I’d love to have her on my side, but home is where the heart dwells. At the end of the day, I might respect her, but I want to be better than her. That’s the facts. We’re two competitors with that hunger left inside of us. This might be our first meeting, but I’m certain it won’t be our last. Two people who thrive off of that glory, who strive for it, they meet time and time again. A war lasts a long time, a battle for only a short time. This is just the first of many battles,” I tell Katie before I start walking away from her, needing to get a few hours of sleep before I have to leave for my next destination. As my hand touches the handle though, I look back at her with a final thought on my mind.

“I might not put her to bed, but I’m sure as hell going to put her to sleep,” I say and then leave the room, my destiny there for the taking.

End.