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Massage Therapy


Long Live THE KING
Mar 16, 2004
“Fuck,” Stevens uttered angrily, spitting blood out of his mouth, as he gently patted the blood clot on his bottom lip. This, this entire ordeal – being disrespected, being jumped from behind, being labeled old, and wrestling in the midcard was all foreign to him. When he made the decision to return to EPW, it wasn’t for ego, or because he felt he needed to prove anything to anyone, but because he had an honest, genuine love for professional wrestling that wouldn’t be extinguished by watching old matches on DVD from his couch.

He needed the thrill, the excitement, the rush and fear that came with risking your body five out of seven nights a week. But, at the age of thirty-four, the one thing that he didn’t anticipate was how much longer it took for the pain to go away, or how he had to rely far less on natural ability, skill, and being able to outwork his opponent, and more on his knowledge, and experience.

Sean was supposed to dominate Rezin. It was what he set out to do, it was what he planned, and it was what he expected. Ten minutes, fifteen tops, and he’d be in the shower, preparing for whoever else wanted a shot at dethroning the legend. But, as he sat there, in that empty locker room, bleeding, with a splitting headache that honestly had him questioning if returning to wrestling was the smart thing to do, he began to realize that if he was going to stick around, he needed to go back to the drawing board, and revise his strategy, because everything that he had done in the past, wouldn’t be enough this go ‘round.

“Tough day at the office, huh?” Poison Ivy’s voice startled him.

“DADDY!” the six year old, splitting image of his father, Shannon Joseph Stevens let go of his mother’s hand, ran and leaped onto his father’s lap.

Stevens grimaced, as he caught his little man. “Yeah. ...either the wrestlers have gotten tougher, or … or it’s true what they’re saying, and I’m getting old.” Doubt crept in, as Sean stared down at the cold concrete below. His body language spoke volumes … one could even say he was beginning to lose his confidence.

Sensing this, Ivy defused the tension with a light giggle.

Sean looked up, “That’s funny? I missed the part where I’m supposed to be laughing.”

“Sean, I’m not laughing at you, I’m laughing at life. How everything comes full circle. How at one point Eli and I had to have the same conversation that I’m about to have with you, when you were the one telling him he was too old, and needed to be taken out to pasture, and shot.”

Sean chuckled. “I did say that, didn’t I?”

“Yes you did,” Ivy continued. “And, how many World Championships did he win after that?” Rhetorical, don’t answer. Two fWo World Titles, a few that I’m forgetting, a feud of the year with Deacon, a ULTRATITLE lost in the finals against Nova, a barn burner of a retirement match against Dan Ryan, and an even better one against Sean himself. “What I’m saying is, your first match back, after two plus years, and you take this company’s champion to a draw. You thoroughly outwork this company’s champion before that and lost the match because your opponents weren’t locked in, but you were the last man standing … and, you just beat Rezin, who just so happens to be Erik Black, focused and in his prime. What are you upset about again? Because it wasn’t easy—”

Sean raised a hand, interrupting his wife, stopping her dead in her tracks. “—not because it wasn’t easy, but because I’m a step slow, and I’m not used to that. Ivy, what you’re saying makes complete sense, I’m two and one in my return, and I don’t even count ULTRATITLE because TEAM exposed me for being horrible in elimination tournaments. But, I know what I was, and I see what I am, and I’m not close to where I need to be if I’m going to—“

It was Poison Ivy’s turn to interrupt. “—I thought this wasn’t about titles?”

“It’s not … I was going to say survive.

Shannon began bouncing up and down on Triple X’s already sore lap, restless and ready to make his rounds around the backstage area.

“What do you want to eat, little man? If you’re a good boy, and let daddy shower, I’ll get you an ice cream cone.”

“YAY!” Shannon cheered. “Daddy you’re AMAZING!”

Shocked at his son’s new vocabulary, Stevens glanced over at his wife. “It’s his word wall words. He got all P’s on his report card, and has already learned twenty-five of his first grade words for next year, and has learned to use a few of them in sentences.

“Hi five, buddy!” Trip embraced his son tight.

“Sean,” Ivy digressed. “I think this may be the last match that Shannon and I attend. With what you’re trying to accomplish, and who you’re trying to be, I’m not so sure us being here helps you reach that goal.”

“Crazy talk, pooh bear. And, I don’t want to hear it.”

“Well, then what are you going to do to get over this slump?”

Sean thought about it for a moment, “I don’t know. Go to the pay-per-view, wrestle whoever Dan puts in front of me, and hopefully be better than I was this week.”

“And, if you’re not?”

“If I’m not, you’d better learn massage therapy.”

“So, what you’re saying is you’ll be dead?”


They both laughed.

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