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return to the VZ

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League Member
Jan 1, 2000
What’s the old saying? “The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same”? It seemed all too true on this day in central San Diego, California. Here, students spent hours throwing themselves around an unforgiving landscape. Throwing themselves at eachother. Each of them with the same dream, with the same burning inside that drove them to inflict undue pain and anguish upon themselves.

The same dream to stand ... above the rest, in front of the others, and alone at the top.

For over thirty years, Vin Zachary’s School of Wrestling had served as the longest running wrestling school on the West Coast, boasting over two dozen graduates that went on to become World Champions of some fed or another. It’s namesake stands as a legend in every sense of the word. In the late 40's and 50's, Vin “The Shredder” Zachary was one of the top heels of the west coast territories until he took a step out of the spotlight and decided to turn his attention to crafting new talent for a new day. Even on this new day, decades since Vin wrestled in a televised match, electrified a sold-out crowd, or captivated the attention of children everywhere with his ‘heinous acts’, Vin Zachary’s vision of passing on the torch, of teaching and of learning, still lives on. This amused Max Blackshire to no end.

You see, Max Blackshire attended this school for several years. He would have ‘graduated’, had he not been thrown out after a brawl amidst training with another trainee ... had he not taken part in the murder of Roxanne Beaumont in a moment of rage and resentment just a few short hours afterwards. Taking in the sights, the smell, the atmosphere ... Max suddenly felt as if everything that had gone wrong with his life had stemmed from his time spent here. Training. With his late brother.

Standing bathed in the shadows of the doorway, Max was suddenly swelled with anger. It was a feeling he welcomed, arms wide.

He stepped out into the gymnasium proper, the handful of trainee’s and trainers on the other side of the hangar-sized room were unaware of his presence as he slowly skirted the edge of the room, all the while directing his gaze towards the training session going on in the ring. Max heard the voice of Vin’s son, Don Zachary, and grinned. Don was the head trainer at “The VZ”, and he and Max had exchanged more than words on that Last Day of School. Stopping long enough to spy Don Zachary issuing advice to a pair of young trainees in the ring, Max continued on.

A bell rang and a scrimmage-style match began between the two youngsters Don had been advising. The balding Zachary was of medium build, with wide shoulders and powerful arms, his gaze was always focused, always squinting, always critiquing, looking for flaws. He was damn good at what he did.

Suddenly Max found that he was the target of Don Zachary’s legendary glare. It didn’t take long for Zachary to drop his ever present notepad on the ring apron, winding around the ring – cutting Max off thirty yards away from the ring. Max could almost smell the adrenaline pumping out of Don Zachary – he was primed, coiled and ready for a fight, and Max could taste it.

“You son of a #####”, Zachary seethed. He clenched his fists and puffed up his chest, probably unconsciously. Max smiled, eyes still roaming his old “stomping grounds”, never meeting Don’s.

“You certainly have kept the place tidy”, Max said flatly, a smirk pasted across his face.

Don Zachary’s face was flush, he was boiling. “Get out. Get out now, or I will throw you out myself.”

Max ignored him, instead deciding to walk away from Don, towards a display case set against the wall. Max waved a hand at it.

“Any of my memorabilia in there, Donnie?” Max stood on his tip-toe’s, mockingly searching the display case. “Maybe you’ve got me brother’s urn stashed away in here, somewhere?”

That got Don’s attention. Grabbing Max’s shoulder, he spun him around. He grabbed Max by the lapel’s of his beaten leather coat, pivotted, and slammed him up against the glass of the case.

“You listen to me, you vile f ck.”, Zachary snarled, pearls of spit dotting Max’s face. Max dared him with his smile. “You’ve got no right to step into this place, disrespecting this school - my Father’s school!”

Max hadn’t put up any bit of struggle. He was biding his time. “I have nothing but respect for your father, Don”, Max told him. “It’s you I don’t like.”

Don strengthened his grip and threw Max back against the glass again, still pinning him back.

“You think I’m going to let you hold me here like this forever? Let me ask you a question, Don. How bad ... how ugly do you think things will get ... once I decide to fight back? I’m ... what, Don? ... fifteen, twenty years younger than you? You think it would take long for the Student to become the Teacher”, Max hissed in Don’s ear. “How long do you think I’m going to maintain this historic display of restraint, Don?”

The weight of the words seemed to drain Don a bit, and finally ... he released his grip and took two steps back. By now, everyone in The VZ had heard the commotion in the corner and the match that had been going on had come to a halt. A man whom Max decided must be another trainer came to Zachary’s side, a hand placed on the Head Trainer’s shoulder.

Max and the other trainer locked eyes. The man had long, dark hair and a full beard. He seemed familiar, but Max couldn’t place the man’s face.

“Everything alright, Don?”, the trainer asked.

Don glanced back at him. “Yeah, Mas’”, he said. “I’ve got it handled. ...get those kids back to work.”

The man nodded his head, eyes still locked with Max, who returned his confrontational stare with a cocked head and a lop-sided grin. The trainer walked off, finally, and Max chuckled.

“You’ve trained your apes well, Don”, Max said, smoothing his coat and running a hand through his hair.

“Tell me what the hell it is you WANT, Blackshire, or get out. Don’t make me call the Police”, Don threatened, fists still balled in frustration.

“I want you to use the School’s connections to get me signed with a promotion”, Max demanded.

Don shook his head. “Yer outta yer mind, Blackshire. Flat-out out of your mind. Get the f ck out of here, or, I swear to you, I’ll call the cops and THEY will haul you out.” Zachary shouted. He turned back towards the ring.

“Don’t do this, Zachary. Don’t turn your back on me”, Max warned. “Don’t you DARE walk away.”

But Zachary did just that, back around the ring in time to hear the bell rung again and the scrimmage match begun anew.Just as Max made a silent vow to one day exact some form of retribution on Don Zachary and his family, Max caught sight of that same intruding trainer still glaring at him. Finally, Max turned for the door.

He had to find a way inside GXW. Yet he knew that he couldn’t do it alone. Unfortunately, Max had personally seen to it throughout his life to alienate everyone he’d ever come in contact with. It’s hard to find someone to depend on when you’ve depended on no one for so long – this was a lesson Max was slowly learning. A painful lesson it was.

As he neared the glass front door, it suddenly swung open. In stepped a FED-Ex delivery man, a large envelope tucked under his arm. By his general demeanor it was apparent to Max that this man was in a considerable hurry.

“Is this the right door?”, the delivery man asked.

Max sighed. “Well, what’re you lookin’ for?”

The delivery man checked the envelope, turning it towards him. Max leaned in towards it as well, catching a glimpse of the return address–

–Max’s right eyebrow peaked.

“Um, it’s for a Don Zacha–“, the delivery man began.

“I can sign for that, mate”, Max said, glancing back over his shoulder towards the ring. “Don’s in the middle of a training session.” Max smiled, as if to say: ”Oh, that Don ... always such a workhorse.”

The delivery man chuckled along with him as if he got the joke, if there was one. Handing his hand-held palm pilot to Max, Max scrawled jibberish across the LED screen then handed it back to the delivery man.

“Hey, thanks a lot”, Mr.Fed-Ex said as he handed the package over to Max.

Max turned it around in his hands, reading the return address and the printed instructions beneath it one more time as if to be sure.

“No”, Max interjected as the Fed-Ex guy stepped back out the door. “Thank You.”

The door closed behind him and Max stuffed the envelope into his inside coat pocket, turning back to take in the wrestling school, one last time.

Max had tried Cassidy Stewart. He had asked Simon Leone to help him. Even sinking so low as to crawl back in to The VZ again. “...screw them...”, Max muttered as the thoughts scrolled through his head like the ticker at the bottom of a cable news station’s screen.

When you have no one to rely on... you can only rely on yourself.

Glancing through the glass front door to ensure that the Fed-ex van was long gone, Max left the Vin Zachary School of Wrestling, hopefully for the last time.

All that was left now ... was the future. The future, and everything that came with it.

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