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  1. #1
    Author of 101 WWE Matches To See Before You Die Samuel 'Plan's Avatar
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    May 2018
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    Retro Columns Thread

    Before the last reset I recall we had a thread for writers to post older retro columns in! Considering my Shakespeare adaptation from the 2018 CSI tourney back at the start of the year got mentioned by SirSam in his EOY thread, I thought I'd resurrect the aforementioned thread and re-post the column in question!

    The round stipulation was to adapt Act III Scene I of Romeo and Juliet using wrestling as inspiration (at least that's close enough to the stip anyway!). So here is my version, which used the Rollins/Ambrose relationship as inspiration.

    ----

    Act III

    Scene I. A public place.

    [Enter Bray Wyatt.]

    BRAY: All the foulest pieces of Seth’s
    Soul doth lend me form; thus all he’s
    Left is sadness and regrets.
    All our natures are unchanging,
    E’en for men as driven as you,
    Architect. Your fetid lust lets
    Glory fuel your finest acts of
    Treachery. Such acts still doth form
    Thy tainted heraldry - a pit
    Of vice that runs deeper than you
    Might yet realise; from which I hath
    Emerged – being fear made flesh.
    You dare believe I no longer
    Exist, having slain the King of
    Kings and, with peace, made your treatise?
    How temerity can make us
    Fools. You fail to realise that
    I am e’rywhere, Seth, and that
    I am all things; for all men fear.
    Slave to me, is what you still are,
    Your fate is mine to tear apart.
    Ever closer draws the hour for
    Me to claim your broken soul, and
    Watch you burn in fires of sins your
    Own. Thus your name and visage will,
    Yet again, become mine once more.
    Soft! ‘Ere comes the Chairman Vince, whose
    Vile cause should be obtained, should it
    Better serve my own cruel purpose.

    [Enter Vince McMahon.]

    BRAY: Lord of family named Corp’rate,
    What lends cause for looks so irate?

    VINCE: Shut up, demon! ‘Tis not fear that ails me; you’ve nothing to feast on here. I am angry. My own flesh and blood doth disappoint, and now cowers in fear of what this man, so named Kingslayer, might yet achieve in the fever of his will. Now that he stands free of my son-in-law’s plots, truly hath he become a thorn by other name that pricks as sharply. The failure of my foolish children will sit as a black mark upon my name, for I had thought to raise fighters, not failures! Now this wretched son of a bitch, whose name Seth Rollins my kin dare not utter, chases for love the golden crown I have forged with the hammer of my own triumphs. Never again might he be bent to our own ends and I see no means by which to bring him to his ends.

    BRAY [aside]: Glorious luck, that his anger
    Be a source of ran’crous chance for
    me! It can be but a quirk of
    Well-meant fate that sees me meet this
    Lord of Family Corp’rate!

    VINCE: What do you say of my predicament, you miserly worm?! Speak quickly, or be gone!

    BRAY: Cause of yours and cause of mine doth
    Meet as one, our intents entwine!
    Combined, our minds make evil fly!
    Walk with me; Seth’s time runs dry.

    [Exeunt Vince McMahon and Bray Wyatt.]

    [Enter Dean Ambrose and Renee Young.]


    RENEE: My fair Dean Ambrose, let us away and return home. Those that seek to beat you are all around, and tensions in every quarter abound. The night draws close. If we were to be confronted by any who count themselves among the Family Corp’rate, I fear what might become of us.

    DEAN: I care not.

    RENEE: But in caring not you give cause for my caring to flower all the more!

    DEAN: Then perhaps I should pluck your flower so as to put your fear to bed.

    RENEE: Would that the energy you wish to spend in plucking flowers be better spent in plucking up courage to do right by my wish, and retire to our chambers so as to avoid a brawl.

    DEAN: Fear not, for I am not a brawling type.

    RENEE: Fie! Not a brawling type, indeed!

    DEAN: You think me so?

    RENEE: Am I mistaken in my memory of your sullying a gentleman’s jacket, worth no less than fifteen thousand ducats might I add, so as to revenge the loss of a plant worth five?

    DEAN: That much is true.

    RENEE: And did this not result in a brawl or two, or maybe more?

    DEAN: I remember not.

    RENEE: You remember well, I think!

    DEAN: ‘Tis not my fault if the gentleman, who so, with malcontent, slew my darling Mitch, did fail to see the balance of my revenge.

    RENEE: Fifteen thousand to five? What balance could there ever be in so clearly an unbalanced exchange?

    DEAN: Wealth is measured not by ducat but by desire; desire being love by other name. The value of all things is to be found truest there. Thusly, when one man injures what another man desires, so does he injure what that man loves. A return price of equal measure should be found only in reflective injury, lest there be cause for mercy. I saw none then; indeed, as I would see none now were a man to injure you.

    RENEE: Flatterer, it is lust you speak of, not love! Love; you that would pluck my flower! Fie!

    DEAN: Pluck your flower, nay; pluck up the courage to speak plainly to the object of both my lust and love? Yay! Though me-thinks I spy a glint in your eye, that would it were as you accuse it of being.

    RENEE: Your logic is as twisted as my words are become! ‘Tis what gives cause to others to name you lunatic.

    DEAN: ‘Tis the absence of such logic that gives me cause to call all others true strangers to sanity, and I its only and lonely friend.

    RENEE: How now, lonely, when you keep me so close in your company?

    [Re-enter Bray Wyatt.]

    RENEE: Alas, here comes what I did fear; the heraldry of Team Corp’rate!

    DEAN: Nay. This creature is known to me. No matter his colours, he is no more a Corp’rate as he is a Hound; so let him as ever yap as small dogs do.

    BRAY: Stay your hands in such nervous heat!
    Where is Seth? I wish us to speak.

    DEAN: My nerves are steel; I know my demons and accept them, as does my brother Seth. You have no business with him despite your vile form. Now be gone, before you give me cause to brawl!

    BRAY: Quick to draw your sword when Seth’s name
    Walks abroad I see! Do tell, pray,
    What would our dearest Renee say?

    DEAN: Your fool’s games fall on deaf ears; would that your irksome rhymes do the same. A headache do they lend me, and generously so I might add. It is a simple thing, to let a man alone to his business; yet here you come to mar my evening as sure as the moon arrives to light it, barking like some rabid, untaméd dog! Be gone, I said, or brawl we will!

    RENEE: Dean, he wears the colours of Team Corp’rate! Care thee not, I know, and be not among their number I do comprehend, but injure him in so public a place as this and be branded criminal for your act! Let us retire, as I did beseech before. Play not their game, for you are not your brother’s keeper, despite all you have both been through together and apart.

    [Enter Seth Rollins.]

    BRAY: Preach no more! Here walks my man!

    DEAN: Your man? Fie! Long gone are the years he wore your face and walked in line with liars and cheats. To this day he remains my brother, in spite of the sleights he wrought upon me in the thralls of thy maleficent will. Know, demon, that for as long as this body doth draw breath then ne’er again will he be yours!

    BRAY: Architect! You’ll turn, you blaggard!
    Seth Rollins! I call thee coward!

    SETH: Not coward. But my hands are stayed this day.
    That uniform you wear does drag me to
    My memories of days my better self
    Was lost. The fight I won against the King
    Of Kings did end the nightmare of those days
    And now I am a liberated soul.
    My peace precludes a foolish war with thee,
    That would risk all good things I won in spite
    Of thee. Foul self leave, and let us all be.

    DEAN: You refuse the fight? Do I dream Seth, or do you now refrain from taking up your sword to slay this tormenting wraith? Why, what cowering submission this is! You are vulnerable still to the temptations of your vice! So be it. To stand in your place in such a void of strength is what a brother is fashioned for. Thus presently, in truth, I am my brother’s keeper, and only in haste would ever choose to be so. My love for thee can bear this brawl, and will thusly in thy stead. Bray! Stand to, and fight! My place is between you both, for Seth’s war is my own.

    SETH: Oh good and loving brother, please do not
    Again succumb to your emotion, but
    Think this through and, as is needed, ignore
    Their taunting action. Don’t risk all in my
    Undeservéd name, but hold steady your
    Soul and deny our enemy their goal!

    BRAY: With laughter at Seth’s weak willed husk
    Of body do I respond!
    Sweet sits the taste of my breaking
    These two brothers’ once strong bond!

    DEAN: Bring me a miracle and still your lubricious words, snake!

    [They fight.]

    SETH: Enough of this madness! I am not slave
    To the will of Wyatt! I need no strength
    Lent by brother! My love for the golden
    Crown Vince hath forged is taméd now! I can
    Not have my brother’s end upon my soul!

    [Bray under Seth’s arm thrusts Dean in with unseen dagger, and flees.]

    DEAN: Such a prick has never been known; a curse on both of your selves, Seth.

    RENEE: Dean, you are wounded!

    DEAN: Aye, ‘tis true; but wounded only that you were proven the righter of our contest. I am a brawling type, it seems.

    RENEE: Never has it felt so sore to be so right.

    DEAN: You’ve felt sorer, of this I’m sure.

    RENEE: How impishly you play with words, even now!

    SETH: Then the wound must not be quite so grievous.

    DEAN: There can be no wound so grievous as to compare to the sting of your once trait’rous chair. Though I confess that this one aches fierce in my heart, which now splits deeper than even thy own soul. I was hurt under your arm. Why must you have come between us? I had your fight in hand.

    SETH: I could not bear the prospect of your death,
    Nor notion of some gross injustice wrought
    Upon you greater than e’en my frightful sins.

    DEAN: The world grows quiet and in the first makes sense about me. My life was lifted to heavens for knowing you, and rose above its most cursed solitude for my loving you. My life was dragged through levels of hell for having known ugliest betrayal as forged by you, and now ends for having been saved by you. Oh, cruel irony! My brother, my brother, wherefore art thou Seth Rollins, my brother? A curse on both your selves!

    [He dies.]

    RENEE: His peace doth now bear him to a silent rest he could have never known in this mad world. Fare ye well, my love. You were too good a man to be long for our world.

    SETH: Ambrose falls victim of my hubris and,
    Once more, of my passing keen ambitions.
    Am I fated to be Bray’s slave for all
    Of my remaining days? Alas for Bray,
    Cruel japes of fate do stir my will most fierce!
    Avoiding fighting my worst self has been
    Avoiding losing, and becoming my
    Worst self; but fight I must or face the whole
    Sore pain of Dean’s sad loss. Corp’rate and Bray
    Are doomed to fall, for now I set my will
    To avenge our Dean and reclaim my soul!

    [Re-enter Bray Wyatt.]

    RENEE: The pestilent creature that would bear your name and face returns to taunt once more.

    SETH: You laugh in horrid triumph as our tears
    Still sting fresh. My brother lays here, the cost
    Of my base will; now I turn base will on
    Thee. Call me blaggard once again, or call
    Me coward better still! Your grasp that has
    So blinded me I shall now break, and in
    So doing end all hells you’ve made withal!

    BRAY: I mock your loss, which offers me
    Gain! Go join Dean in lands of slain.
    Then your soul is mine again, and
    Nought will stop Fear’s ascending reign!

    [They fight. Bray Wyatt falls.]

    RENEE: Go now Seth! He wears the Family Corp’rate colours, and here comes a crowd to call you villain and breathe life into Vince’s long endeavour.

    SETH: Had I been more myself and thought this through
    Still would our Dean lie still - I am no fool.

    [Exit Seth Rollins.]

    [Enter Vince McMahon and a crowd.]


    A FAN: Where did the odious villain go that killed this innocent man named Dean?

    A CORP’RATE STOOGE: And what of the man that did slay this honourable Corp’rate fellow?

    RENEE: My muse Dean Ambrose here was slain not one hour hence by this Bray Wyatt.

    A CORP’RATE STOOGE: Who in turn was slain by whom?

    VINCE: Only one man would find bloodied success in the seeking of such revenge, who is so named the Kingslayer. His lust for the golden crown I crafted starves in the light of my own success and, in starving, it seems his hunger grows boundless in its appetite. Forthwith he is banished from my lands; let it be known under pain of death.

    [Exeunt crowd.]

    VINCE: Do with these bodies as you so wish, small mewling child. I have better business to attend.

    RENEE: I would like to know how deep it cuts, your unflattering failure that saw Seth kill Bray and yet remain to seek to burn all things down.

    VINCE: Of what failure do you speak? Seth might live but night closes as home to two fewer enemies than the day did break with! And if Seth Rollins returns then his lesson shall be learnt in like fashion to that of Dean and Bray - life is but the continued absence of positive dispositions, and then one becomes carrion for crows!

    [Exeunt.]

  2. #2
    The Brain
    Join Date
    May 2018
    Posts
    2,654
    Man… hey man… you want to play a game? I just found out about this new one. It’s called “Settlers of the Underground”, and it seems pretty awesome. It’s exciting as hell, and look at all the different pieces you can use! A lot of them have these little masks on them, which I thought was kind of cool, and they can really zip around the board. The rules are a little different than what we’re used to, but they’re really easy to learn and you can come up with some awesome ways to play. And seriously, look at how many different twists and turns can happen as you play! Even the board looks awesome, it looks like a little Temple, and your pieces can go through the roof, or the window, or down the stairs, and all sorts of other crazy stuff. It’s got this great backstory that’s easy to pick up, and there’s murder and evil gods and a ninja skeleton that breaks arms and all kinds of outside the box stuff. See, they even have it printed on the outside of the box, just look at that crazy artwork! I think it’s got a lot of potential to be the most fun thing we’ve played in a while. What do you think?

    Oh… you want to play… that. Again. Are you sure? I mean, it’s just that’s what we always play. And when we play THAT, you always seem to get mad. I remember last time you were complaining all the little pieces look practically the same, and none of them can do anything interesting. I’m just saying, you’d think there’d be some significant differences if a hotel was owned by a cat or by a wheelbarrow, or something. But no, basically whatever piece you plug in, everything just goes down exactly the same. And there’s no real story, you just kind of run around in the same circle over and over again. It never really changes at all, even when they come out with a new edition that’s supposed to be different, it’s always the same thing. I’m just saying man, that’s what YOU said last time we played, so don’t look at me like I’m crazy. So, since you were the one complaining, I thought maybe a new game would be more interesting. But hey, if you want to keep playing this, I guess that’s ok. Yeah, it’s very familiar, and it’s definitely a classic. I know, we’ve been playing it for years, and years. We’ve had some good times… I guess.

    *****

    New game time, buddy! After that last session, I figured you’d want to play something fresh for sure, so I ran right out and bought this one. It’s called “New Japan Pro Scrabble”. It’s a thinking man’s game! The playing can be intense, and there are a lot of subtle moves you can make that really enhance the gameplay. The games can run a little long, but you’ll hardly notice because the level of play is so advanced. It’s got some of the best pieces in the world, and it’s even incorporated a few elements of your old favorites to make things more accessible. See, you can even play as the old light up jacket piece from our usual game! You can match it up with this little cleaning broom piece, or use one of these bullet pieces from the box. And it takes a LOT to win this one, so when somebody is on top of the hill you know they really must be something. And best of all, everything’s been translated to English now, so no worries about playing in Japanese! People are really excited about this game and it seems like it’s just getting bigger and bigger, and it’s never been easier to get into. What do you say, we can try it once and see if you like it?

    Oh… you’ve already set up… ok, I guess we’re not changing it up. Yet again. Ok, really? Because last time you got really, really mad about the way the rules said we were supposed to use your favorite pieces. That the top hat could only move one square at a time, no matter how much you liked it. Remember, you said it was like the rules were different and the game would only favor the pieces that it really liked? And that every time they bring in a new piece, they ruin everything that seemed exciting about it at first? Like, look at the little robe piece. When they first announced it, it sounded like it had a bunch of interesting game play applications, but now the only special rule with it is that you have to sing that “Glorious” song every time you roll the dice. And this piece, you remember they brought it over specially from Japan, and it was supposed to be a game changer? But after that first game, they treated it like any other piece, and now nobody even plays with it anymore. Is any of this ringing a bell? Ok, I see you’re starting the game, so I’ll play with you, but you better not get mad this time. If you do, we are definitely playing something else next time.

    *****

    Pull up a chair buddy, this time we are playing something new, and there’s nothing you can say about it! This one is called “Chess Mundial De Lucha Libre”. Pretty exotic, right?? This one has got some really different rules, and it might take a minute to get into, but it’s actually the oldest game in the world and has been beloved for decades and decades by players across the world. It’s completely fresh, all the pieces and players get an equal chance to show their ability and rise and fall based on more than the way they look, and the game play is some of the most exciting you will ever experience! And if you play a really big game, some of the pieces can even lose their little hairdos or their masks, and sometimes they can’t even get them back so there’s even consequences from one game to the next. They’ve got this little bone piece, and this barrel, and they can do some stuff you haven’t even seen before. I think it’s really going to snap you out of your funk, it’s gonna be a whole new experience and who knows? You might fall in love with gaming all over again! So let’s get started, I’ll just set up the…

    Oh… you already set up… that same… old… game… again. Oh.

    Look man… I can’t do this anymore. You play the game, you bitch about the game, then you sit down to play the game again. Maybe when we were younger, we couldn’t reach the other games on the shelf, but these days you can get any game in the whole closet down at any time. It’s so easy, but all you want to do is play this game because you used to like it so much back in the day. I mean, I remember the good times as well as you do. I remember racing the little beer can game piece around the board, banging into all the others and wrecking up shit. I remember the little bull piece and how it was the only one that could keep up with the beer can when he played. I even remember the little butt cheeks piece. Remember that one? That one was too cool, seriously. But man, it’s been FOREVER since those days! It’s like it’s not even the same game anymore. I’m sure lots of people like the game for what it is now, but all you do is complain about it! But every time I suggest something new, you don’t care, or you talk about how all other games are not “in the big league”. I pitch “CHIKARA Ship”, you think it looks low rent. I bring home “Clue of Honor”, and you say it’s probably boring. I was even willing to try “Total Nonstop Sorry!”, that game from Global Force or Impact or whatever, but you won’t even give it a look. But we sit down with this game, the one YOU always want to play, and how many times can the bullet proof vest piece pass go before you start ranting and bitching? How many times can the little sledgehammer or the trench coat get brought out before it’s not fun anymore? I barely ever even see the little throwing guy piece, and he’s supposed to be the most important one of the bunch! I can’t stand playing the same old game with you anymore, man! I just can’t stand it, I feel like I’m going nuts! We need to play something new, right now, or I don’t think we can be gamers together anymore. So, what’s it going to be?

    You… you want to play the Junior version. Of the same game. This version is yellow, I see. Nope, not red or blue, so it’s totally different. Sure. Great. Ok, goodbye buddy. No, yeah, I see what you’ve got there. You enjoy that. Have a nice life playing a game you hate. I’m out!


  3. #3
    The old years....

    If stacked up dominoes could send their shared pain of a collapse to one place, that place may understand my aching when I dropped on the mattress. My syndrome aged me backwards. I was born what he became: an old irrelevant man. I was Benjamin Button; the man on the other side of the curled up naked woman was Ric Flair, my hero.


    “I’m leaving,” she said, “two dicks and no boners, what a horrible time.” She held the sheet against her breasts and wrapped it around her body. Flair set half-way up, while his own boobs sagged over his large belly. Pressing his palms against the mattress to hold up his weight, he looked at me with his mouth open.“Where is she going?” he said.


    “She’s leaving. You and I both fell asleep.”


    “Wait, sweetheart, you haven’t even begun to ride Space Mountain!” Ric cried.


    She was now fully clothed with her hair in a messed up pony tail and her feet cramming into her heels. “I’m going to get on twitter and tweet that Space Mountain is broke, and you—you’re no better, Benjamin Button. Your dead weight dick just drops to the side!”


    “Go tweet, you twat!” I yelled, reaching for my walker. “Who needs you?”


    After the door slammed, I heard sobbing. Ric’s nose turned red, and his lips and chin pouted in a curled up mess.


    “Don’t worry about her, champ. Just some 19 year old know nothing. She didn’t see you wrestle that two out of three fall match with Rick Steamboat. To me you’re still strutting in those alligator shoes. You’re the man with the long hair and the big gold belt. You’re out there almost getting pinned but— plot twist— instead having the 60 minute time limit draw. What’s it like to be young, champ? What’s it like to be in the prime of your life? To have the money and the fame?”


    “Who’s that guy? Who’s that fucking guy?” Flair reached over the side of the bed and grabbed his bottle of Screaming Eagle and continued crying and drinking.


    “All you ever do, anymore, is cry,” I mumbled to myself, closing the door.


    As I rolled my walker down the sidewalk, I thought in the streetlamp lighting, “Will I be the same as a young man as I am an old man, or will I be ready for the moment?”


    “It aint all it itsth cracked up to be, kid.” From across the street, I heard a voice with a lisp say. With his hands in his pocket and teeth as white as the curled hair hanging from his hat, the round figure in the fur coat and top hat smiled at me.


    “My lord, the Screaming Eagle must be hitting me! You died two years ago!” I said.


    “You’re only asth dead asth you feel.” Dusty Rhodes roared in laughter underneath the top hat. “Besidesth if I wasth dead would I be thisth perty?”


    “Who…are you?” I said. And what do you mean…not all it’s cracked up to be?”


    “You’re going to think I’m being corny.” He said. “But the fame isth justh a Dusthy finisth. You misth out on the family, you misth out on the friendsth, you misth out on true—” His voice rose “lovin’ and duvin’. And you think you got sthomething, but it’sth justh a Dusthy finisth!”


    “You know what? No. You say this now, because you had your chance. I’m just starting out.” I shook my head and continued, “Bah, Screaming Eagle…”


    The cab driver emerged from the front seat. “You ok, there?”


    “What’s your name?” I asked the bald driver in a vest. The street lamp and my aged eyes didn’t give me enough light to make out his expression.


    “My name Virgil.” He said. Somehow, I felt he smiled.


    “Virgil, do you see anybody across the road?”


    “No, mista, I don’t.”


    He took my elbow and helped me in the backseat.



    The prime years...


    Long after we buried Flair, I looked in my apartment’s hall of mirrors and beheld Brad Pitt, except with muscles bulking from my back and front upper torso and my biceps. Wrestle-Mania 45 would be mine. Still, I couldn’t think of Ric without thinking of how at his wake, I slept with the champ’s 16th wife—his widow. I did it doggy style, with her silk black dress over her waste and her thong down, because it made me feel power. At that time of my life Stephanie McMahon, HHH, and their son, Stephanie McMahon Jr., told every outlet I would be a most unique superstar. My ego made me fuck her. And worse it made me do her standing doggy style, with her head under the lid of Ric’s coffin. I saw through her eyes and smelled through her nose: the coffin, the metal, the wood, the hardness, the champ inside there, more rotten than ever. Her moaning and mourning poured into the shell of the champ who’d done his final Flair drop.


    “You ready for this, champ,” the gray beard of Enzo said. He appeared behind me in the mirror with a head band, bleached hair, and a gray beard. Short but loud, my manager made me feel prestigious, calling me champ.


    “I’m going to win the belt at Wrestle-Mania. Of course, I’m ready.” I said smiling, ear to ear.


    “I meant to shmoke some rocks, dummy!” He pulled out his crack-pipe, and his gray beard turned to a villain’s smile.


    When Wrestle-Mania came, and the main event hit, Enzo walked behind me and the Zo train followed me holding my IC title and my US title above their heads. I’d now challenge for the Universal title. WWE showcased giants, midgets, Greek gods, but never a man who aged backwards—never until I came along. I threw the hood off my robe and a couple 18 year old female You Tube celebrities, a nine and a ten, took the robe from me. I chased them around the ring as they laughed. I swung at the air, ready to challenge the champ; the one everyone talked about since November. Her classical music entrance theme hit.


    First came out the manager Dolphy Ziggler, who’d fully transitioned into a woman from only being part the way there during her wrestling days. Then emerged, carrying the beauty of the red strap, Charlotte Flair. The 60,000 at the Citrus Bowl cheered for her strength. She’d overcome her brother and father’s death. Also, The fall prior, with a figure 8 on Kevin Owens, she pushed and pushed to apply pressure. He passed out and got counted down. With shoulders widened but smile humbled, the first female to win the Universal title celebrated in front of Greensboro, at the Starrcade house show she won it at. Then, when nobody but she, the WWE 24 cameraman, and Dolphy were around, she touched the tear on her cheek, as if it could connect her to her father and brother only for a moment's magic. Dolphy placed her hand on the champion's back and whispered, “Sweetheart, they’re proud of you.”


    The surreal stare-down in one's first Wrestle-Mania takes a back seat to the nudging from the importance of perfection. As the champ squeezed my head with her long legs, I recognized the irony to myself. My hero’s daughter would lose and retire to be with family before she got too old to enjoy that. What a fool I thought, maneuvering my way to my feet. I grabbed her legs and snapped on an abrupt figure four. I noticed her tan left leg sagged a bit. Her age caught up to her, while I had shed 50 years in just 10. I heard the crowd's “woos!” and I ripped at her leg. Then, I bridged my body and turned it into a figure 8! The Woos turned to boos and chants for Charlotte. What a perfect performance! She powered out. We both mounted to our feet and she chopped the shit out of me with a slap that even a roofless arena could hear. The Woos could be heard again. 15 minutes disappeared in going from just a few short rest-holds to fast and furious chops and punches to top rope drops. The match paced itself like my life. When she super-plexed me, the body that once could not sustain a drop on the mattress could feel nothing but adrenaline against the canvas. She pulled at my leg. And, then, she locked me for a figure 8! I sold like her stepmom had once done for me, but then she slapped my leg with the signal we agreed would be given for me if she would allow me to reverse the hold. I laughed in evil jubilee. As I turned, and she and I lay on our stomachs, I eyed Enzo’s face at ringside, his smirking and winking. I pushed up, applying pressure. The hold then released. She and I stood, and she chopped me down. She went to lock me one more time with her figure 8, and I rolled her up: 1, 2, 3... The bell rang. If the crowd made a sound it went in the heavens above the roofless arena, and the gods kept it a secret. But without looking I could see the fans’ tears. Dave Meltzer leaked it’d be sweet Charlotte’s retirement.


    The referee handed me the title. I walked half way down the aisle holding ol’ red up with the Zo train holding my other titles up. I looked around, and the crowd was on their feet, embracing Charlotte. I could feel their pain. They chanted, “Thank you, Charlotte!”


    You see this, champ! You see this! She’s shtealing your pizzazz.” Enzo complained.


    Anger moved me back to the ring, shaking my head. She conspired this! She calculated the people would sympathize for her and demand her return, hence she’d be on top, again. I limped back to the ring, pulled myself to the apron, and grabbed the referee by the shirt. “Tell her to get the fuck out of my limelight!” The referee nodded his frown marks at me, walked over to her, and whispered to her. The members of the Zo train hoisted me up. I saw the image of Ric at Starrcade 83, holding the ten pounds of gold over his head and letting the blood run down his body. I glimpsed that Charlotte stepped through the ropes and put her head down and her arm around Dolphy. This image vanished in the moment but haunted me, years later.




    And those years came quickly. At my apartment the doorbell rang, and Enzo greeted me with a bottle of Screaming Eagle. “Why so sherious, champ? You get the call or shomething?”


    Before the Screaming Eagle and pain killers numbed me, the feeling of my bare feet in the soft and clean checkered carpet resonated. Home felt strange. Still, I'd feel this for years to come. “No but I’m expecting it.” I replied, concerning the call he inquired of.




    The teenage years...



    We smoked rocks, and he bragged about his Instagram followers. I said little. Social media had been unkind to me with me being a casualty of the new “Me Three movement.” The movement got its roots in the “Me Too,” of years past but had a 3 strike rule. I’d grabbed an ass at a party once. The cool fabric full of flesh failed to be worth it now. She turned and pushed me and said, “just cuz your Benjamin Button doesn’t mean you can do what you want." The coke, the Screamin’ Eagle, the ego, made me shrug it off. Strike two and three came from the girl on YouTube on my phone.


    “Turn that shit off," Enzo said. “She’s just a whore.”


    I responded little in my alcohol and pain killer infused trance. I felt none of her words as I looked into her eyes. Her pupils showed to be present and brown, but their souls absent. The camera shot upwards at her pale skin, thin mouth, and bangs. She said “You need to know, twice, Benjamin Button sexually assaulted me. The sex was non-consensual, because he bothered me multiple times before I said yes on both occasions.”


    A soft, male voice in the background asked. “How many times did he bother you before each time?”


    “Upwards of twice!” she said.


    “Waky waky!” Enzo grabbed my phone from me. “I shaid turn the whore off.”


    Then, the phone rang. I grabbed it from Enzo and answered. “Hello.”


    “Hello, Benjamin.” The husky voice of Stephanie McMahon Jr. said.


    He didn’t have to say more but did. He spoke about advertisers and shareholders and how my image wasn’t up to par. I said nothing. He said nobody wanted to lose to a man who looked like a 16 year old boy. I felt nothing. He gave his regards. We hung up.


    The following years, Enzo remained on TV, and I didn’t see him anymore. I spent time at home and spent money on drugs and whores. That’s how I met her.



    "You look like you're 10 years old," Shelly said.


    With my squeaking I said, “Just bend over. You’ll see I aint no little boy.”


    “Wow, you’re really that Benjamin Button!” She walked about my apartment and leaned on the window seal made out of a bed. She peered over Lake Michigan with her short curly hair. Then, I felt something; a warm feeling that in the past I never made time to notice. “You know what the difference between me and drug dealer is?” she said.


    I smirked. “What.”


    “They can only sell their crack once; I can wash mine and sell it again.”


    I chuckled with heart.


    “I could get use this view…” Shelly said.


    The image of her leaning over the window seal with Lake Michigan in the background. “Yeah, me too.” I remarked.


    Shelly and I married, but the love I felt grew to that of a mix of one would have for a wife with that of a sister, and finally a mother. She took me to the park and pushed me on the swing. Sex became an option no longer. The younger I got, the less time we spent together. I blamed her not. The responsibility to take care of me, I wished to put on nobody. But to let her go meant dying alone. We’d go to the park and I’d hug her and squeeze her like I’d never see her again.


    My ability to speak became small words, and soon all I could do to get her attention was cry. The crib, made of fiberglass and wood, rocked for some time on the checkered carpet. Also, looking like the coach out a fairy-tale, it appeared to be a luxurious bed to grow out of, but some days I couldn't look at it, knowing the coach-like thing awaited me. Once my life became refined to it, it’s all I could do but hope she'd picked me up and I’d smell the floral scent of her “Roses are Red” perfume. I could not speak but thoughts haunted me: Flair’s tears over the bottle of screaming Eagle, Charlotte going through the ropes and hugging Dolphy after my denial of her goodbye to her fans, and Shelly not being home. I cried a lot.


    The baby years...



    Then, day and night, I felt my throat sore, my nose wet, and my blood hot. I’d cry and cry and some days, Shelly would pick me up and whisper to me.



    The day came. I felt hungry in my crib. I heard the door open. Then, I silenced as her head rose into sight. Her eyes lit up. I laughed. Then, I felt my crib quake. Then... she... moaned. Pounding and moaning reached the threshold of my senses and conscience awareness. "Oh, n--n--o..." I thought. Her head began to bounce in and out of my view. "Shelly, no!" My crib shook from the impact of another man's weight shoving her into it. “Shelly no, Shelly no!" I thought. “Stop!”


    She moaned and moaned as I cried and cried.


    Next, smoke and his head band and gray beard came into sight. “How ya doing, baby Benjy.” Enzo laughed. Then Shelly laughed, and they slobbered all over each other in front of me.


    A chin cleft came into sight. Stephanie McMahon Jr. said. “He doesn’t look good at all.” He paused and his head looked at Shelly's curly one. “We should put you on TV!” Stephanie McMahon Jr. said to Shelly. He, Enzo, and Shelly laughed aloud.


    I cried in protest, but they ignored it and their laughing faces moved out of my sight. Come back, you bastard! I wanted to yell to Enzo. Come back, you dirty whore! I wanted to yell at Shelly. But jailed by this fiber glass and wood, all I could do was cry.

    I heard the door shut, and my crying exhausted. Utter quietness consumed the room. Alas, to die alone I was left to do. Too tired to make a sound, I stared into forever's silence. A back door creaked and broke the eternity. Foot steps made it's way to me, away from me, and finally back to me again.


    A familiar smiling face with curly white hair and a top hat came into sight. Dusty had dark circles under his eyes, but his grin sparkled as white as his hair. He picked me up in his soft arms. His fur coat itched yet comforted me. “Hushth, little baby. Don't sthay a word. Sthoon it will be over and you going to understhand the good, the bad and the ugly of it all.” He said.

  4. #4
    The Brain
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    I forgot all about this one! Thanks for reposting it, loved reading it again.

  5. #5
    The Time Limit Has Expired.

    Minutes 60-50:


    When the bell rings, the fan observes the champion, Ric Flair, emitting selfishness with just an expression and a swallow—that frown on the champ with the cleft underneath moving in slow motion. Then, the fan turns his attention to Barry, on the other end of the ring, bouncing his long (or maybe lanky) youth off the ropes.


    The fan shouldn’t be there. But he sits his ass against the hard chair, anyway, and yells like there’s no tomorrow. He yells in protest of a tomorrow coming.


    He remembers laughing on the beach with Joan, holding the sand in his hand. With it slipping through his fingers, he squeezed some of it just as hard as he could.


    She laughed and said, “You can’t hold that forever, you know!”


    He doesn’t have words to describe the ocean. He can’t remember Miami well enough. Too much booze, too much fun, and too many years had passed, and it all passed like flashes. Still, he remembers in a lust filled moment of hugging her, in her string bikini, saying the dumbest thing. He said, “Maybe, I’ll put it in a jar.”


    “We didn’t bring a jar, silly!” she told him in Miami.


    He drinks more bud out of the plastic cup. He shouldn’t be buying a beer that expensive. Brad fired him after 13 and ½ years, but he bought this ticket before he knew he couldn’t afford it! It’s funny how money in the bank begins to spend away when there’s no check being deposited. He sits there wondering if Joan will be there when he gets back, wondering if she’ll take the dog, little Nina, away with her. “I refuse to walk that dog in her little dress.” He said to Joan. “I don’t want to look like a queer!” One thing he knew; his hero, Bob Windham, wouldn’t walk a Jack Russel in a tutu.


    Flair and Barry Windham taunt him, as Flair struts instead of locking up with Barry.


    “Go, Barry! Go Barry!” He shouts. He thinks Barry’s eyes met his, but he was probably just looking in his direction. Barry, the son of Black Jack, could really do what his father never did; become World Champion! Flair tells the stranger sitting next to him to shut up; calls him fat. The guy in his “American Dream” hat seems embarrassed but smiles, anyway.


    He prefers a golden retriever over a Jack Russel, like Nina, but over time she won his heart over with her constant tail wagging and her embracing when he use to get home from work. Oh, that’s right, work—how will he afford all her shots? The hardest thing he had to tell Joan—ever— was, “Brad Whitley sat across from me, today, somber faced, and leaned in and said, ‘we just think it’s best for both parties if we go separate directions.’” Lately, Joan’s done something he’d never seen her do, drink tequila straight. She never drank it straight, but she takes it that way now with the last of their savings like it’s the end of the world. He wonders if she’d be there when he gets home. She demanded that he return the ticket, but there weren’t refunds.


    As Flair wrenches at Barry’s head with the side headlock, he hopes the match lasts forever. He doesn’t want to go back to life outside it.


    “We didn’t bring a jar, silly.” She told him in Miami.


    Minutes 50-45


    Barry rolls Flair over, and Flair kicks out at two. He rolls him up twice more. The fans cheer and Barry feels them in his hands. With sweat already making his hair a darker blonde, he slips out and locks Flair’s head with his own head lock. He has a wedgie and he doesn’t care. He won’t let this moment slip through the cracks. So many women: and he can’t wait for the party tonight.


    He hooks Flair’s head, fast and loosely.


    Minutes 45-40


    The fan looks at the guy with the Dusty hat next to him just smiling. Next to the other guy there’s an empty seat. Strange, it was for seats that close to ringside to be empty. Flair had just wiggled out of the head lock and jerked Barry legs, then pointed right at the guy, and said “Shut up, fat boy!” That marked the second time in only 15 minutes Ric Flair berated this man. Why does Flair keep yelling at this guy? He hasn’t made a peep the entire match?


    “Hey!” He said to the man. “You just gonna let him talk to you like that?”
    The man kept smiling, lying back. “It’s ok. I just want to enjoy it. Was supposed to bring my buddy with me tonight…”


    The empty seat where that man’s buddy should be wasn’t lost on the fan.
    “I lost him, unexpectedly. He use to drink so much and I learned to pick him up, ya know.” The fan continued in a daze, looking ahead. “I lifted at the knees and just pulled as quickly as I could and helped him to the car. Lost him to a heart attack. I think of his weight in my arms and the life that use to be inside it all.” The man in the Dusty hat said.


    The fan replied, “Sorry to hear.” They both looked ahead not facing each other. However, the fan just thought of one word “sand.” This Dusty fan’s friend had just slipped through his arms, too soon.


    “We didn’t bring a jar, silly.” Joan, once, told him in Miami.


    Minutes 40-30.


    Flair wrestles with the best ways to make Barry look good. The crowd silences. They need something more. If he makes Windham look good, Florida will want him to stay champ. He doesn’t want to ever give it back to Dusty or Harley. This has to be his time. “Put your arms around me,” Flair whispers. “Turn on your knees, mount your feet to the ground, push up slowly— I said slowly— you’re going too fast. Ok good you got it! Now, back-body drop me!” Flair fills himself slipping through the sweat in Barry’s arms and continues, “Hurry up! Make it fast!” Flair feels the hard canvas and bounces just a bit. He screams and holds on to the scream as long as his voice allows. In return, the fans cheer for as long as they can.


    But nobody brought a jar.


    Minutes 30-20

    The fan forgets it all: the lost job, the failing marriage, the dog. In minutes 30 to 20 he lives inside cross body blocks and flip overs. Inside cradles and counters. Will Flair pin Barry? No! He can’t! Barry keeps kicking out! It’s like a basketball game, Barry gets the ball and right when he gets to the rim, Flair fouls him or makes the steal from him. It’s back and forth! The guy in the Dusty hat, next to him, loosens his pants to breathe. Barry goes behind Flair and rolls him up. 1, 2, and 2 and ½! In ½ seconds Barry of done what his favorite, Black Jack, never did; win the belt! But the match still has 20 minutes left before curfew; Barry still has time!


    Minutes 20-10:


    “Let’s end it a bit early tonight, Ric. Let’s hit the town. You only live once!” Barry whispers, breathing heavily as Flair stretches his abdominal.


    “Do you hear these people,” Flair says, “They’re chanting your name!”


    Barry can’t see anything but Flair’s foot in a blur. He rocks Flair forward a couple of times just to hear the crowd, again.


    “You’re dad’s standing,” Flair says, “Standing! Matches like this don’t happen at every house.”


    Barry chuckles to himself. For him this is just the beginning. It’s just one more marathon with Ric...He knows his best days will come in time.


    Minutes 10-1:


    Then, Flair feels the frequency of his high scream for as long as he can feel it as Windham reverses the adnominal stretch with a hip toss. As he sees the body approach him quickly, he halts time and the fans cheers as he bends at the knees and lifts Widham up for an atomic drop. He lost the time between the atomic drop and the figure four, but yelled profanity’s at Windham on the outside and smiled on the inside as he applied more and more pressure. “Yes,” he thought. “They love Barry. I’ve done it! Neither Harley nor Dusty could do this!” He doubted himself before, but as he a rolled on his stomach and screamed like he was being pushed to the gas chamber, he never felt better about his fate.


    He let Barry loose. Then, he heard the fans count the seconds until he mounted, with the assistance of the ropes, to his feet. He stood and woo’d and smiled at the boos. He walks over to Barry to hook him one more time, but Barry inside cradles him. With ring awareness being his only sight, the 60 minute man knows what 2 and ¾’s of a second felt like and kicks out just at it.


    He throws Barry off the ropes and locks a sleeper, but knowing he only has 4 minutes left, he doesn’t hold on too long. He whispers to Barry, “I’m going to let you go, but you have to hit the best lariat of your life. Knock me to the other side of the ring, punk!”


    At Barry’s feigned strength Flair feels he bounce off the ropes and feels Barry’s arm across his lip. At 2 and 3 quarters of a referees slap against the mat, Flair places his foot across the bottom rope.


    The two mount to their feet run off opposite side. Things got blurry for Flair as Windham’s head hits his. He’s finally tiring down and hope the referee counts slowly as they lay on the mat. With less than 60 minutes to go he feels his body his the canvas with sunset flips and rolls ups.


    He can’t go any longer. They’ve pushed too long. But, then, then the official got on the mat and counted, then whispered 6 seconds left. Flair quickly grabbed Barry’s slippery locks and call bulldog. He felt little as Barry kicked near his gut, grabbed his hair, locked him into darkness, ran with him, and dropped him on his nose. The referee slapped the mat just once and the bell rang


    ***


    In the left corner, lay flair holding just ten pounds over his tired body. For him the urgency of the moment means everything. He has to make this 3rd title rein the best. He has to be better than Harley, than Dusty, than Kiniski, than Brisco even. He breathes at ease, knowing he’s learned how to do it.

    In the right corner, Barry tries his best to show disappointment. His dad told him to be patient. His years would come, he thought to himself, but tonight’s the party.

    In the crowd, the fan hears the boos for Flair and the chants for Barry, but anxiety locks him in a hold. He feels for the man next to him, who lost his buddy forever, but like many fans before him and after him, the stalling can’t last forever. The time limit has expired, and now he must wrestle being a grown man.
    Last edited by Benjamin Button; 01-20-2019 at 05:37 AM.

  6. #6
    The Brain
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    Nice, one of my favorites. Here's one of mine, I think it was from 2014. Funny how times changes.




    Heroes

    It’s not hard to have a hero in wrestling. Everyone at least has a favorite, and for those of us who follow the business a little more closely than is perhaps healthy, it’s not a big step to elevate someone to an even higher level. What these men, and sometimes women, do on a weekly basis is frankly inhuman. We’ve all got those one or two guys that we think the world of, guys for whom our emotions go beyond personal favorites into a realm of deeper respect and connection.

    My name is mizfan, and the Miz is one of my heroes.

    Yes, still.

    I’ve got a long history of picking losers to root for. Whether it was Tajiri as the unsung 7th member of the Smackdown Six (damn you, Chavo!), Chris Benoit being my favorite wrestler right up until you-know-what, or even in the modern day as TNA limps along to static ratings and flagging critical reaction, I have a tendency to support the losing team one way or another. I’m a Kane-over-Undertaker kind of guy, if that clarifies things for you at all.

    But I think we all know deep down that at one point it was anything but a losing proposition to support the rising star of the Miz. In 2008? Easy. In 2009? Nothing simpler. By 2010 you’d have to dead to not take notice of the man one way or another, and by the end of that year it seemed that his journey from forgettable nobody to one of the biggest stars of the company was complete, with only a minor (albeit insufferable) detour through some very painful “hosting” duties. Hoorah, am I right? No, in fact it was horribly wrong, but all in all everything seemed to be coming up roses for Mike Mizanin and his fans.

    I won’t lie to you, dear readers. The Miz became something of a hero to me, not because I believed he was necessarily one of the best wrestlers of all time, but by virtue of the very long odds he overcame to get to the top. An outsider to the business and an outcast in the locker room, the very fact of his hiring seemed to be a rather lame low grade publicity grab by the WWE. Initially it seemed he would just be another in a long line of poorly chosen performers given screen time for all the wrong reasons.

    But the Miz was different than so many other Z-grade celebrities who have been given a chance over the years to ply their trade, whatever that might have been (because it sure as hell wasn’t always wrestling). Rather than fading away as his interest waned or caving to the pressure from his fellow performers to leave his spot for someone more “deserving”, he buckled down and made massive improvements over the years until he became one of the hottest commodities in wrestling.

    To me, the man was a symbol that anything is possible with hard work and determination, so when my hero reached the top of the company at the tail end of 2010 I couldn’t have been happier.

    Heroes can let you down.

    Please dear readers, don’t think I’m here to denounce the man, as there are many reasons for his fall from grace. His WWE Championship reign, which should have been the peak of his career, was mired in and overshadowed by a reprehensible feud between announcers. His Wrestlemania main event ended up badly shorted for time, marred by a mid-match concussion, and despite his best efforts to the contrary, suffered from a massive lack of focus on the actual WWE Champion. His post championship career was immediately sabotaged by perhaps the worst booked championship rematch of the modern era, and followed up by one of the most poorly considered pushes in any era in the form of Alex “15 seconds of fame” Riley.

    It hurts me to go back and see how over the man still was through months and months of bad booking, but eventually failed or aborted angles took their toll, and the people started to care less and less about the Awesome One. Many of his staunch defenders revealed themselves as fair-weather fans and denounced ever having been a fan of the man in the first place. I was not one of them, but I can’t say I didn’t at least question myself about the man I had taken my name from.

    But what really got me, sliding into 2012, is that the Miz himself seemed to stop caring. His promos degraded, his ring work became duller and occasionally even dangerous, and his character seemed to lack all direction.

    It was a dark time to be a mizfan, my friends, and when the catastrophic decision to turn him face inevitably came down, it seemed to be all over. I remained a vocal supporter of the man’s potential, but I could no longer co-sign his current work.

    I won’t lie, I was hurt to see my hero slide down the company ladder. Whether he was disheartened by the ever increasing obstacles laid in his path by the company, angles too bad or meaningless to salvage and a complete lack of direction, or if he was tired of going against the grain, or even if he was simply satisfied with his career and content to coast for however many years remained, it didn’t make much difference to a faithful mizfan like myself.

    Heroes are just people after all.

    As time went by and I gained a little distance from the Miz’s midcard slide, I started to wonder if I was even justified to blame the man for being disheartened. God knows there are plenty of days of at work where I struggle to perform at my peak, especially if I’ve got conflict with the bosses. Any my job doesn’t have anything on the stress of being a professional wrestler.

    So the question is, do I as a fan who sits on his ass have any right to criticize the burnout of a wrestler who is constantly on the road, constantly putting his body on the line?

    Of course I do, I’m the customer. But that doesn’t mean it’s not understandable. The Miz gave me so many good years, so many amazing memories. If he doesn’t want to climb the mountain all over again, that’s his right. I should just be happy for what I had, and move on.

    And yet…

    Heroes can be reborn.

    I won’t lie to you, mizfan fans. WWE and myself have been having something of a difference of opinion these past few months, so I can’t say I’ve been watching the most recent adventures of the world’s largest sports entertainment conglomerate as closely as I once did.

    Even so, hope springs eternal when you’re a manic optimist. I have heard tell that the Miz is back, and not just in body but perhaps even in spirit for the first time in the last few years. Could it be? I can barely bring myself to hope that it’s true, that one of my favorite wrestlers of all time could come close to his former glory, so recently won and yet seeming so distant after several years of disuse.

    Time will tell for the Miz himself, but I can’t help but marvel at how deeply these characters sink into our psyche. It doesn’t matter a bit in the practical sense to me if Mike Mizanin fell off the face of the earth tomorrow, but even years after my interest in the man as a performer hit his peak I’m still so invested in the man’s success or failure that I’ll follow his career even if I’m not watching the show he’s featured on. The connection between a fan and his favorite wrestler is so deep, so primal. It transcends logic entirely and blasts in on an emotional level.

    I may have a history of picking losers, but by god when I pick them, I stick with them. I don’t think I even have much choice in the matter, to be honest. No matter how we analyze the statistics and break down the technicalities, we are all of us in the end linked, perhaps even chained, to our heroes.

    So here’s to the Miz getting a second shot at the Wrestlemania main event he deserved, and if I’m the only one watching it so be it.

  7. #7
    I just got around to reading this, as I missed it when you posted it. Very emotive, relatable, powerful piece..I'm curious as to what you think of the Miz, now. For me, he's always one of the few bright spots on the show whenever I watch it...But it's been awhile since I have, admittedly.

  8. #8
    The Brain
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    He rebounded like a champ and I love it! Even though I still haven't watched him much, I do dig up his best stuff now and then. I made a point to watch Bryan/Miz when it happened last year and thought it was great, underrated because of the weirdly dead crowd but super fun. Still hope he gets the 2nd WM main event he deserves.

  9. #9
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    This was a great piece Mizfan. I'd love to see a reprisal of it given how Miz has completely rejuvenated his career and arguably reached greater heights than before but as the IC champ instead of WWE one. Hell, my favourite WWE match last year was his match with Rollins, he was meant to be moving brands so there was no way he should have been able to win the Raw championship but they made me believe for a few minutes and there isn't much more than you can do than that. He also had a surprisingly good match with Shane McMahon of all people at Mania.

  10. #10
    There was a time that Miz became my fav... but WWE just didn’t push him as a top star...

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