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  1. #1
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    KOTC: Inside The Mind: Mercy



    WrestleMania.

    Another year and Mark Callaway had to start training again. Become The Undertaker once more. After 2019’s farcical match, Mark was determined to come back stronger and make it better this year. The “please retire” chants still penetrated his thoughts and dreams, torturing him every night. The botched tombstone had singed his memories, and the look of utter disgust Elias had thrown his way after the match had said 1,000 words. It couldn’t happen again. Even if it killed him.

    For 9 months a year, Mark was able to relax. He tried to keep vaguely in shape, but mostly he was a free man. Then for 3 months he would work to get himself “match fit”. Every gym session felt like death. Pain shooting through his legs. The difficulties breathing. A man in his 50s couldn’t cope as well as a man in his 20s. Every time Mark lifted weights he was reminded of that. After every gym session, he took a little longer to recover. Recovery time was now much longer than workout time. In his head, Mark knew that he would never be the man he once was, but he also felt that he could still perform. If he was fit, and had the right opponent, he could still put on a strong match. And this year, he had the right opponent.

    Seth Rollins. Fresh off his title run and widely recognised as the best wrestler in the world, he had been tasked with one of his greatest challenges. Losing to a 55 year man and making it look good. Mark was under no illusions that they were both going to have to work hard to produce something special. But then, for Seth, maybe it would be easy? He was Seth Rollins 365 days a year. Colby Lopez didn’t exist anymore. With the right attitude and the right mentality he could tear the house down with a lamppost. Mark just hoped Seth would accept that he wasn’t just wrestling a legend of the industry. He was also wrestling an old, broken man.

    Years of steroids had taken their toll on his body. When it was acceptable, he’d taken them just like everyone else. They helped him build muscle and look better. He’d become a superhero and had been completely untouchable for years because of those steroids and they were a reason he was a millionaire. “I’ve taken more out of steroids than they’ve taken out of me” he used to say. Now, with his body a hybrid of plastic, metal and other people’s organs, he wasn’t so sure. How many other 55 year olds struggled to walk more than 100 metres? How many others couldn’t breathe after a steep flight of stairs? Mark hadn’t touched anything for 15 years but he knew he was paying the price for past sins.

    He was looking forward to the build-up to his match. Staring down Rollins and taking in the crowd. Hearing them chant his name again after so long. Adrenaline pumping through his veins as he realised he was a legend and not forgotten. Wiping away the “please retire” chants and replacing them with adoration again. He was going to appear on Raw every week, cutting promos and chokeslamming heels like the old days. Everything he did would be to get the crowd on side and say “sorry” for the patheticness of the last few years.
    And then the match would come. And the fun would truly begin.






    “Fuck this” thought Seth Rollins. He had been mulling the match through his mind. How could the Universal Champion suddenly start losing to OAPs? Especially when that OAP only wrestled once a year. He’d seen last year’s effort as well, when Elias had been squashed and had his momentum sapped. Shortly after he’d quit the WWE and headed to Japan. He’d been blamed by management for the botched moves and angry crowd, and they’d subsequently written off TV and treated him like garbage. Now it was Seth’s turn to try and swim whilst handcuffed to an iron fish. And Seth was dreading it.

    He’d worked with people he didn’t like before. There were plenty of arseholes in the WWE and they’d still managed to work well. But The Undertaker was a different prospect all together. He was a broken man who just wouldn’t quit. Every year he was turning up thinking he could still go, when the reality was he couldn’t. Everyone was well aware of it. After hearing about the match, Seth’s friends were quick to offer their condolences rather than their congratulations. Management had to tell him about his opponent’s limitations and health issues. Meanwhile, the fans online were already shouting about what a waste it was of his talent.

    The saddest thing was that Seth loved The Undertaker. He’d studied his career and had been in awe of his longevity and his mystique. He’d watched him win titles, admired his agility as a big man, and practically worshipped him for the way he could cut a promo. He wished he could have wrestled The Undertaker in his prime. Put on a classic match for the ages which people would still be talking about 20 years later. Instead, he was going to have to battle a shell of a man. A man who should have retired years ago.





    WrestleMania.

    As The Undertaker made the slow walk to the ring, he took in the crowd. Phones out everywhere, naturally. Tragically. But there was still the same feeling he’d had all those years ago when he’d first stepped foot in the ring. He could see Seth leaning against the ropes, soaking it all in too. It had been a good few months. They’d traded barbs verbally, cut promos on each other and even had a nice brawl on Raw. The crowd had eaten it up and seemed to be genuinely invested in the feud. Seth had done most of the wrestling but he’d done his fair share of physical work too. It was a shame he’d botched the chokeslam on Cody Rhodes, but in all fairness, Rhodes had been in completely the wrong position.

    Now was the big moment. Rollins vs The Undertaker at Wrestlemania. A battle of eras and ages. All the pain he’d been through was worth it for this 10 minute match. They’d discussed it obsessively and knew their roles. Rollins as the vicious heel. The Undertaker as the heroic face. It was a good match they had planned. And the ending, with all the classic moves, was sure to send the fans home happy.





    Seth looked in disgust as The Undertaker took off his coat and hat. He’d had to close his eyes as his opponent had limped to the ring, clearly unable to walk properly. As the bell rang, Seth found himself praying, “God, help me get through this”, as the big, lumbering OAP strode towards him. They traded punches, and as discussed, Seth went down. “Being beaten up by a 55 year old” he thought to himself. “Is this what I always dreamed of?”

    After 5 minutes, The Undertaker was exhausted. Seth had carried him through the match so far, using rest holds and employing classic heel tactics to slow the match down when needed. But as The Undertaker had taken control of the match, his own moveset had betrayed him. He’d been unable to balance on the top rope, falling backwards out the ring and hurting himself in the process. The crowd were clearly aware of this and had gone into an awkward silence. It was as if they were at a funeral. In many ways, they probably were. Seth pulled The Undertaker and rolled him into the ring, before initiating the 4th rest hold of the match. “Are you okay to go on?” He asked, even though he knew the real answer.

    “Lets go to the ending”, rasped the reply.

    Seth understood. This was it. The Undertaker started to power out of the resthold and grabbed Seth’s neck and lifted him up for a chokeslam, yelling in pain as he did so. He dropped him to the mat, flawlessly executing it. “Not bad”, thought Seth. Seth kicked out of the pin, barely, and the Undertaker signalled for the Tombstone. In visible pain, he lifted Seth up and then dropped him, scruffily, as his knees gave way. Barely able to move, he covered Seth and the referee counted to 3.

    As The Undertaker crawled to the apron, Cody came out with a chair. He immediately started hitting The Undertaker with it. Seth feigned recovering before joining in. The Undertaker screamed out in pain as shots hit him stiffly. “What the hell are you doing? This is wrong!”

    “No”, replied Seth, deliberately hitting The Undertaker on his frail legs. “Everyone backstage, even Paul and Stephanie have agreed this needs to be done. You need to retire or you’re going to die. This isn’t wrong. This is a message. This is mercy".

  2. #2
    HUGE Member TheLAW's Avatar
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    Jesus. First Plan sets the bar, then Nony blows it up. This comp might as well go to final blows now lol

  3. #3
    Member #25 SirSam's Avatar
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    Wow this twisted and turned quite a lot. The way you paint a picture is so well done and so economical, there are just zero wasted words.

    It truly is a dark time line even before the ending, having Rollins forced into a Taker match. Thankfully after the last two matches last year I think it may have finally been made clear to Taker than he can't do what he needs to anymore. In both there were just so many times when his 55 year old body betrayed him and even with the tricks he has learnt along the way he couldn't do what he needed.

  4. #4
    Absolutely loved this. Left me with such a wide grin on my face at the end. Spectacular use of the theme.

  5. #5
    You know who I am, but you don't know why I'm here
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    BOOM!

    This was excellent, and my kind of take on the creative piece. I currently have you and 'Plan scored equally with the metric I'll share later, but I guess you get bonus points for bringing back the Maryse signature as requested, so you are winning the round overall : )
    Author of The WrestleMania Era book series, author of The Doctor's Orders columns on LOP since 2010, LOP Columns Hall of Famer, former host of The Doc Says podcast on LOP Radio (2013-2018), former LOP Raw and WWE PPV Reviewer (2006-2007), and former LOP Smackdown Reviewer (2004-2006)

  6. #6
    Simple, direct, impactful. I hope you and Plan face each other and knock one of u out to keep the rest of us still in the running hahaha

  7. #7
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    Now it was Seth’s turn to try and swim whilst handcuffed to an iron fish.
    I love that line.

    I'd like to hope Elias won't go out that way, he has become pretty comfortable/good lately. Will Cody come back? The only certain thing is Taker will wrestle. Vince will keep reeling in that iron fish until he is literally bone dry.


    Good luck, Nony.


  8. #8
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    This sounds like one of Undertakers nightmares. Surely he knows his limitations by now but yet that one more match is just to enticing for him to pass up on. I don't think anyone is going to put him out of his misery until he says so though, which is a real shame.

    Fantastic column!

  9. #9
    Mediocrity at it's finest kingzak13's Avatar
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    I love the Undertaker, but he needs to retire. I'm glad he is taking the year of it seems.

    Great column.

  10. #10
    Do I shit in the woods? BEAR's Avatar
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    Absolutely superb. We just dont get columns like this anymore, phenomenal

  11. #11
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    I concur with everyone above, this piece of work is absolutely brilliant. Mercy is a great part of wrestling and you exploited the theme creatively!
    This column has stuck with me since the first time I read it.

  12. #12
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    This is such a cool take on the topic. Like, it’s not wildly out there, but it’s still extremely unique and an innovative way to approach it. You exhibit this great storytelling ability, and then end things with a plot twist that only then fully reveals the hand on “Mercy”. I’ll remark one more time about the storytelling quality of the piece – I wouldn’t say this column has the greatest pure wordsmanship of the round, but I also wouldn’t hesitate to say that it does have the best storytelling. Just reeled me in and kept my rapt attention, wanting to find out what happened next.

    Loved the dueling perspectives. Undertaker’s perceived self-awareness (“Mark knew that he would never be the man he once was, but he also felt that he could still perform”) being shredded in juxtaposition by Seth’s outright disgust is killer stuff. It’s much better, too, than complete, blind optimism opposing the complete pessimism. Giving the Undertaker a shred of humility to go along with the still far too present overestimation makes this feel a lot more real.

    As far as a hyper nitpick goes, I’d sneak those commas into the quotation marks rather than outside (‘“Let’s go to the ending,” rasped the reply’ – instead of ‘“Let’s go to the ending”, rasped the reply’). Also, a missing apostrophe here is noticeable. Really tiny things that don’t detract very much from the overall quality.

    Regarding the content – I’d be game for somehow sending the Undertaker to a completely encased retirement. He’s no longer got any appeal for me, nor has he for years. Obviously, the brutality and downright assault in your column is fictitious effect – perfect for a story and not for real life. But let’s just say that you and ‘Plan would not be the only ones frustrated with a Seth Rollins vs. Undertaker match at Mania 36. Urgh.

  13. #13
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    Oh 'Nony I love you so much. This was so right in my wheelhouse. MERCY was my topic suggestion and when I saw you had it I was pretty excited to see what you went with. If I'm not mistaken you've taken this future storytelling approach once before in a tournament perhaps a few years ago. It was as solid then as it is now, and that is in large part due to the way you structure your storytelling. The shift from Rollins to Taker to spectator even really lays out the groundwork of what you're going for.

    Taker needs to stop, and I used to think it was Vince who wouldn't let him. Now, after seeing this week that there are no Mania plans for him and that he was so upset about that he removed all WWE references from his Twitter, I see it's really Taker that can't let go. It's sad that so many older wrestlers just can't let the business move on even when their own bodies tell them that it's time to do so. This was emotional, dramatic and very poignant in its presentation.

    Standing ovation. A 'Nony column is truly one of a kind.

  14. #14
    The Brain
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    The wrestler who doesn’t know when to stop is fascinating to me. We’ve seen it with Flair, now with Angle. Is Taker in that boat? He could be, maybe. I have the impression he’d be happy to stop if Vince stopped asking, but who knows? I like the vivid imagining of what he might be going through after suffering a failure. Mm, there’s a poignant aspect to this that I really love. The perspective switching was truly excellent, the tone change is perfect. “Handcuffed to an iron fish”, beautiful. The idea that Cody will be back in WWE and apparently botching moves by 2020 is an odd little shot though. But the fact that Taker doesn’t understand how Seth feels about him is extra damn poignant. The ending is more than a little farfetched but I can appreciate the feeling it captures. Quite a good piece, one of my favorites from the round.

  15. #15
    Lamb of LOP anonymous's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Doc View Post
    BOOM!

    This was excellent, and my kind of take on the creative piece. I currently have you and 'Plan scored equally with the metric I'll share later, but I guess you get bonus points for bringing back the Maryse signature as requested, so you are winning the round overall : )
    Boom. Indeed. Thank you for your kind words and I’m glad you enjoyed it, although being equal to ‘Plan in any sense is quite possibly the greatest insult ever sent my way. I’m glad you like the sig and the bribery has worked.

    Quote Originally Posted by JacobWrestledGod View Post
    Simple, direct, impactful. I hope you and Plan face each other and knock one of u out to keep the rest of us still in the running hahaha
    Glad. You enjoyed it. I really hope I don’t face ‘Plan as the CF would be a worse place for the inevitable chaos that would unfold. Also, he’s far more likely to win this thing than me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Kleckamania View Post
    I love that line.

    I'd like to hope Elias won't go out that way, he has become pretty comfortable/good lately. Will Cody come back? The only certain thing is Taker will wrestle. Vince will keep reeling in that iron fish until he is literally bone dry.


    Good luck, Nony.
    I’m glad you enjoyed that line. I was fairly proud of it. Elias is dead right now and I can’t see him reaching the level of elevating ‘Taker, tragically. I do see Cody reappearing at some point though. Weirdly, after my column, it appears Undertaker has severed ties with the WWE. I like to think Vince read it and had second thoughts...

    Thank you for the kind words.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Franc View Post
    This sounds like one of Undertakers nightmares. Surely he knows his limitations by now but yet that one more match is just to enticing for him to pass up on. I don't think anyone is going to put him out of his misery until he says so though, which is a real shame.

    Fantastic column!
    Thank you for the nice comments. It actually seems like The Undertaker has been put out of his misery, which is an example of the WWE being merciful. I genuinely hope we don’t see him again.


    Quote Originally Posted by kingzak13 View Post
    I love the Undertaker, but he needs to retire. I'm glad he is taking the year of it seems.

    Great column.
    I loved The Undertaker but totally agree. A year is too short though. I don’t want to see him again unless he’s inducting someone into the HOF.

    Quote Originally Posted by BEAR View Post
    Absolutely superb. We just dont get columns like this anymore, phenomenal
    Holy Fuck, a BEAR sighting. Thank you, old friend. You should be around more to suck my e-penis. Glad you enjoyed it.


    Quote Originally Posted by cathe67 View Post
    I concur with everyone above, this piece of work is absolutely brilliant. Mercy is a great part of wrestling and you exploited the theme creatively!
    This column has stuck with me since the first time I read it.
    A new reader! That brings my readership up into the 20s. Delighted you enjoyed the column and it stuck with you. It was one of the easiest I’d ever written.

    Quote Originally Posted by Skulduggery View Post
    This is such a cool take on the topic. Like, it’s not wildly out there, but it’s still extremely unique and an innovative way to approach it. You exhibit this great storytelling ability, and then end things with a plot twist that only then fully reveals the hand on “Mercy”. I’ll remark one more time about the storytelling quality of the piece – I wouldn’t say this column has the greatest pure wordsmanship of the round, but I also wouldn’t hesitate to say that it does have the best storytelling. Just reeled me in and kept my rapt attention, wanting to find out what happened next.

    Loved the dueling perspectives. Undertaker’s perceived self-awareness (“Mark knew that he would never be the man he once was, but he also felt that he could still perform”) being shredded in juxtaposition by Seth’s outright disgust is killer stuff. It’s much better, too, than complete, blind optimism opposing the complete pessimism. Giving the Undertaker a shred of humility to go along with the still far too present overestimation makes this feel a lot more real.

    As far as a hyper nitpick goes, I’d sneak those commas into the quotation marks rather than outside (‘“Let’s go to the ending,” rasped the reply’ – instead of ‘“Let’s go to the ending”, rasped the reply’). Also, a missing apostrophe here is noticeable. Really tiny things that don’t detract very much from the overall quality.

    Regarding the content – I’d be game for somehow sending the Undertaker to a completely encased retirement. He’s no longer got any appeal for me, nor has he for years. Obviously, the brutality and downright assault in your column is fictitious effect – perfect for a story and not for real life. But let’s just say that you and ‘Plan would not be the only ones frustrated with a Seth Rollins vs. Undertaker match at Mania 36. Urgh.
    Thank you for the incredibly honest feedback. I never proclaim to be a great wordsmith or writer. There’s plenty of guys in these parts who are though. I love writing a story. I came up with the concept on a long car journey and had to write it up when I got home so it didn’t die. Most of my columns are concepts that I’ve managed to create something out of. I also think Seth is a bit of a dick in real life, and, as seen by his recent publicity, The Undertaker is actually delusional.

    My grammar generally sucks so it’s useful to get that sort of feedback. Degenerate used to take my commaing apart on a frequent basis so he’d be proud of you for that. I shall endeavour to take your points on board.

    If The Undertaker vs Seth Rollins was the match for next year, it would almost be worth it to annoy ‘Plan.


    Quote Originally Posted by Rob S. View Post
    Oh 'Nony I love you so much. This was so right in my wheelhouse. MERCY was my topic suggestion and when I saw you had it I was pretty excited to see what you went with. If I'm not mistaken you've taken this future storytelling approach once before in a tournament perhaps a few years ago. It was as solid then as it is now, and that is in large part due to the way you structure your storytelling. The shift from Rollins to Taker to spectator even really lays out the groundwork of what you're going for.

    Taker needs to stop, and I used to think it was Vince who wouldn't let him. Now, after seeing this week that there are no Mania plans for him and that he was so upset about that he removed all WWE references from his Twitter, I see it's really Taker that can't let go. It's sad that so many older wrestlers just can't let the business move on even when their own bodies tell them that it's time to do so. This was emotional, dramatic and very poignant in its presentation.

    Standing ovation. A 'Nony column is truly one of a kind.
    Thanks Rob. I’m glad you suggested it as a subject as it was something I could really run with. I have done this sort of thing before, and I always love adding a bit of creativity to tourneys , especially when they can become filled with fairly bland and generic columns. I’d take a fun, poorly written column over a precise bore-fest any day.

    Wrestlers who can’t let go hurt everyone. Themselves, other wrestlers and the audience. They put their bodies on the line, steal other’s spots and tarnish their legacies. And it leaves us disliking those we’d loved. It’s tragic and sad. I enjoyed delving into the wrestler’s psyché.

    I’m glad I’m one of a kind. The world would be a fucked up place with more of me.


    Quote Originally Posted by mizfan View Post
    The wrestler who doesn’t know when to stop is fascinating to me. We’ve seen it with Flair, now with Angle. Is Taker in that boat? He could be, maybe. I have the impression he’d be happy to stop if Vince stopped asking, but who knows? I like the vivid imagining of what he might be going through after suffering a failure. Mm, there’s a poignant aspect to this that I really love. The perspective switching was truly excellent, the tone change is perfect. “Handcuffed to an iron fish”, beautiful. The idea that Cody will be back in WWE and apparently botching moves by 2020 is an odd little shot though. But the fact that Taker doesn’t understand how Seth feels about him is extra damn poignant. The ending is more than a little farfetched but I can appreciate the feeling it captures. Quite a good piece, one of my favorites from the round.
    Firstly, I tried to paint the picture of The Undertaker botching the spot, not Cody, so apologies if that wasn’t clear. I could easily see Cody returning though. Weirdly, I nearly wrote a piece that involved Angle being brutally injured as an act of “mercy” so odd you should mention that.

    I’m glad you found it poignant, and I hope my next entry gets you feeling better than it was “quite a good piece...” .


    I am genuinely grateful for all the generous feedback, words and reads for this piece. I never expected it and it’s a real honour.

    I love you all.

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