Odds & Ends – Prologue.
Kansas City, Missouri
May 17, 2007
The shower helped, but the only real thing that would heal his nagging injuries was the only thing he couldn’t afford to waste – time. The 31 year old, 'blue-eyed badass', Sean Stevens leaned over a sink, in his private dressing room, checking himself out in the large mirror above him.
Bumps? Check. Bruises? ....absolutely. Cut above the forehead from a clash with a solid steel cage? It wouldn’t be right if there wasn’t one.
Another victory in the EPW: King of the Cage tournament? Just like he promised.
Rocko Daymon was tough – certainly tougher than Sean remembered him ever being. But, despite his new newfound aggressiveness, the outcome was what Sean had predicted it’d be. Daymon fought valiantly, but being brave – as Rocko found out tonight – doesn’t win matches. Skill wins matches ... luck sometimes wins matches ... and, both were things that the Rocko of old, and new lacked on this night and in the past. Trip was moving on to the next round of the King of the Cage, and while Rocko Daymon guaranteed he’d defeat Sean and move closer toward his goal of winning the EPW World Title, it was a safer bet that he was closer to moving on to his next gimmick change…
… Just like old times. The thought made Sean smile.
"I got you a sandwich," a female voice echoed as his dressing room door opened.
Trip was hardly startled, unbeknownst to pretty much … everyone, except a few … his fiancé, and the mother of his child, Poison Ivy was in attendance. She wasn’t at ringside, because she, and Sean both agreed that they weren’t too comfortable with the idea of exposing their child, baby Shannon Joseph Stevens to the entire world until he got a little older. She watched from a monitor backstage as Sean competed in his match.
"What’d ya get me?" asked Trip.
"The Eli Flair special."
Trip frowned, "Yuck! That burger with the egg? That's disgusting, Ivy! Eew!" He made a gagging sound, to further illustrate his point.
Now it was Ivy’s turn to frown, "You used to like it!"
"No. I liked YOU. Everything tastes good when you’re trying to impress the woman you love."
At that moment, baby Shannon began to cry.
"I think he’s got gas, he’s been crying all day."
"Here, let me hold him, I think he wants 'dadda'," Stevens extended his arms.
Shannon was wearing a denim jumper, with the cutest little custom made t-shirt underneath that said, 'My dad’s the Greatest Wrestler on the Planet' on it. The minute Trip held him in his arms; he stopped crying, if only for a moment. Sean looked at his first child, eyes full of pride, as baby Shannon began to squirm, which usually signaled more tears were on the way. He was a cute little boy, with a mixture of both of his parent’s best features. He had Ivy’s nose – thank God, and Trip’s bottom lip. His hair was light brown, and curly, and his eyebrows had come in full. The craziest part of it all was his eyes. Poison Ivy had enchanting green eyes, and Sean had his famous baby blues, so the family pool was on whose color he’d get – they ended up being blue-ish green, so everybody lost.
"He’s getting so heavy, what are you feeding my little man?!"
"He wasn’t holding down his milk so well, so the doctor said to add a little cereal to his bottle, it’s been working. And, he’s getting bigger each day," replied a smirking Ivy.
Trip shook his head, "I gotta figure out something. I mean, being on the road so much, it’s not like I’m missing weeks at a time, or whatever. But, even if I don’t see you guys for a couple of days, it feels like I’m missing out on so much. Maybe I'll hang 'em up sooner than I originally planned."
"That’s crazy talk, Sean."
"How come?" Trip shot back.
"Because, if you were really ready to leave wrestling, you would’ve stayed away when you took the year and a half off. Eli’s body is mangled, but even if it wasn’t, he pretty much accomplished everything he wanted to accomplish. You came back because you want another crack at a major World Title, and you’re doing a bang up job of getting yourself back into the title picture. It'd be crazy to turn back now, kiddo."
"Yeah, Eli's not the only one hurting. I’m pretty f'n mangled, too, Pooh Bear. I’m not complaining, it just didn’t use to hurt this much, for this long, is all. Plus, the boos have been getting louder and louder since I rearranged Ice Tre’s face. It’s becoming draining giving your all only to be underappreciated. I could just stay home with the people that love me."
"Did you watch the other King of the Cage match," Ivy asked, trying desperately to change the subject.
"... Don’t need to."
"You wanna know who you’ll be wrestling at WrestleSTOCK?"
"Does it even matter?" Trip shrugged. "I’m focused. It doesn’t matter who I wrestle, how banged up I am, I’m a big ass f’king problem right now for any wrestler Empire lines up to face me. JA, Beau … they’re all the same to me. Both are talented, both, on a good day, could possibly get a 'w' with a schoolboy, or something if I’m not on my game. But, I am on my game, I’ve been on my game pretty much since I returned … so, both would lose. …atleast, I think."
"Great. 'Cuz it’s JA."
"That’s it? That’s all you've got? ...Cool?"
"Yep." Stevens responded with assurance. "What’s wrong with cool?"
"Nothing. Just be careful out there," Ivy sighed, as she handed Trip a bottle to place in Shannon's mouth. "Don’t start underestimating the guy across from you and gettin' yourself hurt. You’ve got a family now. A family that needs you. Isn’t that right?" Ivy gently tickled Shannon under his chin, causing him to smile, as Triple X and Poison Ivy began to gather his bags and leave the arena.
"And if I had a penny for every time someone came into a big match saying they were focused... well, you get the picture."
The scene is in the end zone of Giants Stadium, site of the EPW/NEW SuperShow, WrestleStock. Standing front and center in the long shadow of the goal posts is one Jericoholic Anonymous, wearing jeans, sneakers, his special occasion Midnight Green and White Philadelphia Eagles lucha mask and, the topper, his vintage throwback #46 Herman Edwards Eagles jersey. Lollipop stands in the background to the left, wearing her high school cheerleader outfit... Go Capistrano Valley High Cougars!
JA: You know, I've heard all the clichés in the world. Hell, I've probably spouted off ninety-nine percent of them in my life and about ninety-five percent of those in my pro wrestling career on a camera like this. It's the American life. You watch a bunkload of television, and bam, you spout off catchphrases and hackneyed idioms like Al Sharpton spews anti-Semitic comments to his "congregation" in Harlem. Nothing to be ashamed of really, we all do it. Just like everyone who's ever stepped in this stadium probably makes a crack about Jimmy Hoffa being buried here... hell, I'm lucky that no one else is here or else I might be joining him down there. But I can't take any opportunity to rub this moment in the face of all those snooty Giants fans, especially as a lifelong fan of the...
JA turns around to his fiancée as she goes into a cheer
Lolli: E-A-G-L-E-S, EAGLES!
JA looks in admiration for a moment before turning back to face the crowd.
JA: I love when she does that. Especially wearing... that. She's gonna... well, that's not for you guys to know. But getting back on track, it's that moment I most associate with this place. I know you have to be a different breed of person, in this case, an Eagles fan, to make that connection, but it's refreshing, it's... different. It's the same as tuning into a radio station and hearing "Tangerine" instead of the same ol' "Stairway" or "Kashmir." It's seeing Baron Davis and the Dubs make it to the second round of the Enn-Bee-Aye playoffs instead of the same ol' Mavs and Ivan Drago Nowitzki. Sure, you still do appreciate the classics. I mean, I don't turn the station when "Kashmir" comes on, and I sure as hell do enjoy watching the Mavs play basketball, if only to watch the vein in Mark Cuban's forehead bulge every time they call a foul.
It's the same thing when it comes to wrestling promotional pieces too. I mean, everyone loves to hear the catchphrases. I mark everytime the Codemaster addresses his brothers, sisters and bizarre mutant hybrids. Even the business standards, like giving one-hundred-ten percent or putting it all on the line. You expect to hear those, but you want to hear something different every once in awhile. You want to see Roderick McRatrick roll out The Wax, or Torment not to drop the Eff-bomb every once in awhile, or hell, you may even want Joey Melton to serenade the World Champion with Chicago. That's what memories are made of. Of course you mix 'em in with the same ol', and you get a nice stew. I mean, you can't just make a stew with all center-cut prime sirloin. You do need some vegetables. However, when you don't throw in that tasty cut, then that's when things get stupid. That's when you start to question the ability of the cook. That's when you really start to wonder if your head's really in the game, or whether you're just sailing through on another stop on the Diaper Dandy Express, Trip.
That's right, Sean, I compared you to a cook. I'm sure that'll take up about a half-hour of your next diatribe... that is, if you even bother to show up to the soundstage this time. I do have to say, you have a cute kid. I'm sure he's a joy to have around, especially when he's up at 3 Aye-Em, crying for Mommy and her funbags. I'm also pretty sure that the bullsh*t you laid down, although not thick, was so stinky that he could even smell it from a mile away. I mean, sure, you may think it's cool to find out secondhand from your woman whom you're facing, but to me, well... I don't think so, Sean. I think it's a sign that you don't have what it takes to win this match.
Now, how does one make that leap? I'm glad you asked. It's all in the clichés, Trip. I mean, what do you do or say that makes you stand out, that shows you're in it to win it? You tell the audience that you're focused. You know what? No sh*t, Sherlock. I don't think you make it this far and not be focused doing it, unless you just have the dumbest luck in the world, but Trip, I'm willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here. I'm willing to believe that you're pretty good at what you do, but that you just spent a little too much time at the Andrew Gilkison School of Wrestling Promos. That would be fine if you said anything more, but really, you haven't given me a whole lot to work with. I mean, let's look here.
You think it's cool that you got me, right, you... your son. Yeah, you love your son. You're doing this for your son. On the surface, that's a noble goal there, Trip. I mean, it's always great to have someone motivate you. I mean, look at me, I've made it this far because, not only am I on my game and focused like you rolls his eyes, but I've been proving with every win this tournament to Dan Ryan that he made a great investment the day he got me to sign an Empire Pro contract on the bottom line. From the sounds of it with you though... well, you aren't motivated to win for your kid there... you're just motivated to come out of this match not hurt for your kid there. I mean, I saw the way you kinda just went back to playing with him when your Pooh Bear... ugh, how syrupy can you get?
Lolli: Like, you call me Honeybuns every night 'n stuff.
JA: Damn it, you're supposed to be helping my cause.
Lolli: Hey... shut up.
JA clears his throat.
JA: Anyway... you just kept coddling him, that sort of silent assent that p*ssywhipped guys learn to emote after years of being with the same woman, that same silent assent telling me that you're only really looking to come out of this match injury-free. That tells me more than any word you'd normally say in one of your self-aggrandizingly bloated pieces. That tells me that you're either so arrogant that you're coming out of this match the winner that the only goal you have is not getting hurt, and believe me, knowing you and your giant ego, that's a definite possibility, or it's telling me you don't have what it takes to put it all on the line. Sure, you may say that you have the talent to back it up, or that there's no way there's fear in you, or that I'm totally wrong and you were just ignoring Ivy and that your son is your inspiration, but really, I know that any argument I anticipate will have this element that I believe is true in it.
I mean, why do you think I don't have any kids yet? Why do you think I'm not having any kids 'til after I retire? It's because I don't want to have them see their father get totally f*cked up in the ring. I know it's true, because that's what held my father back. He never gave it his all because he had five boys sitting at home who'd pretty much be lost if he ended up like Droz or even Owen Hart. Even though you won't admit it, Sean, I know that's what you're thinking too. Besides, it's way cooler to tell your kids about your cool stories than it is for them to see it. I mean, embellishing things is half the fun. You should know that. I mean, saying that I could only beat you by a roll up on your worst day. You're pretty damn good at the tall tale thing already. I don't know why you and Ivester just didn't double-bag it until your body was one-hundred percent beaten to hell instead of just seventy-five percent like it is now. Or maybe you could have gotten a vasectomy and you two crazy kids could have gone the Jolie route, only, if you ever, EVVERRRR name any kid of yours Pax Thien or some other Klingon type thing, I will personally smack the sh*t out of you.
But you see, because you have your kid holding you back, there's no way you can come into this match at full-tilt. For you to have the performance that your bloated mind thinks, you'd have to spin a yarn on par with the Iliad. You may have something to hold you back, and that something has subconsciously prevented you from doing anything memorable on camera. Sure, coddling your baby is new and different for these parts, but it's far from something everyone's going to talk about though. Me... well, I may be borrowing from your ego a bit if I say people will talk about this spot for years to come. They may, they may not, but hell Trip, I at least said something. And I plan on doing anything to win in the cage.
I know, I know, that's a pretty clichéd thing to say, but after getting that vibe from you Sean, I'm not sure it's something that can go unsaid. While you're more worried about being around when Shannon Joseph graduates college, and believe me, I don't blame you, you can't see that's a goal that's in direct opposition with the one you say you have. I mean, by some stroke of luck, you step out of the unforgiving structure that is the cage, and you're both a winner and a healthy man, but the odds of that happening in this match, on this stage... if you think that I'm going to allow myself to be shown up in front of the man that hired me and took a chance on me, the fans of both Ee-Pee-Dubya AND Enn-Ee-Dubya and in front of both locker rooms to boot, well, then you're more delusional than anyone could ever take you to be.
Me though... well, back to what I was saying before, this may not be the thing you most remember me for in this event. Hell, I guarantee you won't remember me standing in the end zone of an empty Giants Stadium. What I can guarantee you though is that when you think of this place, you're not going to think of the Jets, the Giants, Jimmy Hoffa or even the Miracle at the Meadowlands. You're going to think about Jericoholic Anonymous, putting his body on the line, winning King of the Cage in front of the largest crowd in this place's history.
Trip, you're going to remember me.
JA puts his hands on his hips as Lollipop starts to cheer and wave her pom poms in the background. The setting sun drenches the scene deep orange as it slowly fades to the EPW/NEW WrestleStock logo.
"In fifteen minutes, you managed to tell the world two actual facts about me, JA. I can already tell you're a little more advanced than my past Empire Pro opponents, so for that .... Congratulations."
FADE: Triple X took a couple of steps in the camera's direction. Leaves made a crunching sound as he walked, so it became pretty obvious that on this brisk night, he was outside.
TRIPLE X - "Also, I want to say that I've watched you wrestle, I've seen a lot of your Empire Pro matches, and think that despite the fact that you'll lose to me at WrestleSTOCK, you would've been a decent challenge to whomever the champ of this company is, when the winner of the King of the Cage gets his shot at the big belt."
He was drenched in sweat. His hair was tied in a pony-tail, and he had a full grown beard.
TRIPLE X - "I wanted to get the compliments out of the way, because this – our match, and our words, this week – will probably be about as ugly as your future wife. And, in saying that, know that I'm not trying to secretely imply that Ms. Pop(?) is in any way attractive, or that this match will be easy," he smirked. "Like she is. I'm sorry, I really wasn't planning on saying that. It kinda just ... fell into my lap. ...like that night at the strip club, when you two met, and decided to go on your magical journey through life together as partners."
"I should stop."
He was wearing a sleeveless t-shirt, and sweats. His hands were taped, and as the camera zoomed in, it was clear that he had on ankle weights. He took a sip from a bottle of water as he continued.
TRIPLE X - "Oh, I know, I know ... the routine never gets old, J. 'No Sh*t Sherlock', you'll say again. Not realizing that THAT stopped being funny back when I was in elementary school. Then, you'll try your hand at being clever and use my own words, as if that hasn't been done a gazillion times already. How does it go again? 'If you had a penny for every time someone said a match would be tough', the big blonde Popsicle could've gotten that lipo this week, right?"
"Yes, I have a kid. He is the love of my life, and I would die for him without hesitation. Yeah ... I've been known to have a bit of an ego. Atleast, that's what they TELL me. So imagine how crushed my ego was when you jumped in front of your camera, like a good little monkey should, and did your talking trick. Imagine how much of a blow it was when you dedicated all but the first five minutes of your promo to explaining why my family and current mindset would be my downfall. Imagine how confused I was when you made this match FOR my child."
"I'm all for good press, JA. If you haven't noticed, the chorus of boos have gotten louder with each venue change, and I, for the life of me, can't figure out why. But, I've been in this business for well over ten years, not that you'd care. I'm kind of spoiled because I never had to pay the dues that you 'regular' wrestlers pay, because from the moment I jumped over that guardrail, and beat the sh*t out of 'random wrestler A' – I'm sorry, his name escapes me – I've been AT or near the main event. With all of that being said, I don't need to wrestle for my child. My baby is two months old, this match in no way, shape, or form will alter his opinion of me. For compliments sake ... you made a great point when you noted that it's much cooler to talk about your life as a wrestler to your kids. But, for insults sake, I gotta ask .... have you ever heard of a VCR? TiVO? ....or a f*cking DVD?!"
"I'm not going to embelish to be caught in a lie, as soon as my kid is old enough to operate a remote control. Statistics have proven that kids have a harder time recovering from parental lies. Besides, I'm not going to have to. In ten years, I've done some amazing things, and this will be the icing on the cake. My reasons for returning to the ring were clearly selfish, and if you don't know what they are, you're either a.) dumb as sh_t ... or b.) deaf, because I've said it countless times, over and over. I want my legacy back. A couple of years ago, I was talked about in the same breath as Dan Ryan, Eli Flair, and every other so-called wrestling legend, and somewhere in between the time that I took a break from the business all of that changed. Lindsay Troy is considered a future Hall of Famer, and rightfully so ... all the while, I've gotta waste my voice telling you young kids all over again, just who in the hell I am."
He continued walking as the camera panned backward, and his surroundings became more visible. He was on a jog trail. He pulled a towel out of his back pocket, and wiped the sweat from his face and continued speaking.
TRIPLE X - "I don't know where you heard it, but I am focused. And, my personal life has been so exposed that nothing really phases me anymore when I hear stuff mentioned. But, don't make me prove to you that the fact that I love my family doesn't make me weak. Don't think for one single, solitary second that I won't break your neck at a moment's notice if it's going to get me closer to my goal. If having a family has tamed me, I'd hate to think about the person that I was before all of this, because he had to be pretty f'king twisted. You don't have to believe me ... NOBODY does. I weight two-forty ... I'm about six-one and a half. I don't look imposing, I don't have that natural size, that allows lazy guys like Dan Ryan to be crowned king, without putting in half of the work that I've put in. But, what I lack in natural size, I make up for in ability. Is that too cliché for you? Well, come close, I want you to hear all of this."
The camera zoomed in, completely focused on his face.
TRIPLE X - ".... I don't give a F_CK."
"It's the truth, and at WrestleSTOCK you're going to get slapped in the face with a bunch of truths. Truth number one, I am as good as my track record said I was. Number two, I will win the King of the Cage, like I said I would ... and, number three, I will walk into whatever arena, against whoever is the champion, whenever the match is made, and win what I came here for ... The EPW Heavyweight Championship."
"Why? Well, you're a smart man. But, for your stripper friend, Lulu, it's really simple, it's because I can, and up until now, I have yet to meet the man to stop me."
Scene is top of the Empire State Building, right across the river from the Dirty Jerz. Lollipop is looking out of the binoculars while JA stands with his back against the rest of the NYC skyline.
JA: Of course I know about TiVo, Sean-o. I use it every time you get on the stick and start droning on. Yep, every single promo you've ever cut in this company is on "Save Until I Delete" status, and let me compliment you. Your schtick is better than NyQuil, Rozarem and a good ol' fashioned Oxycodone and bourbon cocktail combined when I need to get to sleep at night. I have to say, even after those promotional shots I do for Starbucks when they make me down a gallon and a half of espresso at one of their store openings. Yeah, I know, "gur gur gur so original, hur hur I'm so bad and ur so not." Spare me, you set yourself up for that one.
Although I do have a whopper of a good one, the motherlode. It's like an overdose on valium, your last shot, Trip. I thought that maybe you'd break the mold if I pushed you, but sadly, well, I was wrong. Not the first time I've ever been wrong, because unlike you, Trip, I know when to admit that my sh*t indeed stinks. More than I can say for you.
Although looking upon the tomes of ancient history, you're right about one thing. Once upon a time, you were a name to be looked up to, a name to be feared, a name up there with the legends of the business. Unlike most, I do have a healthy respect for the business. I grew up watching Joey Melton and Hornet in Greensboro rings, and I grew in this business watching guys like the Ego Buster and the Eliminator, guys you know better as Dan Ryan and Eli Flair. Awesome talents, Trip, and you hung with them, you were considered in their league at one time. That's something that no one can ever take away from you. In fact, I hope you utilized all that TiVo and Dee-Vee-Dee technology that you so espouse to tape some of them moments, because that's about as close as you're going to get to them anymore.
I mean, Flair, Ryan, those names ring, but on this stage, they ring hollow. Look at Flair. He's retired, finally stepping away from a game that he dominated and that dominated his body to the point that he couldn't go anymore. Ryan... yeah, he's still THE name in wrestling, but here, he's the owner, or at least he was before Red put the screws to him. Those names aren't the vanguards. Those names are now Troy, Brown...
JA: ...Beast... and me, Trip. Jericoholic Anonymous.
See, while you were away, something happened. A new breed popped up and took the wrestling world, the biggest stage in all of this circuit, by storm. You were right to include the name of our fair-but-man-hanned World Champion, but if you think she's the only one worth watching out for, well, you're more out of touch than if they thawed out the cryogenically frozen body of Yahoo Serious and put him smack in the middle of 2007. I mean, take a look behind me. Take a look at the New York skyline. Each of those skyscrapers... that's us, the Ee-Pee-Dub elite, the new buildings that make an old city, an old sport look modern and great.
The fact that I'm here instead of some of the other names that everyone thought would kick my Luchador ass out to the alley should be a wake-up call to you. Trip, I know what you're thinking though. I'm talking out of my ass, right? You already beat me in a battle royale situation, and I really haven't done a whole lot in the last few months or so. This is in the bag, hell, why should you even consider this anything other than a win? I mean, I'm only slightly more advanced than the rest of this scum around here.... seriously, I didn't just wrestle in a legit Match of the Year candidate in the first freaking round and beat the man who's probably going to become the Enn-Eff-Dubya World Champion. Oh wait, but I did.
You trump up everything you've done like eighty years ago like I should respect it, and yet, you look at stuff that happened this year, THIS YEAR, like it's nothing. I mean, the only thing bigger than your ego at this point is probably your prostate, because if wowing audiences against Kin Hiroshi, taking out the man that Dan Ryan personally appointed to win this tournament AND having to endure a forcible ass in the face from Beau Michaels doesn't gain me your respect, then not only are you a pompous assclown, but you're delusional beyond belief.
See Trip, I didn't want this to become a dick-measuring contest. I didn't want this to degenerate in to something, fool, that quite frankly embarrasses me and makes you look like a spoonfed retard on the biggest stage in this sport this year, but that seems to be your Em-Oh. You pull rank over everyone because you won a World Championship a few decades ago, and the sad part is, that's what you've been saying every frigging week since you've gotten back. If you have to keep having to tell people who you are and what you've done though, then that only means what you did ain't that important. People will remember greatness without having some egomaniacal loudmouth having to yell at them what greatness should be.
You, you can keep trying to tell all the kids who you are. Meanwhile, I'll be busy making sure all the kids in the next generation remember me without ever having to say a God-damned word. I did it against Kin. I did it against Shawn Hart. I did it against Jonathan Marx, and Trip, I'm going to do it against you.
So really, if you're really willing to die for your kid, if you really want to put him through that agony, then go ahead, keep spewing your crap. Keep underestimating me, and keep thinking that you're entitled to everything in this fed. Keep doing that, and as you, the remnant from the days when New York was a city of low-lying buildings, will end up tumbling down trying to climb the skyscrapers of today. You will end up getting your ass handed to you in the unforgiving steel, because the one thing that steel is good for is deflating egos.
And don't worry, I'll be sure to put it on my TiVo so that your kid can see where his daddy's career started to go down.
"I would love to beat the sh_t out of the author of the 'Little Engine That Could', if he weren't probably dead already."
FADE: The 'blue-eyed badass' Triple X sat on the hood of his old school, midnight blue, 69 Camaro, as the engine purred, and the vibrations tickled him.
TRIPLE X - ".... for being a f'king liar. For being a motivator of false hope. For hoodwinking millions of kids, parents, and loveable losers into spending their hard earned dollars on his fictional tales of grandeur about what you can do if you 'think you can'. He's got people all over America – no, the world – thinking anything is possible, and while I'm all for never giving up or in, I'm also – what's the word I'm looking for? – Realistic. There are two types of people in this world. Those that have been blessed with the ability to be labeled good enough, and those that just aren't – I.E. you, Mr. Anonymous. Professional wrestling is just as mental as it is physical, and the people that make the real money, and have gained the real rank doing what we do, have managed to be strong in both areas, and that's something I've done extremely well from the moment the doctor slapped my ass, and told my mother it's a boy. You can't teach heart, it's something you're born with, and that f'king book has got everybody comfortable, feeling like it's a light switch that you can just flip on at your convenience."
Slowly, the camera panned over to where Sean was seated, his hands in the pocket of his 'Diesel' jeans, eyes hidden by his big brown sunglasses.
TRIPLE X - "It's great to have a hope and a prayer, JA. Really, I feel your story. 'Little Luchador steps into the ring with the incredibly successful, big name bully from the past. Luchador has all the odds stacked against him, but with his lion-esque heart, slingshot, and rock, he manages to vanquish the evil Giant' to the cheers of millions of children with 'Down Syndrome' worldwide."
"Save that sh_t for the next installment in the Rocky Balboa series. My career is not based on a bunch of hopes, and dreams. Simply put, I've been as triumphant as I am, because when push came to shove, I was better than everybody else."
"You can try to motivate yourself with whatever bullsh_t angle you see fit, but the facts will forever remain the same. You are not the first to try to steal sympathy by playing the underdog, little guy card, you are not the best at it, and unless I decide to retire after I kick your ass, you most certainly won't be the last. I'm glad that you believe in yourself, J. I really hope this isn't a performance, and that you bring your little, 'I Believe I Can Fly' song and dance to the ring, because it's going to make it that much more gratifying watching you 'Hickenbottom Flop™' all over the ring after I punch you in the f'king face for the first time, and you realize that this not some love story with a happy ending, or a game."
"I know, I know … let me save you some time – 'If JA had a nickel for every time JA's opponent said a match with JA wasn't a game ... JA would tell him 'No Sh*t, Sherlock' … right, JA? That is what you were thinking, wasn't it? Don't get upset that your one trick was exposed. It's hard to accept failure, I'm told, and it's easy to look yourself in the mirror and think you're different. But, sadly, when all the dust clears, you're just like everyone else."
"There are a lot of people that think they can fly ... but, those same people aren't stupid enough to jump off a cliff, because they don't want their bodies splattered over a bunch of rocks, with Vultures picking at their leftover skin. Are you? Are you stupid enough to try and tempt me, JA? Push me? Make me mad? It's already a foregone conclusion that you're going to lose, but if you really want to make this fun … fun for me … fun for all the little Jericoholics in the audience … TRY ME, and I'll make you regret the day you EVER thought you could be a professional wrestler."
He removed his hands from his pockets, resting one behind his head, using the free hand to take a sip from a bottle of water.
TRIPLE X - "You're right about one thing, though. I am willing to die for my kid. I'm also willing to die for what I believe in, J. And, I've gotta say, while your diatribe sounds nice, I'm just having a hard time believing you. You beat Kin Hiroshi? Congratulations. Would you rather have a cookie or a doughnut? No wait, why don't I just have Kin reward you with one of his muffins, seeing as how he's had plenty of time to bake 'em considering he hasn't wrestled on an EPW show in almost two months. "
"You want to talk legends? Talk to Joey Melton, ask him how he felt the last time he and I were in an EPW ring together, and I pinned him to the mat, in front of his woman – at the time. The only time I talk about what I've done in the past is when the disrespectful idiots of your generation praise the people that I've made a habit and a career out of beating, only to turn around in the same breath and insinuate that I'm not one of the best that this industry has EVER witnessed. But, by your own admission, I have an ego, so should you be so surprised? I tried being the nice guy; I complimented you, when I didn't even want or need to. I never said anything about one of your matches not being a legit Match of the Year candidate. If anything I'd have simply said you didn't wrestle in the match that won the actual 2006 Match of the Year award, and I would know because, oh wait, I wrestled in that match."
"And, thanks for the update on Eli Flair, like he's not my brother-in-law, or someone I couldn't just call up if I needed to know something about him. I think I have a general idea how much pain he's in, and how his career ended. I played a major part in his body being as damaged as it is – ask him. I'm not going to keep drilling it into your head that you've got a hell of a problem on your hands, because at the end of the day the facts are the facts, and they speak volumes. I'm not motivated by a paycheck; I am where I am, because I thrive at being the best and every single time one of you little snot-nosed, b_tch ass, punks doubt me … I realize more and more that my job is not done."
He leaned up, looking directly into the camera, with a bone-chilling stare.
TRIPLE X - "And, that's too damned bad, because I would really like to settle down at some point, and be there for all of my kid's firsts."
Scene is Central Park, NYC. The zoo to be more specific. Lollipop is off looking at the polar bears, while JA stands off to the side in the foreground.
JA: You know, Trip, I never thought I'd live to see the day when a man who's recognized as one of the best in the world in this business and who's won Championships in every fed he's gone into, including a World Championship, could be compared to the Little Engine That Could. Then again, I also never thought I'd see the day when I'd have to forcibly toss another man's salad in order to win a match and it not be in an Enn-Eff-Dubya ring. Strange things happen, although the strangest thing that could happen hasn't yet. What's that, you might ask? It's the day that Sean Stevens actually gets his head out of his ass and acknowledges the world around him. Yeah, and the way things are going right now, I'm not sure that's ever going to happen. If that ever was going to happen, Sean, you'd have dislodged and blown all the crap out of your nose onto a Kleenex by now.
Sadly, I can't see it. Not now, not ever. The fact that you still see me as some wet behind the ears rookie really accentuates that. Because you can't seem to grasp certain things, let me annunciate clearly for you. *ahem*
It's not Two-Thousand-Two anymore!
Shocking as it may seem to you, but as I've been saying all along, things have changed, and you're not at the center of the universe anymore. Granted, by being here, you have made advances, but if you think that anyone not named Joey Melton is going to lay down for you, or is some plucky underdog, then you've got another thing coming. Yeah, the same way you think that beating Kin Hiroshi ain't no thang, I can do the same and ask you if you'd like a cookie or a doughnut for beating Melton. I guess it's clear that I can't change your situation and that you like having your head shoved up your anal crevasse, so I guess that leaves us at square one, eye-ee, you keep talking out your ass and I shake my head because what you say has about as much relevance as the sounds that naturally come out of there.
But just for clarification, the whole Rocky thing is overdone. I love the movies, and being a Philly guy, they're part of my essential collection, but it's not that easy just to put me in a box, wrap it up, and say OH-EM-GEE Clubber Lang is going to win this fight har har har. No, sir, that's not how it's going to happen. You do know there are other archetypes, like the Ali/Foreman two greats going at it at the tops of their games model. You wouldn't know that because you have no f*cking idea that anyone who came along after the See-Ess-Dub had its hey-day could make such an impact, but it's true, it's damn true. The best part is is that I can totally see you claiming your trainer drugged you before you stumbled into that cage and got humbled by a man everyone else except for you thought could and would beat you. There's more to life than just that, Sean.
So while you sit back and harp on awards you've won that I can't even begin to be eligible for because I'm related to the Blogger, and you can keep going on about the past, and by the way, thank you for proving my point talking about Eli there. You say that you don't whip your dick out unless people like me show you respect, but once again, why should I show you any respect when it's clear you don't show it to me? Why should I care if you beat any of those greats back in the day if you can't acknowledge that I walk amongst the next generation of those today?
Why should I stop calling you out on constantly whining about people not respecting you when you haven't done anymore than the next guy to earn it?
This is not a legacy, Trip. You will find that out the hard way at WrestleStock. I've had enough of running around in circles trying to argue your logic, because there's none there. Just ego, an ego that's going to get deflated, an ego that's going to learn that talking about having said ego deflated is NOT the same as trying to paint oneself as being an underdog.
'Cuz you see, Trip. I ain't no underdog. I knew in my heart that I was going to be here, and I know I'm going to be in the main event at Russian Roulette, standing across the ring from either Lindsay Troy or Joey Melton. And I know in my heart that I can beat you, no matter whether you beat Hornet, Melton, Flair and Hulk Freaking Hogan with one hand tied behind your back. I knew and know all that because I'm on a mission. I'm out to prove that Dan Ryan didn't waste a contract on me when he signed me back in Aught-Four. I'm out to prove the potential that everyone has seen in me from day one. I'm out to put the exclamation point on my career to date. I'm not out to be Rocky. I'm not out to warm hearts.
I'm out to win.
And if it's at all possible, Trip, I'll be sure to accelerate the process of your retirement so that you CAN be there for your kid twenty-four/seven.
East Rutherford, New Jersey
May 28, 2007
The scene opened high up in the nosebleed section of Giants Stadium. EPW superstar, and perennial 'blue-eyed bad ass', "Triple X" Sean Stevens sat, feet propped up, in an uncomfortable looking chair drenched in sweat, dressed in his workout gear – a wife beater, grey sweat shorts, ankle weights, and an ipod.
Sean glanced at the camera for a couple of seconds, waiting for an answer, it seemed. He looked down at his wristwatch, then back up at the camera.
TRIPLE X - "….give up? Well, let me help you. The chicken crossed the road, to get to the other side."
He paused again, breathing heavily. Showing noticeable fatigue.
TRIPLE X - "Get it? Wasn’t that funny? Clever?! Entertaining??!! No? Well, neither are YOU. Now you know how I feel having to listen to all of your pointless, mind numbing, drivel this entire week."
His hair was pulled back, into a pony-tail that he’d unloosen, running his fingers through his it, as he spoke again.
TRIPLE X - "I won’t lie, when it was first brought to my attention that you’d be my opponent instead of that other guy, whose name escapes my memory at the moment, I was a little relieved. Why? Because atleast with you, I knew that I could focus on the one thing that should be focused on this week … wrestling. You, along with the rest of the world, like to make my ego the focal point of your discussion, like my having one is some new revelation, or something ... but, when all of the smoke screens disappear, I am a wrestler, and I take pride in being a really f’king good one. That guy you wrestled last week," he snapped his fingers. "… Beau Michaels, was a bag full of mind games. A one trick pony, who makes his living off of that one cheap trick. But, there comes a point in time in a match, where you’ve got two dog-tired adversaries in one ring, with one aspiration in sight … and, right then and there, it becomes evident that all the tricks, all the cheap tactics, and one-liners mean absolutely nothing, and you have to rely on your skill to get you over that hump."
"I’m not saying this won’t be a tough match, Holic. I’m simply saying that I thought your promos would be a little sharper, a little wittier, a little more intellectual than anything you’ve shown me this week, and that if your in-ring ability is the equivalent … then this is going to be much easier than I originally anticipated."
It was sunny out, but a cool shade came over the arena, only for a couple of seconds. Sean closed his eyes, inhaling the New Jersey air, opening them once the shade went away.
TRIPLE X - "A ‘wet behind the ears rookie’? Truthfully, there are times that you act just like one, but I never said it, and if I implied it, it was unintentional. But, then again … it could just be your insecurities, rearing its ugly head, couldn't it? I know you’ve been in the business for awhile, but I also know that you’d have to be pretty damned absurd to compare the sports entertainment spectacles that you’ve been in to the wars that I’ve faced and conquered. I also found it amusing that I’m predictable and cliché because I’m focused, but you’re not, even though you’re on a mission, and out to win like somebody actually goes into a match with the intention of losing. Maybe that’s what they do in all of the places you’ve won all of those championships. Sh_t … maybe that’s WHY you won all of those championships, but, last I heard … "Stalker’s World" was a figment of that idiot’s imagination … who knew there were OTHER people that wrestled there? I certainly didn’t. Congratulations, JA … you’ve even managed to validate a lunatic. I’m sure your mom is somewhere proud."
"‘You ain’t no underdog?’ Well … you definitely ain’t no English Major, that’s for sure. But, let me tell you what else you’re not. You’re not nearly as good as you think you are. You’re not nearly as close to my level as you think you ought to be … and, unless I pass out and die in the middle of the ring at Wrestlestock … you, JA … are NOT going to be the 2007 King of the Cage. Why? Because I don’t plan on dying anytime soon. And, the way I see it, there’s really only two options ... option a.) I give you a permanent toothache, with my patented Superkick or option b.) I'll leave you toothless, with my patented Superkick. Whichever door you choose, the end result is similar. At Wrestlestock, I'll become your dentist."
"This is the last time I’m going to address you before our match, no matter what you say, so listen carefully. If you’re as smart as I hope you are, I’ll give you a third choice, option C -- step aside and just accept almost being King of the Cage. Sure, you’d look like a p*ssy, but at the very least, you’d live to fight another day. Because, if you don't, if you come to Wrestlestock with an 'S' on your chest, like you have what it takes, I’m going to treat you like you really are a threat to me -- even though we both know the truth. And, let me tell you, JA. After I'm done destroying you -- mentally, physically, and emotionally -- you will never ... EVVERRRR ... be the same ... a-GAIN..."
Trip got up from his not-so-comfy seat, and began his trek down, what felt like millions of stairs.
However, as the screen went black, a voice still echoed over top of the static effect.
TRIPLE X - "... why would I want to bring back '02, I’m having way too much fun in 2007."
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