Reluctance & Retirement, Part III (No More Second Chances)
"ESEN, covering Pro Wrestling since two thousand" accompanies an ESEN logo in a standard cable news voice over format. "Continuing ULTRATitle Coverage" appears below the original logo briefly until a flash cut and accompanying sound effect reveals, the last CSWA Greensboro Champion, Kevin "K-9" Watson.
"Ultratitle, a new legend awaits." Kevin mimics the ULTRATitle tag line.
It's been years since Kevin had been featured on television but his image remained the same haggard and aloof presentation those who once followed his career would remember. Dusty hooded sweat shirt, mauled jeans, simple t-shirt, and of course the Greensboro title strapped tightly around his waist.
The nip in the north eastern air made Kevin's breath visible as he spoke, "A new legend? A new legend in a tournament chalked full of old names."
Only a few differing characteristics from his last, and possibly only, notable run in a major promotion stuck out. One would be the return of his unkempt mop like hair; haphazardly pulled back in a poor excuse for a pony tail rather than the scorched earth style he had favored for a few years.
"As round one approaches, and more importantly the fourth bracket, I find myself set to face Javid Dones. The Devil's Advocate."
His face remained covered in marks of time and a low cut beard that was starting to show signs of premature grey. At thirty five, Kevin, appeared lightly more lean as a result of his return to the grueling independent circuit.
"I was sent some information on Dones. So, I suppose I could stand here for the next half an hour and drone on about what I know about him and what I can surmise from this information. Take shots in the dark as to what his weaknesses could be. Compare my past accolades to his and find some convoluted way to prove mine to be vastly superior.Make idle threats. Get all worked up. Scream and shout." Kevin explains calmly. "But, in all honestly, Dones is just another man across the ring when the bell sounds."
The past few years had given Kevin a refresher course in humility. Much like his early beginnings in Japan; Kevin had the chip knocked from his shoulder and this time he didn't even need a passport.
"It's that simple. With little, to no, prior knowledge of this man, what he does or what he is capable of; I step on the canvas and do what I've done for the last seventeen years ... "
The chip may be gone now, but his competitive spirit had never been higher.
"Give my body and everything I have to get my hand raised in victory."
Some things, however, never seem to chance.
The vices of life have always seemed to keep their teeth sunk into Kevin. Alcohol had attributed to the mass majority of Kevin's legal and personal issues. Prescription pain killers and muscle relaxers had caused him more trouble then he would ever admit. Marijuana added to his downtrodden demeanor. Women, of course, had distracted and led him down curious paths in the past. But probably the most curious of vices for any active participant in a physically demanding profession to have would be tobacco.
Kevin lights a cigarette and pulls deep as he draws the lighter from the tip of the pre-rolled cancer delivery system and deposits it back in his pocket. The exhalent of his first drag creeps from his mouth blending with the temperature driven condensation of his warm breath and seems never ending.
"I've been up and I've most certainly been down. Life has taught me some hard lessons, and I've even learned from a few."
Kevin takes pause and again draws from the well of nicotine and contaminants.
"I'll give my last breath to turn around this life that I've made such a mess of, and you can call me jaded ... label me apathetic ... but I can't stand here and wax philosophically about second chances and redemption. That ship has sailed and all that is left is a former mid-level champion willing to fight tooth and nail, pillar to post, and any other cliché involving two opposing inanimate objects to get what is left of this career back on track."
Finding himself lost in a monologue of near non-sense he retreats back to his cigarette momentarily.
"There are a lot of things that I am not. I'll spare you all the ever evolving list. One thing I am; unrelenting. Whether it's Gold Rush, Ultratitle, or whatever pops up next ... I will be there. No more second chances, no more long shots at redemption. This is not a movie and none of us are Mickey Rourke."
With one last pull, Kevin releases his grip on the cigarette and lets gravity take effect. He outs it with a twist of his dusty black boots and lets the thinning grey smoke escape from his nostrils.
"But I'll still be there."
Kevin punctuates his speech and a flash cut returns the visual to the ESEN logo with the familiar voice over from the opening. The text in corner of the screen subtly announces the program set to follow.
(OPEN: A blurred white surface in the distance. The view shifts roughly, downward to reveal a blurred gray surface, and with a rattle and thud comes to a stop. A humming is heard and with it the view clarifies itself, coming into focus. The blurred gray surface reveals a rough ashiness; the white in the distance now more defined, showing ridges, showing itself to be a glacier. The humming stops, the view nudges to the left, then right, then left again, a faint breath heard. A couple seconds pass, soaking in the view, when a man comes into view from stage right. Adorned in zipped-up brown bomber jacket, greying hair brushed back, un-trimmed beard equally colored and scraggly, JAVID DONES looks into the distance at the glacier before him, gently placing hands into his jacket pockets. DONES tilts his head upward, closes eyes, stands silently, taking in a deep breath... Exhaling, opening eyes, JAVID DONES turns to the frame.)
JAVID DONES: "Vatnajökull, largest glacier of this utopia, Iceland. To gaze upon its surface is a delight to the optics.
A sheer sheen of bright white. Pristine. With nary a flaw visible amongst its ridges.
(Grimaces) Beneath the surface, however, lays to the unknowing, dangerous circumstances. Below the vastness of these unpolluted frozen waters sit an array of volcanoes, lava bubbling through the fissures of the bedrock, gnawing at the opportunity to erupt.
To erupt above ground.
To disrupt the clarity that lay before yours truly...
(JAVID closes his eyes and takes in another deep breath, as if he were meditating, thinking, wondering. DONES slowly re-opens his eyelids, and lets out a sigh)
Kevin Watson, yours truly sees in your testimonials a man who yearns to escape the doldrums. To escape a lifetime of promises unfulfilled, escape the need to only gain satisfaction from an internal release of nicotine. Yet, you cling onto a trinket. A trinket of what once was, what once might have been, what once could be. A defunct championship title from days of lore, long ago decommissioned, a figment of your past within the confines of the squared circle.
I, Javid Dones, once valued such accolades. Instantaneously World Champion of the UWA, 15 pounds of pure platinum adorned on waist, the career of the Devil's Advocate burst through the sky with an eruption. Lava oozed down the faces of luminaries as they fell before foot, their hearts pulsating at a maddening pace, victims of pure Elegance. Laid ahead before yours truly was a career of vast opportunity, fortune, notoriety! (DONES takes his hands out of his pockets, cups them together in front of him) The proverbial oyster of the world sat within grasp, all for the taking.
(DONES looks down at his hands, gently curls his fingers in toward palm, forming gentle fists)
(almost whispering) ...However, all it did was blind yours truly. Plumes of ash clouded vision, clouded thought... clouded focus.
The whispers were heard. 'Javid Dones is out for himself.' 'Javid Dones is trying to dip his hand into too many cookie jars.' 'Javid Dones is unreliable.' 'Javid Dones is a flake.'...
(DONES reaches down to the ground, scoops up a small handful of the ashy grey he's standing upon)
...and with it, in end, all that lay was ash. Friendships ruined, finances plundered, opportunity squandered, (slowly lets the ash fall out of his hand) bridges burnt.
(JAVID DONES wipes the remnants of ash off his hands, rubbing them on his jacket... lets out a sigh, and with it puts his hands back into his pockets)
Yours truly, too, sought escape. Here, in scenic Iceland, the crisp, cold fresh air has reinvigorated the spirit, brought a new energy, one that flows throughout the blood vessels and has brought about this one final opportunity within the ring's ropes.
One thing, one very important thing, though, sets us apart.
I, Javid Dones, no longer possess the material encumberments of the past. Long gone are the encyclopedic catalouges of research. Long gone are the historical artifacts. Long gone are the commemorative championship titles.
(DONES takes his hands out of his pockets and sticks them out, palms to the sky)
Yours truly has regained sight! Regained mental clarity! And fine-tuned focus!
For I, Javid Dones, have risen like the phoenix from these ashes! And all that lay before me is the sheer sheen of pristine bright white. Every ridge, as clear as the next!
And in the distance lay a flicker of flame. The Ultratitle!
(DONES finally lets out a closed-lip smile while gently clasping his hands together)
But at this juncture, there is one sole objective. One objective only.
That is to meet you, Kevin Watson, mano a mano, and to treat you with the first-hand experience - the first-hand experience of seeing across from you that you wish to become. The first-hand experience of pure bliss. The first-hand experience... of Elegant Booking.
It shall only take three seconds to endure.
It's over, Kevin Watson. It's really, really over."
Kevin Watson stands just to the side of a blue steel door hung amongst a nondescript brick wall in a location of no particular importance. Another bingo hall or Baptist church fellowship hall. Event center or low capacity arena.
The pale orange sky back lights the visual and adds a slight glow to his face, suggesting it to be some time around dusk. Kevin's demeanor appears to be consistent with his traditional pre-show mannerisms. He slowly wraps tape around his for right arm and hand and begins to speak as he draws closer to finishing up.
Life's a strange beat; with questionable decision making skills.
Tonight, Charlotte. Tomorrow, ULTRATitle.
"I've never been one for this back and forth tongue wagging exercise. Personally, it's just not in my wheel house. It feels like a futile practice but one that has been favored, traditionally, and especially in today's twenty four news cycle society. So, who am I to rock the boat?"
Kevin pauses, possibly for effect, before he rips the roll of tape free from the length connected to his arm. He pats down the loose end and camouflages into the mass of material covering the majority of his right appendage.
"I've stomped up and down these roads for the better part of twenty years, Dones. I'm sure you have an illustrious history filled with pretty platinum lava ooze or something. I'm sure you have a vast knowledge of volcanic ash, scenic glaciers, and probably oysters...
... And I'm sure you were once great, at the very least, in your own mind. Yet, there is one question that
I can't seem to shake free from my, helplessly nicotine dependent, mind. While I was dragging fresh talent, fading veterans and everything in between across high school gym floors and national guard armories; Where were you?"
With his left forearm now covered, Kevin rips the tape from the roll again, mats it down and begins at his knuckles working back to his wrist.
"When I was in Greenville, going blow for blow with a two hundred pound beast, you were in Iceland searching for inner peace or melodically explaining to someone that you wanted 'the knife' or something of the like."
Kevin looks up from his well practiced task momentarily.
"When I rolled into Rochester to tag with some mid-level nobody in a low level promotion; I imagine you were mid-mantra atop a breathe taking plateau over looking some soul affirming valley or any other applicable topographic term."
"When I walked out of the Gold Rush as the last CSWA Greensboro Champion ... You were more than likely on a nature hike admiring the omnipotent beauty of the 'green one.'"
"While you hid and let the ring rust collect, I was carrying this trinket of what once was from city to city slapping around washed up clowns who can't spell their names right."
Kevin finishes the tape work with one final rip from the roll and drops it to the pavement.
"Bring me Javid Dones. Bring me David Jones. Hell, bring me Davey Jones and we can lock up in the middle of mythical locker. At the end of the night; It's another ring, and another step in this path I chose so many years ago.
I saw the tape, I heard your little speech. Your welcome to have any opinion you like. Every man's outlook is based on his personal life experience. I can respect that, and yours. But in mine ...
I know a few things to be fact. Closed or not, defunct or running at full speed. Legends live forever and the CSWA is a legend of grand proportions. And based on that truth I hold to self evident; I'll carry this trinket to ends of the earth, one of them presumably being where your currently billed from... until someone takes it from me!"
Kevin rubs his fist into his palm and flexes his fingers back and forth, checking his hands are properly taped.
"This belt may not represent a reigning champion, but it represents an aborted re-birth. A stolen second chance. It represents what was taken from me by hands of fate rather than by the hands of yours ... truly!
You're at a new stage in your life, Dones. A new chapter, if you will. You're at peace and have spiritually, metaphysically or at least verbally atoned for your past transgressions.
I wear mine on my sleeve for the World to see.
What was... still is, Dones."
He brushes his hair back and pulls a loose cigarette from his ear.
"The past never leaves us. It simply looms in the shadows waiting for the ideal moment to rear its spiteful little head and drag you back to the depths of which you came.
ULTRATitle, this is not your redemption. This is not your new chapter. You are in the twilight of your career and soon the sun will rise and expose the flaws and imperfections your cover with your wandering tones and cryptic vernacular."
In a series of motions hinged on applied muscle memory of a repetitive practice; Kevin sparks his lighter and ignites his cigarette.
"I hold an advantage, in that, all my imperfections and flaws are on display for the world to see whether night or day, rain or shine.
Round one commences soon and the following day; when the sun comes up, whether in your quaint homestead in Iceland, or at the Ramada Inn in Topeka ... You won't be able to hide your weaknesses, not even from yourself."
"And check out's at eleven.
It's not over yet, Dones. Far from it... "
Kevin lets the thinned smoke rush from his lungs as he punctuates his comments.
"Win or lose..."
Kevin inhales once again. The blue door swings open and voice calls out "Watson, in five!"
"Kevin Watson is forever."
He drops his unfinished cigarette to the asphalt and catches the door just before it can swing shut, steps inside and lets the door slam tight.
Re: Reluctance & Retirement Part IV (Check Out Time)
(OPEN: Plain white wall, a flash of light gleaming off it. The view shifts roughly, angling downward onto a bed. On it sits a piece of carry-on luggage zipped open, a glimpse of a wrestling boot caught when shifting occurs again, and with a rattle and thud the picture stops at the foot of the bed. Humming starts, and the view shifts upward to the edge of the bed, the carry-on's side peeking out, and the movement comes to a stop. A rattle, three seconds of silence, then from stage right walks into view the brown bomber-jacket of JAVID DONES. JAVID turns toward the lens, and sits fully into view on the edge of the bed, revealing his brushed-back graying hair and his ever-so-slightly trimmed graying beard. DONES leans into the picture, fiddles with the camera for an instant, then sits back up, placing hands onto knees.)
JAVID DONES: "The time draws nigh, Kevin Watson.
Years of rejection. Isolation. Reflection. Conciliation. Contentment. All stages of life experiences, all leading to the one true state of being every man wishes to attain - (makes fists) freedom!
Freedom of mind! Freedom from all material possession! Freedom from restriction! Freedom... (DONES takes in a deep breath) to inhale the sanctity of pure bliss and clarity! Freedom to fly through the sky, like the risen phoenix!
I, Javid Dones, sit here before you a changed man, focused with precision on one goal in mind, and that is to defeat you, Kevin Watson, within the confines of the squared circle.
To fly to the ring, head held high, adorned not in glorified trinkets from years gone by, but with a freedom of self, in simple wrestling boots and trunks.
To stand before you, embracing the adulation of the frothing crowd, as they lay witness to a man addled, yearning for nicotine to dissipate the nerves.
To lock up, palm clenched against neck, forearms grinding, thought processess free to explore the next plan of assault, whilst you flashback to battles gone by, battles weighing on your shoulders like the world upon the mythical Atlas.
And you shall KNEEL like Atlas, not solely from the stresses and anguish of your world of failure falling upon you, but from yours truly brutally fixating your body to the canvas with thunderous explosion, with strength and reflexes that would pique Zeus' interest!
(DONES lets out a small grin)
Finally, yours truly will relieve you of your misery. Of years on roads less traveled. Of scars garnered battling demons. Of broken bones shattered chasing a mythical dream.
With arms wrapped around esophogus, I, Javid Dones, shall put you to sleep and (DONES snaps his finger!) bring you the sanctity of pure bliss and clarity. One may say, to a state of Elegance!
When you, Kevin Watson, open your eyelids, you shall have been set free, and shall have the vision of the flickering flame... not of the Ultratitle, but of bulbs pulsating white light down upon your fallen being.
For the Ultratitle, for your truly, does not represent a mere trophy, nor a throne smelt of iron, nor any other physical object. (DONES taps a finger to his head) It is a state of mind. Of positivity. Of knowledge. Of completion. Of VICTORY!
And THAT - (DONES reaches back for his carry-on, pushes it to the edge of the bed into clear view) - is not an ideal that can be cast into a mere bag.
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