The following was the segment sent in for Round 3. Since only judges from last round have read it, I'm posting this to keep the storyline going.
To the Judges for this Sweet 16 matchup, please don't count it toward anything. I just wanted to make sure people know what was happening in this so they're not confused.
No sound broke Chris Shepherd’s focus, nothing more than the words Gene spoke. Others had heard it and had moved on to prepare for their match. It was as it should be. They didn’t know Gene or his problem; Chris was barely beginning to really comprehend. He had tried to give some answers. He had failed. He had none, and as he looked at Gene’s face, Chris began to realize he barely perceived the real questions.
“Jason put seven holes in his bedroom wall and at least half of them were with his fist. He’s so angry that…” Gene stopped, his jaw trembling, either from anger, frustration, fear, or a combination of them all. “I had to hold him down and…” Gene glared at Chris. “He bit me.”
Chris had found himself more dumbfounded upon each discussion with Gene, each call or visit becoming more bizarre than the last. Gene had opened up to Chris, but as he shared, Chris began to wonder if he was completely out of his league.
“What am I supposed to do? Rachel is sick of it and you can’t much blame her – she chose to marry me, not him.”
Chris’ thoughts perked up at that statement. He’d mostly relegated his role as an ear, but those words were dangerous. “Has Rachel said that?”
“No,” Gene blurted, “not in so many words, but you can see it in her eyes.”
“Have you asked her?”
“Are you kidding? I’m just glad she hasn’t tossed both of us out of the house.”
“Then focus on the problem at hand,” Chris said.
“I can’t focus on anything else,” Gene said. “Neither of us can. We get a good day, maybe two, and then tell him he can’t get a popsicle and it’s like a bomb went off.”
Chris knew that wasn’t true, at least not recently. The popsicle incident had happened a couple of years ago when Jason was seven. The reaction was extreme, but the causes had changed. In truth, as Gene covered the latest cause of Jason’s explosion, Chris knew it wasn’t the cause that was the problem, but Jason’s inability to control himself when his anger hit. It was the reaction of a life, however short, lived without knowing – a mom that wasn’t there and a dad who hadn’t grown up fully himself, at least not until the last couple years. Jason’s problems were collateral damage, but God had fixed harder problems. Chris had seen it.
“What stopped him?” Chris asked. Maybe he could turn the focus from the problem to whatever became the solution.
“I did,” Gene said, his eyes filling up with all that rage and fear again, “held Jason as he screamed he wished he was dead.” The tears streamed. Gene swung his fist back. It hit the wall. “He’s only nine.”
That wasn’t the solution; it was a bigger problem. Chris’d prayed for Gene, both in person and in private. Gene had been open to it, welcomed it actually, but things just kept getting worse. What do I say? Chris questioned. God hadn’t provided anything more than maybe some momentary comfort. Perhaps he could talk Deacon into visiting Jason – kids loved the big Mute Freak, assuming they weren’t immediately scared of the Egyptian. Perhaps.
“He said he wanted to kill himself,” Gene continued, his voice spent, exhausted, “and I don’t know how to change those feelings.”
Sending Deacon wouldn’t do anything. Jason needed something more. “You need to get him some help,” Chris said.
“I’ve tried,” Gene said. “You know I’ve tried, but the therapist said he just needs structure and encouragement. I don’t know how much more structured I can be – I can’t be there all the time.”
“I know,” Chris said. What else could he say? Gene was trying to balance things Chris barely comprehended.
Lean not on your own understanding, the words cascaded into Chris’ soul. He knew the rest of it. But depend on God. He wasn’t going to find the answers. He didn’t need to. The most he could do was what he’d done – pray.
Even as Chris steeled himself to believe so, he doubted his own words.
“Chris, thanks for talking with me, I know you need to get ready” Gene said wiping at his eyes. “This whole thing has just been so…impossible.”
“God likes impossibilities,” Chris said, “it gives Him a chance to show off.” That’d been a line Chris’d used many times, but never in a situation like this. God did like to prove he could do anything, but as Chris gathered his bags to prepare for his match he was left wondering – would God do it again? And if God didn’t, then how was Chris supposed to help?
Chris Shepherd was haggard but he was adapting. The schedule had been brutal, adding Ultratitle on top of all his other responsibilities. But it’d been his choice. He reminded himself of that fact every time his alarm went off way too early after being up way too late. Still, Chris persevered, in spite of his body screaming for sleep. The last time he remembered being so exhausted was in the fWo’s run. The Deacon had survived, even thrived in the fWo’s crazy culture. Chris had needed an extended sabbatical. But this wasn’t then. He’d learned more, pushed more. He could do it, just like the Deacon.
“You’re up, Chris,” Gene said as he poked his head in the waiting area. He was smiling, and though Chris’ exhaustion fought against it, the smile was contagious.
“Things going well then?” Chris asked as he stood and followed Gene to the cameras.
“Amazing,” Gene said. “Jason has been doing great. He started wrestling, the scholastic variety not what you guys do, and he’s really excelling. It’s the first thing he’s ever been good at.”
“Well, have him do a double leg on you for me, ok?”
“I’d rather not. We had a friend visiting, probably 300 pound man, and Jason worked until he took him down,” Gene said, “though John did say Jason hit like a girl.”
“Hey now,” Chris said, “girls can surprise you.”
“Depends on who you ask.”
Chris chuckled. It was good to see Gene in good spirits. After many intense conversations, it seemed things were finally turning the corner. Maybe all those prayers were finally taking hold.
“You know your spot,” Gene said, gesturing to the front of the Ultratitle banner.
Chris nodded and moved into position. He was tired, but he was making it. He felt weak in body, but seeing answered prayers on the face of the man behind the camera, it made this next part easy.
“You know, Mr. Waubash, this is a bit…,” Chris paused letting it linger to emphasize his next word. “Unique.” He paused again, albeit briefer than before. “In my time with Deacon, we have been across the ring from a myriad of men who represented the antithesis of the Deacon, a darker version of him, going beyond good guy versus bad guy to… well, let me just name a few - Apocalypse, Armageddon, and… I’m sure you can see the theme developing. Those battles grew a bit rote as I shared my view of hope found in setting your sights beyond yourself and they presented… another side.”
“When I learned Deacon would be facing Sagawa, I couldn’t help but see this matchup as something in a similar vein, what most bookers and Troy Windham would call, nigh destined.” Chris wondered if Troy would see this. He’d heard the dig, both at the tournament and at those remaining in it. Seemed to be Troy’s attempt to do what Troy always did – refocus the attention back on him. But politicking aside, this wasn’t about him. This was about Deacon and Sagawa.
“And oddly enough, in all the craziness that has been this tournament, this was a matchup no one picked, but in retrospect, it seems natural. First, you have me, the person who has presented Deacon’s message for most of his career, the mouthpiece of our little duo. And then we have you, clearly the speaker for the Kochi Cannibal. This match isn’t just two wrestler’s, but it is two speakers who will define the matchup before it ever hits the ring. And once again at the start of this round, it takes me back to when we started. Deacon’s rookie year was full of misconceptions of Deacon and my relationship. Some of the jokes were in line with your little bestiality bit, or at least the planned version of it. Of course, in my case, I was a priest to Deacon’s altar boy and you can fill in the gaps with the actions our opponents expected from us. Others loved to toss the southern Baptist or Pentecostal preacher at us, using Deacon as an illiterate, backwater redneck following my spewing of a long-dead, lifeless religion replacing his own ability to beget even a single thought. As you can tell, my twang isn’t quite so strong and if you were to hear Deacon speak, his twang is… certainly not southern, not as alien as your Mr. Sagawa, but nowhere near any Mason Dixon line. Those misconceptions led to a belief that I spoke MY message, using Deacon as little more than a prop. They believed Deacon didn’t understand what was being said by his opponents and I was the true force in pushing our … agenda.”
As frustrating as it was at the time, Chris enjoyed those early years. It was simpler, his message a stark white in a world of villains and antiheroes. He’d used it to tune the message like a piano.
“Mr. Waubash… They went into the ring expecting a simpleton, a… ,” again, Chris paused in preparation for adding his cousin Carla’s ‘hill-talk’ accent, “Jeeheezus freeek Deee-con.” Chris smiled, wondering if Carla would call him and cuss him out. “They thought the Deacon incapable of doing anything without me guiding him. Most beget a new thought of their own about half a second too late – while they were watching me for signals to guide the Mute Freak’s actions in the ring, Deacon’s boot had sent their consciousness to black.”
“That’s what I’d like to call learning the lesson the hard way… no relation to Kevin. Which brings me to Sagawa and his opponents and detractors. In these first 3 rounds, I’ve been a bit focused on Deacon’s own journey, but I’ve heard the rumblings, just like you – of how Sagawa is a mindless drone bent on savage brutality and you don’t speak for him, or his message, or whatever… in fact, you are doing nothing more than using him for your own arrogant ego. While they focused on you, your cannibal has, quite literally, tore through the competition to the Sweet 16.”
“Maybe you’ve dazzled them with your plays on words or wild stories. Maybe you’ve caused them to flinch by showing Sagawa’s barbarism. Or maybe, just maybe, Sagawa was simply better than them.”
“Come a few short days, it will not matter.”
“Maybe you speak for Sagawa. Maybe you don’t. Maybe Sagawa cares. Maybe he doesn’t.”
“Come that same span of time, any of those maybes won’t matter either.”
“What will matter is what I’m about to share, and if you’d be so kind to translate it into whatever tongue your Cannibal speaks… or eats or whatever, Deacon would be grateful.” Chris didn’t pause as much as change his cadence, driving his point home like a well-rehearsed minister. “Mr Waubash, in only a little while, it won’t matter if your Mr. Sagawa enters that ring illiterate, irresponsible, irreverent, or irritating; Deacon’s entering that Ultratitle ring to do only one thing –“
“make him irrelevant.”
Chris held the camera with his gaze for a moment longer, letting that last line sink in for the viewer, and for Mr. Waubash.
“To answer why…that is two-fold. First is the most obvious – it’s the nature of a tournament. Someone has to go and Deacon would rather Mr. Sagawa be in the midst of the 120 and Deacon with the 8. And the 2nd is personal, we don’t think our time in this forum is over. Signing up for this was my doing. I was caught up in the excitement and pushed Deacon to make the leap. I started the journey and then realized how I’d manipulated him. I apologized and found the Deacon forgiving, seeing my errors for what they were – a failure of who I am and not a representative of Whom I serve. Because in the end, that One who is over all has carried Deacon throughout his career, and though we’ve failed this God, this God has never failed us. Though we’ve stumbled, this God has raised us up, lifted us like the cross that, strange as it sounds for a torture device, draws men unto it, a cross that we’ve never even seen except through the eyes of faith.”
Chris stopped for a moment, letting that last word stick. More than anything else, faith had defined the Deacon’s journey, not just for him, but for most who had followed his career.
“And Mr. Waubash, that’s all the evidence we’ve ever needed to do what needs to be done.”
And Chris knew his closer. The other half of what some called a catchphrase, but what he called a motto.
“That’s all the evidence upon which Deacon will ever rely.”
A moment later, the camera light turned off. Chris took a deep breath, hoping that the take was enough, and when Gene stepped around the camera, the look on his face told Chris it was.
“I’m no expert,” Gene said, “but looked good.”
“Awesome, cause I don’t think I have another one in me.”
“Grind getting to you?” Gene asked.
Chris nodded but then added a shrug. “Not complaining. It’s been one amazing ride.”
“It has,” Gene said before his cell phone rang. He looked at the number and his face went ashen before turning around and answering the phone.
Something was going wrong, Chris knew. It was all over Gene’s face before he’d even accepted the call. Chris prayed, but he didn’t know what for, and so he threw a clichéd ‘help him, Lord.’
Gene pulled the phone from his ear and disconnected, turning back to Chris. The grave look had been replaced with a sparkle in his eye, probably not all that different from when the apostle Peter first learned that Jesus was alive.
“That was Rachel,” Gene said. “She was just asking if I’d pick up a gallon of milk on the way home.” Gene’s smile said what Chris was feeling. They’d both anticipated the worst; it’d been pounded into Gene for the last 6 or 7 years. They’d been met with a challenge, however small, and they’d flinched. Expecting the worst accomplished nothing but adding to life’s stress. He’d not do that again. He’d learned better, would push to trust more. He would do it, just like Deacon.
OBADIAH: Welcome back to the Riot with Obadiah and Nikki and, with a first for the Riot – we have an honest to God wrestling superstar in Studio.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Or something.
OBADIAH: Hey dude, wait for the intro. Anyone in the mood for a little Jesus Freak?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Don’t make them think it’s Toby Mac.
OBADIAH: Shush, man.
(Music comes up, but it’s not DC Talk’s classic – it’s a Gregorian chant.)
NIKKI: What’s with the gothic?
OBADIAH: It’s Deacon’s entrance music… CRAP, I guess I let the cat outta the bag. We’ve got the Dea-cooooon’s manager.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: You’ve downgraded from a wrestling superstar, to possible member of DC Talk to… manager.
OBADIAH: Come on, man. You’ve always done the talking for your guy.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Not always, but most of his career, sure.
NIKKI: Why is that?
OBADIAH: Cause he’s the MUTE FREAK.
NIKKI: That’s pretty harsh.
OBADIAH: You really don’t watch wrestling much, do you?
NIKKI: (Nervous laughter)
OBADIAH: You’ll have to forgive her, turn the other cheek and all that.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Uhm, sure.
OBADIAH: So, like, I was online and checking things out – what I tell my bosses is “research time” and was checking the latest with Big D. Besides his New Frontier stuff, he entered the Ultratitle tournament and is already into the Sweet Sixteen.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Did you do your brackets?
OBADIAH: Oh yeah, back in like, what was it - March? I tagged Sean Stevens in the finals.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Bracket buster there.
OBADIAH: Yeah, you know Stevens, right?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Sorta. We’ve worked together. He tore me a new one a few years back. His wife and Deac go pretty far back though.
OBADIAH: How did Stevens get taken out?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: How does anything happen in this sport?
OBADIAH: Chair shots.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Someti—
OBADIAH: Broken Tables.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Occasio—
OBADIAH: GREEN MIST!
CHRIS SHEPHERD: You really do have ADD.
NIKKI: You have no idea.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: I’m learning. … what was the question again?
NIKKI: New Record – it takes most guests at least five minutes before they forget where they are.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: I’m a bit older than most your guests. Memory’s the first to go. But, Ultratitle… that’s what I’m here for.
OBADIAH: Right, Ultratitle. Deacon’s next opponent is the Kochi Cannibal, Freddy Sagawa.
NIKKI: Interesting name.
OBADIAH: He’s kinda like those crazies in Wrong Turn. Or that dude that was gnawing on his friend’s leg down in Miami.
NIKKI: Please tell me we’re not going to talk about the zombie apocalypse.
OBADIAH: Freddy’s not a zombie. Orphan took the zombie out last round.
NIKKI: Zombie taken out by an orphan? Is that mean you’re segueing to Spiderman?
OBADIAH: Spiderman’s not an orphan. He’s just raised by his extended family. In fact, I’m not really sure Orphan is an orphan, is he?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: I … wouldn’t know.
OBADIAH: So what do you know about Sagawa?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: I think you’ve covered it pretty good. He’s got a bit of history, but prior to the wrestling world of the Ultratitle tournament, he was mostly in the more extreme elements of our business.
OBADIAH: I miss those days, ya know, when fans would bring in their cookware and hand it off to the wrestlers to bash each other in the face.
NIKKI: Good heavens!
OBADIAH: Oh, NIKKI:, it’s all in good fun.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: As someone who’s taken my fair share of chairshots, it’s not as much fun on the receiving end.
OBADIAH: I was watching a video of Sagawa during my “research time” – guy’s a freaking animal. Light bulbs exploding over people’s heads, barbwire hanging around their neck, psychos playing hopscotch around C4.
NIKKI: It’s all fun until someone blows a limb off.
OBADIAH: But you know what I’ve never seen a wrestler do?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: What’s that?
OBADIAH: Run with scissors. Power to the momma!
NIKKI: So they actually use C4?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: There certainly is a crowd for it.
OBADIAH: Did Deacon ever get into any of those?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: I’d say no, but a few weeks back he ran this thing in the Frontier that was… a bit more than what he normally does.
OBADIAH: Really? I don’t think I seen that. What happened?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: At the end of it?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Deacon won.
OBADIAH: YEAH! Preach it, Shep!
CHRIS SHEPHERD: But it’s really not his thing. He signed up to wrestle, not be some modern day gladiator trying to hack people into ribbons with metal, wood and glass. But if it goes down that road, Deacon knows how to handle it. Or at least he always has.
OBADIAH: You were saying recently that you see similarities between you and Cameron Lee Waubash?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Waubash. He calls himself the Kardashian of the wrestling world.
NIKKI: On purpose?
OBADIAH: Hey, it makes a point.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: He tries to make lots of those. I don’t know if we have a lot of similarities, really, except in how similar our jobs are. Both of us define the matchup for our wrestlers. Waubash defines Sagawa as this brutal cannibal, though he threw back the proverbial curtain after his “insinuated attack on a reporter”.
OBADIAH: Personally, I felt cheated when I learned Sagawa’s not really a cannibal. Is Deacon really a Deacon?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Biblically speaking?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Nope. But he could be.
OBADIAH: So, maybe Sagawa “could be” a cannibal.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: All I’m saying is that Deacon’s going back to wearing his priest shirt for the match. If he gets bit, he wants something between that mouth and his skin. Sagawa isn’t Deacon’s normal opponent – I can’t think of the last time he fought someone with this style.
OBADIAH: Eli Flair.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Flair is the King of Extreme, but he’s not like Sagawa. When Flair and Deacon go at it, they wrestle.
OBADIAH: So what do you think the Kochi Cannibal is going to do?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: When he goes at it with Deacon?
CHRIS SHEPHERD: Join the 120.
OBADIAH: Oh I have to close after throwing that gauntlet down. This is the Riot telling you not to miss the Ultratitle Tournament, only on ESEN! We’ll be back on RadioU – where music is going.
Today as I walked around the gym, I was at a loss for words. Something that I am not used to feeling. I always have the right thing to say and the right time to say it. It's my calling card. But for some reason, I had a case of "writers block" .. or at least that is what an author would call it.
In the background, the sound of Freddie Sagawa and Sharkey Schultz sparring filled the air - but then from above can inspiration. A motivator that came in the form of the classic lyrics of Mick Jaggar and Keith Richards being pumped through the sound system via satellite radio.
Please allow me to introduce myself
I'm a man of wealth and taste
I've been around for a long, long year
Stole many a man's soul and fate
I was 'round when Jesus Christ
Had his moments of doubt and pain
Made damn sure that Pilate
Washed his hands and sealed his fate
Pleased to meet you
Hope you guess my name, oh yeah
But what's puzzling you
Is the nature of my game
You have to wonder if it was a sign of some sort. If some higher power was telling me what direction we should be taking as I prepare my Kochi Cannibal to go to war against the Jesus Freak. But I've never been the kind to believe in the unfounded.
I don't believe in God.
I never believed in Santa Claus.
And I've never spent a restless night because of some Boogeyman hiding underneath my bed.
And if my doubting ways condemn me to some eternity, burning in the imaginary fiery pits of hell - then so be it. But you can bet your bottom dollar that I am going to enjoy the ride.
Fact is, preacher man, that I am realist. Meaning I am not the type of person to rely on leaps of face. I believe what is tangible. What can be felt physically, mentally, and emotionally.
I believe in money.
I believe in power.
I believe in glory, honor, and fame.
But above all of this, I believe in "The Kochi Cannibal" Freddie Sagawa.
As I sit here in the swelteringly warm office of The REAL Ironman Training Facility with a half emptied bottle of McCutcheon's by my side - I have to ask myself about the flack I will get for what I am doing right now. Writing a blog.
The last time I did it, people that I have never met all of a sudden typecast me as a lazy son of a *****. Someone that is always looking to take the easy way out. And while that may actually be the truth, right now, typing up a few thoughts is my best option. Because cameras and interviewers aren't my concern. My focus is - and should be - on Freddie Sagawa.
The jokes that were Shawn Jessica Hart and Shamon are behind him are now things of the past. The next roadblock on our way to UltraTitle Supremacy is a bona fide legend in this neck of the woods. So no time for fun. No time for games. No time for donkey shows. Now is a time for business, business, and more business.
Despite my personal opinion about Deacon and his belief system - the fact remains that his "faith" has worked for him. It has afforded him an inner strength to rise above, whenever the chips seemed down. And I guess, if it ain't broke. Right?
When you think of Deacon you think of countless main event and five star performances. You think of a plethora of championships won, world class competitors that have fallen at his feet, and a reputation that unquestionably precedes him. Whether you love him or hate him, when he passes between the ropes, he _knows_ how to get the job done. Bottom line.
And all that recognition and fame that he has. THAT is what I want for my Kochi Cannibal. Thou shalt not covet? I think not.
Sure Freddie Sagawa has torn it up in the ring, and even managed to turn some heads since he arrived in The UltraTitle. But everytime he laces up his boots - no matter who the opponent is - he is viewed as the underdog.
Some people thrive on that. And a few rounds ago, that very well may have been the case for us as well. But now that we can see that light at the end of the tunnel growing stronger, I feel compelled to repeat words that I once mocked Shawn Jessica Hart for uttering.
I want this.
I _need_ this.
In a world filled with uncertainty, I have never felt that my path was more clearly defined. Everything that Deacon has earned over his career in the sport of professional wrestling is what I want for my Kochi Cannibal. I want .. need .. crave .. the recognition.
Many times, when a wrestler is trash talking an opponent, he will go out of his way to draw parallels between them. "You and I are not so different" they would say. But in this case ... Sagawa and Deacon ... Cameron Lee Waubash and Chris Shepherd .. we are all like night and day.
They represent all that is right in the world. We represent the scummy underbelly of society.
More succinctly, it is the ultimate battle of Good versus Evil. They are saints .. while I am a sinner. And _that_ works just fine for me. Because in playing the role of saints you have a code of ethics that you are compelled to abide by. Rules, that if broken. will prove you to be nothing more than hypocrites. Everything you have worked for, destroyed. Essentially, your hands are bound.
But as the villain .. the bad guy .. the heathen .. I have no such restrictions. Just the unrelentless longing to take everything that you have and destroy it. To take everything that you have worked years and years to attain, and claim it as my own.
And there is no limit on what we will do to reach that goal.
So in closing, I thought I would take the risk and venture into your neck of the woods. I don't remember alot from the few Sundays that I was forced to attend mass. But I can remember one quote that will unquestionably be running through your mind when you step into the ring with Freddie Sagawa.
"My God, My God. Why have you forsaken me?" - Matthew 27:46
The screen opens black. Rumbling shakes the subwoofer. The sound builds.
A flash of light blinds. Thunder crashes. A white building in a shadowed forest acts as a lighthouse and then fades.
“My God!” Echoes through the darkness. Stormclouds frame a white, wooden cross atop a steeple.
Waubash’s words appear, gold on black.
I don’t believe in God. – Cameron Lee Waubash
“My God!” Echoes again. The church door creaks open.
I never believed in Santa Claus. – Cameron Lee Waubash
“Why have you forsaken me?”
Pews form shadows longer than humanly possible.
And I've never spent a restless night because of some Boogeyman hiding underneath my bed. – Cameron Lee Waubash. July 4th, 2012.
Inside the church, the video flickers, going in and out. Shadows move, grow long and then disappear.
The video goes out. Static. And then back. Standing in front of the altar is Chris Shepherd.
CHRIS SHEPHERD: My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? This is the question you want Deacon to consider as he steps into that ring, looking across to find your Kochi Cannibal?
(Chris bites his bottom lip as if considering his words.)
CS: I’m really glad you brought that up. Let me give you a bit of information on that phrases origin. It’s recorded twice in the bible – Psalms 22 opens with the phrase. In it, David goes on to lament his situation – of being threatened from all sides, near death to every corner, and mocked by those surrounding him. The 2nd time was Jesus on the cross, in much the same situation with two major differences.
One – Jesus is not just near death like David; Jesus is going to die and he knows it.
And Two – Jesus is feeling the burden of every sin from all time upon him, compounded by complete loneliness, separated from God who has turned his face from his son.
And that’s what you want Deacon to be considering as he steps in the ring across from Kochi Cannibal?
Deal. I’ll hand Deacon a bible. I’ll open it to Psalm 22. I’ll read it aloud. I’ll say it to him when he’s in the Gorilla Position. I’ll say it to him when he steps through those ropes. I’ll scream it to him when the Cannibal goes to write his love letters, a wonderful wrestling move, by the way.
Especially when Mr. Sagawa misses.
Because, though Mr. Sagawa has proven his mettle in the first 3 rounds, he’s a LONG way from being an empire bent on tearing your city apart brick by brick, armies camped outside your gates, and a long LONG way from being the collective sins of the world strapped to one’s back making them so ugly, even God can’t stand to peek at you.
And since it’s not, Deacon can focus on those words you gave him, and the context they rest in. Because, Mr. Waubash, David’s little lament didn’t stay that way. Some might say it gets worse. You’ll find it in verse 14 –
I am poured out like water, and all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of My body.
In a nutshell, this sucks. David is saying, no SCREAMING - Why have you done this to me, God? I have nothing left to give.
And David means it. But he doesn’t stay there. He goes on to say –
I will declare your name unto My brethren; in the midst of the congregation will I praise You.
And then finishes with something that happens when you praise God in SPITE of what’s before you –
The meek shall eat and be satisfied
I don’t know what that’ll mean to you, but I know what it means to the Deacon, the same thing it has always meant – No matter what happens. No matter what is done to you. No matter the pain, torture, or exhaustion you feel. Turn to this God and He will give you what you need. So thanks for the suggestion, because no matter what Mr. Sagawa does, and I expect he’ll do a lot more than write a blog, it won’t compare to what others of our faith have endured. And not just endured, but overcome.
Now, of course, I don’t expect you to believe that, afterall the whole thing is OBVIOUSLY only a step above good ole’ Saint Nick. No, You’ll believe Mr. Sagawa is bringing your gifts this Christmas in the form of a nice, new, Ultratitle trophy and all the prestige, honor, power, and glory that brings. You’ll trust in Mr. Sagawa’s barbarity, his ability… as you should. But Mr Sagawa’s had a long enough career to know his belief will wear out. And Deacon’s had a long enough career to know what staggered belief looks like. He knows what it looks like and he knows what to do. Boot to their gut. Drop them on their head. Rattle their brains like old Rolling Stones and shatter that record like a Disco 45 at Yankee Stadium.
Leaving you realizing, the reason you’ve never spent a restless night because of some Boogeyman hiding underneath your bed is because you knew it wasn’t under your bed.
(Chris winks. The video goes to static and then flings back on. Outside, the sun is setting and the moon’s appearing, both the red light from one side and the pale light from the other invading either side of the church adding an odd hew in the middle. In the middle of the church stands the Deacon, overwhelming the doorframe behind him by at least a head, his face covered in shadows from the monk’s hood.)
CS Voiceover: This particular Boogeyman’s coming where everyone will witness you losing everything you want and _need_. But don’t feel too bad when Deacon pins Mr. Sagawa, I’m sure you can find at least one of the other 120 who will have some sympathy for you, ya Devil.
Chris pushed stop and leaned back in his chair, removing his glasses and pinching the bridge of his nose. He nodded and then yawned. That would do. It would be a good commercial for the matchup and hopefully bring in a few more of Deacon’s fans. And if not, Chris knew it was the best he could give, and a solid enough parting shot with some pretty snazzy video-editing provided by Gene. Chris hadn’t heard from Gene for awhile, but no news was good news – what with his son getting things going right. They’d been steady at church. Gene was really growing in the faith. And his son Jason had conquered whatever metaphorical demons plagued him, sending him into a rage. The thought brought on a smile. In a world surrounded by smoke and mirrors, it’s not often one gets to see something as real as a life changed.
Chris glanced at his couch. He was tired enough that collapsing on it would be acceptable, but he had a bed and he’d be flying to Greensboro in the morning, this was his last chance to use it for awhile. Even if it meant climbing all those steps, he would enjoy one more night in his bed. But he’d sleep in his clothes – he never was much of a pajama man.
His cell vibrated on the end table. Chris glanced at the clock. 12:30 AM. No one called him at that hour. He picked it up. Gene. He hit the button and before he got it to his ear, heard the voice shouting.
“Chris. Chris!” Gene shouted. “He’s blue, Chris!”
Blue? What’s blue?
“What are you- -“
“They’re working on him but… Chris, he’s blue. Jason’s not breathing.
Chris’ brain stopped. Not just his words, but his thoughts halted. He stared at the blank TV screen in front of him and tried to speak, but couldn’t.
Chris heard the words, understood them even, but he couldn’t act. Couldn’t think. Couldn’t breathe.
Couldn’t even pray.
“They’re trying to get him to breathe, but he won’t! Oh my God, what am I gonna do?”
The words hit Chris’ ears. He tried to will himself to respond, force the words to come forth, but none made sense, all the thoughts that could be words being as nonsensical as this situation. What had happened to Jason? He was doing so well. He was only a kid!
“I’m sorry, Jason,” Gene said, “Oh God, I’m so sorry. I never dreamed you’d do anything like this.”
Voice: I don’t care what you have to do. Sedate him. Whatever. He just needs rest if we’re ever going to pull this off.
[As those words echo through your speakers, the image on your screen suddenly snaps in to .. well .. a hip. The hip of Cameron Lee Waubash, who is having a conversation with somebody off camera as he sets up his laptop. The hip, is clad in a pair of charcoal grey and white basketball shorts and matches with the grey and white tank top he is also wearing. Finally, he turns his attention towards the camera as he plops down in his oversized desk chair – his flowing blonde tendrils held back by a grey and white bandana.]
CLW: “So yeah, I am gonna be totally upfront with you. The only reason that I'm taking time out of my hectic training schedule right now, is because The UltraTitle Committee has been up my ass - saying that I've been too quiet. So to appease them, here I am. Four O’clock in the AM. But here I am. Happy now?”
[Waubash gazes into the camera, as if he were actually expecting a response. But one does not normally get responses from electronic devices. So he continues in his now familiar sarcastic tone.]
CLW: “Oh come Cameron, you have to say something. People are really high about the showdown between Deacon and Freddie Sagawa. They want to see the battle between the wrestling mainstay and the hot newcomer.”
[He rolls his eyes.]
CLW: “Yeah .. whatever .. Lick my taint.”
[Subtly, at the bottom frame of the camera, Waubash flips the middle finger to The UltraTitle Committee.]
CLW: “It's true that I've made my name by running my mouth at every single opportunity that has presented itself, but at this moment in time - hyping this showdown is the very least of my concerns. Because if Sagawa isn’t ready, then no amount of jibber jabbing is gonna get him that W.
[Pausing for a moment, Waubash picks up a pack of cigarettes and deposits one into his mouth. Grabbing a lighter, he lights the end of it and takes a deep breath – enjoying all the tarry goodness.
As he continues on, a cloud of smoke pours forth from his mouth.
CLW: “From Day One of this whole UltraTitle shebang I have made one claim. That Freddie Sagawa ... The Kochi Cannibal ... is going to march through each and every competitor that gets between him and The UltraTitle.
I said that then and I still believe it to this day.
But to say that Deacon doesn't pose a threat towards our goals of domination would be a bold face lie.
You can call me a dirtbag. Call me a scumsucker. Call me whatever the hell you want .. but I refuse to be called a liar.”
[Shaking his head for emphasis, Waubash mouths the words “Not now” to the camera.]
CLW: Since that final bell rang a few weeks ago, and I knew the next challenge on our plate, I have had a serious case of tunnel vision. Train .. train .. train. Rinse aaaand repeat. Because as travelled as Freddie Sagawa has been in his few years in The Sport of Kings, Deacon poses a new challenge.
Even a mentally inept fool could recognize the fact that my Kochi Cannibal isn't exactly the biggest dog in the fight. No matter where we travelled, promoters have tried to force him into weight divisions .. cruiserweight .. featherweight .. lighteningweights. Call them whatever you want. But the fact remains that people seven feet tall and over three hundred pounds are not an everyday occurrence for Freddie Sagawa. So now we have a legend and a behemoth all wrapped up into one nice little God kissed package.
Fortunately, I have had the services of "The Great White Predator" Sharkey Schultz at my disposal.”
[A confident smirk takes over the face of The Beverly Hills Bastard as he rattles off some of the Angry Irishman’s credentials.]
CLW: “He's bigger than Deacon.
He's badder than Deacon.
And best of all, he is willing to do whatever the hell I tell him to do, provided the money is good.
So while Freddie may not be the biggest dog, you can bet your that Sharkey has whipped him into shape – and he is going to be the scrappiest mother that you have ever come across.”
[Nestling back into his chair, Waubash rests a fist in the palm of the opposite hand.]
CLW: “Ya see Deacon. You do have a size advantage .. and that is undeniable. You have more than a decades worth of experience in your corner. You have championships out the wazoo. And some even believe that you may have a "higher power" in your corner. But .. unlike your "higher power" you are not divine AND human. You are simply a man.
A man capable of feeling pain ..
A man capable of bleeding ..
A man who can be beaten into submission.
And that, my friend, puts a whole different spin on things. You are mortal –
[Waubash speaks the last word slowly, put emphasis on each syllable – allowing the groundbreaking statement to really soak in.]
CLW: “And this mortality makes ya just like every other challenger that has stepped into my Kochi Cannibal's spotlight. And just like every other mortal that has come face to face with Sagawa, you will .. be .. broken. Got it?”
[He winks at the camera, at Deacon, at whomever may be watching this interview.]
CLW: “I find it funny Deacon, that for a man as experienced and as smart as you are - ya like to surround yourself with impossibilities .. with improbabilities.
You have a manager .. a spokesperson .. a guide .. I don't really know or care to know what his "official" title is - but he made a name for himself by relying on smoke and mirrors.
That red spongy ball?
It's in the palm of his hand .. it didn't disappear.”
[He makes a few convoluted hand gestures, like your typical stage magician would while performing a trick. All the while shaking his head in disbelief that someone would buy the charade.]
CLW: “You've set your life’s course following a man that supposedly raised the dead .. turned water into wine .. multiplied loaves and fishes .. Really?
I'm not a master of prestidigitation, but I'd bet dollar to donuts that Shepherd could find a half a dozen ways to make that seem very real as well.
See what I'm getting at here?”
[Another pause, but the question is merely hypothetical.]
CLW: “Everything you know .. everything you believe in .. is quite simply a farce.
And I could talk until I am blue in the face, but something tells me that the point will never get through. You'll carry on with your blind faith. And hey, that is your mistake to make. I'm not going to discredit you.”
[Cameron holds up a defensive hand, afterall .. he would _never_ want to offend anyone.]
CLW: “But when you step into the ring with my savage .. with my monster .. with my Kochi Cannibal .. it will be a war like no other.
Freddie Sagawa is ready, willing, and able to fight to the death for what he believes in - that he is a true legend in the making and the NEXT UltraTitle Champion.
What about you Deacon?
Are you ready to die for you’re beliefs?
Are you ready to change your name to The Martyr?”
[Waubash stares into the camera, amused by the question he poses.]
CLW: “Are you?”
CLW: “I guess we’ll find out soon enough.”
[And reaching forward Waubash hits the switch to turn off the camera ...
... but apparently hits the wrong button, as the camera continues to roll. A timer now on the lower corner of the screen.
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