The sound of a pin dropping, would be heard if anyone decided to drop one, as Freddie and myself just sat there inside of our locker room. Neither of us had spoke a single word to the other, after being granted a rematch for the Tag Team titles. Even though we had that highlight on the horizon. The thoughts of our separate defeats stood out within our minds. Besides with the look on our faces, sulking would be an understatement. The silence is soon broken by the sounds of a knock at the door. With both of us looking towards the door, neither of us made the effort to answer it. It didn't matter though, the door opening and CWF Production Assistant, Clay Smith poked his head inside.
“Oh! I thought you guys had bailed already. They’ll be ready for you two in twenty minutes.” He said before closing the door back, not waiting for an acknowledgement from either of us.
With the night Freddie and me had, being on the post show just seemed a bit much at the time. Becoming annoyed with the dead silence that once again consumed the room. I finally said something.
“Can ya believe dat shit? Revenant was fuckin’ Pandy this whole time!”
Freddie just sat there, staring off into space, not hearing a word I said.
“Ya good mane?” I questioned, Freddie finally turning his attention to me.
“I.. I just don't want to talk about it.”
“I know how bad ya wanted to be in End Games, but at least we get a shot at tha tag titles again.. So there is dat..”
“It's just with all the shit that's going on with me, moving on to that match would have brought me out of this slump I'm in.”
“I feel ya, but ya can't dwell on dat shit. Dat shit’ll kill ya more than it'll help ya.”
“Seriously bruh, we got an opportunity dat we need ta take advantage of.. Look.. I know ya think everyone see us as pushovas, but even dat schmuck Fury knew he had ta cheat ta beat ya… You and me, we a force to be reckoned wit, and I'm not gonna let anyone tell me different.”
“What about your trial? You gotta year hanging over your head..”
“Fuck dat, we got straps ta win, anythang otha than dat can be sorted out later.”
“How you just put shit to the back of your mind like that?”
“Weed… Lots and lots of weed..” I said staring off into space.
We both share a laugh as I stand up from my chair.
“C’mon mane, we gotta interview ta do.”
Rising to his feet, Freddie slaps me five as he speaks, “Let's get this shit over with.”
We both made our exit, heading towards the area of the Nassau Coliseum, where they had everything set up for Evolution post show for viewers on the web. I hadn't done a post show in a while, not since I first got hired. But I would do anything for the company I proudly worked for.. We walked down the hall passing a room, that seemed to recently had it's door kicked off the hinges. A CWF Official standing outside of the door, looking defeated and disappointed.
“Fuck happen here?” I questioned.
“Silas..” He responded despondent.
“Damn dats fucked up…” I stated in disbelief.
Freddie and me soon kept on our journey, towards where the show was being taped. Me shaking my head, at the situation.
“And here I thought I had a temper.. Wonda what tha fuck got his cheerios..” I said, speaking to Freddie. “Seriously bruh who kicks a fuckin’ door in?”
“Something obviously pissed him off.”
We continued on down the hallway finally making it to where we needed to be.
Post Show Broadcast
Tara Robinson, Blake Church, and Charles State sit behind a desk in front of the screen before you. A CWF: Evolution banner was plastered on the background, also along the black desk that they sat at. The three of them seemed to already be midway through their show.
Tara Robinson: I'm telling you guys End Games is set to be a huge one. We already have our final eight competitors set in stone, but Commissioner Ataxia has just sent us the two teams that have been compiled together.
Blake Church: That's right Tara, on one side we have the ever flamboyant Dick Fury, teaming with the Paramount Champ, Jarvis King, and two returning stars in Pandalike and the Jace that Runs the Place, Jace Valentine.
Charles State: On paper that team is a stacked one, but on the other side we have three members of Golden Paradigm teaming with The Ringmaster. And if you ask me, a new World Champ may come out of this team.
Tara Robinson: Well gentlemen we have plenty of time to discuss possible predictions. Though the talent in this match is top tier. But we do have a special appearance from a pair of former champions in their own right. One is a Hall of Famer while the other is a former multi champion himself. They are Freddie Styles and Duce Jones, but you know them collectively as Smokin’ Aces!
“Ali Bomaye” begins to play as Freddie and Duce walk through the door, heading for the stage area. Both men shakes hands with the three hosts before taking a seat behind the desk.
Blake Church: Welcome gentlemen, first off I want to say, tough break with your losses tonight.. But Duce, I think the thing on all the fans mind is, what are your thoughts on Revenant turning out to truly be Pandalike?
Duce Jones: Yea, dat did happen huh? I guess welcome back Pandy? I don't know, but what I do know is dat, dis ain't ova..
Tara Robinson: Well I think the even bigger question is, at Summer Games, you two face off with reigning CWF Tag Team Champions, The Forsaken, and we were recently sent word that the final team has been determined for your Triple Threat Tornado Tag Match. That team being the combination of Silas Artoria and Autumn Raven… Do you think….
She is cut off as the Aces share a laugh together, confusing the hosts.
Freddie Styles: Guess that explains the door.
Charles State: Excuse us, but door?
Duce Jones: On tha way ova, Taxi’s doe was knocked off tha hinges. Dey said Silas did it.
Tara Robinson: Ugh..
Duce Jones: I know right Tara, I have my own concerns wit management, but kickin a doe in not gonna solve nothin.. Ya know at one point, I was sympathetic ta what he was goin through. Everybody on his case, puttin him down at every turn. Almost reached out ta em even.. But then dat horrible night happened, when he put his hands on ya, Tara. Dats where tha line was crossed. Now I know me and ya haven't talked in good lil while. But no one should be puttin dey hands on ya, especially when ya not signed to physically compete.
Tara Robinson: I appreciate that Duce, but I'm sure he's more than paid for his actions, thanks to M.J. and the Forsaken.
Duce Jones: Wit all due respect Tara, but dat doesn't have shit ta do wit me. He's gotta face tha facts dat, just becuz shit don't go tha way ya want it ta go. Ya can't waltz around tha back, putting ya hands on folks unprovoked. But when ya provoke tha right one, ya gonna get ya issue.
Freddie Styles: What he said..
Tara Robinson: Well I'm very flattered guys.
Charles State: It's amazing how many people in the back want his head on a platter.
Duce Jones: Don't get me wrong, he's an amazin competitor inside dat ring. But when it comes ta being cordial, he down right sucks at it. A man who takes his anger and vengeance out on innocent bystanders, instead of making it count inside the ring. See Silas needs ta know dat, ya get nowhere throwin bitch fits, ya go out there to dat ring and ya leave it there. Ya prove ya worth ta those folks who pay dey hard earned money to watch us do what we do best. Is he gonna see dis?
Blake Church: Never know with him..
Duce Jones: Doesn't matta then, but I'm goin ta say dis. Ya pride yaself on havin gained ya credentials in tha Land of the Rising Sun. But in my eyes ya only stain dat legacy, we fight with honor. Ya don't bitch about ya situation, or as ya like ta call it, ya “spot on tha card”.. Ya think bein in tha “main event” is tha only way ta cement ya legacy. Then ya more delusional than everyone else say ya is. Ya see when me and Freddie step inside the ring, ya lookin at tha main event! We steal tha show, we make tha headlines fa all tha right reasons.
Charles State: What about your recent arrest Duce?
Duce Jones: Dat has shit ta do wit shit. Point is no matta whateva tha fuck ya going through, ya hold ya muthafuckin head high and take da bullshit in stride.
Freddie Styles: It's no secret we all have our own personal demons. But our eyes are always on the prize. And come Summer Games, the Aces are leaving with OUR tag straps.
Duce Jones: I meant dat..
Tara Robinson: Well gentlemen, we have to take a break to pay our bills. But it's always a pleasure with the two of you, good luck with your upcoming match guys.
Duce Jones: Tha pleasure is always mines Tara.
Duce winks at Tara, causing her face to turn red a bit. Both of the Aces then begin a friendly conversation with the three host as the show transitions to commercial break.
July 27, 2018
Duce pulled up to the CWF Medical Facility, parking in one of the designated parking spots. Making his way inside, he checks in with the receptionist walking to the seating area where to his surprise, The Shadow was already occupying one of the seats waiting his turn.
Duce Jones: Well ain't dis sumthin’.. I see ya here gettin checked out as well. Don't need ya callin foul when we take dem straps from you and Mia..
Duce laughed as he takes a seat in one of the chairs across from his future opponent.
The Shadow: You humor me, there will be no excuses when we retain our titles.
Duce Jones: Dats why I like ya, don't back down at all. But being real, may da best team win.
The Shadow: Likewise, and if you don't mind me asking, what brings you here?
Duce Jones: Haha, tryna get sum inside scoop! But nah, my back’s been killin me since Unhinged. Plus Pandy powerbombing me onto an apron didn't do me no favors..
The Shadow: I witnessed that, looked pretty bad, surprised you were still able to stand.
Duce Jones: Mo bein hard headed then anythang else.
Their conversation is suddenly interrupted as the door to Dr. Leggett’s office opens up and CWF Interviewer, Marcus Maximus walks out, rubbing his jaw, stretching it out a bit as he shakes Dr. Leggett’s hand.
Duce Jones: Ohhhh shit! It's Marcus!!
The Shadow: Haven't seen him in ages..
Marcus Maximus: That's because my jaw has been wired shut for a good while now, Omega did break my freaking jaw..
Duce Jones: Damn… dat did happen huh..
Marcus Maximus: Yes it did, can you imagine not being able to speak or eat real food for six weeks. Hell I still can't eat solid food right now.
The Shadow: That sounds horrible.
Duce Jones: Fucked up my guy.. I wondered what happen ta ya..
Marcus Maximus: Thanks for your concerns, but you guys could have at least called.
Duce Jones: I mean… wasn't like ya could talk..
The Shadow chuckles a bit as he rises from his seat. Heading towards Dr. Leggett’s office to get his ribs checked out. Marcus comes over to where Duce is seated and sits next to him.
Marcus Maximus: I thought you guys were competing against each other at Summer Games?
Duce Jones: Ya point?
Marcus Maximus: Don't figure I would see you two so chatty when I stepped out that office.
Duce Jones: Awe what, just cuz we gotta beat tha shit outta each otha at Summer Games we sposed ta be at each otha's neck? Naw…Shadow and me, we debuted tha same night.. And we’ve had our fair share of encounters.. I know what he’s bout, he knows what I’m bout.. What we have is mutual respect. And what’s undastood don’t have to be explained. But since ya need one, I’ll put it ta ya like dis. We gon leave it all out there in da ring. Dats tha way it’s been since day one.
Marcus looked at Duce nodding his head.
Marcus Maximus: Alright then Duce, I’m about to be on my way, have to go get my meds to numb the pain in my jaw a bit. Probably did to much talking to soon..
Duce Jones: Ya can’t help it, it’s tha interviewer in ya blood..
Marcus could only smile as he didn’t want to experience any more pain. Finally exiting the building, Duce finally sat patiently alone, his thoughts being his only friend. He sat quietly as his mind began to race.
It's a different day and age around the CWF these days, I guess you could say a new era is coming into fruition, a new World Champ will be crowned. Aside from that, everything else is a known unknown. One thing I do know is that, I am facing a year if found guilty. Which is fucking madness, seriously I knew police were crooked, but to do something as petty as they did. Now a year of my life could become taken away, simply because of my skin tone.
I had never personally experienced racism, but at this point, I only looked at racism as one of the dumbest things that existed within mankind. Disliking someone because their skin is a different color. Or maybe the words that come out of their mouth wasn't the same as they were taught to you. But at the same time, I've come to realize it's nature, hell cats don't like rats, but the beef between them and dogs is real. Seriously have you seen Tom and Jerry? It was always on site between the two. Rarely would you ever see any of the three coexist. But when they do it's a beautiful thing..
My thoughts are only my thoughts though, I refuse to judge someone off their background or upbringing. It's pointless, but that situation that night, put things into the perspective of folks lost to what the real agenda is..
United We Stand. Divided We Fall.
Funny how things are in plain sight, but with that idea, that I may be taken away from the profession I love. It weighs heavy on me.
I can't show it though, if I do, there's a sign of weakness. And a man can't show weakness, because if you do, you're not considered a man.
Who the fuck made these rules?
Fuck all of that..
Tag titles, me and Freddie need them no matter what...
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Disturbed from his sleep Duce hops up on his hotel bed, looking to check the time. 4:35PM.. Duce looked around at his surroundings a bit confused as to what his situation really was.
Knock. Knock. Knock.
Duce Jones: Who dat!?
?????: Tabby Ubetcha! I’m with CWF Magazine!
Duce slid off the bed, placing on a pair of sweatpants that laid near the bed. Still shirtless and barefooted, he opens up the door to the newest intern on the CWF payroll. Still rubbing his eyes, he looks at Tabby, eyeing her up and down.
Duce Jones: Sup?
Tabby Ubetcha: Umm, we have a scheduled interview..
Duce looked at her closely, her eyes seemed she had been up for days, mascara doing a horrible job to disguise it.
Duce Jones: Are ya sho ya don’t need a personal day or sumthin and we try dis again lata?
Tabby Ubetcha: No way, I have a deadline and we are getting this done today!
Duce takes a step back as she brushes into his hotel room. He looks around trying to find something, a shirt, it is as he throws it on to show the young lady some respect. He shuffles towards the nightstand, opening a drawer to retrieve a bag of weed.
Duce Jones: Wanna smoke?
Tabby Ubetcha: No thank you..
A nervous look befells her face as she takes a seat in a nearby chair.
Tabby Ubetcha: I’ve had my fair share of that bullshit..
Duce Jones: Aight… Mind if I do?
Tabby Ubetcha: Knock yourself out, it’s a wonder you guys don’t have to get drug tested..
Duce Jones: Ataxia’s in charge.. Need i say mo’.
Tabby Ubetcha: You have a point there. I do have one question right off the bat..
Duce Jones: Sup?
Tabby Ubetcha: Where did that accent come from? If I recall correctly, you didn’t start out in the CWF with one..
Duce splits open a cigar as he begins to empty the tobacco in a nearby trash can. He soon looks over to Tabby.
Duce Jones: I dont know what ya talkin bout..
Tabby Ubetcha: Ugh…
Duce Jones: What?
Tabby Ubetcha: Nothing, nevermind… Let’s just do this interview so I can get back and turn this story in, are you ready?
Duce Jones: Not like I gotta set tha mood or sumthin.
Duce sets the end of the blunt on fire as he inhales the smoke coming from the Garcia y Vega cigarillo.
Tabby Ubetcha: I’ve never seen anyone roll a blunt that fast..
Duce Jones: Live and learn shawty.. Live and learn..
Through a cloud of smoke, both Duce and Tabby are seen still hanging out inside of Duce’s hotel room. Tabby is laying on the extra bed that occupies his room staring at the ceiling, Duce going the exact same thing in his bed. “Stir Crazy” by Starlito plays through a speaker plugged up to Duce’s cell phone. A half eaten pizza, candy, cookies, and snacks lie sprawled out all over the room. Tabby sitting up to eat a Snicker she grabs from a black plastic bag..
Tabby Ubetcha: That was some good smoke right there, y'know Duce, you're a pretty cool guy..
Duce Jones: Knew ya would eventually give in.. No one can resist the sweet fumes of Mary Jane.
Tabby Ubetcha: Hope majority of my interviews from here on, be this relaxed and laid back.
Duce Jones: Don't do stress.. We don't get along like dat..
Tabby Ubetcha: I know our interview is over but are you ready for your match at Summer Games?
Duce continues to stare at the ceiling, pondering her question for a second.
Duce Jones: Got no other choice, it's do or die wit me, I don't see any otha way. Those tag titles hold a special place wit me. We gonna get dem bad boys back.. No doubt about it. But fuck all dat, wanna smoke anotha one?
Tabby Ubetcha: U betcha!
Duce Jones: Haha bet…
Duce sits up, reaching for the drawer on the nightstand as the scene fades out.
I stood inside of an already set up ring, inside of the place where Summer Games would be held, FedEx Field. I look around the arena, where in just a few nights one of the greatest Pay Per Views in CWF history would be held. Taking it all in, I notice a drone flying towards my direction. Being used to these type of environments since becoming a member of the CWF roster. CWF wanted to hear my “official” thoughts on the upcoming three way match for the tag titles.
“I see it's dat time again, tha millions of fans want ta know what's goin through my mind.”
I look around ringside, slowly spinning in a circle as I display the area for the camera.
“Do ya see it? I see it.. Sum horrible thangs gonna happen when the Aces step inside dis ring Sunday night... I know ya wondering why? Dats cuz tha rules are different dis time around. Ya got in one corna, CWF Tag Team Champions, Mia Rayne and The Shadow. In anotha one ya got Artoria and Raven. Then in tha final corna ya got yours truly and Hall of Famer, Freddie Styles! No rules, no tags, weapons, violence, chaos, madness!”
I pause a moment to laugh at the glorious thought.
“Don't mind me, I may feel a bit at home in dis type of environment.. Ladies and gentlemen, I want ta forewarn ya all dat, once dat bell rings all friendships become null and void. Tha only thang dat mattas is dat me and Freddie are walkin out wit those belts raised high in tha air.”
“Autumn I know ya don't usually have tha pleasure of steppin inside of one of these rings wit me. I mean only once, but even then I walked out wit my hand raised high in the air.. Cuz honestly what would ya gain from winning? I mean it's likely not gonna happen but tha question still stands. Ta be tied down ta tha one man everybody hates? Hell I agree dis may be sum type of joke placing tha two of ya togetha, givin recent events. Either way, tha two of ya betta get on tha same page quick. Put dat bullshit behind ya and do sumthin dats gonna put tha both of ya in the peckin order. I mean tha job dat ya set out ta do was accomplished. Wasn't it Silas? I mean no matta how many times ya ass was unable to pull out a victory. Sum how ya ass was main eventing shows, but ya still bitch, whined, complained, ya needed mo. Ya ass got greedy, and ya thought ya deserved mo than ya actually did. Everythang I've done, I've earned dat shit..”
I look off into the distance, back peddling towards the ropes leaning against them.
“Each one of those folks who are at the position their in, they earned dat shit. No handouts, legends have come in and proved their worth. Newcomers who hold the positions dat they hold, didn't have ta kiss no ass or suck no dick! They all stepped inside dis ring, and put their fist where they mouth was. Dat simple… Tha more my mind tries to wrap around how chaotic your brain works, ya pull sum new shit out tha woodworks.. It's all good though, Summer Games I've got more than enough fight in me to introDuce tha both of ya ta tha reason why I've main evented major shows. Why tha spot I'm in was earned through blood, sweat, and tears...”
“And it's gonna be the reason why the Aces walk out wit those belts. We know what it takes to be tha top team round here. There's no type of mind games The Forsaken could play, dats gonna keep those belts from not leaving wit us. Wit so many combustible elements in one settin how could thangs go right. They're not..
I take a moment to adjust my Tennessee Titans cap.
“I know sum folks are wonderin what's been goin on wit Duce… Duce seems almost like a changed man. A different person if ya will.. Or maybe it just flew unda tha radar like anythang else pertaining ta Duce Jones.. Why does he take everythang in stride?”
Pulling out a blunt, I put it between my lips and light it.
“Ya lookin at a man wit shit ta lose. Which I thinks makes me very dangerous. Freddie he got his own demons he's facin right now. In all honestly, shit don't look safe fo any of ya. Not Rayne. Not Raven. Not Shadow. Not Artoria. Once tha smoke clears and tha dust settles, dat bell rings! Dem tag straps are coming home where they belong. I mean anythang else would be uncivilized.”
“But tha smart thang is dat The Forsaken doesn't take us lightly, as well as they shouldn't. From our last encounter they knew how real thangs could get, but when ya throw dis many nutcases in one match. Ya might as well have locked us in a dark room, starved us for months, then opened tha doe and threw a pop tart inside. So I hope my fellow “psychos” are ready for a good time, cuz we are bout ta party like it's tha end of the world.”
I put the blunt to my lips, exhaling the smoke through my nose. Suddenly almost coughing up a lung as the smoke chokes me up. I finally gain my composure, continuing on.
“Scuse me, where was I at? Right.. Nutcases and nothin ta lose and all day good jazz. It's pretty much like dis, Shadow and Mia, we would’ve loved ta have dis match be one on one. Ya know, no questions of who's da better team, if only cuz Artoria and Raven are involved wit dis one.. Y'see ya caught us slippin last time, mo importantly, ya caught me slippin. Which ta me, makes it my responsibility to make sho we get dem back. I promise ya the Aces ain't leavin witout em. I mean tha only way dat would happen was by sum miracle or luck… And quite frankly it's bout time, y'all luck run out. Tha better team in dis match are tha Aces, and it's no denying dat. Dat ain't nothin but big facts. Real BIG facts, and I'll tell ya why.. Da both of ya are so focused on Silas, inflicting and causing pain ta him dat eventually tha Aces will slip through tha cracks. And we're damn good at taking advantage of open opportunities.”
“Besides each one of ya should already know.. When Duce.. Is… One The Loose! Nobody Has Mo’ Juice!”
I shoo the drone away as I walk to the middle of the Summer Games logo displayed on the canvas. I take a seat Indians style as I continue to smoke my blunt, taking in aura of what is going to be a interesting night.