“Autumn Raven? Who the actual fuck is that? Someone read an Edgar Allen Poe poem at one point and thought they'd be really cool. Whatever, just tell them that after the fucking abhorrent treatment I have received so far I am doubling my fee for all future appearances. Fine.”
Danny hung up on Serena, his talent manager with a sigh. There was no enthusiasm to the news that he would be competing on this week’s show, there wasn’t even disappointment, there was boredom, apathy. He paced back and forth in his Nashville apartment. Something about the suited and booted Ripper didn’t seem right, seemed somewhat off. Something was on his mind and it showed. He was twitchy, irritable. A rap on the hotel room door finally snapped his from his trance. Danny crossed the sizeable room to the door, opening it with rather more gusto than he may have intened.
“Good morning Mr Ripper, your car is ready.”
“Thank you Alfonso, I’ll be down in a minute.”
Danny closed the door on his long time driver and collected his thoughts for a minute. Today was a big day for this entrepreneur. He was about to meet with some very wealthy people with the mindset to sell one of his biggest assets. His success in professional wrestling had afforded him the opportunity to invest in a number of different projects over the years, and today was the day in which those opportunities started to pay off. This was the day that this very successful businessman could become a bonafide mogul. You could see why this would take precedence over a pitiful wrestling match with a pitiful opponent in a company that had become a shell of its former self.
This opportunity also allowed him to forget about the one thing that had been ripping at him over the last couple of weeks. That ending, that double countout bullshit. To say it had been a slight bee in his bonnet since the end of WresteFest could be the understatement of the millenium. Who on earth ever heard of a street fight ending in a double countout? In time period in which stupid endings to supposedly brutal matches were becoming the norm, this one was one he simply could not forgive. He was robbed of the opportunity to end Ataxia once and for all, and that was something that simply was not going to sit well with him.
Hence why he was rather excited to be throwing himself into something useful. With one last sigh he grabbed his suit jacket off the hook by the door and left the hotel room, steeling himself for the day ahead. Alfonso was waiting at the door of the limousine parked and waiting, opening the door as soon as Ripper stepped out of the hotel.
“Thank you Alfonso.”
Ripper stepped inside his ride, only to find he was not alone. Two other bodies already occupied the luxury ride. The newly formed Thorn Clan, Caudia and Lexi.
The two had been rather inseparable since discovering each other in that random Mexican bar a couple of weeks back. He hadn’t expected to see them today however, as last he had heard, they were in San Mateo having a long and hearty chat with their mother. But today, the half sisters sat staring at him, as if trying to see into his very soul. Lexi, Danny had come to find, was quite a lot down like her little sister, feisty and full of life, they were a great case study for nature vs nurture.
“Hello my lovelies, to what do I owe this pleasure?”
“Oh, Lexi has never seen a multi-million deal go down, I figured she could come along for the ride.”
“Oh, is that correct? I don’t believe I ever extended the invitation to you Claudi? I would be honoured to have you however.”
Claudia flipped a double bird at Ripper, which did cause him to crack a smile for the first time in a few hours. Thing is, he was only half joking. There was one major difference between the two he had found. Claudia had a mouth on her, and usually was not afraid to let people know what was running through her mind at any given time. Lexi at least, was a little more reserved. Still the same fiery attitude, but at least the little blonde half of the Thorn sisters could keep her trap shut when the occasion called for it.
“Also, when we’re done, Dia has promised that I can go meet her Father, I’m genuinely really excited, from what I have heard, he is something to behold!”
“You can fucking say that again.” Danny and Claudia couldn’t help but catch each other’s eye, after all, they had sarcastically drawled those words at the exact same time.
Danny felt the car begin to rumble a little underneath him, telling him that they were on the move, it was at this moment that he became very thankful that the sisters were there with him. For the first time in a very, very long time, nerves were striking. This was the first time in a long time that he was walking into something without knowing what could happen.
See, that was one of the other things that had plagued his mind since his CWF return. He had walked into both of the matches he had with only one possible outcome, that he would win, and in both cases he was right, if not for outside factors. The introduction of Jaiden Rishel, and the screwy call by the referee had robbed him of those chances, not his own lack of ability. He had no time to dwell on these caustic catastrophes however, as Lexi had launched into the story about the two of them meeting Angela, their mother. One other thing Danny had learned about Lexi, was that even though she was four years Claudia’s elder, and obviously had a slightly less than pleasant start to her life, she had grown up in quite a nice little bubble, unlike Thorn who was brought up as a worldy asskicker, because she had to be. This led Lexi to be a little more naive than her fiery-haired sibling.
The rest of the car ride went pleasantly enough, with Danny’s only gripe that he couldn’t have a drink. He thought better of it, although the Dutch courage may have gone some way in calming his nerves. Before he knew it however, he was walking into the conference room he had rented for the occasion, believing that the neutral ground could benefit both parties. That, and he had to be in town for Evolution anyway, so two birds and one stone. There were two men in the room as the three amigos walked in, one Danny expected to see, Kristina, the badass Austrian head of his legal team, and a man he didn’t expect to see. Democlius “Atlas” Herakles, Anubis’ son, and Claudia’s half brother.
Claudia dashed past Ripper and literally leapt into Atlas’ arms. Claudia is no small chick, standing six feet tall in her heels, but she was damn near engulfed by her brother’s arms. Standing six and a half feet tall himself, and standing as a three hundred and sixty pound brick of pure muscle, he dominated any area he was in. Despite being large enough to literally punch a hole in the side of a building if he so wished, there was a heart of gold inside the chest of Anubis’ only son, and he was all too happy to see his little sister. Once he finally put her down his expression changed somewhat as he turned back to Ripper.
“Sorry to interrupt, but I have a couple of messages to pass on. Skoteiní, Afentikó, after the show this week, we must travel to Jeddah, we have business to attend to. This is not a matter to worry about, but it is one of some importance.”
Danny took a sideways glance at Thorn, she hated any mention of Saudi Arabia, due to the fact that even if she did come along, she wasn’t allowed to be a part of any business dealings out that way, and true to form, she certainly was sneering.
“Adelfí, Patéras has requested a change of meeting location. He now wishes for the meeting to occur tomorrow evening at your apartment in New York.”
“Her apartment… for fuck’s sake.”
Claudia ignored Danny’s remark, focusing her full attention on her brother.
“I cannot say, he would not divulge this to me, however he has also requested that I am present at this meeting, Miss Alexa is also welcome.”
For the first time he acknowledged Lexi, who had been hiding back at the door, watching the scene before her unfold with curiosity. Danny was starting to get the impression that she must feel like she was in some kind of Hollywood production with all of these events unfolding in front of her.
“Thank you Mr Herakles, but I must insist that I get some time with my client now.”
Danny had almost forgotten Kristina was in the room, but quick as a hiccup his attention was back in the room, and back to the task at head. Atlas bade his farewell and left the room. After he had left, Claudia and Lexi backed up to the wall, taking their places for the show about to unfold, whilst Danny started pouring over notes with Kristina. The time had come, yet somehow, for the first time, Danny felt ready. This was going to be a good day.
As the sun blared into the room, Danny’s eyes refused to open, or rather, he refused to let them. His head was pounding, and the glare was blinding, but despite all of that, Ripper woke with the same smile on his face that he had as he had passed out, still dressed in his suit, the night before. They had cinched the deal, and they had cinched it good, managing to drive the price up by another ten per cent. This man had gone from being fucking rich to really fucking rich. This was why, despite having it in the back of his mind that he would be wrestling again in less than 48 hours, he couldn’t help but grin.
It did take him longer than usual to actually shift his ass out of bed and make his way to the bathroom, but as he stood under that warm stream of water, washing away the sins of the night before (and there certainly were a few to wash away), life returned to him, he straightened up, clicking out those stiff vertebrae and stepped out of the shower.
His long blonde hair was pulled back into a wet ponytail, and wearing nothing but a towel, Danny stepped back into the hotel room, showing off his impressive collection of scars that lined his torso. He seemed to feel all inspired, maybe he was still caught up in the jubilation, maybe he was still pissed, but this seemed like the moment. He walked over to the vanity mirror, upon which sat a camera on a small tripod, and turned it on. He sat down on the edge of the bed, a twinkle in his eye as he spoke.
“Championship, Wrestling, Federation. The once great symbol of excellence. Now, as part of my duties as an active competitor, I am required to give you all a short promo every week about my upcoming opponent. Problem is, I know two things about my opponent this week. One, that they had it hard as a teenager, and two, they spend their free time at conventions, trying to get close to their idol and shout ‘Look at me, I can be a demon assassin too!’
This does leave me in a pickle does it not? Problem is, I don’t think it really matters. The pencil seems to need sharpening in those hallowed halls. No, instead of wasting my time slaying a promo only for some hollow dicked fucker to ignore it and go the way they wanna go anyway, I am going to get a few things off my chest.
See, I never needed to come back to CWF. I came back out of respect for the company that gave me a chance all those years ago. When I, a starry eyed teenager went looking for my first professional wrestling job, I fell into this world, knowing nothing else. You gotta remember, this was before Twitter, before Social media advertising had really taken off, so I knew nothing of the world outside of this place. I plodded along, doing alright for myself, slowly climbing the ranks. It took a little while, but through hard work and determination, through all of the obstacles put in my way, I became the biggest fish of this very small pond. And thus, the golden era concluded, with it’s brightest star, it’s biggest success story, standing tall and proud.
Then, with a whimper it returned, and it began to soil itself. There was only one thing to be done, only one thing that could salvage this dump. The golden Warrior. I returned as commissioner, and suddenly the shitshow days of the Super Duper Blue Scorpion and Host with the most boring catchphrases in history was gone, CWF was new, CWF was bright, CWF was stronger than ever. I left that company in a better state that what I found it, but as the story goes, when I left, the company couldn’t sustain itself. Ticket sales plummeted, merch sales stalled, and before long, it was in the dust again.
Yet, hope was not lost. By this point, the rags to riches story was well underway, and in one of the greatest moves I had made up until that point, I secured the rights to use the branding one last time, and thus Convergence was born. I sold out every damn seat in Wembley Arena, I brought back some of the very best to compete, I gave the platform to make sure that when CWF opened it’s doors once again they could coast on my success rather than it’s own failure. I gave them everything. Remember that, it’s going to be important later on.
Now, I know I ruffled a few feathers back then, but back then, it didn’t matter. CWF was dead, and I was free to go out and create a legacy. I left the little leagues behind and I went out into the wider world and made Babe Ruth my bitch. I’ve been through this before, so I won’t bore you with the details, after all, if you know wrestling, real wrestling, you know my name anyway. At the end of the day, the lights shone bright on the Beast of Boardwalk, and I was able to ride off into the sunset. Or so I thought.
CWF wasn’t as dead as I thought it was, and when the old man crawled out of his grave for one last shot at the big time, he knew he needed his biggest star. I was happy to come in and lay down for the benefit of the company and give it a chance to shoot into the stratosphere.
That should have been it, I should have seen that I wouldn’t ever get what I really wanted out of this game ever again, after all, when you’ve climbed everest, conquering Snowdon is a bit shit in comparison, but me in my infinite arrogance couldn’t see past the figure on the table. That short term contract was something to behold, I imagine I was given most of the money he had left, and that ladies and gentlemen is why after I went, the talent pool became a little less Voss, and a little more unfiltered Ganges.
The point I am trying to make, is that someone obviously never got over me being a bigger name than they could ever make me, someone never got over the fact I made myself. This isn’t the first time this had happened to me of course, but at least this time I wasn’t lying down for some half with with less talents than teeth... OCW can fuck itself in the ass by the way, at least it could, if it’s head wasn’t so far up there...
Nah, the big money contract was nice, but looking back now, was it worth it?
Think about it, since coming back I have suffered humiliating loss after humiliating loss, to men who couldn’t even lace my boots in the big leagues, and for what? Titles mean nothing, I’m already in the hall of fame, I don’t need the money and glory is already my middle name? So why?
Truth is, I don’t know, but I know why they wanted me. To bury me.
Fine. Keep it up bookerman, I give zero fucks. I’m enjoying myself no matter what. You want to give me a count out draw in a street fight, please, be my guest, you want to have me lay down for half bit competitors just so they can have their shot at the top, fine, you want to book me against the worst you have to offer? Fine.
I’ve decided that if I have to go down, I am going to do it in a blaze of glory. This week Autumn Raven shall be my experiment, she shall be my test subject. I will walk in, I shall take her and make a name out of her, I will make her famous. I will do more for her in five minutes than this company could ever do for her. When this week is over, no one will be asking who, but how? How is she, how long before she can wrestle again, how is she ever going to be able to walk again? This nobody is in for the greatest night of their life as they face a master of the craft. A true bonafide living legend. Then yes boss, I will lay down and be humble.
This is a stepping stone until I get my hands on Ataxia once again, and that time boss, the script can go out of the window, but for now, I shall play my part, collect my paycheck, and take a few bone splinters home as souvenirs. You don’t like it, go fuck yourself.
Autumn, darling. I apologise that I have been a little less than kind to you, but the fact is, whilst you’re in this machine, you will never be anyone. You're not bankable, you aren’t poster worthy, you’re not even worth the fucking research. But you are to be a victim. My victim. Be thankful for that. Quote The Ripper… your time has come.”
His grin wider than ever, his piercing greens alight with mirth, Danny stood, leaving his towel behind and walked back into the hotel bathroom, providing a visual of the perfect place someone could place their lips if they didn’t like it.