Time is a funny thing. For a lot of people, time is seen as the enemy. We always need more of it or are hoping to stop it. They want to control it, mold it and use it to their own needs. The majority of this world forgets that time is something to be enjoyed for what it is and not what it isn’t.
CWF is no exception.
I look around at the majority of the roster here and each person is so caught up with what they need to do that they forget about the moment they are in. They forget that the right here and right now is the only god damn thing that matters. They forget when the sun comes up today that their actions in that day, that hour, that minute and that very second is what the rest of the world will remember.
It took me over 30 years in combat sports to realize that.
That is the reason I continue to succeed at the age I am. I have learned that you have to live for each and every moment and lay down the foundation on how you want to be remembered. I am no longer afraid of what may happen because I know what WILL happen.
What is that?
Well the simple fact that I will win.
I may not be the fastest and I may not be the strongest but I damn well am still the best. I proved it when I came out of retirement at age 48 to win three companies World Championships. I proved it when I fought tooth and nail through hardcore brawls, extreme rules and the purest wrestling in existence to become the Carnage Undisputed champion. I proved it when I put Autumn Raven through the mat to advance in the Modern Warfare tournament and I will prove it again when I destroy her shadowcaster in Silas Artoria to move on again.
One moment at a time…
That’s all it takes to become the champion.
January 24th, 2019
Jefferson National Park
It is a beautiful early morning in Tacoma as the trails are wide open in the brisk air. The barely risen sun casts gorgeous shadows off of the rolling hills and onto the cobblestone paths. We notice some early morning hikers and bikers have already made the scene as have two familiar figures on the downside of the hill. Jogging at a moderate pace are Carnage World Heavyweight champion “The Blast” Jack Michaels and his girlfriend, half of the Carnage Tag-Team Champions in Kyra Johnson. Jack wears a white compression shirt of grey sweat shorts as Kyra has opted for a sports bra and leotard combo for the run. They are keeping pace with each other as Kyra has pulled her phone out and begins recording them for a small video on her Instagram account. She pulls ahead a few steps and begins to speak.
“Well as you can plainly see, we are in an absolutely amazing park for our exercise this morning even if the old man back there can barely keep up with me.”
Jack mocks indignation with his face as he quickens up.
“Hay is for horses Mr. Michaels and I will have you know that I don’t have time to get you one right now.”
Jack rolls his eyes as he jogs right next to her.
“And of course you have to film me getting outran by my beautiful if not a bit dorky girlfriend eh?”
“Pfft. You fucking love it. So do you have any words for the fans at home?”
Jack suddenly grabs Kyra and pulls her in close for a kiss as she films it. He lets her go with a smile.
“Yeah… RACE YOU TO THE TOP!”
Jack takes off in a sprint as Kyra smiles broadly herself.
“God I love that man.”
Kyra turns off the camera as she is now several dozen feet away from Jack who has ran up the precipice to the hill. She picks up the pace to follow Jack and gets to the top where Jack has stopped his run. In what can only be described as a prepossessing scene, Jack has hunkered down into his old boxing stance and is shadow boxing against the horizon. His movements are like poetry as the steel cables in his arms and legs tense and fire in rhythm with the sun. The lights glints off his brow as he starts to call out attack drills to himself.
“One, two, three, FIRE! One, two, three, FIRE! One, two, three, four, GO! GO! GO! GO!”
The dust kicks up against his sneakers as Kyra slowly pulls out her phone to document what she is witnessing. We hear her voice as we watch Jack fight against the sky.
“Sometimes in life you have to be amazed at what is in front of you. This man, the man who is the champion of both the company I work for and my heart, is the most amazing thing I have ever seen. At his age and with his wealth, he could be sitting on his ass collecting stamps and yet here he is, punching at the sun and the stars… Proving to a whole new company that he deserves to be their champion too. It’s almost scary to think of what stands in front of you when you are across the ring from him.”
Jack suddenly turns his head.
“It’s because I live for the moment baby doll… And I live to do what I was born to do.”
Jack starts to take a few steps towards Kyra who continues to record him.
“My whole life I have been a fighter. For good or bad, for pride or money… I’ve done what I had to do and done what I wanted to get what I want.”
Jack suddenly lunges forward and grabs Kyra in his arms.
“So what do you think about getting married to me?”
Sometimes a bit of attitude and gumption is all that is needed in this life. As I said, one moment at a time is all we need and then BOOM that moment arrives. Case in point: Another match where "The Blast" Jack Michaels blew off the old wrestling gear and did exactly what he said he was going to do against someone who felt that were ready to take that next step. Now don’t get me wrong here Miss Raven, I will applaud you and say yes, you put up one hell of a fight. You proved to me maybe you are more than just some gothic misfit in this world. You gave me everything you had but you also learned a sad truth that I don’t just speak rhetoric, kid. I told you I would beat you and I did it. No qualms, no games… Just a one, two, three in the middle of that ring.
Now I get to face yet the next stepping stone in my personal journey to the top. How appropriate too, eh? How appropriate is it that I get to continue moving on in this tournament by breaking down the man she fought so hard to get away from… SILAS ARTORIA.
The name says a lot about the man and he certainly is not shy on those.
The Psychotic Aristocrat.
The Canadian Reaper.
The Godforsaken BLOODLETTER himself.
But hell… Fifty thousand nicknames aside, what are we actually looking at here? I mean on the one hand you have me. Jack Michaels. Multi-time Hall-of-Famer...Multi-time World Champion... The guy who revolutionized wrestling to what it is today… Maybe I need another nickname too to match Silas.
How about um... The Hebrew Hammer himself?
Okay, maybe not but in the end… I would say that all-in-all I am a pretty damn accomplished wrestler if I do say so myself.
On the other hand we have you Silas…
I honestly don’t know what to really make of you. I admit you have talent. Sure, you can fight to the extreme and speak with a vocabulary that is quite profound. You have your fans and I will respect you for that. But besides that, what is you have done? What has set you apart from the thousands of educated men just like you in this business? Your piano playing perhaps? Snazzy outfits? A haircut to die for?
Huh. I don’t find any of that to be that great. In fact… To me Silas… I don’t see anything truly special about you.
When I got back into the world of wrestling I did it because I was afraid of what this world was turning into. We forgot where we came from as a sport and instead turned it into some… Lackluster performance without heart… Without guts. It was just a bunch of flash and no substance. So answer me truly son... Are you what the future is building to? Are you truly living in the moment to find a better way? Is this the best you can offer or is there something more? If you are the one to carry the crown… What can you do to keep our sport alive?
Me? I stand on the ideals of what has driven me day in and day out. I too am educated and with that knowledge I stand atop a world that has forgotten what it means to be more than yourself. You want the respect? The belts? The women? The… Men? Whatever it is… You need to be the one to see beyond your own nose. You may claim to fight for something more but I think you and I both know that you are a selfish and self-serving roadblock to something that could be so much more. That’s why I am here in CWF and that is why I am going to keep punching forward in this tournament.
It’s not personal kid… But it’s the way it’s gotta to be.
So by this point you are thinking what? Maybe talking out loud to yourself and saying "I don't give an English Toss about this 'OLD MAN' and I am just going to beat him down in the middle of that ring.” Perhaps it’s more along the lines of “you don’t know me from Adam sir. You have no idea what I am truly capable of.” It could even just be “you don’t know what I fight for. Keep your opinions to yourself.”
So before you start in on the metamucil jokes, the saucy Victorian quips and the viagra humor let me just say hey... You're right Silas. I am the old man. Maybe I am the one who is in the wrong here. Hell, it’s all about YOU right? YOU are the one people are paying to come see. YOU are the one that the kids inspire to turn into. Maybe I am totally wrong… But then again maybe I'm just the man who gave EVERYTHING to this sport in order to stay at the top.
Maybe I am just angry because my assumptions on who you are make me hate what I have to be.
I hate that I have to keep that rage boiling whenever I step into the ring. I hate that in a life so grand that I have to waste my time with someone like you. Fair or not kid, you are nothing compared to me. You are a spectre of talent in a world of broken hope. You are nothing but a fleeting note. A speck of dirt. A piece of trash. A scraped piece of gum that somehow got stuck to the bottom of my boot. Maybe in the back of my mind I have to remind myself that it’s not about just winning that belt… But the indignation of having to split the skull open of the punk that stands in my way.
Maybe I am wrong...
But maybe I am right… And that is scary as hell to think about.
“I am asking do you Kyra Lynn Johnson take me to be your husband?”
Jack smiles broadly and gets down on his knee. Kyra seems completely struck back as Jack reaches into his pocket and produces a small box from his pocket. He cracks it open to produce a beautiful platinum ring encrusted with diamonds. Kyra drops her phone and stumbles backwards to the ground as Jack gets up concerned.
She sits there for a second and waves Jack away from her as Jack stands confused. After a few moments she holds out her hand to Jack who helps her up.
“I uh… I need to sit down.”
“Yeah… Sure. Okay.”
Jack takes her by the arm and begins to help her walk over to where some benches overlook the hills. She seems to be breathing heavily as Jack looks at her concerned.
“Are you okay? Do you need some water or should I call a doct…”
Kyra shakes her head no.
“I’m okay, I just need a second. I wasn’t expecting you to… To…”
A realization comes over Jack as his gaze suddenly drops to the ground.
Kyra calms down and suddenly realizes Jack’s dejected look. She quickly covers her mouth and shakes her head.
“No… No, no, no! Fuck, that’s not how I meant that. God I suck at stuff like this.”
Jack keeps staring at the ground, a wisp of wind blowing the dirt around his ankles.
“No, I understand. I shouldn’t have asked. I love you but maybe it’s just not the time to be…”
Kyra reaches over softly and takes Jack by the chin. She kisses his forehead and shakes her head.
“It’s not you sweetie. It’s not you at all. It’s just… I…”
Kyra lets go of Jack and turns her head slightly as emotion overtakes her.
“I’ve been hurt a lot you know. I mean my ex-husband JD being a douchebag and all the guys in my life either just wanting in my pants or trying to use me up like some fucking toy for them. I mean then you come along and you are great to me and Adina and… I… I just don’t…”
Kyra turns back her head.
“I want to spend my life with you but I don’t know if I can give you an answer yet. I just… Can’t.”
Jack nods his head and runs a thumb under her left eye, wiping a tear from her cheek. He smiles softly before getting up and walking over to where Kyra’s phone lies on the ground. He picks it up and walks back over to her.
“I don’t want to spend my life with anyone else either. Other than my daughter, you are the greatest thing I have in this world.”
Kyra smiles back at him as she takes the phone and puts it back in her pocket.
“Even greater than trying to be a double world champion?”
Jack suddenly ponders this for a moment.
Kyra gets up quickly and punches Jack in the shoulder. Jack recoils from the blow and covers up.
“Hey now, I am getting older and more fragile by the day.”
Kyra wipes another tear from her eye as Jack puts an arm around her.
“Don’t worry about it baby doll. I know one day you will come around and I will do everything and anything I have to in order to make that happen.”
Kyra walks with Jack back down the path and suddenly lets a small smile cross her lips.
Jack nods and laughs.
“Of course. The world is your oyster.”
“And what if I told you I wanted a new car?”
“Then I would buy you a fleet.”
“And what if I told you I wanted the moon?”
“Then I would book a trip on the next rocket.”
“And what if I told you I wanted you to be the next CWF World Champion?”
“Then I would hunt down each and every sorry son of a bitch in this tournament until they had no choice but to give me the belt.”
Kyra suddenly stops walking and looks up at Jack.
“What if I told you I was serious?”
The jovial smile on Jack’s face fades as he looks down at his love.
“Serious about what?”
“Serious about you becoming the next CWF World Champion.”
The air hangs over the two heavily for a second as Jack lets this sink in.
“I… You… I mean, are you saying that…”
“If you win the Modern Warfare tournament then I will marry you. But I don’t just want you to win for me… I want you to win for us. For Paragon and for every fucking person who didn’t think they stood a chance in the shithole wrestling has become. You amaze me every time I watch you and you make the world seem just a little brighter for being in it. I want you to be that light and I want that to be the man that I marry. Can you do that for me Jack? Can you give me what I want?”
Jack swallows deeply and nods his head. He drops to his knee once more but takes Kyra’s hand in his.
“I will give you the world Kyra Johnson… And I will be your World Champion.”