”I’ll be honest, this is the kind of match I was expecting when Stewart threw a mystery opponent at me.”
“‘You made a demand, you get a grounder. Fuck you, deal with it.’ Not Jarvis King.”
“No disrespect to you either, Tommy Boy. Just, the fact of the matter is that you’re making your CWF in-ring debut against me, a two-time former World Champion. Strictly speaking, you’re supposed to lose this match.”
“You win, you’re immediately on the map. You lose, it’s expected, and you don’t miss a step. Conversely… I’m supposed to win. I win, and it’s business as usual.”
“Again, no disrespect intended, but you beat me, Tommy… it’s an upset. I’m looking for the exact opposite: I want to upset my opponents.”
“And no, getting my hand raised against Jarvis King was not an upset, because it was not a victory. It was a frustration.”
“My apologies in advance, Tommy… because while this isn’t about you… I’ve got a lot’a frustration that’s about ta come out on ya.”
It’s been the same thing for the entire cab ride to the hotel. MJ Flair rolls her head back and stares out the window, just in time for the car to stop in front of the Colcord Hotel.
Next to her, Adrian Evans rolls his eyes, the phone still pressed to his ear.
Adrian Evans: No, Mr. Melton. I did not fill Ms. Troy’s bag with rose petals.
MJ arches an eyebrow.
Adrian Evans: No, Mr. Melton. I also did not serenade her with old sitcom themes.
The bellhop opens the door as another loads MJ and Adrian’s bags onto a luggage cart. She smiles at him and nods her thanks, all the while waiting for Adrian to emerge.
Adrian Evans: Yes sir. I delivered your letters to her. No, I did not wait for a response.
He looks at MJ with imploring eyes, and she laughs, and starts blowing into the phone.
Adrian Evans: I’m sorry, sir - I’m getting some interference. I think it might be the hotel’s WIFI getting in the way of the signal.
Despite herself, MJ nearly busts out laughing. Adrian looks at her in desperation and runs his hand over his throat, telling her ‘Quiet down’ without saying a word.
Adrian Evans: Yessir, I promise you I’ll--
And he hangs up the phone.
MJF: He’s relentless, isn’t he?
She gets the door for him, as he’s typing away on his phone.
Adrian Evans: On one hand, I admire his single minded-ness. But on the other…
His phone beeps, and he looks at it and immediately tosses it behind him. MJ, thinking quickly, grabs it in mid-air and puts it in her back pocket.
Adrian Evans: Am I his only friend?
MJF: Aunt Ivy seems to think so.
MJ hangs back while Adrian checks them in, her mind racing at the circumstance her manager is in. Joey Melton was one of the biggest stars in professional wrestling in the 1980s and 1990s; he was the first ever CSWA World Champion and was in the Final Four of the 2012 Ultratitle tournament along with her dad. He’s won championships all over the world and was largely ageless when it came to his in-ring ability… but he’s also a hopeless romantic that has been infatuated with Lindsay Troy for over a decade.
Add to this, the fact that Joey Melton introduced now-retired World Junior Junior Wrestling Champion Adrian ‘Little Voltron’ Evans to a national audience, it’s no wonder MJ finds herself in the middle of it all.
He walks back to her with two keys, clearly ignoring the vibration from his pocket.
Adrian Evans: They had a mix-up with the reservation; there’s only one available but it’s a suite, so we at least get our own rooms.
MJF: Small favors, huh?
Adrian hands her her key but does a double take. MJ looks momentarily confused, but laughs.
MJF: Totally unintentional, man.
The elevator dings as they step through and push the button.
Adrian Evans: Sure it was.
”I don’t really know much about’cha, Tommy.”
“I mean… I know what we saw at Evolution, but…”
“Seriously, man. The fuck?”
“I know professional wrestling, Tommy. I mean, I know professional wrestling. It’s in my blood, it’s in my family, it’s in every aspect of my life from birth until now.”
“And I know professional wrestling is like the music business. There’s subgenres’a everything. There’s a number one fan for every band that’s ever put out a seven inch. Serious musicians. Bubblegum pop. Angry punk. Comedy. Slapstick.”
“The list goes on.”
“All I know is that you’ve got a monkey and a DJ and you like impromptu dance parties. Lemmee be the first ta tell you, Tommy… your sports entertainment schtick is gonna fall flat in this one, and you’re gonna have ta rely on whatever wrestling skill ya might have.”
“And maybe you’ve got skills out the ass. Maybe the dumb shit comedy routine is ya’ dodge. Put your opponents on the defense from the start. If it is, good tactic. Flawed. Won’t work. But a good tactic nonethaless.”
“I don’t do comedy, Tommy. Try t’start a dance off with me and I’ll punch your face outta your head. Try ta get the monkey ta distract me and I’ll throw the monkey at your own personal DJ.”
“...No, I probably won’t throw the monkey. But I’ll take it out on you.”
“You’ve gotta understand somethin, man… people come to the CWF -”
“-to my home-”
“-ta see the sport, not the spectacle. They come here ta see the fight, not the freakshow.”
“I don’t take myself all that seriously, but I take what I do seriously, and I take my--”
“-responsibility t’give the fans their moneys’ worth even moreso.”
“So when the time comes, if ya give me your best shot, I’ll respect ya. If ya try ta get me t’dance with ya?”
“Don’t say you weren’t warned.”
“So this is the Inside Wrestling podcast, and I’m happy to be joined at this time by possibly the youngest World Champion in the history of the sport of professional wrestling, Mariella Jade Flair. MJ, how are you doing today?”
MJ sits on the sofa in her suite, freshly showered and changed after destroying the hotel gym for forty five minutes. She has her phone to her ear as she listens to the host of the podcast, Mike Thompson, give his introduction.
MJF: You know, you know. Gettin’ to the next show, doin’ it the best that I can.
Mike Thompson: Well, it’s been a bit of an upside-down year for you so far. Coming back at Modern Warfare after taking several months off due to injury, getting the win against Loki Synn at Confliction, and getting shunted to Hostility just in time for the company to shut down. Now you’re back in the CWF and, we hope, you’ll start to regain some of the momentum you had last year. It looked like you were on your way with a surprise match against Hall of Famer Jarvis King, but unfortunately that match ended prematurely with an injury to King’s knee. That’s gotta be disappointing, yes?
MJF: Absolutely, man. He was busy defending the Paramount Title last fall when I was in the midst of my second title run, but all the while he’s someone I really wanted t’get into the ring with. Luck has it, we get into it and a freak accident makes the ref shut it down. I don’t blame Robbins for doin’ that, and while I don’t condone Jarvis’ sucker punch… I don’t blame him, either.
She holds the phone against her ear with her shoulder as she starts to go through various shades of nail polish, eventually deciding on black. One foot goes up on the table in front of her in preparation.
Mike Thompson: Was it serious?
MJF: I honestly don’t know. I don’t think so, because he’s scheduled for another one this week so it was probably just one’a those things, ya know? A guy like that, he’s been doin’ this for a decade or more, he’s got a lotta pride… I can’t imagine how he felt.
Mike Thompson: Can’t you?
She stops and thinks, and a laugh escapes her lips.
MJF: I completely forgot about that! Yeah, I guess I do know what it’s like. So, in case you’ve got listeners who aren’t aware, a few years back in WrestleUTA I had a match on pay per view against Crimson Lord, who had over a foot and over two hundred pounds on me, and I was doin’ all right, holdin’ my own and whatnot, but once he grabbed me, it was over.
Mike Thompson: I was watching that match at my buddy’s house, it was vicious.
MJF: Don’t have to tell me. The ref in that one stopped the match and awarded the win to Crimson, and I was arguing all the same. Course, about a half hour after I got backstage I passed out and got ambulanc’d, and I was still pissed off. So yeah, while I appreciate the officials watchin’ out for us wrestlers a lot more nowadays than they used to, I absolutely think Jarvis’ attitude, at least, was in the right.
Mike Thompson: He’s going to be facing off against Tom Marrow, a relative newcomer to the CWF, while you’ve got a debut opponent of your own in Thomas Roll. He had himself a bit of an entertaining debut, complete with a monkey. You’ve got to admit, you can’t go wrong with a monkey.
MJ switches feet, and laughs.
MJF: No, the monkey is adorable. But like you said, I’ve lost a lot’a momentum since I last held CWF gold, and while a long match against a legend like Jarvis King could’ve gone a long way in restoring some of it, a long match against someone that, all evidence so far says, is a less than serious jokester won’t do anything but make me look like I’ve lost it again.
She stops, and adjusts the phone in her awkward grip.
MJF: Best case scenario for me is that I’m reading him right and he makes an early mistake that lets me put his ass down for the three in under five minutes.
Mike Thompson: I think that’s a definite possibility. One more quick question before we let you go, MJ - Evolution 50 is being promoted as a celebration of women in the sport, and obviously the CWF in particular. Any dream matches you’d like to have, or anyone you’d like to show up as part of things?
MJ stops and thinks for a few seconds.
MJF: Honestly, any celebration of women in professional wrestling where my aunt Ivy isn’t invited is incomplete by definition. Beyond that, I dunno… My dream matches, as in, people I’ve never had the chance to face off with, would be either Lindsay Troy or Amber Ryan. Aunt Lindsay, because of how much she’s meant to this sport over the past fifteen years or whatever, and Amber Ryan because of how much shit she talked the first few months I was here, and how much I’d love to shut her face with a well placed fist. But…
Mike Thompson: But?
MJF: My shootin’ for the stars, never-gonna-happen scenario? I would love to step into the ring against Karina Wolfenden.
Mike Thompson: Wow.
His ‘wow’ is said with just the right intonation. It’s clear he respects the K-Wolf and the sheer ferocity and uncompromising intensity that she brought to the sport during the first decade of the twenty first century.
At that moment, there is a knock on the door.
MJF: I think my dinner’s here, Mikey… so I’mma say my farewells.
Mike Thompson: No problem, MJ, thank you as always for your time. Before you go, ten second endorsement for anyone or anything?
MJF: Watch Evolution or I’ll come t’your house and kick your ass.
They both laugh.
Mike Thompson: Thank you so much. Mariella Jade Flair, appearing weekly on CWF Evolution.
MJ ends the call and drops her phone on the sofa next to her, and carefully slips a pair of flip flops onto her feet before she walks to the door. Her feelings about such a shoe are well known, but with the alternative being ruining the carpet with nail polish…
MJF: Hi, how are you?
The porter pushes a rolling table into the room and lifts the lid.
Porter: Fine, thank you, ma’am.
He hands her the bill, which she signs (leaving a generous tip), and eyes the platter to ensure everything is there.
Hanger steak, jumbo shrimp, manchego grits, fried green tomatoes, basil pesto, and roasted potatoes. Nobody ever accused MJ Flair of not having an appetite. But--
MJF: Wait a second, man?
Porter: Yes ma’am?
MJF: I didn’t order this.
She points at a bottle of red wine with a label she can’t read (though it is likely French), and a slice of key lime pie.
Porter: Oh! I have some instructions.
He reaches into his pocket and hands her a folded note.
Porter: I’m sorry about that, ma’am. Enjoy your dinner.
She shows him out, and MJ opens the bottle of wine and takes a sniff, then takes a sip before opening the note. A smile forms on her face.
I know you’re there to work, but try to enjoy the sweeter things in life, too. Good luck. -Ash
One date, and he’s already earning some serious points.
”I’m not an emasculating bitch, Tommy. I’m also not a humorless old shrew.”
“What I am is a woman in a man’s world, and I have to work harder than everyone.”
“I’ll repeat that, because it bears repeating.”
“I have to work harder than everyone in order to be afforded basic respect.”
“Got some games to play?”
“Got some fun t’be had?”
“It’ll cost you, Tommy. I mean, you’re already going to lose, because I didn’t come ta Oklahoma City t’just roll over and let’cha pin my shoulders to the mat.”
“No, sir… it’ll cost ya more than three seconds.”
“Try to embarrass me, and I’ll be sure to humiliate you.”
“So do yourself a favor, Tommy.”
“Any wrestling skills you’ve got hidden behind the monkey’s tail?”