Heh… the life of a champion.. Amirite?
Nah.. it's just life.. I'm used to getting on folks’ bad side. Even when I'm not trying, guess it's a god given skill.
I only use it sparingly though… I could sit here and dwell over the fact that Mia was finally coming for my head. Eventually it was going to happen, but I didn't care either way. You know why? Because I didn't.. That's why..
Besides, if I focused too much attention on Mia, then I would lose sight of what was really important..
That's where I needed all my focus and that's where it was going to stay…
I promise I gotta start micro managing all the fights I'm becoming involved in, but it's cool.. I was beginning to become accustomed to stepping up in pressure situations.
Night in and night out, I grind to be the best. Do I fuck over people to get there? Naw, not necessarily.. but I do, do what I have to, to get ahead.. It's the nature of the business..
There isn't anyone who made it to the top solely off being the nice guy.. Nowhere in history has anyone gained recognition and kept it, from being a stand up citizen. And if they are remembered, they're currently dead.
And I've been feeling too well rested to be taking any type of nap anytime soon.
Twilight of the Gods was on the horizon, and I honestly didn't know how to prepare for such an occasion. You see wrestle is what I do best but when the odds aren't in your favor.. You have to improvise. I didn't care one way or the other that Troy was inserted into the match as special guest referee. Hell I really didn't care that Byson was on the outside as an enforcer..
Whatever the fuck that meant.. Seriously, Byson couldn't enforce shit but his personal business and that's only cause he threatens death to those who cross him. But this was a different type of business, you couldn't make a sumbitch disappear just because they were going for the three count.. shit just don't work that way. But if he felt it would even the odds a bit, I guess we could see how shit worked out. Besides Ryan accepted the terms, so there was that..
But the odds were not in my favor at all.. Ryan was a multiple time World Champion who was smart and calculating in his every move.. At his disposal was the self proclaimed, Queen of the Ring was well established in her own right and she would be the deciding factor in whether I kept the belt or not. Then there was Byson.. my twin brother, who probably couldn't do anything but bark orders and whatever it is he does to make so many people respect him over in Japan. And then the icing on the cake, Twilight of the Gods would be broadcasting live from Houston, Texas..
That's right… the same Houston, Texas that just so happen to be the hometown of Dan Ryan.. Yep.. So the odds aren't really in my favor.. I'm used to pulling off the impossible though..
May 8, 2019
Who would've ever thought I would be standing in Jonesboro just mere days before a big title defense? Any other champion would probably be in the gym training, getting prepared for a big challenge like Dan Ryan.. However, not me.. I chose this day as one to get back to my roots. Remember where I'm from and what bredded me into who I am today. At least the earlier stages of my life, the teen years if you will.
I had decided to come to Jonesboro to visit Pops and the family. It had been awhile since I'd seen them, giving the circumstances of my busy schedule. I mean I saw Pops from time to time because of business ventures but I hadn't seen my little sisters in forever. It was great to catch up with them, listen to the stories that they told about school, amongst other things.
But there was something I needed more.. I hadn't visited the friends that I met around Jonesboro and I figured it would be a good idea to go check on them.
I hadn't hung out with my homeboy V-12.. Don't ask me why that was his name.. You'd figure he was great with fixing cars.. He wasn't.. However what he was great at, was selling weed.. Some damn good dank at that. I decided to pay him a visit in what was known as Cedar Heights.
How could I describe Cedar Heights?
Imagine a very steep street with two story townhouses connected together on both sides. I guess you can say sort of like some of the housing buildings you would see in New York or in that area type deal. Only 100x worse in size and upkeep. At least one side of the street, but moving forward, newer model cars line the driveways of each lot that house a family.. hell even those that are unoccupied. Loud trap music, yes you heard that right.. trap music bang from different Bluetooth speakers but it's hard to catch any song in particular.
The fumes of high grade marijuana fill the air as I step out of my rental car and walk towards V-12, who stood in front of his apartment. He greets me with a smile and handshake as I draw near.
“Look at dat boi ova’ durr! Mista professional wrestla’.. What yo’ ass doing in da hood?”
“Mane shit.. Just wanted ta see how y'all been doin’ round here.”
One thing that should be known about, V-12, his attention span is extremely short.. So talking to him would be like talking to a brick wall. Especially when money walks up. He steps inside of his house to serve one of his usual customers. Which means sell weed for those who don't know.
I stayed outside, just to peep the scenery. Kids ran up and down the walk way playing.. a few of V's younger cousins stopping to punch me in the leg.
But they're cool.. five year olds just wanna have fun.. Especially with a well known wrestler who used to hang around these parts. So I pay them no mind, I'm glad Sierra wasn't with me.. She'd probably smack my eyes out of my head, because of all the scattered ass that was flaunting about.
V-12 soon returns out of his house with a lit blunt between his lips. Passing it to me, I take a hit.. Inhaling what tasted like strawberries and lemons into my lungs. I begin to cough uncontrollably.
“See.. yo’ bitch ass still can't hang!”
He laughs. Tears form within my eyes but I try to keep my composure.
“Fuck” Cough! “You!”
“I thought you was out there, going round da world smoking all dat good gas..”
For those who don't know, the term “gas” was used as another name for some high grade bud. Don't ask me why, it's just been that way for as long as I can remember. You had your Reggie, which is….
You know what maybe I'm rambling to much but I hope you get the picture. But if you don't… my bad…
This was an environment that I hadn't experienced in a long time. Given the fact that Jonesboro was a dry county.. on this block you were able to get anything that you wanted. Just knock on any door, but that's besides the point.
The day was going good, one group of folks were barbecuing.. from what I heard, celebrating a family reunion.. I honestly didn't see how in the tight space but where there's a will there's a way. V and me had just finished smoking the blunt he brought out. He offered a beer but I declined, not wanting to be totally off focus in this type of environment.
Everything was fine though..
“I can't believe dat boi World Champion and shit.. Look at him.. Out here tryna stunt on us and shit.”
“Hell yo’ ass probably makin’ mo’ money than me. But I'm sho you still fuckin’ it off.”
“And you know dis.”
He begins to flex and stunt with all his fancy jewelry and “$400” shades. I never understood the mind frame, make all that money and stay in a bullshit environment. Just wasn't me, especially when I had more important things to focus on. I mean that wasn't to knock him, I guess I felt he should've made better choices… but we all have our faults.
V-12 causally backs up and eases his way back into his home.
My eyes catch his and I follow them, directly into three police officers who had made their way through a pathway at the far end of the complex.
“Boy dis some bullshit here..”
I truly felt that way, because in my eyes I didn't see no one bothering anyone. The only reason he went into the house was because he's a felon. However he stays with his girlfriend, selling harmless weed just to make a living. Although the property is government property and doesn't allow felons to reside on they’re property.. What is a person to do when they don't have nowhere else to go and just trying to provide for his family just like anyone else. But circumstances right? A law is a law..
Anyway, I've got my eyes trained on them like a hawk. The once lively neighborhood becoming eerily silent as they all do as I do. Watch these three officers stroll across the property as if it was a planned attacked. I watch them walk to the top of the hill, where the on site landlord lived. He speaks with them for a moment, before they make their way back through.
“Man dese folks be over hurr everyday..”
A female standing beside me whisper as the three officers come to a halt at a small gray car, and instantly begin to question the occupants. Seconds later the two gentlemen are removed from the vehicle, one in his late 70s at the most. Moments later they are placed in handcuffs. Honestly I'm confused because it happened so quickly.. hell it happened so fast, the younger guy fainted, had a seizure or something.. but it the end of the day they eventually went to jail for marijuana possession.
Then to make matters worse, they weren't from Jonesboro.. only visiting family during said earlier family reunion. Which even furthered my question of why would you plan a family reunion.. here of all places..
But that's something Dan Ryan wouldn't understand.. he might, being from Houston.. I heard they're cops were pretty bad.. But he's got money and influence.. All I got is me and this right here.. this is what I fight for..
Hell.. it's the only thing I fight for and right now I got my own job to do.
May 11, 2019
The buzzer had finally sounded, bringing the close to a decent semifinals series between the Rockets and the Warriors. Steph Curry with an amazing performance in the fourth quarter. If I was being honest my head wasn't really into the game..
There was too much that began to become overwhelming to me but I don't back down.. I fight the storm head on.. Setting up my camera across the table from me in my booth, I figured why not.. I press record and go for it.
“Ya kno’ how ta spot a fool?”
I take a moment to let the viewers ponder the question..
“They neva’ shut up..”
I chuckle a bit.
“They go on an’ on bout irrelevant facts dat at tha end'a tha day… Don't mean shit.. Mia.. ya could ramble at tha mouth all day bout how ya all mad an’ pissed off bout my comments but at tha end'a tha day.. Tha fact'a tha matta’ is dat I don't give a fuck.. I meant what I said.. Hashtag FUCK THA FORSAKEN! Besides.. I got mo’ important shit ta worry bout..”
I give a quick head nod..
“Sup D-Ry? I hope through all tha bullshit, ya kno’ dat my eyes remain on the prize.. An’ tha prize is dis CWF World Championship..”
I hold the World title up for the camera to see and then place it back on my shoulder.
“Ya see dis is what my main focus is on.. Retainin’ dis belt.. MY World Heavyweight Championship.. An’ you Mr. Ryan can not have it. I can see ya now though.. feet kicked up, not a care in tha World cuz ya feel dis one is in tha bag.. Howeva’ I hate ta be tha bearer of bad news, cuz dat lil advantage ya thank ya got, don't mean jack shit in tha grand scheme'a thangs. An’ I'll tell ya why, cuz at tha end'a day, ya kno’ what's up..
Ya kno’ damn well dat tha Juice dat Duce got is second ta none.. Ya feel deep down in ya soul, dat tha type'a momentum I'm runnin’ off of, Troy was ya only hope'a gettin’ dis belt from round my waist. I get it though, dat's why I agreed ta ya lil terms. Besides it was only fair.. ya gave me what I wanted, so it's only fair dat i return tha fava’.”
Another laugh escapes my body.
“I'm startin’ ta feel like Jace round dis bitch.. Anybody but me right? Anybody but tha hoodlum from tha projects.. Amirite? I feel it.. I mean that tension is heavy an’ my only question is why? Am I not what was envisioned as a champion? Why.. because I speak differently from otha's? Naw dat's not it.. Is it because I'm one'a tha youngest two times World Champion, aside from MJ? Naw I don't thank it's dat eitha.. I thank it's simply because I'm Duce..
It's okay, everyone can get a sip'a tha juice.. There's enough ta go round. But tha thang dat gets me is tha fact dat there might be a feelin’ dat shit was just handed ta me.. When majority of tha shit I've accomplished came from hardwork.. Every victory I've attained came from me simply bein’ tha best on dat given night.. It's not my fault dat some folks overtalk themselves into an asswhoopin’... It's happened ta tha best'a us.. Myself included.. Ya shudda seen how full'a myself, I was befo’ Confliction an’ look where dat shit got me.. Wit a foot on my fuckin’ chest..”
I shake my head in disappointment.
“It's tha nature'a tha business.. ya win some, then ya lose some.. Ya suck dat shit up an’ keep pushin’.. Ain't dat right D-Ry? See dat's tha beauty of collidin’ wit tha vets'a dis business an’ Danny boy. I thank it's safe ta say dat outta all tha legends I've faced inside'a rang, I've learned a lot from ya.. I learned dat in dis business, ya gotta pick an’ choose ya moments. Probably why ya taken tha light schedule headed into our upcomin’ match-up. Facin' those no names an' lower-level talent.. Whereas I, I've been takin’ on tha best dis company has ta offa’. Not one time have I asked fo’ tha small fish of tha fed an’ dat's truly not a knock on anyone's talent.. But I want tha best, I want tha challenge, I want legit competition.
An’ come Twilight of tha Gods, dat's gonna be you D-Ry. Howeva' there's still tha x-factor.. Lindsay Troy.. Ya wanna kno’ I why I agreed ta ya lil terms? It's not cause I'm gonna have Byson watchin’ my back, cause let's be real. We all kno’ he's a non-fuckin-factor.. But you Mrs. Troy, you're a lil different. See you're tha decidin’ factor on whether or not I leave wit dis belt. But dat's where tha problem lies.. Cuz when we walk down dat aisle, in D-Ry's own stompin’ grounds.. I'm gonna show tha world dat Ryan ain't nothin’ mo’ than a shell of his former self.”
I look over to some of the disappointed Houston Rockets fans begin to drink away their sorrows of another spoiled season..
“As confident an’ as arrogant as he is, he kno’ deep down dat he don't got it anymo’. I mean we all can see it right? Why else would he try ta stack tha odds in his fava’. Hometown advantage, sis-in-law tha ref, Byson on tha outside oblivious ta what he's really out there ta do.. It's tha fairy tale endin’ dat anyone would be chompin’ at tha bits fo’..
But dat's where I'm different.. Dat's where ya got me fucked up.. My whole career has been me overcomin’ obstacles an’ D-Ry.. You're no different.. Come Tuesday night, when we step inside'a dat squared circle, I'm gonna prove ta tha world dat advantages are fo’ pussies an’ real men handle they business! An’ contrary ta yo’ belief D-Ry.. everythang I've done is in preparation fo’ dis encounter between us. I've taken on all comers, Hall of Famers an’ all, just ta lead up ta dis moment. Dat moment when Troy has no otha’ choice but ta count yo’ shoulders down fo’ tha three count. Dat moment when ya realize dat all dat plannin’ an’ preparation only led ta ya inevitable fall back ta tha bottom'a tha barrel.. I told ya once befo’ dat ya fucked up by handin’ me tha title cuz when it's all said an’ done, afta’ dat bell rangs an’ I'm holdin’ tha World Championship proudly into tha air.. You'll quickly come ta tha realization dat.. it's gonna be tha last time ya eva' be near it again..”
I chuckle again.
“I mean tha audacity of dis muthafucka.. Callin' me stupid.. Says I'm a politicker in so many words. But my thang is who I'm politickin’ to? At tha end of tha day my words fall on deaf ears.. Cause in hindsight no one really gives a fuck.. I kno’ dis an’ I'm cool wit it.. I'm not in tha back jokin’ it up wit tha ‘boys’, hell wheneva’ I pop in.. those proverbial crickets dat you so eloquently put it are present.. Ya thank I give a shit.. I don't, I keep pushin’ an’ keep goin’... Then ya sit there an’ talk bout winnin’ tha CWF World title within seven matches.. In did it within eight.. Whoop-dee-fuckin-do! Difference is you're a vet an’ I'm just beginnin’ ta cut my teeth in dis business. So if ya feel like dat's a big accomplishment.”
I begin a slow clap in applause for Dan Ryan's accomplishments and accolades since signing with CWF.
“Ya brag bout dat like it really means somethin’, cuz it don't.. I guess in ya old age.. considering we're wrestlers an’ all.. ya sensin’ dat ya days are numbered an’ retirement is lookin’ real possible in tha near future. Then ya wanna run ya mouth bout how I signed wit OCW.. I gotta family ta provide fo’! Two muthafuckin’ kids on tha way an’ dis rookie contract dat I'm signed too… ain't fuckin’ cuttin’ it..”
“Talkin’ bout research.. why should I? Tha only thang I kno’ is dat you can talk bout how you were invited an’ how you didn't come wit a crowd.. You've still had an’ easier path than me.. I've fought tha best dis company had ta offa’.. While yo’ high an’ mighty ass sipped ya martinis an’ took tha easy street.. Those feeble threats an’ promises don't mean shit ta me. An’ ya right dat background'a yours.. I could give'a shit bout. At tha end'a tha night, you're a man just like me. Which means you bleed like I bleed, ya ain't no different. You ain't nothin’ mo’ than a self-centered prick who needs ta get his nose outta his own ass ta see that reality of shit.
An’ dat reality is dat, ya talk is cheap.. You can have dis HUGE followin’, you can be dis NAME BRAND star dat put asses in tha seats. Ya can be whateva’ BULLSHIT ya come up wit in ya own mind. At tha end'a day you ain't proved shit in my eyes. Ya Defiance background.. don't mean shit. Ya multiple World titles… don't mean shit. Ya empty threats.. don't mean shit. Hell my beef wit Mia.. don't mean shit. Cause at tha end'a day, when we step into dat rang, ya gonna get an experience like non otha’.. I'm sicka playin’ these games wit you muthafuckas.”
I begin to laugh because this shit is starting to become funny to me.
“Am I supposed ta be afraid'a tha big bad wolf? While he huffs an’ puffs his accolades an’ promises my way? Fuck no. Because tha reality'a thangs is dat when we're in Houston… Dan Ryan is gonna get his ass kicked. I'm front'a his family no less, mane I was just gonna go out there an’ give those fans tha match they deserve. But I see why ya wanted ya lil advantage. Cuz ya went wit ya big guns, ya came firin’ like it's no tomorrow.. So I want it ta be clear ta Alaina an’ Cecilia dat tha thangs I'm bout ta do ta you.. Are truly outta my control, dis was your call buddy. You tha one dat took shit ta heart, so now I gotta rip it out. But I'm sho Lindsay isn't gonna go fo’ dat but what if she has no choice? What if I were ta pull my good friend Damien out an’ have him join tha party? Would she disqualify me? I mean obviously in my stupidity, I wouldn't kno’ how dat situation would occur. Or since you're tha stickler fo’ pain an’ havin’ thangs shoved in ya face.. What if I choked ya until you ass was lifeless? Would she call fo’ dat bell declarin’ you tha winna’, yet I'm still tha champion?”
I wipe some of the perspiration from my face that had began to drip.
“I mean.. make it make sense. Who's game are we playin’, cause honestly tha ball isn't in yo’ court at tha moment. But you're tha veteran.. you're tha multiple 5, 10, 15 who gives a fuck. I had ta adapt ta my environment just like you did an’ at tha moment I feel like I'm in a box. In yo’ hometown dat lavish life'a yours is gonna be shattered. Cause you tried it, but it's time I read yo’ punk ass yo rights!”
I raise the CWF World Heavyweight Championship for the world to see.
“Cuz when it comes ta dis, you ain't got none.. See ya in H-Town.. Ryan..”