Championship Wrestling Federation….
For over two years, it was a place I call home. A place that in the grand scheme of it all… made Duce Jones.. Fresh off of the plane, it was my first destination. And once that ink dried on the contract, there was no looking back. Undefeated streaks, member of arguably the greatest tag team to step foot inside of a CWF ring. Two time World Champion, even retired a belt.
With as many accomplishments that I've achieved over my career with the company. The name Duce Jones only associated with poop.
Anyway.. I was always taught to never judge a book by its cover. Although I'm pretty sure I'm judged whenever I walk into a room.
Did somebody look at you funny? Cause if they did…
Ugh.. I'm pretty sure it's been awhile since we've had our customary sessions. But lately.. I've been dealing with a bit of extra baggage.
Who the fuck he calling baggage?
Must be talking to you, because he damn sure isn't talking to me.
Will y'all shut the fuck up!? I'm tryna get my mind right for this big main event this coming Tuesday.
Smoke a blunt.
Yeah.. roll that shit up! Ain't that what we always do before a big fight?
Sounds legit to me.
It's kinda hard to stay focused when there's constant bickering. I thought I had rid myself from the voices when I extracted Byson's psyche from my brain.
Now you know better than that.
I do.. I'd been dealing with the voices for the better part of my life. Parasites feasting on my conscious.. the constant migraines.. the blackouts had returned. It was all bad.. good thing wrestling kept me busy.
Yeah, cause ain't no telling what you would've done to Si and the kids.
Don't ever play me like that.
He just saying is all..
It had been a longgggg week. As usual, whatever could go wrong went wrong. I had found myself detained by Mexican authorities. I'm pretty sure you're wondering how..
All I did was walk through a door.
For the life of me I couldn't comprehend how I ended up in this situation. I tried to explain to them several times.. in horrible broken Spanish might I add to convince them I was a professional wrestler.
They weren't trying to hear that shit though..
Hell naw.. said I fit the description of a known drug trafficker out of El Paso..
The shit i go through to make a living. I pace back and forth inside of the tiny cell. No real way to identify myself, seeing as how all my belongings were back at my room and they took my cell phone. So.. agitated was an understatement. Then I was missing media day for the show so that was money lost.. shit just wasn't going my way.
Just try and talk to the officer..
With three years of Spanish under my belt.. yeah right..
Nothing beats a failure but a try.
That's something mom would say. Fuck it. For it to be 2019, i would figure that Mexican hail cells wouldn't be so…
That's it.. I walk towards the bars, grabbing onto them as I try to catch the guards attention.
I had heard Nina say it before. I was unsure of what it meant but it was enough to catch one of the guards attention.
"Umm… did right here. Is a big.. no grande misunderstandin'"
He only stares at me with blank eyes..
"Uhh… ¿Tu habla English?"
And that was the end of that conversation.
I knew I should've paid more attention in class.
I had stood for far too long as my legs grew tired. I decided to have a seat and do the only thing I knew to do to escape my situation..
I took a seat on the bottom iron rack that was screw into the brick wall. Bringing my legs up and crossing them, I close my eyes and let my mind roam free.
My eyes pop open. A memory that I thought I had stored away rearing it's ugly face. I clear it from my mind before closing my eyes again.
"NO! Please! I have a fam…"
I quickly opened my eyes not wanting to take a trip down memory lane.
Dude… I forgot all about him..
Why you gotta bring up the bad things?
It wasn't intentional, just a force of habit. The life of being the better conscious. Having to deal with all the burdens while the others continue on as if things never happened.
I really need to get out of here.
Damn I hate missing money over bullshit.
Two hours had passed and none of the officers seemed to eager to do their jobs. I had nothing else better do, so I stood by the bars evaluating each officer inside of the station. One fiddled around with an outdated laptop, while two others conversed in front of an old flat screen television. And that's when it happened. A promotional video for CWF's Paradise plays over the screen.
"Aye! I'm s'posed t'be there!"
They pay me no mind as they continue to watch the television until my picture flashes across the screen along with Mia as our advertised main event against Dan Ryan and Lindsay Troy brings the video to an end.
Having now noticed my face, one of the men looked in my direction as I cockily smile back at him. I nod my head in approval as he leans over to his colleague and points back in my direction. The other guy now looks my way.. both of them quickly leave.
An hour and some odd minutes had passed before they finally returned with who I would assume to be their superior. Though he was dressed more for military action than police duty. The two speak privately with him before pointing in my direction.
What kinda fuck shit is this?
After they're done.. the three of them head in my direction. When they get near, the one that's now in charge eyes me from head to toe with a scowl. He motions for me to come closer to the bars. Which I do because I honestly didn't have anything else better to do.
He takes hold of my right arm and begins to examine the tattoos that cover it in its entirety. Which wasn't hard for him, thanks to the sleeveless vintage 'Kronic' shirt that I wore. He releases my arm and looks me in my eyes and then down to my teeth.
I've watched enough Mexican Wrestling to know what that means.
He scoffs and laughs.
"You… no look... like luchador.."
He understands this as his face lights up.
"Mí niños.. they like lucha libre.. first.. you show me match."
I'm confused. So I point to myself.. Unestablished sign was the true universal language.
I search the ceiling for the words, but unfortunately they are not there, so I do the only thing I can think of. I contorted my hand into a makeshift phone gesture as I place it to my ear. He laughs and nods, pulling one of those fancy iPhones too the umpteenth dimension associated with the twelfth power, from his pocket and hands it to me.
I'd never found myself on the CWF website as fast as I had done at that moment. I scan the site and find old highlights associated with my bio page. I quickly press play and hand the phone back to him. He nods and turns his back, eyes fixated on the screen as he leaves the room.
So… that's it?
He can't just leave like that!
Fuck my life...
Everything was now lost on me. How could these muthafuckas have visual proof of who the fuck I was and not release me?
Just focus on your match.
How the fuck can I focus when I'm stuck behind bars? This shit is crazy!
Another hour and thirty minutes had passed before I was finally released. Freedom never seemed so beautiful before. I checked my phone as I exited the station to see that Byson wanted to meet up. Hell I didn't have anything else better to do. I had already missed media day by several hours and had a flight scheduled for Key West within the next couple of hours. So I guess I had some free time to kill..
I loathe flying with a passion. It was never my preferred form of transportation but when you have obligations to be met and children to feed. You end up making sacrifices. There I was, riding coach as the plane soared through the air, headed for Florida.
Since becoming a freelancer, more money was beginning to flood my bank account and I damn sure wasn't going to argue with that. I had a family to provide for and my career was beginning to make strides in ways that I could never imagine. I was past the point of the butterflies, finally starting to solidify my footing in this industry. However…. there was still work to be done. I was scheduled to face Ryan and Troy with Mia as my partner. Big match in my career if I do say so myself. But yet it felt like just another night to collect a paycheck.
I mean I cared about the match. Don't get me wrong, it just felt.. forced..
Maybe it's just me..
The pilot informed us that the flight was about to land and I couldn't of been happier. Before I went to battle with the Inner Circle.. I had to get myself tuned up with some generic no name.. Wasn't much of a challenge but I still wanted to be limber on my feet before the big encounter.
Several hours had passed as I walked along the beach. The Moon was slowly beginning to glow through the cloudy night sky as I strolled along barefooted. The last couple of months of my tenure with CWF had been less than pleasant. Slip up after slip up.. no one else noticed but I was starting to lose myself.
Ya got that right!
Championship Wrestling Federation…
I pull my phone from my pocket and pull up the camera. I press the red record button and try to get some decent lighting. I soon found the perfect spot under the moonlight.
"Novemba', 2017.. First off my twenty-second birthday.. I made my debut in tha Championship Wrestlin' Federation.. almost two years lata'... An' look at me now.. accomplishment afta' accomplishment.. bullet point afta' bullet point added t'my resume.. Yet.. I feel I have ta accomplish mo'.. Now I kno' a few'a y'all already kno' dat I'm no longa' signed to a full term contract wit CWF.. I learned dat my stock wasn't gonna rise if I confined myself t'just one company..
Crazy right? I kno'.. I kno'... but Duce! You were the one screaming about loyalty. Staying CWF through and through!
At one point, dat's exactly how I felt.. but management made me feel as if my talents were underappreciated.. Outsida afta' outsida signed ta exclusive contracts while I was stuck givin' my all fo' a bullshit rate! Then Stewart gaslighted me wit hopes an' dreams of a betta' future.."
I roll my eyes.
"Yeah.. right.. at one point, I was unda' tha assumption dat tha CWF was loyal to their own.. but it's only loyal to itself.. It's only loyal t'tha dolla." Tha big money fights if ya will.. doesn't matta' at what cost eitha'.. Love… friendship… egos… whateva' it could take..
But dis is a cutthroat business.. I was raised in dis world, so I don't kno' why I was naive t'tha fact dat I was only stock.. cattle.. a means ta a financial gain fo' tha company.. but I'm not gonna completely duce on tha company dat made me tha man I am today. Tha very company responsible fo' Duce bein' Duce.. many nights my blood has covered dat mat! An' many nights I've laid it all on tha line fo' dis company. When I was injured.. There was no concerned calls or well wishes on a speedy recovery..
Just.. we need ya back in tha rang.."
"Dat's why Duce went into business fo' Duce.. Cause I'd be a damn fool ta let CWF brang me ta an early grave.. But… dat's not why I'm recordin' dis.. naw.. I'm recordin' dis cause Tuesday night, believe it or not.. I'm steppin' inside'a tha rang wit three folks dat I respect. Now I'm pretty sho Lindz an' D-Ry were caught by surprised by dat one. Contrary ta popula' belief, I respect that forty year combined experience dat tha two'a y'all share.. Ryan came here an' shut my mouth on two occasions.. but… there's always a but.. You should kno' me well enough by now D-Ry.. But ya kno' what they say about assumptions..
"Ole Ducey J has a heart an' stands strong behind Mia. I'm sho ya didn't give a fuck bout tha history between us like we could give a fuck bout you an' Lindz but.. there's history an' now mutual respect.. So when I saw you an' sus tryna gang up on em.. I couldn't let it slide.. Dat's how my pride work.. if I respect ya, I'm not gonna let ya be outnumbered. I kno'.. I kno'.. what sense does dat make? None in tha grand scheme'a thangs cause when ya really break tha shit down.. Nothin' makes sense. I'll give ya an example.. like that fact dat millions of Americans celebrate that death of millions of natives.. Then have tha audacity ta call it Thanksgivin'. Like they didn't coherce their way into takin' a whole fuckin' continent. Howeva' intellectually, tha scholars will tell ya dat it's tha day when peace was made through food. Doesn't make sense but it does.. I guess right?
But dat's beside that point. My point is dat I have no concerns standin' beside Mia cause I kno' personally what she's capable of.. An' she's one not t'be fucked wit.. but wit twenty years in tha game… I'm sho you're passed carin' about ya opponent's pedigree.. But you've earned dat privilege outright.. But dis is where yo' assumption prove abysmal yet again. Gettin' involved wit these affairs wasn't about pride.. I learned ta swallow dat shit a long time ago. It wasn't about that World title cause I've been there an' done dat. Dis was about helpin' out someone dat I respected when they needed it. But don't get it twisted.. Dis match is about ta be an eye-opena'.. A lotta folks are gonna be exposed t'tha truth.. An' tha hard truth is dat no matta' how I feel about dis company as a whole Mia an' myself are tha blood dat flows through dis company's veins.. Y'all may hold tha titles but we got tha company on our backs.
We put asses in tha seats an' paved tha way for tha 'guys in tha back' ta roll out tha red carpet fo' y'all. I might not like how shit roll but I still stand strong behind that company dat's made me who I am. Title wins.. they were there.. court dates.. they were there.. a full mental breakdown on national television! They were there.. An' dat's why.. I couldn't leave tha heart an' soul'a CWF ta fight dis battle alone.. Lindz.. D-Ry.. See ya in Cancún.."
I press the save button and forward the promo to CWF Wired, taking a seat in the sand and staring up at the Moon.