Dropping my hands onto my lap lethargically and drearily pulling down the shutters over my eyes, I pressed my skull firmly against matted headrest and longed for the plane to hurry up and arrive in Atlanta. Lying back with my eyes closed and half heartedly attempting to fall asleep, I allowed my ears to guard over me as I listened in at the strange buzzing sounds that the aircraft made. “Nothing is ever perfectly silent, is it? Always some fuckin noise!” I mumbled to myself, paying absolutely no attention to the strange looks that the lady to my right was undoubtedly giving me.
With my sense of hearing clearly fine-tuned in the absence of sight, I began to pick up snippets of a conversation between a few kids on the row behind me. For around five minutes they argued whose turn it was to play on the Switch and then a few moments of silence soon followed. I secretly hoped that it was the elder of the two that had won that particular battle, only because I understand the hardships of being the eldest brother in the house. Barely maintaining consciousness, I drifted back and forth between dreams. Not noticing that a rather large blob of saliva had crawled out from underneath my tongue and was ready to drop on my neighbor’s leg, I continued to listen in on the boys’ conversation. Finally, a subject of interest came up.
“There’s just no way Raab could beat Duce Jones! You’re so wrong!”
“Am not!” And so the quarreling continued for several minutes until a well-timed intervention from their mother brought about a brief rest bite for my eardrums. However, that was short lived. “Hey, did you hear about Freddie Styles? I heard a rumor that he’s returning to CZW!”
Erupting like a volcano, my eyelids suddenly peeled back as the faintest utterance of my name revitalized my senses. Everyone likes hearing other people talk about them. There’s something truly amazing about someone complimenting you; it’s almost as if another soul is giving his or her seal of approval to your life. What could possibly be more satisfying?
“Styles’ coming back? Whoa! Neato!” “Yeah, apparently, they’re bringing him back because ratings are dwindling! They’ve offered him megabucks to return! ”
In all honesty, their version of events was quite a variation on the truth. The deal that had been placed before me wasn’t particular dissimilar to my original contract…maybe a few more 0’s, but nothing serious. Several other high-profile organizations had tried to tempt me into signing for them, but I simply wasn’t interested.
Home is where the heart is. And mine is in the CWF.
“Why would he return though? He already beat everyone and won the Heavyweight title! I always wondered why wrestlers don’t just take all their money and retire or something!” At face value, you’d think that such a statement from one so young was pretty well thought and intelligent. Indeed, it’s true in the case of 90% of working men that they’d simply just up and leave if they were to fall into a bit of cash. Normal men spend many a fine moment fantasizing about the joys of retirement; sunny beaches, garden parties, cocktails at 3 am. Bliss, eh? Not for me. It was then, as the boys continued to chirp on about my career, that I realized exactly what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted people to speak about me without ever knowing about it. I wanted to bring a little bit of light into some young kid’s life in Africa. I wanted the whole world to know and adore my very existence. Turning my head to the window beside me and gazing out at the maroon colored sky only offered at sunset, I felt at ease with the world once more. The enchanting beam of the horizon seemed to smile in my direction, offering its own approval upon my life. That’s when I knew I’d made the right decision to once again return to America. I’d made the right decision in joining the CZW. In my head, I pictured the ever-loving God above reaching down from his Kingdom on high and patting my head carefully. A sudden sense of warmth shook me from head-to-toe as life just suddenly felt… right. And so, I ventured onto Atlanta with high hopes and dreams. However, I wasn’t exactly sure of what I wanted to be. Well, at least, I couldn’t exactly define what I wanted to be. Suddenly, one of the kids helped me out, or so I thought at first. “I think he just wants to be a legend,” he said. Nodding meagerly, I sat in careful thought for a good few seconds as I considered the possibility. Maybe he was right. But then again, maybe he was wrong.
Nelson Mandela. Winston Churchill. Jack Nicholson. Diego Maradona. Abraham Lincoln. Throughout everyone’s lifetime, we’ve grown accustomed to certain names and because of this was associate certain feelings and stigmas accordingly. There’s some kind of mental trigger that processes the sorts of names I’ve already listed that leads to a “whoa! Hey! He’s a legend!” response from our brain. The human design a wonderful and complex thing, but it also has its drawbacks. I mean, is being a legend so great? I don’t think so. In twenty thousand years’ time, the chances are that all memories of people like Nelson Mandela will be long gone. Naivety amongst the youths of today is obvious; most American kids don’t even know where Australia is! Now, given a huge time scale, there’s the likelihood that what will be regarded as “ancient” history will be simply discarded. That’s when legends breakdown. That’s when people fail to exist. However, when you think about it, there is one sure fire way of guaranteeing a place in history. It’s quite simple really. Basically, you’ve got to hold some kind of record. You’ve got to be down on paper as being the best at something. You see, ink and paper are eternal – names alone are not. So, I head into Evolution 66 knowing that whilst some already regard me as a legend in this sport, I need to ensure my name litters the title records. One reign as top dog simply isn’t enough to safeguard my legacy. With that in mind, I tell you all now… Amy Jo Smyth isn’t the one that’s defending anything in this match. I’m the one who’s defending. I’m defending my name, my honor and my pride. And I’ll be damned if the good doctor thinks she’s bigger than that.
Shredding gigantic leaves with my trusty machete, I bumbled further and further into the vast jungle land, not knowing what to expect with each step. Peering down at my feet, I could barely make out the brown leather that encased my boots as a muddy void stared back at me. “Not much further to go now,” I reassured myself, wiping the waterfall of sweat from my brow. Strange birds and animals made noises overhead. They came from the trees, from the sky… everywhere. It seemed as if every nook and cranny of the jungle held a new terror – it was for that very reason that I continually surveyed my surroundings, brushing my eyes from right to left cautiously. Finally, after brushing back a few more enormous palm trees, I saw it for the very first time. The temple. For years I’d searched for something to elevate my reputation above those of my scientific peers and now, as I bore down upon The Lost Temple of the Aztecs, I knew that my name as a researcher would live on far beyond my lifetime. A sudden euphoria surged through my body leaving me giddy and carefree. Scrambling down a potentially dangerous mudslide recklessly, I paced towards my target destination with a glowing smile on my face. The wind’s raw echo bellowed between the rocks formulating some kind of odd whistling sound… but, given my current state of mind, it was like music to my ears. However, the scenario was suddenly soured by the appearance of an intruder. A ghastly stone like creature emerged from out of nowhere, bearing down upon me with sinister grins and callous facial expressions. The brisk evening air suddenly turned cold as I realized that the myths about the temple guardian were in fact true. Half man and half brick, the demon seemed to block the only entryway into the temple… but I hadn’t come this far only to be knocked back by this hellish brute. “Stand aside,” I proclaimed, engaging the demon with a tone that would chill frost. “I must enter the temple.” The large lug threw a swift right hand in my direction, knocking me backwards on the coarse ground beneath my feet. A faint stream of blood began to flow instantly from my nose. Wiping my face off with contempt, I flashed an unholy glare at my attacker. He offered no response. “I will not be denied by physical strength alone!” I shrieked, cursing the fact that the guard were in far superior condition than myself. After years of respecting the fact that real power comes from the head and not the arm, it seemed that the Gods were looking to disprove this theory by halting my most glorious hour in such a fashion. Realizing that I had to play to my own strengths, I began to study the situation, hoping that I’d find something I could use to my advantage. All I had to do was devise a plan to defeat the brute in front of me… and then my name would be sang for all of eternity. Determination grasped my neck, flung me to the floor and begged me to press on. Evoking a strange warrior spirit inside of me, I felt my soul grow in stature as it clung to the tools necessary to get the job done. Smiling with a newfound sense of confidence and ready to tackle the job at hand, I nodded my head and pointed towards the Promised Land. “I’m going to do whatever it takes,” I said, smirking with glee. “That much you can count on.” And so, I rolled my sleeves up and prepared for the battle ahead.
You know, I’m sick and tired of people throwing around the term “legend” loosely. It’s got to be one of the most clichéd and overused phrases in our world today. Once upon a time, it actually meant something to be a legend. Now though, to be a “legend” simply means to hold the spotlight for a split second, especially as far as the wrestling industry is concerned. I’m looking to change all that though. I’ve heard all the rumors, all the gossip and all the idle chit-chat from the general public calling for future Hall of Fame inductions. Naturally, my name floats around when topics like this come up. However, there’s one thing that I want all those people who think I should go in the Hall of Fame to consider… I don’t want to be in it. Confused? Bewildered? Maybe you should be. You see, it’s hard for the average Joe to understand that anyone wouldn’t want to be recognized as one of the best wrestlers ever produced by this company. Everybody wants to be acknowledged, right? Everyone wants to be patted on the back for a job well done, don’t they? Not me. I’m aiming higher than that. You see, as far as the CWF goes, I’ve got bigger plans. I don’t just want to end up in the Hall of Fame alongside wrestlers such as Ripper. I want to be elevated far beyond that. I want to be remembered as the greatest of all time. I want my own level, my own Hall of Fame, if you will.
Many might argue that I have too much ambition, but that’s exactly what they said about Alexander before he conquered the entire world. Beating some Southern respect into Smyth this Tuesday night will further propel me to the realms of fantasy once more. it’s got the power to transform an ordinary human being into… something more than that. A god, almost. One belt to rule them all.
So, as we head forward into what is perhaps the biggest match of my career thus far, I stand prepared to look Amy Jo Smyth in the eyes and tell her “hey, I was born to run this show.” I’ve never been a particularly selfish individual, but I feel it’s about time I took this little game by the scruff of the neck and displayed my true power. No more playing around. Amy Jo is a worthy adversary that has proved her worth in this tournament up till now. However, she and a lot of you forget that I’ve been a wrestling icon for many moons now. I’m well equipped to get the job done in the face of adversity… and that’s exactly what’s going to happen at Evolution
For now though, whether people will remember my name in twenty years’ time is irrelevant. This is all about the path to that very goal. Sure, I can dream of leaving my own legacy behind, but I’ve got to focus on the task at hand. Maybe they will chant the name of “Freddie Styles!” from the rafters for years after my death. Maybe they will award national holidays in the name of “Freddie Styles” in the future. At Evolution on Tuesday, I do not walk into that arena with the name of “Freddie Styles.” No… I walk into that arena as the instrument of Amy Jo Smyth’s defeat. Nothing more and nothing less.
You’ve got one day left, Amy Jo. Try to get some sleep.