It’s funny how much things change over time; how different a person can become and how far they can trail from who they once were. Some for the better, some for the worse... but ultimately, it happens to everyone. We all change, we all grow, and we all evolve... its part of human nature. If we wish to survive in this world, we have to know how to adapt and move forward, and so many of us have mastered doing just that. For different reasons, mind you, but nevertheless there is not a single person in the CWF who does not understand the importance of moving forward against all odds, you especially, Danny.
The problem with moving forward, however, is how one manages to do it. Some of us move forward with our heads held high, whilst some others go blindly into the future, their vision focused on the past. That's the problem I seem to find in everyone else towards me, actually... so many people look at this run I’m on now and they don't see the true story, they just see the surface of an ocean-deep reality. I've heard people talk before, of course... say that I'm trying to relive the glory days-- which, you know? I only retired... what, two years ago now? Just about?
I’ve been doing this a long time, but I'm not an old man just yet. What I made was to take a break and I changed my mind... most people would think it a good thing that I did. I suppose though that it's just the nature of the beast in the end... those that stand against you will conjure up everything they can to try and bring you down, even when those against you are generally good, decent people.
It never changes, that at least is true. From Zoltan to you, dear Ripper, the nature of the beast is prevalent in many. There was a saying I used a very, very long time ago... it's fitting, really, especially for those few of the CWF who believe themselves to be miracles of wrestling: we're nothing like God-- in fact, sometimes, we're driven to become the devil himself.
There was a point in my career where I was driven to the brink and had to be helped back from it by a dear friend of mine, a time where I'd lost my mind and had to regain all sanity just to function well in the ring once more. The CWF was what provided me with shelter, a new home, a new hope for the future and eventually, a new life course I'd never thought possible. To spell things out here... my best days in the CWF?
They're not over.
They're not over, because I'm still fighting forward, and as long as I'm fighting in the CWF, I consider every day spent in this place to be the best day I've been within it. Sure, I can rank some matches in numerical order of importance to my career, but I treat each and every match the same in the end... and I can say this because hindsight allows me to do so. The point is, my matches blur together and yet remain clear memories to me, and that's because I treat every match with the same importance. I did it then; I do it today, even when I've no fear of losing today like I had back then. That's the one thing that so many of my opponents up until this point have failed to realize, and something that many of my critics just don't seem to understand: there's a reason I'm out and about on behalf of the CWF, there's a reason I'm with our fans more often making appearances, making speaking arrangements, and what have you... it's because right now I can use my abilities as a business mogul to help spread the CWF's fame.
That's what's important too, it's hooking in more people to see what we're all about. When I'm out there, sure it's my name that draws people in... but I'm not selling them on who I am, I'm selling them on who I work for, who made me, who put me in the world standing I find myself in today. The CWF has given me as much as it can, and now that I have the resources to give back, that's exactly what I find myself doing. It's honestly, very fulfilling work.
So when I hear critics talk, when I hear opponents claim that I'm a lucky fuck who only holds this lead in this block because of who’s in it and who I’ve faced? It doesn't offend me, hell it doesn't even really bother me at all... it just makes me laugh. It makes me laugh because even after everything I've proven, even after all the odds defied and the matches won despite all doubt... I'm still underestimated even today. These people to the CWF look at me and they don't see a legend, they don't even see a wrestler anymore... they just see a guy who got on a lucky run…not the man who’s poised to take the CWF mantle and world title to new heights.
They don't know why I walked away in the first place, they don't know the plans I put into action or the fact that, through that time away, I was still making appearances and never resting in my dreams. Rather than learn anything valuable from this story of mine, they think it to be some sort-of challenge to their own superiority and like nothing more than wild apes, they begin to beat their chests and swing their dicks about like it's some sort-of game of one-upsmanship. Because I once had success and came back to the game, they feel like they're being threatened by a person who, in their eyes, has no right to even be around any longer.
The fact of the matter is, Ripper, I'm here right now, I practically never left. It took me just about two years to do for my family's future what it takes most people a lifetime to achieve. The thing that most folks don't realize is...I didn't go to college for wrestling. I trained in a prestigious wrestling school, certainly, but what I went to college for was business... I understand this game better than most people in it do. Yet so many of the wrestlers still around today, and so many of these wrestlers now new to the CWF scene, just either don't plain remember or they never bothered to look it up. They never realized the impact I actually had on this place, never understood the goals and reasons I had for what I was doing... why do you think I was inducted into the Hall of Fame? I walked away, sure, but I wasn't going to be gone for long.
In any event, after hearing all the criticisms and the comments going on about me, it just... I dunno, it sort-of made me a bit more confident actually. People like Danny B are stretching for whatever they can find to reassure themselves that they'll do well against me. They keep reaching, and reaching, and struggling to grab at some misconceived notion that I'll actually take offense to what they say and let my guard down out of anger, so that they might capitalize on the advantage.
I guess I'm going to have to spell this one out for the fine people who love to talk so much trash, yet seem so very afraid to back it up once their time in the ring with me begins: none of you, not a single, solitary one of you, could possibly deny me my dreams any longer.
It's that simple, Danny. You just... you can't. There's nothing left that you can think of to or actually do to me, I've already earned my dreams, I'm already living my dreams, and when all that's left for me to do is finish this chapter off on this story of mine, you can bet that I'm not about to let someone, especially not you, old but dangerous Ripper, take the pen out from my hands.
Writing out this next chapter is very important to me; you know... it really is the culmination of all my planning, the accomplishment of all my dreaming, and the fulfillment of a goal set long before my career ever truly began. I've already accomplished so much, but there's still so much left to be done, and to me... it's an honor to be able to do it all in the place that got me to where I am.
That's why I'm entering into competitions where I can, that's why I'm accepting challenges and matches when they arrive, and that's why I'm going out worldwide for the CWF, spreading the name and the fame of the place that got me where I am today. It's because, for me, this is a dream come true... this is exactly where I never thought I could be in my career and yet somehow, here I am.
Yet it is because of these accomplishments that still others criticize, claiming that I'm nothing more than a wrestler who lives through the titles he gains. Allow me to ask the question, however... how do you really think I gained these titles in the first place? How do you think I managed to reach all the success I have? It wasn't by luck or coincidence, that's for certain.
Yet because of success, they choose to judge. Because of accomplishments, they believe me to be a man only living through those accomplishments, and they stand by these beliefs because it's all they have to make themselves feel some form of moral superiority over a man they know they'll never truly be able to surpass. We have people like Danny talking about how he's looking for revenge and how, despite his losses, despite what I’ve accomplished, he came out the winner in the end. He thinks people were talking about him more because he was the better man, the next hot star taking the CWF by storm, becoming the “guy... and it's sad, because he's only half-right and he's letting it get to his head.
He is a member of this federation's future, there's no doubting that. Danny, you may be old and broken in a lot of places, but your skill hasn’t dipped, and your in-ring ability makes you a serious threat to anyone who stands in your way, but that does not mean that he's already at the top of the federation because of it. You’re headstrong, that's for certain, but the problem is that you truly believe everything you said about me, and that, dear Ripper, will be your downfall in Salt Lake.
In the end, however... to be honest? It doesn't matter who I team with, I'm going to work with them to the best of my ability, just because I know that we can excel if at least one of us has their heart into it. The problem with a lot of these critics is that they don't realize the heart that I still have for this thing, the burning desire I have to see this federation prosper and move forward just as each of us individually within it works hard to move forward with ourselves. They don't understand that a lot of this chapter I'm writing here... it isn't just for me.
It's for the fans I left behind prematurely, it's for the federation I had to stop fighting for awhile, it's for the people I left behind when I did what I had to do. Of course it's for me, there are things left from my last run that I want to experience and there are people left who I've never fought before that I would love to face one on one with someday... but I'm not the sole reason for what I'm doing here today. That's the whole point of this story I've been telling, the whole point of what I've spoke of up to this very moment.
My family, my friends... the people who truly matter to me, they're who I do this for. For the fans who cheer me, who buy CWF products just because my name or picture is on them... these people who support me so fiercely, I refuse to let down. A guy can claim that I'm in it for myself, or that this humble attitude with confident bravado is nothing but a front to cover my gigantic ego... they can claim that I've never been a team player, or that I'm not cut out for the new breed of the CWF...
You see, Danny... you have your eyes on my past and see me in our present as if I'm on the run of my life. I'm not, those days are long behind me and I know there's no reliving them, so why bother trying when I can shape and define new moments in this life and career of mine? Hell, for all I know, the best of the best is still yet to come, and all that I've done up to this point in time has been in preparation for it. In this business, you never can know what to expect. The best you can do is study the tapes and prepare for anything.
My past is secure and it's something I'm proud of, it's something I can look back on and say that I lived to the fullest of my potential during. There are people I've met along the way and friends I've made that today I couldn't give up even if I wanted to, and all because of the decisions I made and the person I was back then. The person who grew into who I am today.
My present was planned out for a very, very long time... and those plans are what saw me find the success that I have. I'm proud of my present, because it took a lot of effort just to reach this point... and this point is something that even with all my planning I still didn't expect to reach in the end. My present is something I can live in and be happy, knowing that all I've wanted to accomplish I have, and all that's left to do now is tie up what loose strings still remain from before.
Ah, but my future? Aside from looking as bright as it does, what do I know about it to say that it's secure? My past dictated my present, and my present dictates my future... and right now, the ball seems to be eternally in my court, doesn't it? Despite people somehow still underestimating me, despite me somehow being some messed up kind-of underdog even after all I've done... I still maintain clear control over the situations that surround me, and I don't let myself get sucked into the pettiness and the politics of the federation that so many of these newcomers get tangled in.
Simply put, everything's gone according to plan up until now, and the plans I have for my future? Well... let's just say that although I'm already a legend today, this story of mine's only about to get better. I’m 6 for 6, and all those who came before you Danny, that wished to stop me in my tracks all fell to the end of my sword, despite each and every one of their best efforts to do so.
In the end... there was nothing that was able to stop Freddie Styles, not even the mighty Ripper.
And that, Danny, is just how the story goes.
There's no changing it. No avoiding it. No stopping the inevitable.
I'm a dreamer, a storyteller, a planner and a believer.
So tell me Ripper, hall of famer, self-proclaimed ender of my career... are you truly a beast, or just a highly decorated lame?
I hope it’s the former, because when you feel these last two words, you will truly respect my name…