Here’s a quick question for all of you out there? If you had spent the last two weeks reminding people just why none should be more feared than yourself, what would you do? When you have opened eyes to the truth, that you are indeed the beast that you said you were, when you have finally allowed your actions to overtake your words, what would be the first thing that you would want to do with yourself?
Stupid question really isn’t it? Because no one hearing these words right now would know what it’s like to be better than all others. There’s only one who could answer that question, and he honestly wasn’t in the mood to celebrate, at least not in the traditional way.
You see, straight away after potentially ending the career of Konrad Raab in the middle of the CWF ring, The Ripper had slipped away from the arena, and began his travel halfway across the world. If you have been paying attention over the last few weeks, you’d know that there was more on Danny B’s mind that just taking opponents apart limb from limb, no there was also some family matters to attend to. Before departing for Mexico in order to be in Cancun in time for the next show, he had laid over in merry old England for a couple of days, and it was there that the puzzle had begun to come together.
Now he had a moment to think it through, as he thundered along the open Mexican highways. He’d spend a fair amount of time over the last few months rediscovering the things he really loved, the things he would do to take a load off, and bastardising speed limits in fast cars certainly sit near the top of the list. This Midnight Blue McLaren 650S was certainly doing the trick. In truth, he missed his Lamborghini, but as that was somewhere across the Atlantic Ocean being freighted from Italy to America, this rental would do for now. Although, has he blistered around a sharp corner at 120 miles an hour, he was kinda thankful for the perfect handling and traction that only a technical masterpiece like this could achieve.
This was the only time he ever felt really alive, when he was staring death in the face. That was why he took these chances, that was why he picked these fights, that was why he couldn’t stay the everliving fuck out of trouble, no matter how hard he tried. It was built into him to seek out trouble at every possible juncture. That’s why when the family first gathered for that meeting and Ripper found out that someone was attempting to unravel the histories of The Master and his business ventures, that someone was trying to wade through the upper layers of their existence to get to the dark underbelly, his first thought was to hunt the fuckers down and show them what happens when you cross a Demon of Death. He’d been talked out of it, but that rage, that insistence that someone needed to pay for their actions was bubbling beneath the surface.
Yes Konrad Raab had been on the end of some of that much needed catharsis this past week, but it wasn’t enough, it was never enough. It continued to bubble, continued to try and escape from within the dark doldrums within him. The question of course now, without a target to aim at, will Amy Jo Smyth become the lucky recipient of the warrior’s wrath? After all, she knows exactly what it feels like to fall to The Ripper, and this coming Tuesday, history will once again repeat itself as she lays on that mat staring at the lights. The question is not if he will win, but how badly will he beat her.
Now, that’s a thought that puts a smile on his face.
He would have given said thought a lot more time to fester, given it a chance to grow as he formulated just what he would want to do to her once he got his hands on her. Alas, the night was creeping in, and he was miles away from the nearest town, and therefore, the nearest hotel. A night sleeping under the stars in the desert might sound hella romantic, but realistically, not very practical is it. So, saving his darkened desires for a lighter sky, he pushed the rev dial to max and shot off down the road, deciding that his last challenge of the night was to race God himself as he pulled the velvet blanket of night across the sky.
The next morning brought a sense of adventure out in The Ripper. A quick conversation with the hotel concierge had provided him with the knowledge that Cancún was about a 14 hour drive. To him, that sounded like a challenge. You see, he knew that there would be roughly 13 hours of daylight. It doesn't take Steven Hawking to work out that the math doesn't quite add up, but here's the thing about our esteemed protagonist, he doesn't give a flying fuck what the odds say.
For too long he had always felt on the back foot. In his wrestling career, business ventures and personal matters, he had always started behind the 8-ball, yet always somehow came out smelling of roses. This challenge against time would be no different. His upcoming fight with Amy Jo Smyth would be the exact same.
As he climbed into the seat of his McLaren, setting the GPS to his final destination, and ensuring that gas stations along the way were marked, he thought back to a time many years ago in a land far away.
Well, not that far away. Atlantic City to be exact.
He thought back to a true night of revelry. New year's eve, 2015. It was a glorious night, one he wishes he could remember a lot more of. While the clock turning midnight and the first few hours of 2016 were a little hazy upon recollection, the evening hours were not.
Earlier that evening, Boardwalk Wrestling had put on a special event known as Holiday Bonus. A spectacular card featuring some of the best wrestlers in the world. That night, something truly unprecedented occurred.
Two true stars of the business came together for what was to be a classic match. Amy Jo Smyth had been making her name in Boardwalk, and at that point was yet to lose even a single match. A golden opportunity had come her way. She had the choice to face anyone in the company. She chose the biggest match possible.
Her opponent was a man that had not been beaten in a match in nearly two years. A man that had walked into Boardwalk and taken over. A man that defied all expectations to become champion. A beast. A demon.
Amy Jo Smyth, undefeated and desperate for a real challenge had selected none other than The Ripper for her dream encounter.
Two warriors, two icons. One would cement themselves at the greatest wrestler the world had to offer. The other would sacrifice their streak, and live to regret the day they signed on the dotted line.
That night, it wasn't about the championship, it wasn't about making a statement, it wasn't about money. It was two goliath of the business both wishing to test themselves, two future legends looking to be better on the night. It was pride, nothing more, nothing less.
A classic contest it was. But the inevitable rang true. At the time there was none better than Danny B, and that night was no different. It was hellacious, it was career shortening, it was history making. But when that final bell rang, only one could stand tall, and the better of the two did just that.
He smirked as the car roared into life and he began edging it away from the hotel and out into the streets, it was longing for the open road as a means to truly come to life, and he realised in that moment, that's all he had been waiting for.
All this soul searching, all this trying to find himself, all this time wasted trying to be something he isn't. The answer was there all along. He didn't need to find the solution, he needed competition. True competition.
To some, Freddie Styles, Duce Jones, Zolton. They were competition, but to two people such as Amy and Ripper, they were big fish in a very small pond.
See, everyone had lauded the status of the three. Freddie, the heart of CWF, Duce the warrior champion, Zolton the unstoppable new force.
Duce couldn't beat The Ripper, Freddie Fell, Zolton burned out.
Just when it looked like Styles and Zolton were gonna go undefeated until they clashed with one another, Ripper tore away Freddie's record, and Amy controlled the Chaos.
Those two stayed the same level. Dominant, impressive, but ultimately, predictable. Their conquerors however? They had simply been waiting. When the time came, when the right competition faced them head on, the fires were lit, the heart pulsed. When staring down the barrel of greatness, they simply would not blink.
First the Ripper toppled the favourite, sending shock waves around the world. Not to be outdone of course AJ would usurp the rising star. Suddenly, in the space of 7 days. The world was turned on its head.
Now the focus had shifted, both spectator and warrior alike. Now they were the central plot point, the encounter upon which the future of this long and drawn out tale would be decided. The heroes no longer claimed dominance, because the masters had arrived.
The only problem with this anticipation? The result would he the same as five years prior. She would fall, and the King shall once again reign supreme.
Finally the car turned its wheels onto the open road. Danny allowed the 3.8 litre V8 beneath the hood to temper it's roar as the machine slowed to a crawl. This was always a moment to savour, that calm before the storm. The anticipation began to build, his heart was starting to race. He allowed his mind to tiptoe the line between clarity and insanity, exactly the same way he did every single time just before he stepped through the curtain. He waited just for that right moment...bang.
The pedal hit the metal, the car gave it's battle cry of power, launching itself forward with reckless abandonment. One single slip, one single moment of lapsed judgement and this beast was over. The tale would end in a fit of smoke and glory. But like fuck that mattered. Adrenaline surges. Heart thumps. Mind empties. This was man versus nature at it's finest. It could all end right here, right now, and that, that's the fucking point.
Towards the end of the journey, the daylight was starting to peter out. The fire within the Ripper's heart however, was burning as hot and bright as it ever was.
Cancún was in sight, so close and yet, still so far. He had been forced to enter a more public highway rather than the open roads he had been using so far, and as such, had been forced to a slow 60 mile an hour crawl towards the finish. The fire inside was turning white-hot, it was starting to boil him from the inside. If he allowed this to reach the surface, then all legality and morality would surely go out of the window. He could taste the betterment that his mind was holding him back from his heart's desires, but it was a necessary concession. At least for you.
There would be time to let himself run free, allow the inner demon to rise up and scorch the ground before him. That time was Tuesday. As he tiptoed towards his final destination, the car seemingly whining at the idea of prolonged periods within limits, his mind trickled over the wording used in the press release to hype the upcoming showdown.
This turn of phrase had left an unpleasant taste in the mind of the Golden Warrior. He had a level of professional respect for this former law woman yes, but this phrase got under his skin. After all, people could only be one of two statuses, Family, or enemy. As AJ was certainly not family, she was the latter.
It was nothing personal, even those people would believe would be looked upon favourably by him are very much considered nothing more than insignificant blots on his path of greatness. Amy he and had a shared history, and even a mutual respect, but respect is not a kindness.
As the traffic flow further slowed as he crept ever closer to his final destination, as the sun continued to dip in the night sky, threatening to thwart his attempts to once again defeat the forces of the Universe themselves, he considered his approach.
His opponent was smart, possibly one of the most intelligent competitors he had ever faced. She was also one of the most resilient. Like he, she had a nasty habit of forgetting herself in the heat of battle.
She is a wordsmith, a scientist, a logical woman. He'd been known to spin a tale or two in that time, and he did have a shiny piece of paper with his name on that stated that he knew a thing or two about biomedical science. Logic was not an issue for him, it just wasn't a game he much enjoyed playing.
That's what separated the two of them before, and the one thing that would allow these two recent shock-makers to he separated. Her cuts were precise, surgical even. She knew where to strike, she knew what option would provide the greatest result. She was faultless in both plan and execution.
It's that faultlessness that until this past week had ironically provided her with occasional fault.
When someone is that hyper-logical, they struggle when the book is being re-written before their eyes. Freddie and Duce are masters of adapting on the fly. That's why they were able to get one over on her, while she had every answer before the bell rang, they changed the questions.
As he was able to steer the monster beneath his feet with a single hand at this point, ever-keeping a piercing green eye on the steadily dropping sunlight, he altered his GPS to show the route to the Le Blanc Spa Hotel, his five star accommodation of choice. This challenge was looking tight for him, and that's just the kind of pressure he wanted.
He knew that coming into this final match, it was do or die time for him. He's dropped the ball on a couple of times, and every time he thought about those moments when Nathan Paradine stunned him, and Zolton outclassed him in his arrogance.
Those moments caused that fire to flare again, they were stupid mistakes. Especially when you consider that Duce Jones and Freddie Styles, the golden boys, the company favourites, they couldn't put him away.
That's something Amy couldn't claim. Of course the blemishes to his record were not stains on hers. Again, in so many ways equal, so many different. The story of their careers.
The night was creeping in fast at this point, and it was time to forget the rules. Time to go as hard and as fast as the streets would let him.
That was always his gameplan, nothing had ever changed. Not in ten fucking years. Go hard and fast. Take the rev counter to the redline. In his mind, Amy Jo Smyth had no chance in hell, because she'll be looking to answer the question. How do you beat the Ripper?
Problem with that… you don't. You luck out. Unless your name happens to be Amber fucking Ryan, you don't get beaten by him, you get by him.
So when the surgeon is looking for her perfect incision, where do you place your blade when no entry is the right one, when your precision cannot guarantee success, when you bring the scalpel to fight the butcher's cleaver… what do you do?
As Ripper handed over the keys to the valet just in time to step out and see the sun disappear over the horizon, he knew the answer, and it was simple.