Now I’m off to the City of Brotherly Love.
Somewhat ironic, given their public displays of aggression and disapproval of their sports figures through the years, but certainly fitting. The origin comes from how much they all care about the city itself, which can lead to some hard truths sometimes.
Hard truths. They’re the fuckin’ worst, bro.
Especially since the extremely hard, straight-shootin’ truth is that it’s time to step it up.
It’s a new year. A new city. A new chance to turn up the dial and put on a fuckin’ show.
This is what I need. It’s not just a chance to dance with one of the most decorated inmates in this asylum. It’s a chance to turn the corner and make the most out of the opportunity in front of me.
Everybody is gonna be watching the Hog Dog to put on a show for his upcoming War Games feature. Nobody will be looking to me to put on a show that they’ll remember when they talk about ReVival 42.
Time to do some work, bro.
We find PRIME’s favorite hot dog connoisseur of PRIME, Crash Jackson, strolling down the sidewalk in the heart of Philadelphia doing two things he absolutely loves. Heading to a local pro wrestling school, after hours, to get his sweat on in a ring all to himself and, number one on the list, chowing down on some glorious Philly Style Nathan’s from the dude in front of his hotel.
I wonder if he’ll still be there when I get back… sheeeeeeit.
This is the point where he realizes the nihilation of said Nate’s Greats was too fast, too furious. He pulled a real Vin Diesel on these dogs. His mouth is so full, Crash is absolutely struggling for air and scrambles for some water. Finally, he does Joey Chestnut proud and gets it all down, possibly close to choking to death with delight.
… F.uuuuck… Bro… I think I almost went down there…
Crash stops his stroll, propping himself against a brick building to take some deep breaths. The thought of passers by casually going along with their evening is somewhat alarming but, all in all, he appears to be extremely pleased. Mostly with the hot dogs but also with the not dying, alone, on the sidewalk.
That Wiz is the ticket, bro.
The Northern Light knows better than to eat those many delicious doggies that fast, this late, no matter how much he tries to justify turning around to attempt death by hot dog, and locks his focus back on to the task at hand – getting to that gym and then taking that hard work and focus into the Wells Fargo Center when he gets to step into the ring with Nate Colton. The Next Diamond. The next chance to shake things up.
Shake this city like a goddamn Bro Globe.
With a quick gate and rhythm under his feet, Crash wraps up the feast, crumples up the trash before he behind the back dishes the wrappers into a trash can as he cruises by without missing a beat. The corner of his mouth kicks up, looking up with hopes somebody else caught it, and quickly locks eyes with a total knockout looking right at him through the thin crowd. She bats her lashes before shifting her eyes downward, smiling, as they both move forward towards one another.
Crash slows his stroll enough to admire the view before she snaps her head up, catching Crash with his jaw on the floor and his mind in the gutter.
Oh nooooo. Caught, broooooo.
Already way too caught to stop, he leans into it and just smiles emphatically when they near, and spins on his heel when she breezes by him. A glance over the shoulder is enough to make Crash break the land speed record to strike up some flirty banter. His fantasy breaks as another pedestrian passes, knocking into the duffle over his shoulder towards the front of his body, before it drops into his crotch with a heavy thud.
Crash does his best to stay on his feet but, with his nuts bolting up into his throat, his cheeks swell and grow with complete agony.
“Loooowwww blooooowwww, brooooo.”
Nobody hears him, probably because nobody is listening, or cares, honestly. Clutching his groin, there’s no chance the lovely lady is still in sight. Shifting the duffle, Crash recalls why he just got nut tapped by a gym bag and takes pause until his balls drop from his upper body. Finally feeling back to the standard amount of pain, from throwing his body around daily and shit, he lets out a real deep breath.
Eyes up, boyyo. That’s the kind of shit that happens when you don’t keep your focus.
He turns his head forward, pulling his phone out to notice the clock’s closing in on the time agreed upon at the Catchpoint Wrestling School.
The time of night when he can get in there and get some real work done without everyone and their brother around to jam everything up. The thought of no resistance in preparation for this match draws a smile glowing with determination from under his lips. That’s why Crash dials up the gym to make sure the plans still in play before continuing on his way.
Nate motherfuckin’ Colton. How in the Hell am I gonna pull this off? I’m gonna need to figure some shit out. Fast. Right now.
Well that was… actually, makes total sense. Wrestling gym in South Philly, late on a Saturday night? I’d be pissed if dude didn’t answer like that.
“Yeah, hey, this is Crash. Just making sure I’m still good for a few hours after ya close it up tonight?”
“Crash Jackson? Guy from PRIME?”
“Well, yeah, but you can just call me Crash.”
There’s a brief silence as the intermittent heavy breathing coming from the other end fades out. He pulls the phone away from his ear, doing the thing where people look at their phone weird, wondering what he’s hearing. Is it sex breaths or eating breathing?
I bet he got some of those dogs, dude!
“Billy. You still good with Crash Jackson usin’ the place tonight?”
Goddamnit, dude. Why does everyone wanna say two words when they can just say one? Nerds.
“Yep. Tommy told me to tell you to remind Crash Jackson to wipe up or this is gonna be a one time deal. His words, not mine.”
Not you too, Billy.
“You hear that?”
“Yessir, not a problem. I’m on my way now. Probably fifteen minutes?”
“See ya soon, Mr. Jackson.”
AM I SPEAKING PITTSBURGH HERE?
The call ends with a click and PRIME’s least likely person to be on a one name basis shaking his head. It’s not a real issue, it’s just frustrating, but one that he knows the root cause of. Sure, wrestling fans worldwide know that PRIME is in the top tier of the professional wrestling industry with the absolute best list of names to put in front of the world at every event. The shitty part is that a lot of them don’t know Crash from a Stock photo.
Haven’t done shit to earn it.
The focus in his eyes shifts to the past few weeks, causing his brow to lower and that determined grin wash away. Replacing it is a teeth-clenching, jaw-tightening brief look of concern.
Two straight losses, bro. A best bro fallin’ off the face of the wrestling Earth. Totally droppin’ the ball in front of my hometown PRIMEates to the big boy, Bobby fuckin’ Dean. Hard to say you’ve done good things recently, my guy.
Using this time to reflect on his time in PRIME doesn’t exactly fill him with hope but it’ll pass the time until he gets to work. Failing to live up to the billing is a hard lesson to go through for an aspiring professional wrestler. There are too many tales that end with failure and tragedy rather than the ones that end with glory and success. The thought of failure is enough to jolt New York’s Finest out of the rabbit hole of self-doubt.
His jaw relaxes when he approaches a crosswalk. Scanning both ways, it’s clear to go, and he darts across the street with haste. He continues his rhythmic stroll, soaking in the city sounds and sights, learning what South Philly really looks like. His mind stays on the same track, however, and keeps reminding him of what really needs to be done.
Just gotta keep goin’, right? No sense in cryin’ about it or callin’ Dad every time I get myself in a hole. Only person who is gonna fix this is you, dude.
Crash remembers seeing his parents after his horrid performance at ReVival 41. His Mom was generally unaware as usual but his Dad said something that still rings in his head, and heart, as if he heard it ten minutes ago.
“Take care of the things you can control. The rest will take care of itself, kid.”
Truth is that his old man is offering life advice but he’s in the business of wins and losses. Wrestling is about winning. Look at the man who beat him, Rob Williams, who has a chance to grab a PRIME championship belt at ReV 42. Look at the man he lost his first match to and much-more-celebrated friend, Max Kael?, who is shooting straight to the top of PRIME’s hierarchy with incredible pace.
Wins make and break us. That’s the straight up truth. The only way to get better… is to be better, bro.
Be fuckin’ better.
As the Witching Hour approaches, Crash notices less people in his path to the gym, and it crosses paths with his last few thoughts. The metaphor comes to mind that this siewalk is the exact opposite of his road to winning and becoming a PRIME champion.
Every single person on the PRIME sidewalk is an obstacle. There aren’t any layups, as they say, and it’s time to stop wishin’ it was different. It’s gonna be the toughest thing in your life to get to the top. Only way you can be the best, bro, is to beat the best. Cliche as it is, it’s too fuckin’ true.
Crash realizes that his evening journey is near an end when he spots the Clutchpoint sign ahead. His eyes bounce around wondering if anyone nearby is involved with wrestling or a fan even. He smirks, shakes his head and refocuses on the gym.
Things haven’t been easy so far. Figured that out at least. So…
The man with the curly red hair comes to a stop. He notices most of the lights are off in the front area before spotting two guys around the front desk. He knocks on the window, prompting one to his feet. The metal lock clicks open before an older man opens the door.
“You Crash Jackson?”
The Grand Master of Splash smiles submissively, tongue in his cheek, before he nods reluctantly. Yet another sign that there’s a lot of work to do before he gets that One Name Superstar status.
No sense in doin’ things easy.
– – –
It’s gonna be an honor to get in that ring with you Hog Dog.
I kind of envy you, Brolton.
Not because of what you’ve done. More because of how you got here.
Big Poppa Jake gave you the keys to the Colton Kingdom and you certainly seem to be making your way to claim the crown.
So that’s where I’m comin’ into that ring with every intent to learn from somebody who’s got what I want. I wanna see what makes you better than me. I wanna see why you gonna get to have your fancy ass plasted all over Culture Shock ’24 posters while I gotta crawl out of the puddle.