Hours after ReVival 002
Craig grabs the side of the wall, hopeful to keep himself upright, but feels quite a bit of resistance to this idea. Every inch of his body is on fire, muscles screaming for air, bones tensing from the pressure being applied to them, and is certain his body is on the verge of giving up.
Mere feet away is a large bathtub in the suite of his hotel room at the MGM Grand and it is filled with ice to help relieve the swelling in his joints, to help nurse him back to somewhat healthy after his match with Bobby Dean.
Yet, he is unable to move much further than where he is now and feels his body collapsing unto itself. Until he is literally on the floor in the bathroom, unable to move. As he falls, there is a large crash that echoes throughout the bathroom from a towel stand that he’s knocked over on his way to the floor.
He lies there, his body seizing, and he curses underneath his breath. This is not how this was supposed to go, he thinks to himself. He places his calloused hands onto the cold tile of the bathroom and works to push himself back up, but the strength isn’t there at the moment.
Before he can make another attempt to get himself up, the door to his bedroom flies open and enters his daughter.
‘Dad!’ Rose yells, seeing him on the floor of the bathroom. She rushes over to him and puts her left hand on his back, but he shrugs it off.
‘I’m fine,’ he groans while he sits up.
‘Yeah, real fine while lying on the floor of a bathroom. You know Dad, I don’t care how nice the MGM Grand is and I’m sure their cleaning staff is top-notch, but the floor of the bathroom is no place to just rest.’ Her sarcasm creates a puddle on the floor.
‘Well, now that I know that, you can leave me in peace and I will rethink my life choices.’
She rolls her eyes. ‘I can out-sarcasm you any day of the week, so don’t even think about trying it again. Are you ready to call this comeback over? Because it’s been one match and you’re on the floor of your bathroom. The towel stand has been knocked over and you seemingly can’t even pull yourself back up to your feet.’
‘Not going to buy that I was meditating?’
She sighs. ‘For fuck’s sake Dad, no.’ She then moves back towards the bedroom. ‘Brian! Get in here now!’
‘Oh, come on now,’ Craig yells out. ‘I’m perfectly fine!’ He then begins to pull himself up again and begins to make his way up to his feet before his hamstring and calves give out on him as Brian walks into the room. Dressed in a pair of blue jeans and a red sweater, he looks over at his father-in-law tumbling to the floor once again, and rushes over to help him out.
‘Get the fuck off of me,’ Craig quite roars at him before he rolls over onto his back and looks up at the fluorescent lights, wondering why this was the moment that God decided to embarrass him the most.
‘Dad!’ Rose yells back at her father while pulling himself up again, his body resting against the bathroom wall. Sitting there in just a pair of black boxer briefs, he places his head in his hands and stares at the floor. Rose looks at Brian, his right hand running through his jet black hair, and shakes her head.
‘Come on Dad, let us help you up.’
He slams his fist into the ground, his strength causing a reverberation throughout the bathroom. ‘I don’t want your help! If I needed your help, I would’ve asked you.’
‘Like hell you would have!’ she screams back. ‘You think you’re above needing help, that you’re able to figure out everything on your own. Well, guess what, you’re not. You’re a man who has spent thirty years in this business and your body has taken you as far as it is going to go! There’s no shame in acknowledging that, but if you don’t, you’re going to kill yourself and the headline on TMZ is going to be ‘Pro-Wrestler slips in bathroom, hits head on counter, and FUCKING dies!’
Her anger is palpable, but all he feels is his anger rising in his chest.
‘I’d rather go out like that than in my fucking bed simply because I’m too old. You have the luxury of time and knowledge on your side, honey. I’ve got nothing left to look forward to. I can sit on my porch, drink my coffee, and watch the sunrise every day. Or I can give myself a purpose, something to drive towards every day, and enjoy the rest of my days. If you can’t understand that, then you can get the fuck out and go back home.’
The words sit there, charged and uncomfortable. He looks over at his daughter, tears in her eyes before he realizes that behind her, coming up to her thigh, is a little girl with blonde hair tied into pigtails and a worried look in her hazel eyes.
Craig drops his head and can feel the disappointment in himself as it rushes over every single inch of his body.
‘Fuck,’ he mutters to himself. He then looks back up at Adeline and holds out his hand.
‘Come here sweetheart,’ he says as gently as he can, but sees the fear in her eyes at this point. She then runs off. Rose looks behind her to see Adeline disappearing around the corner and she looks back at Craig before shaking her head. She disappears as well, just leaving Brian and Craig in the bathroom together.
He wants to chase after Adeline, to hold her, to tell her that Grandpa is going to be okay. Except he can’t. Because he’s on the floor of his fucking bathroom and too proud and stubborn to accept help.
He looks over at Brian and nods his head. ‘Alright, let’s do this.’ His son-in-law then reaches over and grabs his right hand before helping pull himself up. He leans onto Brian as he stands there and looks over at the bathtub with ice in it.
‘Well, this is going to be embarrassing, but we’re never going to talk about this ever again, okay? Because I’m going to need your help getting into the bathtub.’
He smiles and nods his head. Craig silently curses in his mind as he knows he needs to make things right with Rose and most importantly, Adeline.
* * *
Three Days Before ReVival 003
Craig sits in the backseat of an all-black Escalade and as he looks over to his left, he sees his granddaughter Adeline sitting, reading a book. Even at the age of five, she continues to amaze him with her curiosity and thirst for knowledge; something he’s certain she received from both of her parents and none from him.
She sits there in a white, floral-print dress with black shoes that you can see the tops of her white socks. Her blonde hair is tied into a French braid, something Rose explained to him twice.
Getting time with her is a precious commodity, something he cherishes dearly. The daily lives of Rose and Brian make it difficult to just get time with Adeline. After the events in the hotel bathroom, he wanted to spend some quality time with her and let her take a peek behind the curtain that’s the PRIME machine.
On this particular day, they head to a radio interview with one of the top wrestling reporters in the business, Steve Scherer.
After a few moments, the Escalade slows down and eventually parks. He looks over at his granddaughter.
‘Ready?’ he inquires and she holds up one finger in the kindest way one can hold up a finger to tell him to wait. After a few moments, his fingers drumming against his right leg, she then places a bookmark into her book, closes it, and looks over at him.
‘Ready!’ her voice mimicking her usually positive demeanor. He smiles, opens the car door, and steps out with her following closely behind him. He helps her down from the SUV and shuts the door
‘Is he just going to sit here and wait for you?’ she inquires about the driver of the car.
‘Yeah, he’s gotta take us back to the hotel.’
She pauses for a moment and looks back at the SUV. ‘Should I stay with him? I don’t want him to be lonely.’
Craig chuckles. ‘You’re good. Come with me.’
As the duo round the corner of the Escalade and towards the front of the building, there is a group of people standing outside of the radio station. A smile appears on his face as he walks up to them, all with sharpies and autograph books in their hands.
‘Dusk! Can we have your autograph?!’ one teenager yells out and Craig shakes his head as he walks up to the group and takes the sharpie in his right hand.
‘The last time I wrestled in PRIME, you must have been what, five? Have you ever seen any of my matches?’ he jokes while signing the autograph book and watches the teenager’s eyes light up.
‘Oh yeah! That match between Wade Elliott and you is one of my favorite matches! The way you two seemed to hate each other!’ the teenager responds, full of life and energy.
Craig chuckles at the word ‘seemed’. Elliott then and now is part of the crew that LT hangs with, there are no illusions as to where he stands with that group. Adeline stands there, patiently, while her grandfather autographs a few more items.
‘Alright, gotta get up there for the interview. Thanks for hanging out!’ she then slides her hand inside of his and the two walk into the building while a few of the girls remark about how cute Adeline is. As they step inside, they’re greeted by a security official from the radio station and are led down a long hallway.
‘Grandpa, is that normal? With all of the people standing outside and wanting your autograph?’
He looks over at her. ‘It used to be. It hasn’t been like that for a long time. It’s not like I go to the grocery store and have people waiting by the entrance, right?’
She nods her head. ‘They really liked you?’
He laughs. ‘Yeah, I guess they do.’
‘Okay, but not as much as I like you.’ The sentiment warms his heart as they’re led into the radio station. She stays close to his side.
He looks up and sees Steve Scherer approaching him with his arm extended. Craig shakes his hand as he’s led to his chair. Adeline walks with him.
‘Oh, she can wait in the green room if you want,’ Steve informs him, but he shakes his head.
‘Nah, she’s good with me.’
He nods his head as he motions for someone to bring her a chair and the two sit down while Steve sits down across from him.
‘Thanks for taking the time to do an interview with us. Hopefully, it won’t be the last,’ he states as he puts on his headphones.
‘I hope not either,’ he responds as he puts on his headphones as well. Adeline sits there, quiet and stoic, her hand resting on his left leg.
‘We’ll do this nice and easy, help get you back into the swing of things, alright?’ he inquires and Craig nods his head. A moment of silence floats in the air before it’s extinguished by Steve’s loud voice.
‘Welcome back to 99.9 WRES here in Las Vegas, I’m Steve Scherer and you’re listening to the Wrestling Hour! We’ve all been eyes wide open as we watch the return of PRIME unfold in my very own backyard and while many of the stars in PRIME during this run are new to the company, there are a handful who have been with the company before and one such man is joining us in the studio today. It is my honor to introduce a legend in the ring, a former two-time Intense Champion, top-five placement in the Dual Halo, Dusk!’
Craig smiles. ‘Man, I’m going to need you to come and hype me up when I come out to the ring! I feel my adrenaline racing right now!’
‘Ha, give me a call and I’ll be there! Hell, I’m there already for every show!’
‘Well, I appreciate it and I know the business managers are appreciative of your dollars going to help support the revival of PRIME.’
‘Yes, yes, the revival of PRIME! It is crazy to think that PRIME has come back and has had the firepower it has. It’s almost like you guys didn’t miss a beat!’
‘Yeah, it’s one of those things where you have a level of prestige with PRIME and everyone knows they have to bring it and if they don’t the fans will make sure they know about it. The newcomers to PRIME, have some shadows to live under, such as Jason Snow, Xavier Kannon, Tchu, Hessian, the list goes on and on, so they know they have some lofty shoes to fill.’ Craig then reaches over and takes a sip of the water sitting on the desk next to him.
‘Do you think this current breed has that same level of talent? Anyone you’re keeping a close eye on?’ Scherer asks him.
He looks over at his granddaughter, sitting dutifully if not a bit bored by the proceedings.
‘It’s hard not to be impressed by the young talent that is coming in during this run. Cecilia Ryan is someone who is going to bring it every single match and nothing is going to slow her down except possibly herself. Hayes Hanlon is another one that I’m keeping my eyes on. It’s easy to say this roster doesn’t have the stars of the past, but maybe this is what PRIME needs after all, a fresh beginning and an opportunity to create new stars.’
Scherer nods his head while Craig looks over at Adeline. ‘For someone who is a veteran like yourself, what are you hoping to achieve during this run?’
A smile appears on his face. ‘In all honesty, I just wanted to know if I could still do this or not. Sitting on the side for the past five years, feeling the age as it settles into my bones and joints, I didn’t know if I still had it in me to compete.’
‘Well, I think your match with Bobby Dean showed that you still have what it takes to compete!’
He chuckles. ‘To a degree. That was a lot of rust, getting my legs back underneath me, but when I went backstage I felt it in every inch of my body. I was winded, I was taxed. Nothing can prepare you for what it is going to be like out in that ring. No amount of training can prepare you.’
‘Talking about preparation, you’ve got your next big match coming up against John Kennedy Ryoko Jr. I take it you’ve had a chance to get your hand on some tape and check out what he’s all about.’
He nods. ‘Yeah. Look, this guy is another what I like to call a hoss. He’s not going to be easy to take off his feet, similar to Bobby Dean.’
‘Well, I don’t think there’s anyone quite like Bobby Dean!’ Scherer shoots back.
Craig laughs. ‘You’re right about that. This kid though is a quarter-of-a-century younger than me. He’s a former NFL player, has his black belt in Hapkido. I mean, hell. That’s going to be rough on my body once again. Obviously, I have to do the same thing I did with Bobby Dean.’
‘Go to the concessions stand and get a plate of nachos?’
‘Ha, no,’ he responds through a chuckle. ‘I’ve just gotta use the experience that I have and maximize the differences between us. He’s a big guy and I’m not going to be able to just go toe-to-toe with him. I’ve watched his match against Warstein a few times in the past week.’
‘Any insights you can share?’
‘I’m not trying to let Ryoko know what I’ve picked up, you know? This is going to be physicality, unlike anything that I experienced with Dean. The positive is my body is rebounding faster than I thought and I can feel the strength in my arms and legs. So the training is holding out. I’m not going to outfight him, outmuscle him, nothing like that. I’m going to have to take away his vertical base, keep him on the mat, and be three steps ahead of him at all times.’
‘Sounds easier said than done,’ he responds.
‘You don’t even know the half of it.’
‘And I see you brought your granddaughter with you, is that right?’
Craig looks over at her and smiles. ‘Yeah, I’ve got my granddaughter, Adeline, with me. She’s getting a rude awakening to the wrestling world.’
‘Adeline, what do you think about your grandpa getting back in the ring?’
She looks at Craig and he nods his head. She inches closer to the microphone, hesitant and nervous. ‘Well, um, it’s a little scary. My mama doesn’t like it all that much. She’s scared.’ The words cut through him as he looks at her, struggling to stay present in the moment.
‘And what about you?’ Scherer asks.
‘Well, I just want him to be happy, that’s all. I believe in him.’
A smile comes across Craig’s face.
‘Well, that’s gotta be good to hear,’ he responds.
‘Yeah, it definitely is. It definitely is.’
‘Well, Dusk, the man, the myth, the legend. It’s been great to have you on. I hope you stop by next time you’re in town and talk about your next match, which will hopefully be a dance with Nova.’
He shakes his head. ‘Let’s not go jumping the gun. Let’s just get through this Sunday and see what happens next.’
‘Right, right. One week at a time! Alright, and we’ll be back after this quick commercial break.’
Craig looks over at Adeline, who is still sitting in the chair to the left of him, and rubs his left hand against her back. As he does, he can feel the tension in her shoulders evaporate.
‘You good, sweetheart?’
She simply nods and then looks over at him before she smiles. Steve walks over and extends his hand.
‘Pleasure having you in the studio.’
He rises and shakes his hand. ‘Thanks for having us. See you soon.’
With that, he feels her hand slip into his right hand, and the two exit the room before he hits the button on the elevator to return to the ground level.
A moment passes by, as he stands there, thinking not only of his match this upcoming Sunday but of the harm he’s potentially doing to his own family.