Private: Darin Zion
After a heartbreaking, soul crushing defeat against Mortimer Knightingale and the Final Alliance back to back – Darin Zion retreats straight to the site of Culture Shock 2023 – Arlington, Texas. All week REAL LOVE® has not participated in any of the pomp and circumstances. For once, he’s laying low out of the spotlight. His nose deep within the grind–preparing for the biggest opportunity of his lifetime – The Culture Shock Battle Royal. It’s a rare opportunity that Darin Zion gets his main event spot.
The cameras catch Zion working out at a Gold’s Gym near the Highland Meadows district – roughly 35 miles away from all the action, doing bicep curls on the bench. He stands right up, soaked completely in sweat. Patting down his forehead, Darin makes his way to the boxing ring. PRIME’S Junior Editor Simon Tillier springs out of nowhere. He and his camera crews rush towards the unsuspecting Zion.
A loud, squeaky, squawk comes from the Junior Reporter’s lung, startingling Zion. Immediately, REAL LOVE rolls his eyes into the back of his head.
Simon Tillier: ZIOOOOOOOON!
Darin Zion: For Fuck Sakes! NO! Not now! I don’t want to talk to you asshole. You’ve got the personality of one of the Egg Bandits cardboard cut out. I do not want to deal with you right now.
Simon Tillier: Buuuut Zion…the rumor mill’s running rampant right now. I’ve got so many questions for you.
Darin Zion: I’m only going to warn you one time – you and your camera crew come near me – I swear to GOD I’ll go to jail right now. All I want is some peace and quiet right now.
Simon Tillier: DUUUUUUDE–you can’t stop the press and our questions. What’s this rumor going around you’re declaring yourself the 4EVA Alias Champion? Especially after your drama with Vickie Hall the last few weeks…
With one failsafe swoop, Darin Zion throws a fist into the air–barely swiping at Simon Tillier. Tillier flinches and his bright red stylish glasses go flying onto the ground. The Stylish Simon drops to the ground, feeling around for his $400 glasses–getting sweat and dust all over his blue-checked Brooks Brothers Suit.
Darin Zion: I warned your ass, Simon. I don’t care if LT doesn’t like my attitude as of late. She can issue a fine–I don’t care. REAL LOVE’S® lost his smile and tolerance for people not respecting his boundaries.
The camera crews back up while Simon goes in for a retort.
Simon Tillier: But you and the Convoy…
Darin Zion: …it’s none of your business right now.
The sun shone bright over the poolside view at LIVE! By Loews. The sky is clear and it’s a beautiful 75 degree weather day. It’s the best day for swimsuits and margaritas–Darin Zion’s perfect day.
The picture-perfect skyline view made Darin Zion’s eyes twinkle as he lounged in one of the floating chairs at the side of the pool. In his right hand, his favorite drink of choice – A Mango Margarita with a Tajin rim. In his left – a light Arturo Fuente Opus X cigar. REAL LOVE® floats around, taking a drag off his cigar. It’s the perfect day of SELF-LOVE right here. Laying in his expensive silk swimsuit decked out with blue and white palm trees. Donning his straw sun hat. Darin didn’t have a single care in the world.
The loud, shrilling ring on Zion’s phone signaled one thing–Vickie Hall. Darin looks down at his Apple Watch – 2 PM. It’s LOVE CONVOY® pow-wow time. He hits the proverbial “asshole button” ignoring Vickie’s call. Raising the rim up to his lips, Darin takes a sip, savoring the nice hint of Mango mixed with the Patrón. It’s truly a Top Shelf moment.
Zion reaches over to his ash tray to de-ash his cigar when a familiar song echoes through the air.
HIIIIIIIGHWAAAAAY TOOOOOO THE DAAAAANGER ZOOOOOONE!
He reaches over for his AirPods and throws them into his ears. Sliding the phone icon across his phone–Jackson’s face appears on the screen. A faint smile appears on Zion’s face–which is biting down on the cigar to hold it. Zion takes a puff and exhales a small cloud of smoke while greeting his brother.
Jackson Thakker: Enjoyin’ y’er self there, brother?
Darin Zion: We both know there’s nothin’ better than a beautiful, sunny day in Texas. Lots of babes in bikinis–the whole nine yards for a wrestler like me here.
Jackson Thakker: Awww hell yeah, man. I’m-I’m-I’m glad one of us is livin’ his best life right now.
Darin Zion: You’ll be outta that hospital soon enough, man. GOD’S smiling down at you, admiring your fight. You’re truly an inspiration bro.
Jackson Thakker: Don’t get all sentimental on me. Ya can’t make me cry–gotta keep that tough man image in here.
Both men laugh while Zion takes another drink from his fancy glass. The chilled drink sends goosebumps down his spine. Jackson’s eyes beam with excitement for his brother.
Jackson Thakker: Anyways, I know it’s been a tough week f’er ya. Knowin’ ya for nearly 4 years–y’er prolly in that head of y’ers.
Darin Zion: Nope not at…
Jackson Thakker: Lemme finish f’er once, boy. Anyways, I wanna wish you luck before they run some-some-some more tests on me. I’ve gotta busy next few weeks here at Norman Regional. Wanted to lift y’er spirits. Heard y’er rasslin’ for a shot at the Universal Championship. It’s y’er biggest chance at gettin’ the spotlight.
Darin Zion squirms for a minute in his chair. Raising his Oakley sunglasses above his eyes–he locks onto the picture of his brother’s eyes while Jackson continues rooting him on.
Jackson Thakker: I know it’s hard cuz y’er lil’ Convoy friends’ll be fightin’ in it. But I believe in you. It’s y’er chance to make a name f’er y’er self man.
Darin Zion: There’s no drama, Jax. If one of us Convoy members wins–we all win. We all become the Universal Champion. We’re a collect…
Jackson Thakker: That’s sum Grade A bullshit right thurr. Ya damn well know there’s winners and losers in this sport and…
For the first time ever, Zion hangs up on his brother. A spooked-look sets in on his face. Slowly sliding back into his chair–reality sets in for REAL LOVE®. He brings the glass up to his face–rushing to slurp down the alcohol. He extinguishes his cigar in his ashtray. Zion hops out of his recliner; paddling towards the shore. Wiping the water off his face–a somber reality begins to hit.
-U MISSED OUR POW WOW, HUN!
Y?! Y u now ditchin’ us, boo?
–I had business to tend to…
–u kiddin’ me, lovey? I remade your career…
–SHUT UP VICKIE! Srsly!
-HOW DARE U?
-U rly wanna do this right now?!
Want me to reveal what u did to ME?!
–Wut u talkin’ bout, Zion?!
-Lets see…you hacked my Jabber pullin’ that fake 4EVA Alias Champ BS
U threw out bannin’ me from making news articles..
–it’s 4 ur own gud, Dare-Bear!!!
Ur a loser w/o titles! No Luvz given 2U!
–BS VICKIE! I’ll handle stuff my way.
Not to mention–u sent me a CARDBOARD title to display as a trinket
U serious, PRETTY PINK?
After I gave you a JCH DIAMOND ENCRUSTED TAG BELTS?
–uuuuuuh….urs got lost in the mail?!
–Quit playin’ with me, Vickie!
I know when I’m being manipulated
U need me 2 b JCH’s meat shield in the battle royal.
–id never do that to you, hon. I luv u.
Luv’d u and ur 18 year career since we met.
–Quit pullin’ the wool over my eyes.
Ur damn rite I’ve been in dis biz for 18 years
I know when I’m bein’ played.
Quit playin’ this two-faced bullshit game with me.
TOUGH LOVE’S sick of ur crap.
–Don’t talk to me like dat! Do you know who I am?
–Ur dead weight to me.
I’ve carried you and your husband’s asses for nearly a year.
–NO! We’ve carried YOU, Zion. 1-5!
–Leave me alone! I’ll cya in a couple day boo.
Who knows? Maybe ill use u as a pilow to cushion the blow I deliver to JCH’s ego.
[VICKIE HALL HAS BLOCKED THIS NUMBER!]
The clock is ticking down–two days until the big event kicks off. PRIME officials hold a gala for VIPs and Sponsors for the event in the lobby of LIVE!. Lots of fancy food and champagne is flowing. Lots of different photo opportunities and stations set up for the crowd to enjoy.
Off to the side of the food tables–Darin Zion’s set up a KISSING BOOTH for any paying ladies and gentleman. Decked out in a pink-hearted suit with a purple suit–the extravagantly dressed Zion entertains the crowd with stories from his territory days. Wining and dining the officials–REAL LOVE® poses kissing anyone, any gender for charity.
He hands out a personalize #97Purple box of TOUGH LOVE® chocolates – a new business adventure of his. The animated Zion nuzzles up to a couple of beautiful ladies, pulling them in closer. They feed him fancy cheeses while he recounts his starting days.
Darin Zion: Life wasn’t easy for me, babes. California hardened this soft, loving heart. Broke without a dime to my name–I spent time living in the gym I cleaned. Doing whatever it took to graduate through the Battle Arena–one of the toughest schools in the Nation–REAL LOVE conquered it. I made my breakthrough hitting a major Chicago promotion along the way…now I’m inches away from main eventing the PPV.
Both women lean in for a kiss for the camera–but finally the press catches up with the elusive Zion. Luckily for Darin Zion–the attractive Angelica Brooks approaches his booth. He attempts to reach over towards Ms. Brooks for a hug; but she pushes him away.
Darin Zion: Well, well, well I guess I’m a lucky guy tonight. A married woman’s looking for some LOOOOOOOOVE. I’ll give you the family and friends discount.
Angelica Brooks: Cut the crap! You’ve been dodging the PRIME press all week. You gave my colleagues too much trouble. So I’m here getting the tough questions.
Zion’s arm goes towards his chin–scratching the 5 O’Clock shadow forming on his face. A faint “hmmm” is murmured under his breath. Crossing his arms, Darin twirls his hand around while his eyes squint.
The camera crews move in on Zion while he speaks.
Darin Zion: Alright, shoot! REAL LOVE’s got some time to spare.
Zion shoos away his lady friends while the cameras pan over his face. Angelica comes into frame to begin the interview.
Angelica Brooks: It’s been a tough week for TOUGH LOVE. Two major losses going into the biggest moment of his career–a PRIME Main Event. No one thinks REAL LOVE…
Darin Zion: That’s TOUGH LOVE to you toots!
Angelica stares daggers into Zion’s heart while he just smirks and laughs it off.
Angelica Brooks: Alright, TOUGH LOVE…no one buys into the fact you’ve got a chance in this battle royal. 1-5 in PRIME, still floundering around. Tell us what YOU think your chances are?
Darin reaches down for his champagne and chugs it down. He sets the glass back on the gorgeous, shiny red table cloth in front of him. A twinkle in Zion’s eyes glows while he stares off into the numerous cameras flashing at him.
Darin Zion: HAHAHAHAHAHA! Really? You think a couple of meaningless losses define my chances at the biggest prize in wrestling today? Come on! I’ve got the best odds out of anyone in that damn match to win.
Zion pulls closer to Angelica Brooks. He kneels down to her level while he patronizes everyone else.
Darin Zion: First off – LOVES DOMINATING THE FIELD. Seriously, everyone can’t stop talking about how LOVE IS IN THE AIR this weekend. Merchandise keeps flying off the shelves. The Hall-Marks of the world can’t get enough of us on their television sets. No one else in this fuckin’ thing has the hype behind them like the LOVE CONVOY does.
Zion rips the microphone out of Angelica Brooks’ hands. Shrugging he continues his tirade while his actions become more animated.
Darin Zion: You think ACE NETWORK’s bland AF tough guy Brandon Youngblood’s gonna beat us? That dude lacks any pizzazz–I know his broken blow up doll talked to me.
Zion lets out a giant yawn while he continues.
Darin Zion: And resident douche waffle Tyler Adrian Best? Sure the kid’s trying to pave his way without the use of Grandpa Best’s name. But everyone’s seen the same, tired douche nozzle act from his father and grandpa. It’s a 25 year old trope that’s over played. BOOOOOOORING! So what the 19 year old blogs about how terrible wrestlers are today. Some fat loser in his basement in the IWC does that for free. PRIME should really cut their losses on this kid. He doesn’t stand out at all. Sure—Grandpa Best stacked his War Games team for bragging rights. Sure–he’s won War Games. Everyone else in PRIME has accolades outside this ring but you don’t see them bragging about their Fisher Price accomplishments.
Zion sticks his fingers up like guns–pointing them at Angelica Brooks.
Darin Zion: Then we got PEW-PEW GINNY’S GOT A GUUUUUN Adam Ellis. His manager stands out more than he does in a crowd. And who knows what antics Cool Cancer Jiles and his wet noodle Egg Band-itz have up their sleeves. Maybe a boat, a helicopter…a FORD FUCKIN’ RANGER?! I’ve seen the same shit out of these Egg Bandits for the past 5 years.
Darin uses his hands–forming a hashtag symbol with them before handing the microphone back to Angelica Brooks.
Darin Zion: AIN’T NO AUDIENCE MEMBERS GIVING A SINGLE FUCK ABOUT ANYONE ELSE BUT THE LOVE COOOOOOOONVOOOOOY BAAAAAABBBBYYYY!
Angelica Brooks: Right—
Angelica Brooks rolls her eyes before adjusting her suit coat and brushing herself off. Ignoring the overhyped Zion jumping around buying his own sales job–she nails him from out of nowhere with her question. Darin’s face turns dead pan, eyes glazing over when the question hits.
Angelica Brooks: Speaking of your fellow co-horts…only one of you guys can win. People clearly think you’re just fodder for JCH with Vickie hyping his dreams about becoming Universal Champion. Plus with Vickie’s recent treatment of you–people are speculating like wildfire. Will you betray JCH, TCG, and Vickie and pave your own career path.
REAL LOVE leans in towards the camera, winking at it. He blows a kiss to the audience at home.
Darin Zion: All’s fair in LOVE and WAR, right? Maybe it’s my time…
Angelica Brooks: So you are leaving the Convoy?
Darin Zion: Who said that? I’m saying the Universal Championship yields money. Let me share some breaking news for you. My half-brother in Oklahoma recently had a stroke. Times are a bit tough on good ole’ Thakker ranch out in MaComb. His wife is strugglin’ to pay the bills. She can’t hire any extra help. A win in the biggest match of my life–could return some gains. I could afford to give my sister-in-law and her son money. I could pay off some of Jackson’s medical bills. Hell, little Easton could have an amazing Christmas this year…I’ve entertained the thought, Angelica.
Angelica Brooks: But they’re your friends…
Darin Zion: Like I said, Angelica…all’s fair in a Battle Royal. All’s fair. Now if you’ll excuse me! I’ve got a lot of vendors and VIPs to entertain.
Zion hightails out of the scene, getting back to his adoring fans. Angelica Brooks stands stunned at what she just heard. As the scene fades, she’s mouthing “what’s going on here” under her breath.
It’s 11:59 at night and all the fans have dispersed. Zion creeps out of his elevator up on the fourth floor of the hotel. His head swivels around looking for more reporters and cameras. Sneaking towards his door–he pulls out the RFID card and swipes it over the card reader. Zion twirls around into the door and shuts it behind him.
“I’ve been waiting for you!”
The familiar, ear-piercing sends chills down Zion’s spine. He freezes in position. He slowly turns around to find PRETTY PINK® Vickie Hall sitting on his leather couch in a revealing dress.
Vickie Hall: Have a seat, my Dare-Bear.
Darin cannot move–still frozen in place. His heart slams against his chest–trying to escape his body. Beads of sweat roll down Zion’s face. A small puddle forms under his armpits while his body turns around to see Vickie. She pats the cushions on the couch with authority.
Vickie Hall: I said have a seat!!!
Zion obliges, santering towards the couch. He takes a deep breath to ease the tension in his shoulders. Sitting across from Vickie, both their eyes lock. The tension in the room increases. While both of them stare a hole at each other—Zion’s lips don’t move while a quiet burst of words come out of his mouth.
Darin Zion: Any cameras around?
Vickie shakes her head confirming it’s just the two of them. As both stubborn people glare, Vickie’s arms slowly raise up.
CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! CLAP!
Vickie Hall: Bravo! I didn’t think you had it in you.
Both Vickie and Zion let out loud cackles–dying laughing. The exhaustion causes Zion to folder over, almost rolling on the floor. He wipes a single-tear from his eye while he stands back up and bows before Ms. Hall.
Darin Zion: I told you I could have the crowd eating out of the palm of my hand. Nobody thinks that poor little Zion has the heart to manipulate audience reaction. They think I’m such a poor, broken down, sad state of affairs for an 18 year veteran. I’m some helpless simp.
Vickie Hall: BOO HOO HOO! Zion’s being manipulated! Zion’s being used!
Darin Zion: I like Zion’s new direction of independence…hope he sheds the dead weight..
Both of them hold their sides laughing their asses off. Zion reaches into the fridge, pulling out a bottle of wine. He grabs two glasses and pours it out. Both Vickie and Zion clink their glasses together before taking a sip of the fermented grape juice.
Darin Zion: It’s like none of these fools ever watched my PWX days. Remember I told you I donned a masked–wrestling as a luchador from Mexico named Muerte Dios?
Vickie Hall: You wrestled and fooled everyone like the dopes they were….won the Next Generation Title. I member that story, lovely.
Vickie applauds Zion’s performance. However, he raises a glass to hers as well. Giving her a subtle nod while sipping–he praises the hell out of her manipulative talents.
Darin Zion: I couldn’t have pulled off this Grammy-Winning Performance without you, hun. Seriously, you had a stroke of genius on your hands this round. Gotta give it to you. Borrowing my phone to use Jabber, taking pot shots at me. Pouring the sympathy at my feet. Hell, even leaking the footage of that “last chance” really raised our “tensions”.
Vickie Hall: PRIME thinks that LOVE IS BREAKING APART. When actually it’s stronger than EEEEEEVER!
Zion slides a piece of paper over towards Vickie’s way. Her eyes light up with glee while he continues.
Darin Zion: To think–they all believe I’d give up my meal ticket. They haven’t even see our damn merch sales. They don’t understand all the bonuses I’ve gotten. They think that sweet, sweet flash in the pan Universal Title money makes Zion rich. FUCK NO! IT’S ALL OUR LOVE that rakes in the money.
Vickie pulls out her PRETTY PINK custom Bentley pen to ink her name on the contract given to Zion. Sliding the pen and the signed document into her pink, sparkly Gucci bag–Vickie’s hands fold together with a sinister smile forming on her face.
Vickie Hall: Now we’ve taken care of business. It’s official. Should TOUGH LOVE win the Battle Royal…
Darin Zion: I surrender the Universal Title shot over to your husband–Jonathan-Christopher Hall. In exchange—you’ll work some of your magic with our legal team.
Vickie Hall: Yes, my lovely! I’ll do my best. You’ll either be the next in line for the Alias Championship or…
Darin Zion: I’ll get to put my hands on that worthless referee Tino Bolamba in NEUTRAL GROUND. That fast counting moron will never screw REAL LOVE over again. Either way–I scratch your back. You scratch mine. LOVE WINS at the end of the fuckin’ day.
Vickie stands up, finishes her wine and walks over towards Zion. Both of them embrace tightly before Vickie heads towards the door to make sweet love with JCH. As the cameras pan over, we see a confident Zion, smiling at what he did. However, the feeling isn’t mutual. Vickie’s venomous pink nails sink into Zion’s back. A poisonous smile forms on her face as the scene fades to black.