Private: Darin Zion
December 25th, 2023
It’s a cold, frigid night on the rough streets of Buffalo, NY. The harsh, frosty wind whips against everyone’s exposed skin, leaving red marks. Snowflakes swirl across the air, blinding anyone daring to venture out on this chilly holiday evening. The leftover flakes pile up into the shape of tiny igloos.
Happy families rush down the sidewalks, filled with glee–no cares in the world. They’re bundled up in their warm winter coats. Their hands all covered with their toasty mittens, and their necks all heated by their scarves. All of them pass poor, downtrodden Wrestler X, failing to recognize the once great professional wrestler formally known as Darin [REDACTED FOR COPYRIGHT REASONS].
Since we last saw Timmy; he’s upgraded his wardrobe, trying to survive these bitter conditions. He’s now sporting a dirty, torn up 1990’s Buffalo Bill Starter Jacket. He’s bloated by thick layers of used clothing. From tattered sweatpants, to an overworn flannel shirt, it looks like he’s found the nearest bin at the Goodwill for all his fashion needs. His light brown gloves fail at their job, exposing his fingers, leaving them blistered from the wintry wind.
His brunette locks of hair are tattered with rats all over. His hair looks more coarse and grayed. His beard is fluffy like a sheep, strung all over the place. It’s almost like Wrestler X has transformed into a budget version Yukon Cornileus.
Nestled in the doorway of an old rundown shop, Mr. X buries himself underneath a mound of newspapers. A faint fiery glow shines from his overused Bic Lighter frozen to his fingertips. It reeks of a desperate attempt to get [REDACTED] a heat source. Unfortunately, his experiment fails; his teeth chatter audibly as he nestles up in the corner.
Wrestler X closes his eyes, trying to warm up his cold, calloused heart with memories from the past. He hopes the old adage “mind over matter” can drum up some extra heat. He flashes back through his many memories from great battles with the late John Pariah in PWX to his Tag Team successes with Noah Hanson and Brian Hollywood. Timmy uses his fond memories touring up and down the world in the PRETTY PINK® Express with the Love Convoy as fuel to his fire. Maybe it would grow his heart three more sizes to improve his blood circulation.
Unfortunately, his bitterness prevails.
Darin has no choice but to continue his project to shield himself from the wind. He pulls out more duct tape and cardboard, intending to build a wall to insulate himself for the long night head.
The hungry Wrestler X reaches over to his supply of MEAT? he’s collected from stores, yanks open the pull tab, and downs the product hoping to fill his belly. Having no cares in the world what comprises this meat byproduct, Darin hopes this fills his empty belly and has a great taste.
It UNQUESTIONABLY doesn’t do the job. As he chokes his slop down, Wrestler X’s ears perks up at the sound of metal rattling. He mutters under his breath as he pulls himself off his stoop.
Homeless Darin: For God sakes, there better not be any more trespassers trying to take my stuff…
Rattled, Mr. X throws his torn cloak over his shoulder and dashes to his “storage unit”, a shopping cart parked outside his doorway. He quickly spots an old man wearing a tinfoil hat scrounging through his possessions. The intruder devours Zagnut scraps Darin left for tomorrow. Next, he tears apart Wrestler X’s most prized possession–The Homeless Heavyweight Championship. Pieces of cardboard, dried macaroni, and scrap metal fly all over the place.
The old, scrawny, crazed man begins to look up towards the sky violently shaking his fists up and down.
The Intruder: THE ALIENS ARE COMING! 10 FOOT CRITTERS FROM MIAMI GONNA EAT ME. NEEDS ME MORE FOIL FOR PROTECTION.
Darin yanks the old coot away from his shopping cart, proceeding to scold his trespasser. Veins protrude out of his forehead.
Homeless Darin: Get your meth addicted ass away from MY TURF. You’ve ruined MY belt. It’s my most valuable possession. I made it with my own two fuckin’ hands. I’ve defended it all over the city. I earned it and all those Zagnut scraps you crammed down your disease riddled throat….
The Intruder: YA DON’ UNDERSTAND FRIENDO! GIVE ME THE TIN FOIL OR THEY’LL PROBE US ALL!!!! I’M SAVING THE WORLD!
Homeless Darin: Trust me, you have bigger problems to worry about than figments of your imagination!
The Intruder: THEY’RE COMING MAAAAAAN! 10 FOOT ALIENS GONNA PROBE ANUS EVERYWHERE! YOU’LL SEE! THE WHOLE WORLD WILL SEE. TWITTER AND JABBER WILL….
Wrestler X’s fist comes crashing down against the soft, smooth skull of his invader. The whacking sound of X’s fists reverberates through the neighborhood. The sheer force from Zion’s fists crack the old man’s teeth. Blood pours all over the flesh of Wrestler X. Darin’s elbows connect with the bridge of the crazed man’s nose, causing more blood to splatter everywhere.
Before Darin can strike again, the old man nails him square in the crotch.
This intruder proceeds to wrap his trench coat sleeve around Darin’s throat, locking in the hold deep. Darin’s face turns a light purple as he clings to life. He pulls himself off the ground and drops all his body weight on his foe. A loud cracking noise causes Darin’s ears to perk up. Finishing the job, X sends the man head first into one of the steel light poles, knocking the bastard out.
Darin reaches towards the ground, collecting his belongings. Draping his cardboard title on his shoulder, he picks a half-eaten Zagnut bar off the ground. He eyes the candybar for a moment before inhaling it. As he strolls back “home” he exclaims at the top of his lungs.
Homeless Darin: My fucking candybar, dickhead!!!!
He spits at the lifeless shell of the Intruder. He scavenges through the man’s pockets for any food or other items to help him survive the long night ahead.
January 6th, 2024
If you’ve opened this, it probably means I’ve become another lifeless corpse on the New York streets. Maybe this journal will get turned into another episode of Dark Side of the Ring. Who the hell knows? It’s not like anyone cares about me anymore.
You’re probably asking yourself where did it all for independent sensation [INSERT REDACTED NAME HERE]. He’s earned 25 different accolades across the span of his 19 year career. He’s under a PRIME contract making mountains of money. Lindsay Troy never cuts corners and pays her job guys well. Hell being HALL-mark numero uno should pay the bills, right?
Your assumptions SHOULD be correct. I COULD’VE easily invested my money better. Good ole DZ should have enough invested in retirement so he could end his prestigious 20 year career on a high-note.
I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Desperate times called for desperate measures.
Upon my return to professional wrestling in 2019; I hoped I could coast back into the main event with no problems. I constantly slept on my competition. My record both defined my career and killed every ounce of momentum I’d ever earned. I tanked my own stock and as a result, I no longer got that sweet main event pay.
I lost out on merchandising deals because the fans no longer cared about me. Nobody wanted an aging professional wrestler representing their brand. I couldn’t secure any endorsements, movie roles, the whole 9 yards.
I went from earning millions as an Independent Wrestling darling to wallowing in squander. I couldn’t afford the basic necessities to function as a wrestler. I couldn’t keep my car filled up. I didn’t have any room in the budget for airplane tickets or board. It got so embarrassing I couldn’t afford a bag of fuckin’ Ramen Noodles without going further into debt.
Long story short, I overspent my income.
So I went under the tutelage of an esteemed now TWO TIME HOW Hall of Famer to rebuild my brand. This man has a knack for trendy and cool catchphrases that stuck. One could say he’s a RISING STARR. This brilliant man helped me develop a ton of different merchandise ideas. Being the attention whore that I am; I ran out to the bank, withdrew the remainder of my life savings. I threw it into some “Get Rich Quick” scheme. I hoped I was banking on my own rising stock.
I produced a shit ton of worthless products. I created Z-Mobile Enterprises to launch the 4Z Network. I got Zi-Phones printed out the wazoo. I made shirts, hats, pens, and an entire marketing campaign for an exciting relaunch. It landed me here in PRIME to get my upstart company off the ground.
But that exciting relaunch never came. You can obviously piece the puzzle together if you’ve followed the last 2 years of my career. No one wants to support some loveable loser. I lost out on everything I owned. I’m millions of dollars in debt. My paychecks got depleted and fully went toward every bill that’s in default.
If you know me, I’m too damn proud to ask for help. Hell, I didn’t tell a lot of people but I was living on the PRETTY PINK® Express those last few months before that dumb bimbo Vickie told me to “find myself.” Anyways, I’m side-stepping the real problem.
It’s time I look in a mirror; if I could afford one. I’m responsible for my own shit show. I let myself fall into squalor. I trusted shady people with my most prized possessions and lost everything. My big dumb heart couldn’t let people below me fail.
It’s weird to finally admit it to myself. It still pains me when I hear Richard Parker or Nick Stuart calling me Wrestler X or Timmy. A part of me died when I lost the rights to my in-ring name. It meant the world to me because it signified my personal freedom. I left a toxic home life to enter my promised land; the DREAM land.
Now I feel like I’m a puzzle with a missing piece. It’s like I’ve hit the reset button on a 20 year career and I’m starting with absolutely nothing. I guess that’s how the story ends for Darin Zi—Wrestler X. I have to accept I’m a carnival act now. I bite people to entertain millions.
Maybe it leads to something new…who knows?
But right now, I feel empty…
January 7th, 2024
After finishing writing down his thoughts in his tiny, black leather book; Darin puts the cap back on his cheap Bic pen. He slides both items back into his coat pocket, still pondering his feelings of loneliness. Letting out a long, drawn sigh; he closes his eyes. Flashing back to JCH’s Almasy win, his fists tighten up and his body shakes. His anger fuels his will to reach the KeyBank Arena for ReViVal set up duty.
Darin frantically searches the sidewalk for discarded cigarette butts to calm his nerves. Reaching down, he pulls up a discarded Newport, flicking his lighter to life. The flame touches the end, allowing Darin a couple deep drags before he chucks it into the streets. After exhaling a thick cloud of smoke, he decides to further numb the pain..
Reaching into his pocket, he extracts a vial of white powder. Deep down, he longer cares if he’s caught. It’s not like he can pay off the debt anyways. All his paychecks go towards the insurmountable debt he’s accumulated.
Completely devoid of emotion, the shell of Darin charges past the arena door, ready to work. He hopes to inconspicuously blend in with the crew because it provides him with free meals. As he sneaks deeper into the arena, his muscles relax. X rushes down the halls, sneaking into the locker room to take a shower before heading to work like a good drone.
After enjoying a nice, steamy shower, Wrestler X wraps himself with a towel, refreshed and ready for work. While turning the corner, he notices a man in a business suit standing outside his locker room. He rolls his eyes, approaching the man nonchalantly.
Man In Suit: Excuse me, are you the wrestler formerly known as Darin…?
Darin: Yes, yes! Please don’t finish saying the last name. I don’t feel like getting tied up in litigation for the rest of my life. Is something wrong?
Darin’s visitor quickly reaches into his pocket, extracting a small, manilla envelope before tossing it at the half-naked Wrestler X.
Man In Suit: It’s strictly business. Apparently my benefactor lost touch with you. He needs an answer…
Darin: Maybe I don’t want to talk to him…
The tall, burley bald man cracks his knuckles before letting out an audible snort. He backs Wrestler X against the wall of PRIME blue lockers, pinning him against it. Darin can feel this man’s hot musty breath against his neck. In a calm, agitated tone, the mysterious man speaks down at Darin.
Man In Suit: I wouldn’t tempt fate. My boss doesn’t like waiting…
The mysterious man’s fist flies towards Wrestler X. It almost closes in on X’s face like a torpedo before the man shifts his weight. It veers off right, slamming into the lockers with a thunderous THUD! Wrestler X’s knees buckle and he collapses towards the ground, sitting in silence. This goon chuckles before saunters off.
Darin remains still, staring at the package for an eternity. He feels around it, listening to the pop rap rattle before he rips open its seal. Pouring out the contents, Darin reveals a brand new Samsung Galaxy S23. Powering it on, he notices the phone background has the initials ZD on it.
The phone immediately blows up with tons of notifications with a missed call from an unknown caller. He swipes on the call, takes a deep breath before he hears a familiar, chilling voice answer.
???: It seems you lost your phone recently. Being an old friend, I figured I’d help you out.
Darin: Eh, thanks? But honestly I thought it might be a great time to ride off into the sunset…
???: Don’t be stupid, Darin. You know I’m a benevolent man. I’ve helped dig you out of the hole once before. I’ve got a lot of resources to help resolve your problems.
Darin’s vocal cords are paralyzed; he can’t respond. The hairs on the back of his neck stand up. All he can do is scratch his beard, completely mesmerized by the deep voice on the other end of the phone.
???: You’re probably tired of feasting on leftover Zagnuts and canned food. Cardboard boxes don’t make great beds either. Maybe it’s time you swallow your pride and accept my gracious offer. Let’s meet at the Mosey tomorrow evening for Italian, my treat. I’d like to discuss your options…
Sweat oozes down Zion’s forehead as he remains silent. Reflecting on his tortuous last few months of survival, the picture becomes clear to him. This familiar person understands Darin’s struggles from losing his intellectual property and identity. Maybe it’s the extreme exhaustion and malnourishment talking, but he begins to entertain the idea.
Even if it means selling his soul to the devil himself. Darin stutters, struggling to form words, responding to his tormentor.
Darin: L-L-L-Let’s start out on a trial basis. I’m tired of strings.
The unknown man chuckles while wrapping up the call.
???: You don’t hold any leverage right now, sir. See you soon…
January 8th, 2024
The scene of roasted garlic and fresh bread wafts into Wrestler X’s nostrils. The almost orgasmic experience makes his body melt and quiver. A faint, relaxed smile appears on his face, something long missing from Darin’s profile.
The raggedy, battle tested star rushes towards the table hoping to dive head first into the breadstick basket like an uncultured swine. Before Darin can scarf down one morsel, he’s stopped by the ear-piercing squeal of a chair spinning around. As the burgundy throne swivels, it reveals our mysterious suitor.
Darin: Come on now, Mr. McMann. I’ve gone nearly 3 months without a solid meal. You put a poor person through this abuse.
The head of MVW’s most significant rival, the Sports Entertainment Corporation, clasps his hands together, wearing a devilish on his wrinkled face. His intense gaze pierces through Darin’s soul. Rising out of his seat, he marches towards Darin’s direction. Standing before Wrestler X, he gazes at him momentarily before ensnaring Darin in a headlock. Mr. McMan drives his fist deeply into Darin’s forehead before giving one of his infamous grizzly bear huggies to his favorite client.
Despite Mr. McMann aiding Darin in securing the MVW Men’s Heavyweight Championship a few years ago, Darin does not harbor the same warm sentiments toward his former boss. Sneering at the old man who once held the strings, Darin folds his arms. McMann quickly resumes his seat, devouring a plate of Chicken Parmesan, while Darin rests his head on his arm, glancing down at his watch.
With a snap of his fingers, Mr. McMann presents Darin with another ‘gift.’ Wrestler X opens it to unveil short tights, boots, and elbow pads. Neon Pink material adorned with generic white lightning bolts covers the outfit, featuring a basic ZD emblem on all sides except the back.
Darin: Dylan? That’s your brilliant idea? You want to gift me a new in-ring name?
Mr. McMann: SHUT UP ZENON! No one gives a shit about your irrelevant opinions.
Darin gradually slumps further down in his chair. He twirls his thumbs, listening to Mr. McMann outlining his master plans.
Mr. McMann: I’m tired of Sports Entertainment Corporation being a big fish in a small pond. As we’ve discussed on numerous occasions; wrestling’s out, Sports Entertainment is in. I hope you’ve come to realize it bought you substantial gains the last time we collaborated together.
Rolling his eyes, Darin lets out an audible groan while McMann continues.
Mr. McMann: I believe we stand a strong chance of dominating PRIME in 2024. Just look at your opponent. He’s such a big, sweaty man with a gimmick. But ultimately he’s a throwback to the past. He’s so dull because he lacks depth. He’s not edgy like you. He lacks the pizzazz and charisma you bring to the table.
Darin: I mean you’re absolutely ri—
Mr. McMann: SHUT UP ZENON! No one asked you!
After getting flustered, Mr. McMann pauses to recollect his thoughts.
Mr. McMann: He’s not a PROFESSIONAL MALE SPORTSMAN like you. Anyways my team of writers did some research into Dabney. Dude hates the color pink…
Darin: So that means everything PINK and Fuzzy.….
Darin throws up his arms, surrendering to Mr. McMann’s burning glare. He begins to eat the food in front of him in an attempt to stay silent. He recognizes the need to sit back and listen intently to the plans.
Mr. McMann: We’ll conceal your strength and resilience behind the style, flair, and finesse of my team. Additionally, I’ve brought in the best trainers from my SEC Center of Performance to provide you with the necessary training to win this match. If you accept, I will cover all your room, travel, and meals. This will get you off the streets. I promise to get you in PRIME condition to beat Dabney Doubleday and his family of losers.
Reaching under the table, Mr. McMann unveils a contract and slides it over to Darin, who completes his plate of chicken pasta.
Mr. McMann: What do you say, Darin? Do we have a deal?
Darin pauses momentarily, reaching out for the silver pen resting on the table before him. He rushes, skimming over the details of the contract. After a minute, he hurries to finalize the agreement, putting pen to paper and officially becoming an SEC client once more.
Darin: Call me Zenon Dylan. New Year…New Me….AMIRITE BOSSMAN?! LETS DO DIS SHYTE!!!
Mr. McMann’s smile crinkles as both men go in for a hug, sealing their new partnership as the scene fades away.
[ZENON DYLAN DEBUTS IN PRIME 01/19/2024]
[COPYRIGHT 2024 BY THE SPORTS ENTERTAINMENT CORPORATION]