The sounds of exploding fireworks overwhelm me as I find myself standing in the center of the ring with cascading confetti slowly falling from the sky around me. A defeated Darin Zion lies on the mat, lifeless, as I bask in this unfamiliar glory. Flashing lights from the multitude of camera phones throughout the arena cause me to close my eyes, as I simply soak it all in.
“Come on bud, time to head on back,” the referee calls out drawing me out of my fuge.
Opening my eyes once more I’m brought back to reality. There were no explosions, no confetti, no flashing lights. Darin Zion wasn’t dead on the mat, hell he was already walking through the curtain on his way back having gotten tired of lying on the mat for so long. I look at the exasperated referee and smile sheepishly.
“Sorry, it’s been a while,” I confess. “Just wanted to soak it all in, you know? You never know when this will happen again!”
A friendly pat on the shoulder is all I get in response as the two of us make our way out of the ring. I can’t help but high five every offered hand on my way towards the back. Heck I even high fived some people who didn’t have their hand out, simply reaching out and forcing them into a non-consensual high five!
Walking through the curtain I pause a moment to absorb the standing ovation that awaits me, so you’ll probably be just as surprised as I was when not a single person clapped their hands together. Hell the only people nearby were Nova and Nate Colton, each getting warmed up for their upcoming bout.
I couldn’t believe it. I’d beaten the Bandit Slayer and there wasn’t a single congratulatory person waiting to hoist me up on their shoulders and carry me triumphantly through the halls. I shift my gaze over to the referee’s fragile backside and thought, “Hell, I can’t even get a piggy back from that guy!”
“What a jip.” I mutter in complaint.
Walking through the halls, not a single person bothered to look up at my approach. Not a single clap on the back, not a single congratulatory handshake, not even a simple nod of mutual respect. I think I saw Tyler Adrian Best walk across my path, but the only thing he did was sniff the air disdainfully before continuing on. Then again, I didn’t get his permission to cameo in this, so it honestly could have been anyone…
Pushing my way into the assigned Bandit locker room I’m greeted by silence. Cancer Jiles is seated before his open locker, bent over muttering, “Over, under, around the tree. Hop through the bunny hole, pull and see.” With his shoes now tied the COOLympian finally looks up at me, then through me, as if I weren’t there. I now know what Doozer feels like with everyone in the world.
“What? No words of praise? No attaboy? Nothing?” the disappointment is clear in my voice as Cancer Jiles climbs to his feet and begins to walk toward the exit, duffle bag slung over his shoulder.
“You won one match.” Cancer says plainly, stating the obvious. “Win a second and then I’ll think about congratulating you. Win a third, and hell, I’ll lead the fucking parade. Win a fourth and we’ll know we’re all dead and we’ll be ice skating in hell with pigs flying overhead.”
Ever since my return I’d noticed something off with Cancer. When we’re in the same room he looks at me with suspicion in his eyes. He talks to me as if I killed his dog and he’s about to John Wick 3 my ass.
I haven’t seen the new one yet.
Approaching the door, Jiles stops and looks at me over his shoulder, “And just so you’re aware, I won my match tonight as well. I don’t hear you congratulating me, do I?” With that he steps out, leaving me behind.
“Difference is, I’m not meant to win…” I answer the closing door fruitlessly.
I couldn’t believe it, I was back in the eGG Den in beautiful Las Vegas. I honestly never imagined we’d be allowed back, but here we are. It’s a little different this time around, what with Annabelle claiming Doozer’s old room instead of the front coat closet that she previously had. Or is was it that she claimed Old Doozer’s room?
The other difference was the serious lack of cardboard cutouts scattered throughout the three room suite. Oh and a surly bespectacled adonis stomping around, casting murderous glares every time he saw me with a bucket of chicken tucked under my elbow.
I didn’t know he went vegan. The pussy.
Wait, is pussy vegan? Can you still eat it? I mean, it’s still “meat” right?
Anywho, I find myself lounging back in a very familiar, and oh so very comfortable blue sofa watching John Wick fight a blind sword wielding Asian man, and the whole time I can’t help but think if Tsonda needed a new gimmick this one might have some merit. I mean, the guy just used motion sensing doorbells to kill some extras! That’s some Mike Best ingenuity right there!
Throughout my viewing of this choreographed masterpiece I notice my daughter walking throughout the suite, eyes glued to her tablet, fingers speeding across the touch screen a mile a minute and I’m in awe. I’ve tried to walk around without paying attention and it didn’t end well for me. I’ve stubbed my toes, hit my shins, banged my head. Hell, one time I hit the end of the sofa and ended up somehow somersaulting through the glass coffee table.
One of the first rules enacted in the eGG Den back in the early days of PRIME was “No more glass tables.”
“Hey kiddo?” I call out to my passing daughter. “What?” she blandly asks, never stopping her stride or tearing her eyes from the screen inches from her face.
“Whatcha doin’?” I ask, nosey as can be.
“Workin’.” causing me to wonder why people answer in single words? You know it’s never enough information, and it just drives my curiosity through the roof. You think a one word answer is sufficient enough to keep me at bay but all it does is make me ask 100 more questions…
“Whatcha workin’ on?” I follow up.
“Work, duh.” Okay, I admit, dealing with my kid sometimes causes me to play a variation of the Would You Rather game, that I like to call “What’s Worse?” Extracting information from your child, or getting your teeth pulled.
“Belle, you know me well enough to know what’s about to happen, right?” I ask in my ‘I’m being serious’ tone. “I will snatch that tablet from your hands and sit on it. Or you can take two seconds from your oh so busy schedule and talk to me.”
With a mighty and overly dramatic roll of her eyes and an equally dramatic sigh, Annabelle lowers the tablet and looks down her nose at me. “What.” Oh and you didn’t read that wrong, it wasn’t a question. It was a statement.
“Whatcha workin’ on?” I reiterate with a smile on my face, feigning obliviousness to the fact that I’m annoying the ever living shit out of her.
Another massive sigh, Annabelle turns her tablet towards me and points. It appears to be something related to the PRIME website, or Jabber, or it could be CornHub for all I know, because my eyes aren’t all that great so I’m just guessing at this point. Stupid diabetes.
“Deb is having me scroll through Jabber liking posts, re-jabbing PRIME positive posts, and putting poop emojis on anything related to you,” she answers while scrolling down her tablet. I’m shocked by how many poop emojis I’m seeing. “I lied about that last part, Deb didn’t ask me to do that, I decided to do that on my own.”
“Well, how about you stop “working” for a few minutes and come hang with your old man?” I ask invitingly, while patting the sofa next to me. “We haven’t really had much time to hang, you and I. Figure we’re due.”
“Uhhmmmm,” she stammers, looking towards her bedroom then back to the couch, then the bedroom. She slowly inches her way towards the bedroom, as she tries to find the words. “Uhhhmmmmm.”
“Yeah, go on.” I give the girl a break and cut her loose before she ends up walking backwards into the wall. “We can hang out some other…” Before I can finish the door to her bedroom slams shut.
“It’s only my 40th birthday, who would want to celebrate that?” I say to the empty room as I turn my attention back to the murder spree that is John Wick. “At least I’ll always have John Wick to entertain me. Can’t kill the Baba Yaga.”
I’m gonna let you all in on a secret boys and girls.
At what? You might be wondering.
I can’t do anything right. I can’t wrestle. Hell, I can’t even tie the laces on my boots without breaking out in a sweat, or huffing and puffing for air for the next twenty minutes. You’d think I just had a 60-Minute Ironman with the way I carry on. Now I can’t even rely on Doozer to carry me through a tag team match because he’s off sailing the seas or catching crabs from the lovely ladies of Maine, according to Cancer.
Even the things I should probably be good at, I’m awful at. Cooking for example. I’ve literally burnt hot dogs in a microwave because instead of 15 seconds I misread it and cooked it for 15 minutes. Baking? Forget it. I once used salt instead of sugar because they were both white substances and I stopped reading after “S” and assumed they meant salt. Because who doesn’t want salt in their cookie dough?
I honestly cannot name one thing I’m actually good at. I can’t play video games. I can’t even play board games. I can’t climb mountains. I can’t find a bike big enough for me to ride, without the seat of the bike being enveloped by my wide crack. I can’t do poetry unless it’s about roses being red, violets being blue, and you smelling like poo.
Oh, and I’m not funny.
Seriously. This is depressing me. Does that count at being good at something? Wait, no, I re-read the poem about poo and popped myself, and now I’m not depressed.
I’m a shit father, a horrible son, and an even worse friend. I can’t even sleep properly without almost dying. I kid you not! I can’t sleep without ending up nearly choking to death.
About the only thing I’m good for is breathing, and even then sometimes I fuck that up.
Don’t get me wrong, I don’t say all of these things for your sympathy. I say them because I haven’t always been this way. A long, long, loooooooong time ago I used to be good at everything. Great even. Cancer Jiles once looked up to me! He once rode MY coat tails! Tyler Adrian Best’s father Mike, asked me to join his faction so he wouldn’t have to face me!
On more than one occasion!
I used to be quite special.
Much like my upcoming opponent Chandler Tsonda.
You see, I had never heard of Mr. Tsonda, but with my daughter working in the dark wings of the PRIME catacombs, she was able to do a little digging for me. And boy was I shocked. Here I saw this guy with an equally atrocious record like me and thought to myself, oh boy, I might have a shot!
As my daughter would say, *poop emoji* *poop emoji* *poop emoji*
This man may be 0-1-1 now, but back when I was running roughshod over in sVo, Mr. Tsonda was racking up wins in the original PRIME. He was 28-10-5 back before PRIME went on hiatus.
Before I go on, I do have to wonder, dude’s got 6 no contests in his overall PRIME career? How the fuck do you get so many matches thrown out? And follow up, can our match end in a no contest as well? I’ve only got the 1 no contest and I feel inadequate, like the biggest underachiever compared to you.
Listen, I was finally able to topple the Bandit Slayer, Darin Zion. Could I do the unthinkable? Dare I even say it aloud, dare I risk the potential jinx? Could I start something, the likes of which have never been seen before? Could I start a winning streak that rivals all other streaks?
Or will I be the man that sets Chandler Tsonda back on the right path?
Can you believe we’re hyping a match between a guy that’s 1-4-1 against a guy that’s 0-1-1?