What’s Your Motivation?
Posted on 02/18/23 at 11:52pm by Violet Samuelsson
Event: ReVival 23
January 27th, 2023
I did it.
The phrase kept swirling in my ears, my body going into autopilot as soon as I made my way back through the curtain. Quick and polite thank yous, excuse mes, the standard fare as I went through my post-match ritual.
As soon as the medical crew had cleared ringside, and the fans were long gone, I ducked back out toward the ring. Dressed down in a pair of joggers and a half-zipped oversized hoodie, I surveyed the scene. The ring was coated in blood, still wet in spots to highlight the horrors of the match between the Anglo Luchador and the new Intense champion Paxton Ray. The ropes were shredded, the scant coating flayed open by the same perpetrator that spilled all of that blood in the ring. The barbed wire had largely been removed by the crew, still trying to collect the mess as they worked around me as I stood in silence.
I always came back to the ring after the show. It was therapeutic in a way. It reminded me that what happened out there wasn’t any fault of the ring, the business… it was all between the two, or three, perhaps more, people who stepped between those ropes. Whatever their motivations may be. Some pined for success. Some of them yearned for what just happened in the main event – spilling blood.
What exactly was it that I wanted, this late in the game?
My phone buzzed in my pocket, it was inching closer to midnight and my daughter’s name and face flashed on the screen. A quick swipe, and I back away from the ring and side step back closer toward the barricade as I answer.
“Oh my God how did you do that?!”
I chuckled, pacing a bit as the crew finally began to break down the ring before me.
“I’d say its like riding a bike but…” I trailed off, stepping out of the way as a couple extra crew hands started to tear down the barricade, “that was more like, thinking I’m gonna go ride a bike and someone throws me a unicycle.” I headed through the empty seats back toward the ring entrance area, continuing on as I flipped more into ‘mom’ mode. “It’s after midnight. What are you still doing up?”
“I don’t have school tomorrow, duh.”
“You still shouldn’t be staying up past midnight. You won’t even get outta bed now until like, noon.” I huffed, narrowly avoiding the passing ring crew as they carried off a plank of plywood. “You still have homework to finish and chores to do before I get back Sunday morning.”
“Sunday? I thought you’d be back tomorrow!”
She pouted audibly and I frowned, making my way back to the locker room area to retrieve my bags.
“It’s after midnight,” I reminded her, “and I’m not interested in a red eye and an uber at 5AM. You’re not exactly old enough to pick me up at the airport yet. So I’m coming home Sunday. I’m going to meet up with Katie tomorrow, do a little bit of homework of my own. So when I get home Sunday we’ll both have our homework done, right?”
“Yea-ugh-ah, I guess…” her reply muffled through a yawn as I smiled to myself.
“Okay, now get to bed. Love you.”
“Love you too mama.” her voice chipper, but tired before she hung up the phone. I looked down, the ended call still flashing on the screen before I opened up my text messages and shot one off to Kate.
Yo – I’m not leaving until Sunday. Wanna run down to South Beach and hit up Nemesis?
My smile curled, biting my bottom lip at the idea of getting away and letting loose. If there was one thing I definitely remembered from my time down here? It was just how wild a night at Nemesis could get…
January 28th, 2023
“Yeeah…. Sorry.” Katie apologized, taking a long slurp from her cold brew coffee as she drove. “I told you things had changed and well..”
“I don’t understand,” I sighed, looking out the window as the palm trees passed us by. “So if not Nemesis, what’s Mo running now?”
Katie pondered a minute, turning us off the highway before a slight shrug of her shoulders.
“Honestly? I don’t really know. When the company closed, Nemesis didn’t have the backing to stay open anymore… at least, that’s the story the press ran with. I’m convinced that without the backing of the company, they couldn’t keep avoiding getting dinged for all of the health code violations. I mean, they let pretty much anybody in, behind the bar, wherever… not to mention you could probably grind up the porcelain from the toilets and snort that and get just as good a high as the coke.”
“So.. nobody?” I asked, turning toward Katie as we pulled up to a tall condominium. “Lacey? Alexis?”
“You know how this business is Lyds. One closes its doors, everyone scatters into the five that sprung up to take its place.” Katie shrugged, killing the ignition to the car before turning toward me. “Besides, why worry about those guys? They’re not your clients anymore. This run is about you, right?”
“Right..” I murmured, climbing out of the passenger seat before heading inside. “I do appreciate you doing this, by the way. It feels awkward asking John and well.. You know..”
She waves her hand dismissively, scanning a key card before we enter the elevator and she punches in a code.
“Don’t worry about it. I get it. What are friends for, right?”
The doors swing open, and Katie strolls in and tosses her handbag aside. I take a minute, scanning the entry as we walk toward the living room and I laugh. She gives me a sideways glance as I set down my suitcase, a teasing glimmer in my eyes.
“I was looking for the Starbucks kiosk.”
“Hah.” Katie deadpans, setting her cold brew on the breakfast island as she pulls a slim laptop closer. “You keep that talk up, and I’m going to plant decaf coffee pods in your suitcase.”
“You still have those?!” I blurted, laughter erupting as she hangs her head down defeated.
“I still don’t know who sent me that coffee subscription, but they belong in hell.”
She opens up the laptop, and I close the gap between us. I slip my backpack off, digging into it for the notepad and pen I’d scribbled down onto before getting to Tampa for my inaugural match.
“Okay so… Kohime Mori. If my timing is right, her match went for about I think seven minutes. She h-”
“I’mma cut you off right there.” Katie interjects, spinning the laptop toward me as I look at the screen with a confused look.
“… Katie, that’s Twitter.”
“Yeah. Remember how I said that things have changed? Business changes babes. This isn’t like when you’d go literally watching tape for John or Lacey. Why waste your time? Trust me, someone screwed up in the ring? Social media will be the first to tell you.”
True to her word, Katie has pulled up a quick search on Twitter about Kohime and the results have flooded the screen. Talk of her still being ‘greener than baby shit’, along with scathing retorts about her seeming willingness to work alongside Rocky to neutralize Mike McGee speaking to a lack of confidence in her ability to handle her business on her own litter the Twittersphere and I frown, crossing my chest.
“This isn’t exactly helpful. You of all people ought to know how toxic social media can be in this industry.”
“I do,” Katie affirms, turning the laptop back towards herself, “but I also know that if you focus on what you saw in the ring yourself, you’re looking through the lens of a competitor that knows the ins and outs. You might overlook something because you’re trying to decipher the whole picture. Mr ‘primate69420’ over there on Twitter might not know two shits about wrestling, but they know when they see someone who’s not convincing them that they’re in it to win it.”
“And I did?” I spit out a laugh, running my hands through my hair with a wince. I can still feel the remnants of where Mushigihara repeatedly dumped me on my head with a multitude of suplexes. “I barely scraped out of there with my ass in my tights.”
“You convinced everyone at PRIME that you belong there.”
Katie turns away from the laptop, looking at me now with a stoic expression.
“You’re in this position now because you’re getting the rarest opportunity in this industry. You’re getting a second chance Lyds. Do you understand how powerful this is? People cutting their teeth can be lucky to get one shot. You’re getting two.”
I go silent, studying the pained expression on Katie’s face.
“There are people who would give anything to be where you are. And you’re doing it well. You had everyone on their feet when you beat Mushigihara. David took down Goliath. And now you’re one step closer to winning this tournament. And this time you’re squared to someone who’s almost literally half their size. This is an even playing field, and if you could pull off the impossible? You’re going to pull off the probable.”
“Do you regret not getting a second chance?” I finally asked, breaking the silence between the two of us. She looks from the laptop to me, the corner of her mouth twitching.
“This isn’t about me, Lydia.”
My eyes scan the living room, her accolades laid out all across the eggshell finish walls. Championships. Awards. Front page headlines. She’d accomplished more in her first year wrestling than I ever did in my entire career.
“This is about you.” She follows up, her gaze following mine as I eye every single glittering prize. “You’re getting a shot to be who you want to be. No more walking someone else to the finish line. How bad do you want it?”
The sound of paper crumpling catches both me and Katie off guard. I look down, the notepad in my hand crumpling at the edges underneath the white knuckles of my subconscious fist.
“…. I really really want this Katie..”
“Then let’s get to work.”
To Kohime Mori,
Here we are.
The Alias Championship tournament, and I’m one step closer.
It should give me all of the confidence in the world, to go into this match with you after taking out the proverbial giant. But the truth is, it doesn’t. Confidence is built by consistently being the better competitor out there. One match, does not a streak make..
Or, something like that.
No, this Friday it comes down to me and you – the benefactor of a triple threat gone awry. I mean, no shame. Sometimes, that’s just how the chips fall. The end result is all that matters, and that’s that you walked out with the win. And for a young career? That’s big. Huge!
I still remember my first win, if I’m being honest.
It was in 2009. I stood in the ring with someone who’d had years of experience in combat sports, who should’ve wiped the floor with me. What business did I, a manager to the people who deserved to be in that ring, have to be in there against a serious competitor? I had the determination to make something of myself. To shed that mantle of being a ‘manager’ and becoming someone on my own merits. I didn’t even with that match with my own hold… I won it off of blind luck and mimicking the hold of one of my clients. It was a blur, but at the end of the night it was my moment. So when I see you in that ring, Kohime, I see myself. When I saw your elation after hooking that leg, Rocky missing you by mere inches. You knew in that moment, this is where you were meant to be. You’ve got to believe me when I tell you I understand.
Seeing you at ReVival 21, I saw someone who was pulling everything together for the first time – to be someone they always wanted to be. To step into that spotlight they are DESTINED for. And what I did in the ring with Kensley that night in 2009 will stay with me, the very same way that your win over Mike McGee will stay with you.
That’s where our similarities end though. Because 2009 was a really long time ago. Long enough, that everyone I shared a ring with has either retired, moved on to other ventures… or is no longer walking amongst us. And that’s a sobering reality when I get into that ring. I’m getting the opportunity to do this again. To rewrite history. To step into the ring with an entirely fresh set of competition. A new crowd of fans who’ve never seen me throwing people from scaffolding, not because I had some instinctual bloodlust, but because I was terrified and just wanted to survive. I’m going to recreate my 2009 with everything the first one had. The wins. The championships. The desire to be my own woman – and this time? I don’t have anyone standing in the shadows to stop me. My success is only just beginning. I’m writing a new version of my story, with a new ending… and one that I’m going to be sure that when I walk out of that ring for the last time? That I’m proud of. One that my daughter, is going to be proud of.
And it continues in New Orleans, in the heart of Mardi Gras, and I’m going to inch myself that much closer to getting my hands on the Alias Championship. And Kohime when I do…
You’re going to be running laps like you’ve never run them before.
Your Future Alias Champion,