CALAMITY X // RUN IT_WAS_EASY.EXE
By: Dickie Watson
Writing Prompt: Yes
Date: 27th Dec 2021
CALAMITY X // RUN IT_WAS_EASY.EXE
Have you ever wanted something so bad in your life that you would do anything to get it? At the mercy of their parent’s bank accounts, kids in their young ages and their proclivity for innocence tended to try and wheedle their way to get money so they could buy the next big thing. The next big game system, the next big video game that all the other kids had. The stars of the world were endorsed by the big companies, and this is nothing new. Back in the early two-thousands, if Britney Spears said she was so enamored with her new Furby, then everyone wanted it. Materialism and image have and always will be a huge part of the human psyche.
But so was the image of perfection. The American Dream, the one thing that so many people tried to get into this country for in the first place. From sixteen-hundred-seven when Jamestown became the first settlement in America, to the current day where the citizens of Mexico tried to illegally cross borders because the concept that “the grass was always greener on the other side” was so prevalent in the world, people have held that idealistic image in their mind. Perfection was the white picket fence, marrying and staying married to that perfect woman or man who just made you smile. How could you even think of divorcing them? You had the newest car in your driveway, and your kids absolutely adored you for who you were. You would have a boy and a girl ideally, both to carry on your image. Your grass was greener than green and your house was perfect.
Until the cracks began to show.
In the foundation of the house, causing the walls to fill with imperfections that need repairing. In the marriage, where maybe you took too much liberties and they stop providing that love and devotion they once had because they felt used. In the kids, who realized that your idealism was bullshit and tried to both outdo you and oppose you in every measure, starting in their teens. Truly, the cracks could fill everything to the point where you broke down and couldn’t handle the pressure anymore.
It’s the same in wrestling, but for whatever reason, brandishing axes against people who prove their worth over and over again. Raising pitchforks because they don’t like how someone else has done and they need their relevance handed to them for the day, their pats on the head that they did good too! Participation trophies for everyone who said something, did something, made a craft, even if it wasn’t good. BUT fuck those people at the top.
It’s the same wherever you go. You work. You earn. You grow. And then people make a stink because it’s not them leading the pack. It’s what they want, and they’ll do anything that they can to get it, even if it’s just not quite enough. Their tunnel vision has led the path, has driven them to want something that they cannot have. But they’ll do everything in their lives to get it. Include bitch and complain.
But what if you have what everyone wants? What if you have the top prize, the thing that someone else thought was in their grasp, and they couldn’t get it? Do you lord it over them? Do you nonchalantly ignore it and move on with your life? Do you address it, tell people to shut the fuck up and get over it? Maybe you finally feel as if you’ve had the moment to relax, and you lay back, a pina colada in your hand and sunglasses on your face to block out the rays of the sun. You have everything in the world, right? You don’t need anything else.
Something so bad you’re willing to drop everything and find it, do anything to have it, say anything to make that step. It’s in your grasp, it’s right there.
It all started with a call.
One, single call that changed the face of Dickie Watson’s life.
Let’s go back to Blood Money, back to the place where this all began for FIGHT! and his rise. In preparation for the match ahead, in preparation for the entire new mindset that Dickie had successfully garnered, he’d been called by someone…well, let’s just say that someone wasn’t the most savory of individuals.
“I understand. I am, of course, disappointed. I had hoped you’d finally realized your potential to do great things with someone helping you to pave your way.”
An image of Dickie appears out of the darkness at his New York City flat, on the rooftop balcony, his fingers clenching across the knee of his jeans as he listened to the man’s voice. His eyes narrowed and he turned his head, upset with the way that the man’s word’s made him feel. The camera focuses on the perspiration growing on his brown, the cracking and cricking of his fingers as they folded together. His hazel eye as it looks side to side.
“I don’t need it. I never needed it.” Dimitri snapped. “You know, I’ve spent so long in the shadows, It took me breaking my bonds to realize that I don’t need them, just as they have never needed me.“
“Like your sister–“
Like a flood, memories invaded him. Getting placed in that godforsaken orphanage as a young child, the constant badgering and threats from kids that didn’t like him or his accent. They didn’t understand his Russian language, so he was forced, often at the end of the stick meeting his backside, to speak in English. The protection he received and the love he gave, only for it to be tossed out like garbage the day she left. The multiple homes, the multiple families that he’d tried to assimilate into, only to be given back up because he couldn’t reach their expectations. He’d clawed and pushed his way up through school, university, and now? He was a wrestler with a legacy being created and not once had he ever needed someone else to push him, to make him better. He’d done it on his own. Like he always would.
The exhalation of breath as his body takes him over, the shaking of muted rage. Trying to stay calm in the face of adversity as his lips tightened over his teeth in anger.
“I don’t have one.” Dimitri cut him off. “And I don’t need one. Have a good day.“
As the days wore on, Dickie continued to receive text messages. Calls. Varying events, he would run into the man and his people. There was no removing him, no blocking, fraying, moving away from. Every step that he took, he was watched constantly. It happened in the shadows, when Dickie least expected it. He would meet with him, in the hopes that the man would just leave him the fuck alone. After his wife left him, after everything dissolved, it never ended. He knew the man was relentless. He knew he would find a way eventually to get him underneath his grasp. Representation, help, guidance. The little man in the hero’s journey that would lead Dickie the way, the correct path, the right way, no matter right or wrong. Morals were unhinged. People were unhinged. And if everything continued down the path that it was going, he too would be unhinged.
He just never expected what that way was.
It started…with a call. No explanation was given, nothing stated in this grandiose speech to try to get him on his side. Nothing but four simple words. Dickie was gone.
“I found your father.”
YOU’RE ALL ABOUT HYPE
YOU KNOCK AT MY DOOR, BUT YOU HAD NO INVITE
AND YOU’RE DOING THIS SHIT ‘CAUSE I GAVE YOU THE RIGHT
YOU’RE LIVIN’ A LIE, THIS WORLD IS SO BLIND
THE VELVET RABBIT
Booming bass thudded upon the walls of the Velvet Rabbit. Down on the stages, there were sure to be clientele bouncing and moving throughout the place as the dancers showed off their lovely figures. Swinging from their poles, they twirled, entertaining the masses with a mysterious smile and a teasing figure. However, in this particular Burrow, there was not, decidedly, a lapdance being held, though there were certainly girls within it. As the camera floated around the room, the Does leaned on the couch, one pressing their hand to the arm of the occupant of the room, the other seated precariously with her backside very visible. The tilted their heads to the camera, not uttering a word, and also not moving much at all.
The purple and pink walls of the room cast a luminous and Delphic glow across the area. The leather couch wrapped around the entirety of the wall, and a table with a small glowing light beneath the glass was nestled in the center of the room. It was…idyllic. Calm. Despite the rousing bass, despite the dark of the room, it was remarkably quaint and peaceful.
“Didn’t expect you’d find me here, did you?“
From the feet up, the viewers had a visual look of a different aesthetic of the Empire Champion. Gone were the skinny jeans, ripped up at the knees. Though the combat boots still stayed strapped to his feet, the tighter material wrapped around his legs neatly, but not suffocatingly. On his torso, instead of the grunged-out band t-shirt, was a rather silken-appearing black button-down. He nearly melted into the same color of the leather, but in the light, you could tell the difference. The only thing that hadn’t changed for this moment was his hair, but even so, it looked like it’d been freshly cut.
He draped his left arm across the back of the sofa while the other rested comfortably at his side. As always, leaning against him, Dickie’s championship was present, if to do nothing more than remind everyone who viewed this of who he was. He smiled slightly…or rather, it was more of a smirk.
“Hello there, welcome to the Velvet Rabbit.” He says, quite clearly. “I know you’d all expect me to be hunkered down in a pit with a bunch of scuzzbag metalheads, considering the fact that I go grunge all the time, but I figured we’d change up the scenery. Do something…crazy, before the end of the year drops at Countdown. And what better way to do that then show up wherever the fuck the rest of you are?“
He nodded to himself, cricking his neck.
“I know it’s strange, but it’s something out of the norm and I want to make it clear to the rest of you what that looks like. It looks like you’re doing something that isn’t the same. It looks like a change in behavior, a change in the places you frequent, a change in the attitudes you use against the rest of your co-workers and administrators. That’s what the shock value is. That is what hits hard when it comes down to it, the automatic change to something…more invigorating. Better than it was before. But you guys don’t recognize that, do you?“
He shrugged his shoulders.
“But you know how it goes. Sneak attacks. Side attacks. Disqualifications, looking like you’re trying to rally a whole fucking group to your side but learning that we were a little bit quicker. A little faster, a little bit wiser. We could see the writing on the wall, and honestly, it was just waiting for the moment to drop. People asked us when we were going to say something. People told us that we should make a statement. But I can remember Warstein, a few weeks ago, telling me that he could see the movements. They, and by that, I mean you, were going to sit there and try to jump us. Try to take us down, try to surprise us with shit. We needed to sit tight, sit quiet, sit until we could play the upper hand. I don’t know if you remember it back at Ascension when we told you the facts of the matter. You forced our hand. You made us change our movement of attack.
Looking back at Blood Money, Tag Wars, Ascension…we’ve led a storied time, haven’t we? Every week, if it wasn’t fuckin’ Montuori jumping me with the rest of Dynasty, it was someone with a problem. Even in looking back on my year, on what I’ve done, what I’ve accomplished…I can say with a purpose…“
He leaned forward on his knees, his elbows resting against his knees as he brought his fingers to his lips in a single gesture, folding his hands in prayer.
“I wouldn’t have been so fucking naive to the ways that the roster members of this company carry themselves. I regret that I was so focused on just trying to make it, to start over and breathe after everything that had happened to me in the previous year…it took me too long to wise up to the ways of the roster. I wouldn’t have been so easily forced to tag, I wouldn’t have been so easily bought by the idea that any of you were decent human individuals. Because at this rate? I’ve learned you’re all just fucking vultures, parasites looking for the moment you can capitalize and bite down. Why? Because you’re fucking NOTHING.“
He raised the Empire Championship as he reached behind him, showing it to the masses.
“If you were so fucking awesome and amazing, and the people pissed up your walls in happiness and glee, and you were told you were the best at what you were doing, I should not have gotten this. If you sat in your little circles and cock stroked one another all the time, someone from the outside coming in should not have won your precious championship. You should have been fucking prepared for this. You should have been willing and firing to go on all cylinders the moment that names from other places were announced. YOU should have recognized that there are companies, wrestlers, outside of your four walls that have been walking this planet and making a name for themselves, and you should have been prepared for the cataclysm that appeared on your doorstep.“
He set the championship across his lap.
“We should have not been able to rise to the top.“
The image flickered, glitching. Static was audible, morphing the sound of the music as the program running the promotional material fritzed. The Does disappeared, replaced by the members of New Status Quo. Aiden Reynolds sat on the back of the couch next to his “hetero lifemate”, dressed similarily (though his shirt was definitely open at the middle). James Raven and Betsy Granger, no strangers to the Rabbit, were seated on the left hand side. Kasey Winterborn and Shawn Warstein on the right. All had their Islands titles resting upon the table.
“We should have not won Ascension. We shouldn’t have been given opportunities to rise to this company, we should have been dismantled by you all. You were the big dogs, the original roster that followed each other from Fade2Black to Outlaw Pro, and wherever else you slithered out of, but you can’t come up with a coherent thought as to why we weren’t the best thing in your company at the time. Funny, the one man that was undefeated and held the keys to OPW walked away, disappeared into the night. Stephen Stratford was gone, and there was an opportunity for all of you to suddenly become the biggest name in the newest company. And yet…six of us appeared in his place.
And now…you want to band together to try to take us all down when several of you were in your FYAs and your Cures and your Dynasties and couldn’t figure out how to do it then? Oh, no, that’s right. None of you are actually in a legitimate stable because we hit you where it hurts: your fucking pockets. In the powers vested in us by Xavier Black and Company…we told you to pick your poison. Title shots, or camaraderie to take us down? Be recognized as the bitches you are, congregating and salivating on opportunities to jump and dismantle the men and women you couldn’t take apart in the first place, or stay greedy little grubbers lookin’ for a bloody shot at someone they can’t take down.”
That smile rose upon his lips again. It wasn’t the same as his previous presentations. There was nothing nice or kind about it. There was nothing good about it. Like a switch that had been flipped on and off, Dickie was done. He was done being nice, he was done giving a shit.
“Allison Riggs-Preston, are you going to be there to cheer on your husband at Countdown, or are you going to be too busy fucking Brandon Moore in the back like you did Joe Montuori? Speaking of Montuori, is Paul going to actually stop being a pretentious fuck who dissolved in a puddle of rubbish because twice, he couldn’t defeat me? Or is he going to be that fucktwat demanding in his best clenched fist that he faces me again, because third time is the fucking charm? Which one are we going to get? Multiple personality disorder is so fucking prevalent in this business, I swear to God.
While we’re at it, you know Michelle is over there doting on her kids and loving on her psychotic, incoherent man that can barely string together two fucking words while trying to be a vicious psychopath on her own, holding the Manhattan Championship that Betsy is going to swipe out from underneath her hands. And Sahara? The woman so fucking upset from day to day that she’s not getting as much dick or as much attention from the rest of the roster, and thinks that because she consistently fucking sucks, she should be handed glory?
I don’t care if you’re with them or not with them, Sahara. You’re an opportunist, and you are vile, pathetic and worthless. You’ve been left off the fucking card, how does that make you feel?
Also, who could forget about the man of the hour, the man who had the brilliance to combine all of the best of the old guard and bring them together under his name. I see your propaganda. I’m not oblivious. None of us are fucking stupid, and your buddy censoring himself because he doesn’t want to pay up to the rules is more and more telling every day. Warstein has defeated you twice. You wanted a crack and me and you didn’t get it, and now look at you…fucking incoherent and babbling about shit like Deathklok mixed with The Crow. This shit is ridiculous. And this was the best you could come up with? Your tournament may take the name of your beautiful little experiment, but in FIGHT!? It’s un-fucking-acceptable.
He lowered his head, running his hands through his hair for a second while shaking it from side to side slowly. Dickie raised it then, his nose twitching upwards in disgust and anger.
“Poor little Dane.
I’ll touch on you in a couple of minutes here, but I want you to realize what your little group looks like from the outside looking in. It looks like jilted employees unhappy that someone else was Employee of the Month. It makes you look like you’re cowards, that you can’t face your foes head on. If there’s anything Drucilla and her sister do well, it’s facing people head on. You look like a bunch of teenagers waiting to get the jump on someone so you can steal their fucking weed because you don’t have enough money to purchase it on your own.
You look pathetic. And as much as you get attention for it, as much as you think you’ve one upped us?“
Dickie ticked, sucking in his teeth and shaking his head with a small bit of laughter.
“We are your leaders. We are the chosen ones and you cannot fucking stand us. We walked in and took control, and we became the people you used to be. Instead of rising above, you dropped below like hoes unable to be housewives and sucked off the next best person just to get by and be seen as relevant. You are not, in any way, shape, or form, ahead of us. Keep dreaming. Dream big, high and large. But you can’t blink and falter. Otherwise…”
He raises his hands, and he snaps his fingers. The image glitches again, and this time, it leaves Dickie alone. No New Status Quo. Just The Calamity. Just The Molotov.
“Sorry, mates. You’ve gotta be faster than that.“
BANGING ON THE WALLS ‘CAUSE YOUR TEAM GAVE OFF HER SOLO, MAN
HANGING FROM THE FALL BECAUSE I’M NOT SCARED TO FUCKIN’ DREAM
SCREAMING OUT FOR MORE
I’M TRYIN’ TO PROVE THESE FUCKERS WRONG
I HOPE YOU FINALLY NOTICE I AM BACK AT IT AT SIX
CAUSE I’M THE COLDEST; BROKEN PARTS I’M HOLDING STAY WITH ME
I GUESS I’M STILL THE BEST AT TELLIN’ STORIES I’VE BEEN FEELIN’
The hum of the airplane cabin hovered over Dickie as he leaned his head against the wall. It’d been what seemed like an eternity, and they weren’t even there. But that was normal for a flight across the ocean – he should know, he did it consistently for the past…how many years? Since he was twenty-one, he’d been traveling from one country to the other, trying to be there for people who didn’t give a shit about him, and he’d learned that a little slower than most. But there had always been that instinct to do things for others before himself…call him gullible.
Sitting across from him was a man by the name of Kei Hideshima. Kei was, quite obviously, Japanese, and an unconventional member of their society as well. He wore a suit, but it was not buttoned at the cuffs, nor was the jacket on his body. It laid somewhere on the craft. His pleated pants were tighter than most and brushed the top of his combat boots. A strip of cloth laid across his nose, hiding scars of his childhood underneath it. He’d unbuttoned and curled up his shirt’s sleeves and was looking, now, curiously, in the direction of the younger wrestler.
Kei Hideshima was a dangerous man. Since two-thousand-and-five, he had been terrorizing the lives of people within the promotions that he was employed while simultaneously sitting at the top. He was a Heavyweight Champion, until he faded into obscurity and disappeared from the limelight. No one knew exactly what he did, but when he reappeared, it was as a training facility owner. Combat Syndicate had many, if not several, stationed gyms around the world.
But everyone who was anyone knew it was a front.
It wasn’t spoken aloud, but Dickie knew Kei’s secrets. He knew them intimately, because his brother was Kei’s right hand within the Hyazuki Clan. Yes. Clan. Kei was a shateigashira, a second-in-command to the oyabun, a name that Dickie didn’t know and didn’t want to know. Finn Whelan did Kei’s dirty work, which included some unsavory affairs that should never be mentioned on camera. In return, Kei mentored him in wrestling, creating in him the person that he was today: uncompromising and relentless. While it was semi-strange for an Irish-American to be within the Yakuza, no one questioned Kei’s choices. No one questioned Finn. And besides, it wasn’t like Kei was going to reach out and deem Dickie to be his left hand.
There wasn’t enough of a murderer in the twenty-six year old to even remotely think about joining.
Kei did not speak much on the plane. They discussed, briefly, their meeting in late July, and how the idea of kindness was what was keeping Dickie from transcending above. Dickie’s response?
I’m not going to lose a piece of myself just for championship gold and notoriety. I can do it, while also remembering that the person across from me is a human being.
Except was that true? He would, of course, return early for Crusade at his other company. He and Aiden held the tag team titles there, but afterwards? He would need to be prepared for Countdown and for Dane Preston. Then, he would watch as his second title would be contested for under a fake tag team that wasn’t recognized because they refused to pay the penance for it. Pfft. Paul Montuori and Brandon Moore were, ultimately, trying to gain ground that they once had, but it would be up to Aiden and James to tear them apart, limb from limb. And with the mood that Aiden had, allowing himself to be disqualified? And James? No. There would be no falling apart at the seams.
Aiden. His best friend had, for all intents and purposes, come in at a time where they needed him. He knew Aiden didn’t exactly care a lot about FIGHT! He knew the wins and the losses brushed off of him as quickly as the breeze did in Australia, but he knew that the disappointment would take hold within him if he wasn’t able to succeed. He wouldn’t say it. He’d hold his head high. But he would take less and less care as he moved through his matches. But he was part of New Status Quo, and with all of them in tow, they would…succeed. They would survive. They would win. They had to. The very status of this company relied on surviving through this as they’d survived through Countdown.
Kei was silent when the plane arrived, instantly expecting Dickie to just follow. Snow had begun to fall as they entered a dark vehicle, piloted by a British man that he didn’t learn the name. In there, Kei pulled his phone out and began to make quick texts. Some in Japanese, some in English. Dickie didn’t ask. He didn’t need to.
He really only had one purpose here.
The feeling of wanting a family had been prevalent since he was a child. The Orphanage, as everyone knew, had some additional pieces that had ultimately fucked up his life for some time, but he was repairing that and himself. They passed it, siting off to the right as they drove slowly through the traffic. New Status Quo was a fill for the void that he carried with him eternally, but…it wasn’t the same. Brotherhood with Aiden, trust in his teammates, did not equate to love or family…well, maybe it Aiden’s case. But Aiden could bounce at any time.
Maybe he was better off on his own, and that was the thought that filled him with dread as he swallowed and closed his eyes.
“Kodomo,” Kei muttered, looking directly over at Dickie. He called him a child, and perhaps that was the only way he could be seen. His voice was deep, and lost in his thoughts, it made The Calamity startle just a little bit. “We have some time before we reach the upper north end. I would…like to hear your thoughts.“
Kei raised a gloved hand to his face, rubbing his chin slightly. “You tell me about your friends and your status within FIGHT!, and I will tell you about your father. Dōi?” He questioned, asking if he agreed.
“New Status Quo.“
“Forged because the rest of the company had no fuckin’ –sorry– clue on how to deal with us, so they kept forcing us into situations where we’d end up needing to team. Warstein and I were the first ones in it. It helped that we’d all been acquaintances, I mean…Raven and I had been friends, and Kasey and I go back a bit…the inclusion of Granger and Reynolds made it easier.“
“No. I know how. I mean…tell me of the intricacies. Tell me why each one of them matters to you, individually.“
Dickie floundered for a moment. For a long while, each one of the members of his faction didn’t particularly matter to him. He didn’t trust them. He never had. Hell, three weeks ago, he was telling them all to fuck off and get out of his face. It was a defensive mechanism, one that he resorted to so that he could guard himself. People could take it as a petulant cry, a whine, whatever they wanted to, but it was legitimately a way to keep himself whole without damage. Aiden, in his rare moments of seriousness, would tell him that he just needed to calm down.
“Well…Kasey is pretty resilient, and I appreciate the energy that she provides. She’s usually the calm one, the one that centers us. She certainly centers Shawn. As far as Shawn…he leads when I don’t. Definitely has that quality, which we all need. The voice of reason, the voice of patience. Sometimes egotistical and a bit tyrannical, and sometimes goes off the cuff when he doesn’t need to, but he…is reason. James came in, like he always does, he’s been our saving grace. He’s important, because he can bounce stuff off all of us and it suddenly makes sense. Aiden is our humor – he’ll use it when we need levity, but I trust him to follow through when he needs to. And Betsy…she matters because she has a heart of fire. She doesn’t quit. She might get pissed, but she comes back, resilient as ever.“
“And what would they think of you?“
Another bit of silence. He had no idea. Had he opened up enough to them? Certainly Aiden – after all, the man had been there through thick and thin. They both had for one another. The Bromance never died, this he knew. And the rest of them? What kept Warstein trusting him not to bail? His honor? His naivety? Raven followed suit with Warstein usually, and Granger trusted both of them. But that did not tell him how they thought of him. He’d beaten Kasey one time, but she never said anything.
“I don’t know.“
“Perhaps, Kodomo, you should ask one day.” Kei went back to his phone as it dinged. “We are almost here. Come, we will walk.“
PLAYING ALL KINDS OF GAMES, IT’S BEEN A WHILE SINCE I WAS WATCHIN’
ALWAYS DOWN FOR THE CAUSE, GOD, THESE DAYS D IS COACHING
THEY BE WATCHING MY GAME ON THE SIDE LIKE THEY OWE ME ONE
THEY BE WATCHING MY GAME ON THEIR ASS LIKE THEY’RE LEARNIN’ NOW
THE VELVET RABBIT
“A friend of mine, he asked me to think of something important. What value do I hold to New Status Quo? What is my worth to them?“
We continue, but this time, Dickie was alone. No stable members. No Does. Just Dickie and the camera, looking directly into it with a fire that burns within his eyes.
“For a while, I contemplated this. I sat there and I wondered what the fuck my worth was to this little stable. Everyone carries something of value into every relationship, including the ties they build with others. Everyone has their roles to play, their movements to make in a team. There’s a bonafide leader, but we’ve already established that any one of us at any time could be a leader. Sometimes it’s me. Sometimes it’s Shawn. Sometimes we go play fuckin’ dodgeball at the local YMCA and it’s Aiden leading the pack against a ton of civilians. It’s apparently startling to the other team when he says something about getting revenge against the emus, but then I remember the Australians lost a war against them, so I can’t fault him.
But then I realized, that my worth isn’t measured in Blood Money, or championships, or anything of the sort. I know how people like Sahara pride themselves on how much money they have, and use it every chance they get. Joe Montuori is the same. I don’t…care about my Blood Money. I don’t care so much about the shiny things, even if I do my damndest to keep them. I realized that I bring everyone together. I speak for us. We all have voices, but I’m willing to be the scapegoat so the rest of them can rise above. Even when I sit here and hold this championship within my grasp, when I have everything at my fingertips, I’m willing to allow someone else the glory of attaining the top.
But not at my expense.“
Dickie paused for a moment, sitting back against the leather once more. He raised his eyebrows and shook his head for a moment, exhaling deeply. The Empire Championship, in all its glory, laid draped across his lap.
“When we faced off the first time, Dane…you gave me a fucking history lesson that I could have given a shit less about and been happy all the same. The thing that I learned, quickly, was that you relish in the times where you rose above everyone around you. Talking about Murphy, the mismanagement of promotions. Action Wrestling, where I went for a little bit. You gave me a talking bit about your career and how hard you fuckin worked, but then…your jealousy arose.“
He raises a hand, a singular finger.
“Dane Preston is synonymous with jealousy. And it’s prevalent. You rattled off the names of all the people in this company that retired, but then became more important than you. More popular, more active, more…enticing? Look, Raven said the same thing that all of us are thinking, and that’s pretty much that you are the embodiment of the most boring items in the world. You could make asparagus inviting, maybe even gingerbread. Beige suits you, because you don’t take sides until it’s too late. You don’t make decisions, you get led around on a horse.
Just like Montuori, you spent weeks kissing my ass, and then calling me names. You were honored to step into the ring with me, told me I was one of the best you’d seen, and then told me that we weren’t enemies.“
Dickie placed his tongue between his teeth, rolling across his upper teeth with it and then sticking it in the pocket of his mouth.
“And then you won. And that’s fine. Like you, my eyes were focused elsewhere. The problems with my previous company, the utter lack of appreciation and respect that I should have had simply because I’m still their longest reigning champion. I’m not going to sit there and state that you were just lucky, because that’s not the way that I work. You won.
While in the process destroying and maiming the people around here, stating that they’re running around with delusions of grandeur and inflated sense of self worth. The people that you easily named your new best friends in this company. Your House of M buddies that, while you can sit there and tell me you’re not a part of, I know you’re telling me a lie just as much as I mistakenly didn’t want to ever know, but absolutely know that Vhodka pegs Vincent for M&M’s and Sahara fucks whatever walks around her because she’s batshit insane.
Yes, Mama Vhodka. I may not be present, but I’m always watching.”
He reeled back for a second, making a motion with his hands to rewind.
“And let’s come back to that, for a second. While the rest of you are sitting in your little dungeon caves, planning, plotting, and sounding like a very bad Blink-182 song while you’re watching, waiting, and commiserating…let’s come back to this thought. The idea that you guys all walked together for thousands of years in the prehistoric days of your wrestling career. You know each other well, and yet, you’ve been friends, foes, fuckbuddies, whatever it comes down to in the moment…which is astonishing to me, because it tells me that you have no fucking morals. No ethics. No…ideas of your own except for what you feel right then, right there. You don’t think ahead. You act on impulse and you don’t slow down. One day, you say one thing, another day, you mean something else completely different.“
He raised his hand to his mouth again, one more time and shook his head.
“Dane, what this tells me that you’re fucking useless. You have no direction. You have no perfect idea of what you want to do…and maybe it’s cool to be a hippie and go with the flow, but when I came here, I had a goal in mind. I have a goal in mind today. I have direction. I have steps that I need to take in order to transcend over whatever the fuck you people want to keep throwing at me because of your pure, unadulterated jealousy.
Every time you open your mouth, you have a hard-on for analogizing me to your friends. As days started going, as I held on to this championship when even your best could not hold a candle to me in the end, you started growing agitated. You started throwing our name down in the dirt because you could not rise above. To you, we came in to “infiltrate the enemy and destroy them from within”. That’s what you said against Raven. In your infinite wisdom, you decided to sit there and tell us that we had this plan on coming in here and destroying everything that you built from your precious little hands up.
Except that’s not the case.
You people, you and Fuck You All, forced our hand. Every week leading up to Ascension, it was, ‘Let’s attack the dominant people because we can’t do anything from the front.’ Gotta slide up the back, just like Joe Montuori did when he–
No, I said I wouldn’t do that. I’m above that. Someone has to have morals here.”
Dickie clicked his tongue against his teeth and shook his head.
“Your annoyance became prevalent when Raven came in, and was given the opportunity to join New Status Quo.“
Dickie looked around, innocently for a second, confusedly in another second, and then, he relaxed again, shaking his head with a smirk rising upon his lips.
“Like that wasn’t a foregone conclusion. Like he and Warstein hadn’t been inaugural Tag Champions, like Legacy hadn’t been a thing before this company ever existed. James Raven would never turn his back on his brother, his hetero lifemate or whatever. And yeah, he got to come in and we accepted him because, for a year, it’s always been the intent for The Commonwealth to combine with Legacy. Because talent knows when talent exists to create a dominant force. Something that you guys lack when all of you just roll together with the punches and try to create something that you don’t have. Something you’ve been reaching for for months.
I ask you, Dane…have you pulled on our threads, or have we completely unraveled yours?“
Dickie’s eyebrows raised, as if he expected Dane to answer. As if he expected…someone to say something to combat him.
“And then James Raven beat you.“
He clicked his tongue against his teeth once more.
“And you fucking imploded.“
A chuckle fell from his lips as he leaned forward again, and he snickered.
“You addressed James Raven on a level because you felt so personally victimized that he called out every single one of your flaws, your failures, your problems when you try to make yourself one of the biggest fucking dogs on this side of the Mississippi. You may find yourself in your feelings, and you were the talk of the town. He decimated you, and you fucking blew a gasket. And that tells me that you are so easily violated by words, that when we hit our mark, you seethe. You fall apart because you’re not used to being the person that falls by the wayside, no goals, nothing handed to you. To be perfectly honest, I was surprised when you bid on this match. But there is nothing more thrilling than taking someone who has been knocked up to the heights of grandeur, just like your little friends Moore and Montuori, and fucking burying you in the ground.“
Dickie rose to his feet then, standing in front of the camera with a very straight back and a very pleased expression. He reached for his Empire Championship, and held it upon his shoulder with pride. Pride that he could hold it for this long.
“That’s the thing, Dane. One thing I notice, over and over again, is that you have this concept that if you talk in the most boring epithets of speeches and grandiose words and arguments, that you’re putting in the best of the best. But that’s not it. It’s about making every single word count. You don’t know how to do that. Every week, it’s the same thing. I did this. I did that. Make your false claims. Make your bullshit known to everyone so that when we come at you, we know how to dig right into that little place in the center of your heart and,” he makes a twisting motion, “make you mad. Make you feel like every little bit is personal. Make you fall apart so you make fucking mistakes. And it was so fucking easy.“
Another click of his tongue against his teeth.
“But I’m tired of you. I’m tired of Sahara. I’m tired of Brandon Moore. I’m tired of Paul Montuori riding my jockstrap like he seriously wants my attention and heavy petting. I’m tired of all of you trying and trying your damnedest to destroy me by going after my friends, my family, my pride. I’ve held this championship now for one hundred and seventy days. And the moment that you brought your fucking worthless pieces of shit into your fight with me, you ended my good will. You ended my desire to stay respectful. You ended Dickie Watson the Happy-Go-Lucky, Smart-Alec, but kind individual.
Now all I want to do is rip your face off and make sure Allison has it so she can place it in a book for safekeeping. I want to rip your fucking intestines out of your asshole and leave you in a puddle of your own fucking putrid waste. This deathmatch gives me the opportunity to make you suffer, make you bleed, make you perish.
Make you eat every bit of drivel back up that’s fallen from your mouth. You made this personal. And now I’m done. I’m done being your punching bag every week. I am a bonafide killer, and I only get worse when you piss me off. Good job, Dickless Dane. You’ve unlocked Hard Mode.
That’s why I asked for this match. Yes. I’ll be locked in a cage with you, and you’ll be locked in a cage with me, but I wanted to make this you and me. Not New Status Quo. Not House of My-Ass. Not Michelle or whoever else wants to act like a fool. I want your head on a silver fucking platter, and I will serve it to the rest of the FIGHT! roster as a reminder that you don’t fuck with me. Fuck around, and fucking find out, right, Dane?
I resent the fact that you think I needed you jumped on. I resent the fact that you think I would stoop as low to break you down, when that’s never been my modus operandi, and never will be. I resent that you think I would be as fucking basic as you to try and make it so this isn’t a challenge for me. I stopped Warstein from doing it when you faced Raven. I stopped him again at the Christmas Party. I stopped him from taking you apart because this war was with you and me.
You made it everyone else involved.
You’re talented. Being in this business for as long as you have doesn’t mean that you’re old and washed up. It means that you have wisdom, but I haven’t been seeing it because you’ve been tainted by the rest of the people who you once said were delusional. You thought that we wanted to bury the FIGHT! roster, but all we ever wanted was a place for us to become part of. To work with. To make it the best fucking company in the entirety of the wrestling world.
We’ve done that? And what have you done? Whined. You’ve fucking whined. So let me turn it back on you:
Be careful what you wish for, Dane. You may not like what’s coming for you.
I’ve been in cages. I’ve been in deathmatches. I’ve been in street fights. All for championship matches. I’ve retained every single one. I bashed Contessa Floran, a very good competitor, into the window of the 16th Street Mall in Denver, I hit her with a fire extinguisher, I impaled her into many counters, many chairs, and many sharp objects. I put MYOJIN through the fucking roof of a cage, hit him with every fucking object I got my hands on, made him bleed, and I relished in it. My former sibling? I took her to her limits, I destroyed her with everything in me. I’m not a weak individual.
I will take you. I will end you. I will bash you into every side of that cage, I will make you wish you never bid that Blood Money on this, and in the end of it all? I will stand triumphant over you with my fucking hand raised and you will learn your place.
I’m not interested in your bullshit. Take it personal. Take hard, give me your best. But don’t sit there and whine and cry immediately when you lose this one. It’s not a good look for a grown ass man. You may have won one battle, Dane.
But every time since that we’ve been across one another, including Ascension, you’ve failed.
So lord your win over me, hold it dear to your heart, and remember it fondly, because it is the last fucking thing you will have over me again. This will not be the same battle where you beat me with a bullshit superkick to my face.
I’ve won this war.
Fuck House of M.
Get fucked and get the FUCK out of MY HOUSE.“
SITTIN’ HIGH ABOVE, LAUGHIN’ OF GOOD OLD TIMES
WHEN I STILL WAS IN DOUBT, THOSE WERE FUNNY TIMES
WHEN I HAD FUCKS TO GIVE, THOSE WERE PRECIOUS TIMES
UP AND UP, I’M STILL IN FOR THE SAME PURPOSE
The car stopped slowly on the left side of the street, just outside a street of brownstones. Kei stepped out of the vehicle without waiting for Dickie, and the younger man scrambled to get to his feet. They both began walking in the two inches of snow that had fallen since landing in London, the shorter man (which was, ironically, Dickie) having to jog to catch up. They were silent for a moment, which left Dickie the opportunity to wonder about what Kei’s gameplan was.
Was it to show him that he didn’t know his team well enough? A moment where Kei could sit there and remind him of all the things that he was missing out on not being under the Japanese man’s thumb? Perhaps he wanted to represent him, pull him away from the rest of the group, invoke all sorts of trust issues in the man so that when he was in the ring, the only thing he could think about was escaping? Leaving them all behind? Or was it a ploy to get him to trust him alone?
“I don’t see them not trusting me.” He stated as he caught up to Kei.
“I ask you this not to question their trust in you, but your worth to them. Do they see you as anything more than a title holder? Or do they see you as a friend? I know Warstein has made it clear that he wants to face you. Has demanded it. And yet, FIGHT! has not allowed that match. Why are you important to them? Why do you matter? I want you to think on that, and find your answer. Perhaps you will find it sooner, perhaps you will find it later. I want you to say it when you discover it, whenever it is. Make your words known to everyone else.“
That wasn’t a problem. Even when Dickie was silent, he was observant, and the one thing he’d realized was that when he spoke, people listened. They may have gotten their feather’s ruffled. They may have struggled with the concepts, fought against them, argued with everything. But they absolutely listened wholeheartedly.
Maybe that was why his own brother had come at him. Maybe it was out of jealou– No. Finn Whelan was not the type to be jealous. He knew what that was about. It was to guide him. It was to help him, and whether or not people saw it, he had to be somewhat grateful for it. After Countdown, he would make his announcements elsewhere, but for now…he couldn’t be focused on anything but Dane.
He thought, even when he wasn’t focused on that at all.
They continued to walk. It was further than Dickie had expected, but it seemed the Japanese man did not mind the cold. He kept his head high, tall, almost regal as if he were royalty. And it made the young Empire Champion stand up just a little bit taller. Even if Kei was not the most ethical of individuals, it was hard not to at least attempt to proper in his presence.
“Your father,” Kei started, suddenly interested in his leather gloves. He tugged at them, and then looked at the houses. “Was difficult to find information for. I knew your story, from what Kyodai told me.” Kyodai, of course, was Finn. “Your tragic loss of your mother, the stay in the Orphanage, the trials and tribulations you experienced in growing…you are a resilient child, and you persevere. I wondered, initially, if this was from your mother, but as I researched, I discovered something interesting. You see, your father is British.“
“Obviously. My mother was here to find him, per her Diary. She was looking for a…Keith, or a Andrew…“
“Well, neither of those are his name. Which is probably why it landed so sourly for her. Your mother was the daughter of a crime boss in Moscow. Your father was sent in as an undercover agent.“
Dickie’s mind reeled, his eyes widening. “Underco–“
“He is MI:6. I would not dare to dream your mother would be able to find him at all. I did some digging, however. A friend within the bureau, of course, led me to this information. His name was not Keith, nor was it Andrew. Michael, actually.“
Cogs started turning within Dickie’s brain. “Michael…Michael…Mikhail. My middle name is Mikhail.” His eyes widened, and he looked directly at Kei.
Kei chuckled. “You are smarter than your stupid haircut makes you to be.“
Dickie frowned at the insult, but it wasn’t the worst he’d heard. He could hear Aiden right now, jumping to defend his brother, “OI, THE EMU SWEEP IS FIRE!!!” He kind of wished he was there, actually.
“Even so,” Kei continued, “your mother may have been onto it. After all, you carry his namesake. His last name is indeed Watson. Michael Watson.” He stopped abruptly. Dickie did too, and watched as Kei turned, inclined his head forward, and nodded. Dickie turned his head, his throat going dry. His body went numb, even illuminated by the lights as it was.
The bay window of the brownstone was lit up by an extremely opulent Christmas tree. The lights were multi-colored, but everything within it was still very visible, and very white. There were wreaths everywhere, decorations aplenty. Clearly, the family within had bonds that they shared as a whole. There were four bodies within the household, standing around the tree, hanging decorations and laughing. A teenage girl, maybe around sixteen or seventeen, who he’d sworn he’d seen before…after a show? Maybe. An older man, though probably around his own age, with longer hair and was shaking his head at something the young woman said. A woman with brunette hair, talking loudly, and across from her…a man who looked eerily similar to Dickie. The same chin. The same eyes. But a harsh demeanor within it. He was agent material, looked almost militaristic, but charming.
“He no longer goes on agent missions, and his cover was never blown. These days, Michael spends his time with his family, except for when he is doing paperwork. Sometimes they send him out.” Kei jabbered.
Dickie drowned him out. His hearing became a tunnel, and his sight became blurry. The Orphanage was, what, ten blocks from here? He’d been this close all along? The man in that window, with his happy family, his idealistic life, a good job, a wife and kids who adored him, had been right there all along? Did he even know how much Dickie suffered? At the hands of the nuns, at the hands of his foster families, at the hands of his fucking former family?
And here he was.
Dickie clenched his teeth.
It was everything he wanted. And everything he despised.
He turned on his heel and started walking back, leaving the Japanese man in a bit of confusion. He didn’t want this. He didn’t want to know. He thought he did, but what had he expected? A man who was as heartbroken as he was? A man as fucking broken as he was? Did he even know Dickie was there? Did he even know that there was a child outside of his ideal life? Dickie doubted it. He was doubting a lot right now, but even in this one instance, he knew his life would be changed forever.
He wanted to make sure his father could be proud of him, whether he knew about him or not. If he had something of worth, perhaps he would be worthy of it.
He needed to retain.
He needed it more than anything in his life. He made that decision. Come hell or high water, Dickie Watson would beat Dane Preston within an inch of his life. And there would be no one – NO ONE – that could question his place at the top of FIGHT! And if they did?
He would burn down the building or die trying.
YOU’RE ALWAYS SWITCHING SIDES
YOU’RE ALWAYS FOCUSED ON
AND IF WE STAY THE SAME LIKE IF SOMETHING WAS WRONG
AS IF WE HOLDIN’ ON
I’M BARELY HOLDING ON
STILL, I CAN FIX YOUR LONELY HOME