The Interview/#HelpfulAustin

By: Ricky Rodriguez

Date: 8th Sep 2021

Cameras began rolling as they revealed the interior of a small, well lit room. It was modest, at best, when it came to furnishings. A pair of simple brown leather chairs with a matching circular table between the two. Other than that, the room was as forgettable as it could be. Luckily for everyone watching, the room wasn’t the focal point. More of a backdrop. The real focus was the people sitting in those two chairs.

The first, maybe not so much. An unknown male, probably mid to upper thirties sat on that chair, a stack of white index cards were clutched in those hands of his. Choosing to class it up a bit, that man wore a pair of tan slacks with a white collared shirt beneath a jacket that matched those pants perfectly. He had that whole professional vibe coming off of him as he looked across at that person seated in the other chair.

Ricky Rodriguez. The loud, brash, sometimes even arrogant rookie sat in that chair, his arms resting up on the rests. There was a noticeable sense of being at ease coming off of Ricky as he was slouched back, totally comfortable. His attire was clearly less business and more casual as he was decked out in a pair of faded denim jeans, the fabric covering his knees long since torn, exposing the flesh beneath them. His torso was draped with the light material of a simple white t-shirt and over that was the stylish black leather jacket. The expression Ricky wore was fairly unreadable save for the light smile that had the corners of his mouth curved ever so slightly.

The man holding those cards turned his head to look at the camera pointed at Ricky and himself. He put on a bright smile before reaching for and grabbing up one of the bottles of water that rested upon that table. Offering the other to Ricky, the interviewer would take a drink of his own before starting the line of questioning.

Eddie Shepherd: Ladies and gentlemen, fans of wrestling all over the world, thank you for joining me once again. As you all know, I do these interviews with up and coming new talent just starting to break out into the mainstream scene. My guest today is none other than Ricky Rodriguez. Thank you for being here today, Ricky.

Giving off a respectful nod of his head, Ricky reached for that bottle, taking a drink from it. Shifting in that chair a bit, Ricky tried getting a bit more comfortable in his seat as to settle in for the questioning that was about to begin.

Ricky Rodriguez: Notta problem. Thanks for having me, man. Always been a fan and I damn sure wasn’t going to pass up an opportunity to get myself out there a bit more.

Eddie Shepherd: Speaking of getting yourself out there, you’re currently signed to Fight! NYC but you did some branching out recently. Tell me a little bit about that.

Ricky Rodriguez: I had the honor of taking part in the Margarita Mix. Everyone got paired up with random partners and it was a hell of an experience. I got to get in there with people I never met before in my life and with people who are globally known legends of this business. Me and Sebastian made it to the semifinals before losing to Chris Madison and Brett Daniels. But I wasn’t even bummed about it.

It was just such an amazing thing to be a part of and something I will never ever forget. If it’s something that becomes an annual thing then you better bet your ass you’re going to see me back in it again. And this time? The semifinals won’t be enough. We’re taking it straight to the top.

That smile Ricky wore grew a bit larger as did the confidence in his voice. Once more moving around in that seat, Ricky seemed a bit restless as things went on in the interview. There was a flash of concern from Eddie but even still he continued on with his questioning.

Eddie Shepherd: Earlier, I mentioned how you’re signed with Fight. Tell us, how different is that from just a few months ago?

Ricky Rodriguez: Few months ago it was the whole high school gyms and parking lots deal. I wasn’t really going anywhere with it. But now, in Fight? It’s like a whole new world. They’ve got an amazing facility, it really is nothing like anything I’ve ever seen before. Just with the gym system alone, I’ve been in better shape than I’ve ever been before. I’ve learned more about wrestling here than I’ve ever learned anywhere else.†

Pretty much everyone there has been great too. We go out and party and there aren’t really a lot of problems. Most of the time, pretty much everyone’s pretty good at keeping things in the ring. I mean, don’t get me wrong, there’s some people who’re just like on sight, it doesn’t matter where the hell they’re at. Either way, it’s something that never stops.

As Ricky finished up with that question, Eddie nodded his head knowingly. While not as much as before, Ricky continued to fidget, seeming very antsy about something. Noticing this, Eddie couldn’t help but to laugh out.

Eddie Shepherd: You seem a bit restless over there, Ricky. I’m pretty sure I know just how to fix that, though. Ricky, what’s on your mind as you go into a match with that sorry ass jackoff, Dane Preston, at Venom?

Poor Eddie couldn’t even get halfway through that question before Ricky jumped up out of that chair, cheering out. The sight alone was enough to make Eddie laugh out raucously. He leaned down, reaching beneath the table and revealed an unlabeled glass bottle filled with a dark liquid and two glasses. Ricky sat back down on that chair as Eddie began to pour them up a couple drinks.

Ricky Rodriguez: Thank godd, I don’t know how much more of that stuffy ass professional shit I coulda took.

Another hearty laugh rolled out of Eddie as he slid one of those glasses over towards Ricky who grabbed it up. Eddie did the same as the two of them clinked their glasses together, both taking decent sized drinks from their glasses.

Eddie Shepherd: I wanted to see how long I could draw it out before you broke. Lasted longer than I thought you would, for sure. But seriously though. This Dane prick. Maybe you can shine some light on why he’s such a fucking douchebag. What’s the story here, Ricky?

Bringing his free hand up, Ricky placed it over his face before shaking his head slowly. Sighing into his palm, he drug it down his face before laughing out.

Ricky Rodriguez: Dane’s a fucking punk, all the way through. He’s the type of guy to throw his weight around. Try to get people to fuckin bow to him. And when they don’t, he gets all ass hurt and up in arms about what a problem you are. His ego is so fuckin outta control, he thinks he can just run how things go and that’s not okay, like not at all.†

And the kicker? He’s so fuckin delusional, he thinks I’m the bad guy. Can you imagine how fucked up in the head he is that he ACTUALLY thinks he’s doing right? Look at how he acts. The way he says shit. Shit, I can see exactly why Allison fell in with Joe. Dane is this whole sick in the head, manipulative kinda guy. That kinda personality would push anyone away. And sure, I know they’re apparently working on things but unless there’s a lot of change done on his side? It’ll end up the same fuckin way as it did this time.

Eddie had scooted to the edge of his seat, the look of interest in his expression was as clear as day. Ricky shook his head before bringing that glass up and drinking down what was left in that glass. It wouldn’t stay empty for long, however, as Eddie was quick to fill it back up, more than likely in an attempt to get Ricky more loose in the tongue.

Ricky Rodriguez: He wants to say I’m tryinta be the knight in shining armor but who was it that started throwing out demands when it came to Old Man Riggs? It was Dane. When I VERBALLY drug Riggs out, who was it that stepped up and got this match we got at Venom? It was Dane. If ANYONE is on that white knight shit, it’s that man right there. But lemme tell you, Eddie. The more and more of him that’s shown during all of this? That armor is dirty as all hell.

I told Damon exactly what he needed to hear: He’s not God. He ain’t built to try and act as if his will is absolute. I was the man to step up and tell him that. You saw the look on that old fuck’s face. He knows I’m right. He knows I’m talkin sense. But accordin to the Almighty Dane Preston, I was wrong for that. I was disrespectful for that. And you know what I gotta say to that?

Before Eddie could answer, Ricky used his own free hand to grab at his denim covered crotch and thrust his hips rather vulgarly. With his glass refilled, Ricky took another big drink from it before going on with his near rant.

 

Ricky Rodriguez: Now we got this match and, so far, all Dane has done has shown the utmost fuckin ignorance. I know you’ve seen some of the off the wall shit he’s said. He wants to threaten to snap my neck. He wants to act like I’m some fuckin nobody that he’s just gonna walk all over. I mean, some people might fall for that shit but not me, not Ricky. I ain’t nobody’s bitch to boss around like they see fit.

 

The people I run with? Joe and Paul? They don’t even pull that shit with me. For two guys who, apparently, are two of the biggest pieces of shit in wrestling, they sure treat and talk to me a whole hell of alottabit better than someone who wants to act like a moral fuckin compass. Where’s the logic in that, Eddie? Lemme answer you. There ain’t. That man, Dane Preston? Wouldn’t know logic if it fucked his wife.

At this point, Ricky was halfway through his fourth glass. To say he was feeling it would be one hell of an understatement. Pounding down the rest of that drink, he roughly placed the glass back down next to the now nearly empty bottle. Rather that refill the glass, Ricky snatched the bottle up by the neck and rose up to his feet on wobbly legs.

Eddie Shepherd: Are you good, Ricky?

Ricky scoffed out, almost in disbelief that Eddie would even ask such a question. Bringing that bottle up to his lips, he took a swig from it, using his free hand to wipe any excess liquid from his lips. The words Ricky ranted and raved with would begin to slur, not enough to be not understandable but just enough to let everyone know he was feeling it.

Ricky Rodriguez: And now, this match. This fuckin match, Eddie. Dane will tryta get you to believe that this is gonna be a cakewalk for him. Man, I can’t fuckin WAIT to burst the shit outta that bubble. And even more so? I can’t wait to see the look on his face when he realizes that, yeah, I’m a rookie, but I’m nothin like he thinks. I am sooo fuckin much more that what you see me as.

 

I’ve dealt with doubt my entire life. I’ve learned so much about it too. Hell, I’ve learned to use the doubt that other people have thrown at me as incentive to be better. Whether it’s been my parents, my peers, hell, even myself. I’ve always been able to overcome it even though I haven’t always come out on top. I’m literally comin off of two straight failed attempts at the Brooklyn Championship.

Stopping for a moment, Ricky closed his eyes and clenched his jaw as it proved to be a touchy subject. Taking in a breath, he sighed out, showing a newfound composure about himself.

Ricky Rodriguez: Do you know the kinda shit that puts into your head? Ain’t nobody doubtin me more than I’m doubtin me. But the doubt. It’s temporary. Once that bell rings, I’m gonna take every last ounce of that doubt and I’m gonna cram it down your fuckin throat, Dane. I’m gonna take that doubt and I’m gonna use the lot of it to put you on your bitch ass back in a heap. I thrive on doubt. It. Makes. Me. Better.

Once more, Ricky brought that bottle up and downing the last bit of it. Aiming to put it back down onto the table, he missed the table entirely, the bottle dropping to the floor. Of course, this elicited laughter from Eddie who was clearly enjoying every moment of this.

Ricky Rodriguez: Let’s be real here, tho. At this point, it ain’t even bout Damon. It’s the wannabe Vet swingin around the weight he thinks he carries and the young, really good lookin and even better lay upstart. Only this time, that upstart didn’t back down. I don’t back down, Dane. I didn’t back down to Brandon. I didn’t back down to Damon. And I’ll be damned if I’m going to back down to you.

Quite the opposite actually, but you’ll get to see that first hand cause when that bell rings, the talk is done. I’m going to step right up to you. No fear in my eyes. No hesitation in my step. I’m going to show you my fight and it’s going to be a fight unlike any you have ever been in before. Win, lose, or draw, you’ll learn one thing, at the very least, in this match. You’re no better than I am, Dane Preston. Maybe bigger. Maybe stronger. More matches under your belt. But get one thing straight.

You are NOT better than me. You do NOT get to try and boss me around. I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done but when it comes down to it, I’m a man just as you are. You’re gonna SEE that when you look and see me directly in front of you. You’re gonna FEEL that with every fist and foot I bounce off of your big ass head of yours. And you’re gonna HEAR that when the crowd roars after I put your ass down for the one..two..three.†

And with that, Ricky had said exactly what he had wanted to say. The steady rising and falling of his chest, the intensity shown in his eyes, and the seriousness of the expression on his face showed just what Ricky was feeling about the whole situation. Eddie nodded his head as to agree before rising up to his feet with a satisfied look upon his face.

Eddie Shepherd: Well, there you have it folks. Tempers are at an all time high and there’s only one way to solve it: By kicking the high holy shit out of one another. Be sure to turn into Fight’s Venom to see just who comes out on top of this all. I promise you it’s not something you’re gonna wanna miss.

A large grin broke out across Eddie’s face as the feed ended. With the cameras off, Eddie looked Ricky over before stepping up and shaking the man’s hand firmly. With his free hand, he slapped Ricky on the shoulder and gave off a slight laugh.

Eddie Shepherd: Thanks for doing the show, man. I’ll have my people do their magic and it’ll be live for the world to see.

Ricky nodded his head before turning it to take a final look at the set up and then to that bottle on the floor. A slight sigh slipped free as Ricky gave another nod of his head. Starting to walk towards the door that led into that room, Ricky would get stopped by Eddie one last time.

Eddie Shepherd: I do hope you kick that dude’s ass out there. He really does deserve every bit of it.

The slightest smirk showed across the face of Ricky as he opened that door and made his way out of the room. From there, it was just a simple walk through those hallways before Ricky found himself outside. Knowing full well beforehand that there was going to be drinking involved, Ricky had thought ahead and arranged for a ride back to Fight Tower.

As soon as he took that first step outside, he instantly saw the black four door car that was waiting for him. Ricky exchanged a few words with the driver, who had been waiting a couple minutes, before ducking into the back seat. Ricky let his head fall back, resting against the seat he was on. Even with his eyes completely closed, Ricky and that driver shared some small talk along the way back.

It didn’t take too awfully long at all for the two of them to get back. Pulling out his wallet, Ricky slipped a few bills out and handed them off to the driver on his way out of the car. Closing the door behind him, Ricky carefully made his way inside through the front doors. He didn’t really pay much mind to anyone he might have seen, choosing to head straight for those elevators.

After the quick ride up, those doors slid open with a ding and Ricky walked out into that hallway. There was a dead silence in the air that felt really off putting for Ricky. Occasionally, he would glance over his shoulder, not really able to shake that feeling. Making his way to his door, he unlocked it and slipped inside. Closing the door and locking it behind him, he breathed a sigh of relief before leaning back against the door.

And as soon as he did, there was a knock on it that nearly scared poor Ricky out of his skin. With his stomach now in his ass, Ricky turned around to unlock and open that door. On the other side of the door was that rather large man that had brought him the phone after he busted the old one. His eyes wide, Ricky looked that man over before shaking his head slightly.

There he stood, visibly towering over Ricky. As he was in their last encounter, that unknown male wore the same black and white suit. His cheeks were just as sunk in and flesh just as grey. The only difference being, instead of a box that was held by those white gloved hands, it was an envelope, a small and white one, just like you’d get in the mail. The feeling this gave Ricky had him chilled him to the bone.†

Ricky Rodriguez: Jesus fuck dude, do you just teleport around or something?

The only response that man gave was a slow shake of the head. A low groan slipped free as he extended that envelope towards Ricky. Cautiously, Ricky reached forward to accept the envelope. For just a moment, his eyes drifted down to look at it, couldn’t have been but a couple seconds, at most. Yet when he looked back up, there was nobody there. Even with the look into the hallway, nobody to the left, nobody to the right. It was as if he just vanished.

Taking in the deepest of breaths, Ricky ducked back inside. Walking into the living room area, he tossed that envelope onto the couch before going to get a drink. Settling on a bottle of water, trying to sober up a bit, he walked back towards that couch. On the way, he ditched the jacket and shirt before plopping down next to that envelope.†

Picking it up off of the couch, Ricky gazed down at it, wondering just what could be inside of it. Considering who delivered it, he knew it had to have been from the higher ups. Flipping it over, Ricky tore that envelope open before pulling out a folded piece of paper. After he made sure there was nothing left in that envelope, he tossed it to the side before opening up that piece of paper.

 

As I’m sure you’re already aware, we have opened up bidding channels where you can use what Blood Money you have to bid on matches for our various championships. As of right now, there’s only a few people who have more than you, so winning a bid on one of these championship matches shouldn’t be an issue.

Your showings in the past two Brooklyn Championship matches have been extremely noteworthy. I know the effect losses have on anyone’s head and this is an opportunity to continue pushing forward. You should make a bid, it could change everything for you.

 

As Ricky read the last, rather encouraging, word in that letter from Xavier, he folded the paper back to how it originally was. Rather than what he did with the envelope, he set the paper down next to him and leaned back against that couch. Letting his head fall back, Ricky closed those eyes of his before sighing out in slight frustration.

Ricky Rodriguez: But I don’t want to bid on a shot.

Bringing his head up just long enough to take a drink of that water before laying it back again, Ricky sighed out once more. As much as he wouldn’t completely admit it, those back to back losses for the Brooklyn Championship really hit hard. He thought he had it right the second time so when the result was exactly the same, it was like a punch to his gut.

Usually putting himself out there as this highly confident person, it began to be extremely hard to keep up that front. It was clear there was still a lot Ricky had to work on when it comes to both himself and his work in the ring. There was no way he wanted to put himself back in that position, not yet at least.†

A championship at this level would be huge for Ricky’s career at this point but clearly there’s just too much going on for him to be able to put the amount of focus into it that’s needed. At least that’s what he wanted to believe. There were a couple other options but those were a whole hell of a lot worse than just not being able to focus like he should.

To be fair, there was a lot going on. Everything with Sahara, knowing where he was and what he wanted but not knowing the same for her. Now this whole match with Dane who was trying to play hero for Damon. And not to mention Shawn and those fucks bringing in Betsy to fill in for Amari. There really was a lot going on. As important as championships were, there was just too much going on.

That had to be it. There was an alternative but it was one Ricky had to fight like hell to avoid thinking about. Thankfully, his phone made that sound, letting him know he had just received a text. Pulling his phone from his pocket, he saw who was texting him. It was Austin. He was following up from the conversation he and Ricky had the night before.

#HelpfulAustin: I fell asleep is the story im going with about last night. How you feeling today?

Ricky couldn’t help but to laugh after reading that first message. Before he could type up a response, he saw Austin was typing up another. Patiently, he waited for it to come through.

#HelpfulAustin: I know you like her but bro, why is she so angry all the fucking time? She kills my buzz but outta respect for you I STFU

Shaking his head just a bit, he sighed softly before quickly starting to type up a response of his own, to both of those messages he sent. Stopping just as he started, Ricky thought about it for a moment before going with it.

Ricky: I’m okay. Filmed some stuff to air against Dane today. Was a pretty good day all around tbh. She’s on that whole ‘I’m bad for you’ thing now.

I mean, i cant really blame her tho. She cant say shit without someone poppin up callin her a whore or a slut or whatever. Im tryinta get her to not let that shit bother her tho

#HelpfulAustin: Broski, can I be completely honest with you?

Oh god. Never in the history of man has that question been followed up with something good. Another sigh rolled free from Ricky and despite his best judgment, gave a response.

Ricky: Yeah, of course man

Across the bottom of the message box, it showed Austin was typing and Ricky just waited to see what his honesty was. He knew it wasn’t going to be good but Austin was one of his closest friends and he wanted to know the truth about how he felt.

#HelpfulAustin: I donít like her. I play nice cause I know you so. You know how hard that is for me. I get in trouble a lot but she seems toxic af to me. I canít see a future for you there. Sorry dude, like she looks for fights

I know thatís rich coming from me lol

It was as bad as Ricky thought it would be. Moving around on that couch, he stretched out with his head on one arm and his feet on the other. Keeping that phone held with both of his hands, he started typing away at that screen.

Ricky: Nah, I get it. I appreciate you lookin out like that and like I was tellin her earlier. Sure, it might end up a fuckin disaster but i hafta see it through for myself. Shes got her faults like anyone else but iunno, i see more than that

Like, shes got all these people comin down on her. She just needs someone to tryta help bring her back up

Imagine how bad youd be if you didnt have Toddy keepin you down to earth, y’know? Its kinda the same thing here

 

#HelpfulAustin: I know man. I feel bad saying that but she is like intentionally trying to make people hate her. Iím not a fan of how she talks to you sometimes but I know all too well how that feels cause the world wanted to cut my dick off a few months ago about Toddy.

 

alright, if you like her I love it. Just be willing to call her on her shit too. Toddy keeps me grounded cause he does that. Yíall have no idea

Ricky: Hopefully tonight gonna make things better. Got that whole suite thing lined up. You know you havin my back on this means the world to me. Aint ever gonna forget it. But i do get that, i def needa speak up more. With her and Joe too

#HelpfulAustin: Joe is gonna be Joe. She is antagonistic towards him so he keeps going. Just remember itís not right to make you choose. I stay outta toddyís arguments for that very reason

that ainít easy but you gotta do it

Ricky: Oh i know, theyre like oil and water. And I mean, sometimes Joes like ‘oh ill chill cause of you’ then in the same breath jump all in on her

Its a fuckin mess and im totally blamin my last two losses on it

#HelpfulAustin: Trust me, let them argue. Ever notice how on Twitter Toddy and I rarely jump into each otherís battles?

Ricky: Nah i know. Plus i dont think either one of you need it. Ive seen how yall get when youre mad

After sending off that last message, Ricky smiled and shook his head a bit. It was clear that the conversation had a pretty good effect on Ricky and the things that were going on in his head. A look of thought flashed across his features as he took another look at the phone he held in his hands. With a couple swipes and a tap, Ricky pulled up the video recorder and rose up to a rather comfortable seating position and began recording himself.

Ricky Rodriguez: Now, I know I just did that whole ass interview, talkin bout you but I don’t think it was enough. I don’t think I said everythin I needed to say, Dane, both to and about you. See, before all of this? I was pretty neutral bout you. You hadda big mouth, thought you were bigger than you are but you had that whole funny loser thing goin for you.

And now? After all of this? All I see is a loser. A bully. The kinda guy who walks down the middle of a hallway, chest puffed out. Kinda guy who gets pissed off when he does that and nobody gets out of the way. I’m not gettin out of the way, Dane. Nah, see. Instead of movin to the side and lettin you huff and puff your way around, I’m gonna be right there to put you on your ass.

You’re free to do and say whatever you wanna do in this life. There ain’t shit I can do bout that. But at the same time, when you run around and do and say the kinda scumbag shit y’all say and do? I can speak up. I can act against it. And I can prove a point. Guys like you, y’all overstep the boundaries of your freedom.†

You act like your freedom gives you the right to take away the freedom of another. Whether it be their freedom to say whatever they feel they need to say. Their freedom to make whatever choice they feel is best for themselves. Or just their freedom period. That’s the difference between a freedom and a right. Clearly, that’s something you and Damon, both, have problems understanding.

But it’s okay. I mean, it’s not okay like that but after our match and you see where I’m comin from? You see the truth to everythin I’ve been sayin? Then it’ll be okay cause you’ll have no choice but to fix the fucked up mentality you have. I know exactly how it’s gonna go. My truth is gonna be what gets me this win and when that happens, you’ll know I’m right. And that’s gonna be the biggest win of them all.

Now, don’t get me wrong. This is a huge match and especially with comin off of two back to back losses, I need somethin to get me back on track. Maybe it’s a pride thing but I can’t lie. This match has me feelin more intense and focused than either one of those did. It’s like this. I’ve got all the time in the world to collect championships and accomplishments. But steppin up to you, standin my ground, and puttin a guy like you on his ass? That’s few and far between.

I’ve said bout all I needed to say, Dane. Ain’t nothin left but for the fists, feet, and bodies to fly. Mentally. Physically. I’m great. I’m ready for this. More ready than I’ve been for anythin else. I’ll see ya out there, Dane.