There Are Worse Things

By: Ashlynn Cassidy

Date: 1st Oct 2021

Part I – Bitter Venom (#9)

Ashlynn Cassidy sits in a chair backstage at Venom #9. There was a chair to either side of her. Each chair was a mini cubicle with blinders up between the make up stalls. Ashlynn looked in the mirror, trying to allow herself to focus, reflect and calm her debut jitters. Since she was so nervous, she’d arrived for makeup extra early. Ashlynn took a couple of deep breaths.

Alright! Show day! All the talk, all the hype, all the build, all the appearances, all the shitty hard parts you weren’t comfortable with? All that’s done! Now all you have to do is go out there and do what you do!

The FIGHT! debutant-to-be looked to her left at the clock on the wall. She knew she’d come early but this was getting a bit worrisome. She swung her legs in her chair, getting antsy. She straightened up a bit from what had been a slight bored slump as someone on the makeup team came into the space again. 

Ugh, fina-

We need the chair, next person is gonna need it soon for-” 

Ashlynn was feeling VERY confused by this. 

What do you mean? What about…

Ashlynn could feel her heart sink as she was told the news of what had happened with her supposed opponent. (Or rather, what failed to happen with them.)

At least it’s a win in your debut, right?
Fuck off, Ash. Shut the fuck up.

***

Part II – Blowing Up 

Even though Ashlynn didn’t get to step in a FIGHT! ring that night she had been in another that night. You could say that it went well. 

Ashlynn had been very thankful for the outpouring of love and support from her friends in the industry, there were folks she barely knew and people everyone knew, too. They all took some of their time to give her congratulations and props for winning a top belt at Zion Wrestling. It was nice, she spent some time soaking all that in, responding to some folks, or rereading some of the reactions just to try to give herself little mood boosts and pep talks. 

At least it was something to do.

She’d also made a conscious choice to ramp up her training schedule. 

At least it was something to do.

She’d said yes to any and all promotional opportunities, even the ones that were just barely photoshoots. At one point in time, she despised that for her but not anymore. Now, she embraced her beauty, and understood that it was worth using to advance her career. (No, not by sleeping her way to the top like some-never mind.) She would just be a little more open to taking those types of gigs. 

At least it was something to do. 

Ashlynn had given herself ample time to try to at least integrate herself among the FIGHT! roster, even before being officially signed. She wasn’t entirely sure of her place, at least among the socialites of the roster. She understood, though. She understood that there was a lot of shit that went down before she got here. She wasn’t sure whether on whose side to stand on, even though everyone else had chosen their sides. Granted it seemed like it was Sahara, Allison, and Dane vs. everybody else. Michelle of course, in the middle, enjoying the chaos, and Ricky Rodriguez, whose heart was on the line, loyalty possibly, maybe divided. Ashlynn didn’t have a story yet, it wasn’t really allowed to start. All she could really do now was watch. At least in that matter Ashlynn had no stakes. She didn’t have to make her priorities known. Still, she tried to engage with some of the social circles around here. She’d liked to think she had at least made a few friends, or at least people who were warm to her. 

At least she wasn’t lonely, and at least it was something to do.

Unconsciously though? It lingered. 

That feeling, those nerves of not having been in the ring. She wouldn’t be able to get rid of that anxiety just yet. She could have had the week off but she had gone straight to bookers and told them to go ahead and book her for the next show. Venom #9 and the days following just seemed to cement something in Ashlynn’s mind. She couldn’t have cared less about the result, she just needed to feel something, see something, hear something, anything but be alone with her thoughts. 

***

Part III – Alone

Ashlynn sat in her studio apartment at FIGHT! Tower and admired her new belt. That belt meant a heck of a lot to her. It wasn’t just because she made history and would be remembered, but also because, unlike her FIGHT! victory she actually earned that belt. She got in the ring and felt something. She was able to wrestle, and let everything else fade away and just be in the moment. Nothing else mattered, there was only wrestling.

All the buzz, press and appearances, both public and social, were not her favourite things but they let her mind be distracted. 

But after it was all over, it was just her. She was alone with her thoughts, and that was her worst habit. She needed to do SOMETHING. She hoped that someday soon, she’d be able to trust someone here enough to vent her frustrations to and calm her down. For now though, all she had was her book of letters. Maybe one day she’d be brave enough to track him down and send them.

She picked up a pen and looked down at a blank page, drumming the pen anxiously. 

Deep breaths, calm down! Just..be honest. 

_____

Z, 

Hey, so… Two wins! Yay!

Remember how anxious I was about FIGHT!? Yeah well, I wish I could say that it’s passed, and not even worse but that would be a lie. 

Side note – Honesty with yourself and with others is so important. Never forget that. 

Honestly, I’m still angry that I got my first win by default. I would’ve much rather have earned it. I don’t know that, even though I technically won my match that anyone has any reason to respect me any more, as a wrestler or as a person

Wins, losses, notoriety. All of those things are all just a side effect of putting in the work. That’s what I want to do. I can say that I want to go down as one of the best ever all that I want because I do. But I’ll only ever really feel fulfilled if I’m respected. The way that I won, it was a spit right in my face. 

So guess what I did? I did what I always do, and hope you always do. I jumped on the very next opportunity that I had. I could have taken the rest of the season off. But that didn’t sit right with me. 

The young woman hesitated to write on but had the mental fortitude to continue. 

I can’t sit still, like ever. I just can’t sit and do nothing. I always have to be fighting, or writing to you, or online, or doing something for my career. (Let me apologize now if you ever see some pictures of me on the internet, or on a poster and I’m not wearing much-but embrace it, kid-Your mom is a hottie!)

Mommy’s got an uphill climb coming for her this weekend. It’s so much easier to beat someone who just refuses to show up. It can be nerve-wracking enough to step into the ring for the first time when it’s someone just as unproven as you are but against someone proven and beloved? It is so much worse. Not only that, a proven and beloved figure that is motivated. This isn’t even considering the size and strength advantage Dane Preston has over me. 

Seriously, man looks just like a superhero!

Everything about this matchup makes me an underdog. All the betting sites must have my odds at .5 in 1,000,000. If I asked certain people, or if I listened to a certain devil on my shoulder I’d be in my right mind to run. I may as well no-show, not like I have much of a chance. I wouldn’t be the first, nor the last. 

But I can’t do that. I can’t bit…

Nope…

But I can’t *** complain about how I was robbed of my first victory because of a no-show and then turn around and run because I’m afraid of real competition. That’s the type of thing that can ruin a reputation.

Ashlynn stopped writing, wringing her hands as she looked at her Zion Championship. She picked it up from her bedside table and kissed the front of it before returning it to its place and writing again, starting a new paragraph. 

Dane Preston is so very ingrained as a part of F!NYC and has ties to one of the biggest families  in the game anywhere. I respect him, and I might even say that I personally like him. He’s given me no reason to dislike him. He’s even housing someone who may very well have a bounty on her head

It wasn’t about whether or not it was a warranted bounty.

He’s a nice guy. But if he thinks that he can sleep his way to ending his losing streak he’s dead wrong. I don’t represent just myself anymore either. I have an entire roster of people that I represent anywhere I go. I will step into the FIGHT! ring for the first time as the Zion Champion. What I do doesn’t only reflect on me. I have to show Dane, the FIGHT! locker room and the entire wrestling scene that Ashlynn Cassidy does not run, and Zion does not run. 

Ashlynn Cassidy doesn’t care about the odds, she fights for honour and respect, the virtues of the company she is the champion of. How can I claim to be undeniable if I deny anyone a chance to see me shine? How can anyone take Zion seriously if their champion is a coward. 

When I go face-to-face with Dane. It automatically means that all eyes will be on me. I have to prove that I am not a fraud, I have to prove to not only to him, not only to everyone watching, but to FIGHT! that I belong here. He may be down on himself, but he only has to prove himself to be a winner. He doesn’t have to prove anything to anyone else. He’ll learn that I don’t care about the odds, I don’t care who you are or what you’ve done. I don’t care what arena I’m in. I will never just let you win. I will fight for my life every single time. I may not have all the confidence in the world, but when I wrestle? I have as much self-belief than anyone else, if not more. Any given day, I have what it takes to beat anyone, even if no one else knows it. I’ve had to bet on myself my entire career. I earned my championship by betting on myself and making sure everyone knew how good I am, and how good I can be. 

Never let anyone but you define what you should do, or what you can do. Even if everyone else in this world doesn’t believe in you or your dreams, I hope that you do. 

Because I always will. 

<3
-Mom

The Undeniable F!NYC virgin wrapped up her letter slowly folding it up and sealing it in an envelope to add to the unsent letter box. As she did this she caught a glimpse of herself in her standing mirror. She went to properly stand in front of it. 

C’mon, smile! It’ll make you feel better!

She obliged with her inner voice, smiling and moving hair out of her face. 

Look at you, an underdog, a champion!

Ashlynn lifted her randomly chosen black tee to reveal a bruise in the left rib area. It was mostly healed by now. 

Ha, just imagine if you had had two matches that night. 

Ash looked at herself in the mirror, turning a bit to the left to better see the bruise. She sighed and let it be covered again. 

So this is it, huh? Is it worth it, Ash? Your poison of choice is fighting, and the lifestyle that comes with it. You choose to get in fights, any fights you can. You let yourself be in danger of getting beaten and battered. You volunteered yourself in a fight with a motivated veteran. Couldn’t just take the week off. He will hurt you, win or lose, he will hurt you. You’re a masochist, bitch. 

Ashlynn turned her head and saw her laptop, open but screen blank. 

When you’re not getting your ass kicked, you’re glued to Twitter. Scrolling, scrolling, scrolling like that makes a difference. Maybe you get a few hearts on your latest thirst trap or ad photoshoot. 

She looked back into the mirror. 

Whatever it takes, right? Centre of attention, undeniably you existed. It doesn’t matter what happens to your body, or your mind. 

She shook her head, trying to shake it off. 

There are worse things that I could do.” She said aloud. 

Like being addicted to heroin or crack instead. 

There are worse things that I could do.” She repeated. 

Like nothing, just hating yourself for how you lost your son.

There are worse things that I could do.

Like…be dead.