I’ve never owned my own home. In my younger days it was a case of lacking the discipline to save, and squandering most of the money I earned. In Japan, at no point was I ever sure just how much longer I’d stay for, so I didn’t wanna put roots down. The four-plus years I spent there probably justified jumping on the property ladder, but that’s hindsight for you.
Now I’m in a position where I could comfortably throw a couple hundred grand on a mortgage, but I’m in no hurry. Why plough such a big chunk of my income into something that’s gonna sit empty five or six nights a week?
For now, I’d rather crash with Andy and his son. At least I’m coming home to family and warmth after a long stint on the road, not an empty apartment’s cold, soulless walls.
Call me a vagabond, a drifter… whatever, I don’t mind. I don’t play this game for the lavish mansions and flashy cars. The trinkets are nice, sure, but that’s all they are.
I’m in it to fight the bad guys and put smiles on faces. All the gold in the world can’t save a man who’s morally bankrupt, and win or lose, I’ll keep standing for what I believe in.
Lorenzo’s charitably given me an extra few days off after Tokyo, and I’m thankful. My head’s clearing, and the ribs are slowly fading from purple to red. I’ll still be strapped-up when I hit the ring with Ellis, but he doesn’t strike me as the type to attack a man’s wounds with the same gusto as Colton did.
Or maybe he will. B.R. seems like a stand-up guy on the surface, but I can’t be too naïve. The man’s a professional, and he’s not gonna avoid attacking my ribs for the sake of being a nice guy. He wants to win, and the most obvious path to winning is attacking my most obvious weak spot.
Ellis flies under a lot of peoples’ radars, but I’ve been learning all there is to know about the guy. I’ve been researching his history, watching tape, and digging as deep as I can.
Reviewing his UTA matches was just the first step. I’ve been digging into the archives and pulling-out some of his old NGW and HATE clashes. I’ve studied Dream matches with the likes of Malcolm Dred-King and Tex Terror.
I’m tryna soak-up as much intel on B.R. Ellis as I can, because I know there’s more to the Victory roster’s quietest man than meets the eye. There’s gotta be.
This lad knows how to wrestle – that’s immediately apparent. Looks like he’s as adept at wailing punches as he is smothering guys on the ground. There’s real fluidity and technique to the way he chains moves together, but he’s just as willing to put his head down and throw bombs.
Could be a nightmare match-up if I play into his hands, but I’ve got the kind of speed and athleticism that gives guys like Ellis nightmares. I sure as hell don’t wanna find myself stuck in one of those submissions, though.
Whatever happens, the match can’t come soon enough. Andy’s always telling me that the best way to get over a tough loss is to get back in the ring straight away, and he’s right. They offered me the show off to recover and lick my wounds, but I told ‘em “no.”
There’s no point in sitting at home for any longer than necessary. The negativity would stew, I’d start losing more and more confidence, and getting back into the ring would get increasingly daunting with every passing day.
Staying active forced me to come to terms with things quickly, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. Now, I just can’t wait to get back out there and remind the world what I’m all about it.
Ellis might be a heavy underdog, but I’m looking forward to this match as if I was facing Eric Dane himself.
I’m ready to go out there and be Cayle goddamn Murray again.
And not just for my own sake.
There are thousands – hell, maybe millions – of people out there with a stake in my career. I can’t be selfish any more. I can’t sit around and worry about how I feel, because it’s not just about me anymore.
The people have put their faith in me, and it’s my job to deliver. I can’t let myself slip. I’m supposed to represent possibilities, and what kind of message does it send for the guy who claims to represent positive change to be stuck in his own negativity?
I need every single one of them behind me, but I don’t deserve their support if I don’t hold-up my end of the bargain.
People would kill to be in my position, and I’ll never abuse it. I’ll never moan, complain, or let myself become complacent and ungrateful. Storms will come, and I’ll weather them the same way I always have, regardless of whatever stands in my way.
There’ll be good days, and there’ll be dark days. It’s all about trying to find a way through the dark days, because if you can do that, the good days will just keep getting better.
Being here in San Diego helps. It’s not just the city’s perfect climate, laid-back beach culture or pristine urban beauty, but being around the people closest to me.
Two brothers and a nephew: that’s all the family I’ve got, so I try to keep ‘em as close as possible.
Staying with Andy and his son Marv is a constant source of inspiration. My brother’s never been anything but a positive influence in my life. It’s not just his stellar career, but the way he takes everything in his stride and keeps moving forward.
He’s never knocked off-balance. Problems just bounce off him, and nothing ever seems to bring him down for longer than a minute or two. If I leave this Earth having spread half the positivity that he has in his lifetime, I’ll consider my job done.
Marv’s a different story. Kid was mowed down by a car on his way home from school in 2011. We didn’t know if he was even gonna make it for the first week or so, and when he finally woke-up, the doctors told him there was a very high chance he’d never walk again.
Andy retired straight away, but the kid pulled through. When life dealt him a terrible hand, Marv slapped the cards away and raised a middle finger to the dealer.
It was a long, gruelling undertaking, but he overcame. He fought his way through misery, pulled himself out of the wheelchair, and learned how to walk again.
Now, you can barely keep the kid out of the gym. The accident didn’t end him: it made him. He attacks each new day with gusto, passion and joy, because he knows how lucky he is to be here, and he remembers how hard he had to work to get to a point where he could even stand-up on his own.
Thinking about the whole thing makes me feel embarrassed about those first few post-International Affair days.
How can I stay depressed about a loss when I share when I share my home-life with people who’ve been through so much?
And I won’t.
Looking at men like Thorpe and Dane doesn’t bring me down. It doesn’t make me feel inadequate.
It fills me with fire. It makes me want to jump inside a wrestling ring, bite down on my mouthpiece, and fight like there’s no tomorrow.
I’m not running from these men, because it’s my job to stop them. I’ll keep standing in their way, because I won’t let their egos go unchecked, I won’t let them take this place over.
Things are gonna get worse. Dane’s the Big Bad now, Thorpe’s under his wing, and you know Dynasty are gonna be smarting after Blanca’s fall at International Affair. CBR’s taken the Legacy strap, and even the Prodigy Title has fallen into selfish hands.
The vultures are circling, and they’re ready to pick this place’s skeleton clean.
But there’ll always be hope. For as long as I stand here, I vow to fight them at every juncture.
I’m not looking for a quiet return to the ring this week: I’m looking to jump straight into the fire, and it starts with B.R. Ellis.
I’m looking forward to standing in the ring, looking into his eyes, and taking a measure of the man I’m about to throw down with. There’s only so much you can learn by studying tape, and I’m hoping to fill-in all my blanks on B.R. Ellis by the time the bell rings.
We can’t ignore the threat these men pose, and we can’t ignore the implications of their dominance.
But sometimes I feel like the only one willing to get his hands dirty. Sometimes I wonder why nobody else is stepping-up. People are more than willing to tell you how much they hate the tyrants, but most would rather sit on their hands than tackle the problem directly.
We can’t close our eyes and pretend they’ll go away.
“I don’t want to get involved,” they’ll say. “It’s not my fight.”
But it is your fight, because the longer these men go unchecked, the tougher things get for men like me.
Men like Will Haynes.
Men like Lisil Jackson.
… men like B.R. Ellis.
So let’s see what this guy’s got. Let’s see if he can step-up.
Victory needs as many good men as it can muster, so let’s see if B.R. Ellis fits the mould. I know the lad can wrestle, but let’s see if he’s got the heart, soul and fire it’s gonna take to survive the war ahead.
I know I do, but don’t take my word for it. Just tune into Victory and watch me soar.
"The only way Zhalia Fears or The Second Coming are getting into a ring in Japan would be carrying signs that say “Round One”."
- Alex Beckman