Eyes fixed, back straight, deep breath, wait for the countdown.
… and we’re rolling.
“Victory XLII: Cayle Murray vs. Will Haynes. I wish I could say I didn’t see this coming, but y’know…”
There’s a science to this, but it’s not as complicated as you think.
Some spend hours and hours writing and rewriting notes, agonising over what they’re gonna say before they put it on film. Some need to wait for a flash of inspiration or a moment of clarity, and others can’t get going without a comfortable perch or lavish backdrop to flex.
Me? All I need’s a camera: everything else comes from within. No notes, no preparation… nothing. If it doesn’t come from the heart, it’s not real to me. Simple as that.
“Pull a snake’s tail and you’re almost certainly gonna get bitten. That’s exactly what Jeff, Will and I did at XLI. We stood in The Pantheon’s way on what was supposed to be their night of glory. In their eyes, we spoiled their coming-out party, and men like Eric Dane don’t just shrug and walk away when they feel besmirched: they strike back.”
Charging down the ramp, dispatching the wolves, then chasing-off the Big Bad: if I had to do it again, I’d do so without hesitation.
“I don’t mean to sound like a conspiracy nut, but think about it. Murray vs. Haynes, thrown against each other two weeks after uniting against a common enemy and leaving the Champ’s boys running with their tails between their legs.”
I shake my head.
“That’s not a coincidence. Champions hold influence, and Dane plays politician as well as anyone in the game. He felt slighted, and he took action. I can only speculate on how it might’ve panned-out, but it’s not hard to imagine The Pantheon looming over Lorenzo’s shoulder as he put the card together…”
A chuckle escapes me. I’ve gotta laugh: if I get bent out of shape by every little game they play, I’ll be in a padded cell by Christmas.
“Last week I ran to Will Haynes’ aid: next week, I’m supposed to drive him into the canvas. Nobody ever said this business was fair…”
I shake my head.
“Don’t mistake me for a complainer, though. My job’s to get in there and give it my all, no matter who I’m pitted against. Next week, I face a man I’d rather be standing beside than against, but that’s what I signed-up for. I gotta treat it like I’m facing a Mikey Unlikely or a Perfection, because we’re not paid to stand there and hug it out: we’re paid to fight.”
Maybe it’ll be fun going out there and facing a guy who just wants to compete, not put a dagger through my throat.
I’ve been in this situation a couple of times already – facing a supposed good guy – in my UTA career, but this time feels a little different. B.R. Ellis worked my bruised ribs pretty damn well, and everyone knows about Chris Hopper’s poorly-disguised nasty streak.
Haynes a bona fide good dude, though. Maybe he lost his head a couple times during that war with Mikey, but I wager I’d have done the same if put through the kinda hardships that Mikey put on Will.
“A lot of guys struggle with motivation in this kinda situation. They say it’s too hard to get pumped-up to face a guy they don’t dislike, and they can’t fight with the same vigour they’d summon against one of this place’s more dastardly personalities…”
I do a poor job of hiding my snigger.
“… and I don’t understand it.
Sure, some fights are more appearing than others. I was more amped to face Colton in Tokyo than I have been for anything I can remember, but why should that detract from my enthusiasm to face Will?
If I didn’t enjoy wrestling, I wouldn’t be a wrestler. Simple, right? I’m a competitor. I want to face the best this company’s got, regardless of whether they hate my guts or not. Will’s definitely in that bracket, and I’m amped to get the chance to face him. Thrilled, even.”
Jesus, Cayle: that was bad.
“I know we can put on a clinic, Mr. Haynes. I know we’ve got a similar mind-set, and we may well stand together in wars to come, but on Monday’s not about that. Monday’s about two of the best this company’s got, knuckling down, doing their job, and seeing who the better man on the night is. I’m not demotivated about facing a guy I tried to help last week: I’m looking forward to a change of pace.”
Honestly, having spent these last few months fighting Colton, it’ll be nice to wrestle a match without worrying about getting kicked in the jewels or poked in the eyes.
That war took me places I never thought I’d go, and taught me more about myself than anything else to happen over the past couple of years. But facing guys who want to cave your skull-in gets tiring. It grinds you mentally and wears you down.
“So let’s go out there and show those Pantheon guys exactly who they’re screwing with. Let’s put on the kinda show to make ‘em think twice about sticking their nose in, because we both know they’ll be watching closely.
Whatever happens, I’ll bring my A-game, and you’ll bring yours.
Let’s blow the roof.”
"The dharma of a champion demands a fight worthy of victory, and not even a bit less."