As the last bag was being packed, I stood on the balcony and looked up towards the cloudless sky over the Duke Ranch. The itinerary was set, a short drive to the airport where a waiting corporate jet would take us to Albany, New York.
There was some trepidation on my part, who in their right mind would be happy about facing one drunken lunatic, much less two?
I came to the conclusion that Michael Lorenzo was demented, completely devoid of rational thought.
"Lorenzo, I am the UTA World Champion..."
As if I needed to remind him.
After defeating Eric Dane and Will Haynes on the same night, I deserved better than two drunken rednecks with a penchant for beer and chasing cousins.
"And I deserve something more."
Why did I get the impression Lorenzo was trying to screw me over? That he enjoyed playing handicap the champ against two hardcore nut cases, hell-bent on their own destruction.
"I deserve the ability to relax, to relish in taking down Eric Dane and Will Haynes on the same night..."
I want to smile, really I do, but my heart simply wasn't in it.
"At the same God damned time."
Nobody else could make the claim of beating them both, nobody but me. My name should be made royalty, my likeness on the Mount Rushmore of professional wrestling, for all to see.
But instead, I have to soil my hands with the likes of Duke and Luke Dibbins.
"But instead of rewarding me for a job well done, you screw me over by placing me in the ring with white trash..."
My head begins to shake from side to side, a stoppage of my sentence. The Dibbins Boys wasn't just white trash, they were worse than that, they were kids who didn't care about being the butt of every redneck joke in existence...
And that didn't sit well with me.
"Wait, they aren't white trash. They are juvenile delinquents trapped in adult bodies, powered by the emotional bias of so-called fair weather fans, and a General Manager who must have me confused with somebody else."
Lorenzo must not know me. He must think that I'm going to El Trebol this, or Zhalia Fears that. But I didn't take down two of the biggest stars in this company as a fluke, it simply wasn't an accident. Eric Dane and Will Haynes would have gone down just as easily had I walked into that ring first...
Yeah, I would have beaten them just as easily. But this Duke and Luke Dibbins, they would stab themselves just to get at an opponent easier and again...
That didn't sit well with me.
"But that's alright Lorenzo, you're not the first person guilty of that. Many people have been confused about me..."
They have been downright blinded. But my nickname is the Mental Rapist now isn't it? Sure, a lot of you have been confused about the losses to Fears, to El Trebol, even to La Flama Blanca.
But the wins in pressure situations just keep on coming, don't they?
The wrestling pundits keep bringing up Black Horizon from last year, and the year before.
You can bet your ass I'm smiling.
That's because I know something that the rest of you don't. There's a reason In The Air Tonight is my theme and the sooner you figure it out, the safer you will become.
"Allowing me to use that advantage every time I step into the ring. In the teachings of Sun Tzu, he speaks of showing vulnerability only when the time is right, that moment before you're ready to strike..."
But you can bet that bottom dollar the Dibbins brothers will never figure it out. They won't figure it out because nobody else could, not Dane, not Haynes, or Scott Stevens. Of course, neither did Rhys Townsend or John Sektor.
Trust me, you won't find this in the Redneck Games.
Now shit was about to get real.
"And because of you Lorenzo, there are two more victims with cross-hairs on the back of their skulls."
Isn't that right Duke and Luke Dibbins?
"Two poor unsuspecting souls, who are more at home belly flopping in mud pits than a wrestling ring. Who want to drink beer and chase cousins, rather than prepare for a mental machine like myself."
Can you imagine the Dibbins family, in redneck heaven by living a life that is an insult to Southerners everywhere? Sure you can, it is live and in living color every week on UTA programming.
"Two rednecks more comfortable with a pickled pig's feet eating contest, washed down with Natural Light..."
And let's not forget about the butt-crack contest.
Wait, let's do forget the butt-crack contest.
It is like an episode of Dibbins Gone Wild.
That draws a legitimate smile, for there is wishful thinking the two of them show up three sheets to the wind.
"While bobbing for raw animal parts in tomato paste soup."
Wait, am I giving them ideas?
"Well, instead of bobbing for cow tongue boys, open your ears and close your mouths for some truth. In 2015, this company could barely handle me at my worst when thirty-nine competitors fell at All or Nothing, and nine more at Ring King. I took home the Ace in the hole briefcase..."
That has always been their mistake, not giving me a chance to win anything.
"While the world still thought of me as a joke."
A quick shrug follows.
"Well no longer guys, because 2016 is my year. While you choose to get punch-drunk at the redneck special olympics, I'm gearing up for a successful title defense at All or Nothing."
Its undeniable, I know these guys are coming in with all the alcohol induced stupidity that they can. I know they will contemplate some of the wildest moves ever, its what cray rednecks do on youtube and livelinks.
As the UTA World Champion, it is my responsibility to be ready. For whatever they throw my way.
"You came into this as a joke, thinking that alcohol can make you do anything. But this is my livelihood, this is what I do. You might not take this seriously, but I will."
A good place for a slight pause.
"This is professional wrestling and not the redneck games. Something the both of you will figure out soon enough."