Welcome once again to ?The Rise and Fall of an Underdog? and Jake’s story of his journey into the world of professional wrestling. As always you can contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions. Thanks for reading and enjoy!
Jake was sat in a corner: puking. Sweat poured down his face and into his eyes. It stung almost as much as his legs did. He had never been a fan of Hindu-squats, but after doing so many that he had lost count, he certainly hadn?t been converted. It was only his first day of training in Japan and he wanted to go home already. But he was lucky (or unlucky depending on how you look at it) to have made it to training at all.
When he landed in Tokyo’s Narita International Airport Jake was hit with instant culture shock. It may have been due to the thirteen and a half hour flight he had just been on (the longest flight he had been on prior to that was a four hour one to visit his aunt Betty on the west coast!) but Jake felt totally out of it. He wasn?t sure if it was early morning or late at night, but it was dark; in more ways than one. He looked around for the driver that he had been assured would be there to pick him up. He scoured the countless signs held up by drivers in black suits and hats. ?Williams? ?Rodgers? ?Shitman? (he guessed that was meant to be Shipman) but no Reynolds. He found the nearest computer and paid God knows how much for five minutes of internet time. He had an e-mail from the promoter informing him that a ride could not be organized and that he should take the subway. ?It would be easy?. Easy for him to say!
Jake had seen videos of commuters being crammed in to trains by men with white gloves in Tokyo and found it quite funny. It wasn?t quite that busy on the train into Tokyo, but Jake certainly wasn?t laughing. It was a tight journey to say the least. Jake wasn?t a big guy and struggled to bulk up. Here though he was like a giant. He only stood 5?11? and barely made it past 200 pounds. But as he tried to make his way through the crowded train he felt like Godzilla about to tear down power lines and smash buildings. When he finally found a spot to stand, cramped up against a pile of luggage, he was faced with a group of Japanese school girls with an uncontrollable giggling fit. They all looked at Jake, some pointed, one even took a picture. Jake just smiled and gave them a little wave. For some guys this would have been a double fantasy but it really wasn?t doing anything for Jake.
Once he arrived in the center of Tokyo Jake then had the daunting task of figuring out the complicated Metro map for the subway. Jake had a hard enough time managing in New York City the few times he had been there, but this was ridiculous. The Japanese writing was all gobbly-gook to Jake so you would think the colour coated train lines would make it easier. He was dumbfounded. He made an executive decision and jumped on the train he thought looked right. It was. Jake sighed as he reached his destination. His promoter had told him to call the office when he arrived and someone would come and get him. Jake found a pay phone and tried to use the complicated phone card he had bought in the airport. He almost got carpal tunnel from entering all the digits! It finally rang and Mr. Tajariki answered and informed him that one of the other wrestlers would pick him up and take him to his apartment. All Jake wanted to do was fall into bed and relax for an evening. Little did he know how un-relaxing everything would be.
The wrestler/ chauffer arrived and threw Jake’s bags in the back of the van; not figuratively threw, literally threw then with all his might. Jake laughed it off and offered his hand to the bulky Japanese wrestler. Not wanting to be culturally rude, Jake bowed instead. As he did so the still unnamed wrestler bowed too but very fast and right into Jake’s head! Jake knew an intentional head butt when he felt one and that had been a pretty good one! He again laughed it off, unaware that this was the start of more degradation than he had ever experienced.
He arrived at his apartment and waved goodbye to the wrestler as he tossed Jake’s bags out of the back of the van and sped off. Jake climbed the eighteen flights to his apartment, dreaming of a nice not bath and a nap. He reached his door and flung it open, his bag held tightly in his arms like a bride crossing the threshold. Luckily it wasn?t his bride as he promptly dropped it on the floor as he saw his new home.
Jake’s ?apartment? consisted of one room not much bigger than his bathroom at home. There was a bed that looked like it was meant for a child; all it needed was headlights and some tires! Next to that, no, on top of that, was a desk with a lamp and a hotplate which Jake guessed was the kitchen. There was one door and when Jake opened it he found a coffin-like bathroom that consisted of a toilet and a shower head. That’s it! Any hopes of a bath were definitely out of the question. Jake managed to get his bag in the room and collapsed on the bed; everything from the calves down hanging off the end. He fell asleep and was awoken by a pounding on the door. It was his new van driving friend and he looked as happy as ever. It was time for Jake’s first day of training and the most painful experience of his life. If the living conditions didn?t kill him, this certainly would.
So Jake was now gasping for air, the closest to tears he had been since his Dad’s funeral, and wishing Alana was there with him. He knew that this was only the first day of training and it wasn?t going to get any better, but it was a means to an end; part of his master plan. He had to tough it out, there was no question about it. And he would. So for now he took a rare moment to try and catch his breath. Jake sat in a corner. Alone. Puking in a bucket. What a life!