Welcome to another edition of The Rise and Fall of an Underdog. Thanks for reading and I hope you?re enjoying the story of Jake’s journey to the big leagues. If you have missed any instalments, check out the previous Thursday’s posts or let me know and I can send it to you. I can always be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and would always love to hear any comments, questions, or requests you might have. Happy reading!
Jake was ecstatic to be once again backstage at a wrestling show. He was anxious for the first time in ages as he stood and waited behind the curtain. As he looked down at the black and white stripes of his referee shirt he was a bit disappointed but mostly excited to step back in the ring. Jake’s promoter had invited Jake back to ref a couple of matches and to get involved in a lumberjack match in a couple of weeks. Jake was itching for some action and would take anything he could get. The doctors had warned him about wrestling and strongly suggested that he take up a new line of work. But this was Jake’s passion and no injury could ever stop him.
Both wrestlers had entered the ring as the announcer began to introduce the special guest referee for the match. As Jake’s music hit and the announcer screamed his name in a gruff elongated fashion, Jake ploughed through the curtain to the roar of the crowd. It’s always great to surprise a wrestling crowd and Jake had done just that. Their cheers caught him off guard a little and as he stood in the middle of the ring and clapped back in return he could feel the tears welling up in his eyes. He knew the fans appreciated what he did in the ring but their heartfelt welcoming made him realise how much he meant to them and that he had made it as a performer in the business.
The match got underway and Jake tried his best to play the part of official. He really had no idea what he was doing but he played the part as best he could. When the heel got in his face he shoved him back and pointed to his referee’s shirt; establishing himself as the law. And when the heel went to hit his opponent with a steel chair, Jake grabbed it out of the air and threw it to the floor. The heel didn?t like this intervention and promptly slapped Jake across the face. Jake didn?t disqualify him like a real official would; instead he responded with a punch to the face and a picture perfect moonsault off the ropes. The crowd went wild as Jake pulled the injured babyface over to the fallen heel and counted one, two, three. The Rocket Kid had returned and the crowd was loving it.
Afterwards Jake made sure to say hello to all the boys backstage and shake everyone’s hand. The two opponents from his first match officiating were eager to thank Jake for his work in the ring and adding to their match. Jake tried to head home but the boys were having none of it. They convinced Jake to come out for a drink with them (although it hadn?t taken all that much convincing really.) Jake enjoyed a beer with the boys and was filled in on all the new stories from the road; who was arrested for public drunkenness, who was dating the most ring rats and who had been jailed or, even worse, hospitalized since Jake had been away. Jake made a fairly early retreat at 1am and headed home. He had told Alana that he was going to watch a show tonight and not that he was going to be in the ring. It was eating at him so he knew he would have to tell her when he got home.
As he slinked into his room he noticed that the light was still on and that Alana had fallen asleep while reading a book. He carefully crawled into bed next to her but as soon as he kissed her neck she awoke.
?Hey, did you go for a drink with the boys?? she sleepily asked.
?Yeah, one or two.?
?I figured as much? Alana yawned as she snuggled into Jake.
?Oh, and they were short a ref tonight so I filled in for a match? Jake said as he tensed up and waited for the onslaught.
?Really? That’s good. How was it??
Jake wondered if it was the tiredness talking but took it anyways. ?It was amazing. The crowd went wild. You should have heard them.?
?Oh Jakey? Alana said as she smiled at him and propped herself up on one elbow. ?I?m not going to be able to talk you out of wrestling am I??
?Probably not? Jake responded with a smile and a kiss.
With that they fell asleep together and Jake felt secure for the first time about a return to the ring. He knew that his mother would not be as much of a pushover as Alana but she would get over it in time. He felt as if he had the seal of approval to return to training and that’s what he was going to do the next morning.
No matter how long a wrestler is in the business they can always improve. This doesn?t mean that they train with the rookies every week but they do find time to run through drills, practice moves and learn new ones to add to their repertoire. Jake was always more than willing to learn but as he hit the ring for his first training session in ages he knew he was there mainly to dust off the cobwebs and make sure his body was up to the standard he always strived for.
Jake had been nervous about doing the couple of moves he had tried in his match as a referee despite the fact that he had done moonsaults a thousand times before. This time though he had felt butterflies as he leapt backwards and landed on his fallen opponent. But his neck and back had been fine and after the initial fear had passed he felt as confident as he had before his accident. Jake knew that he could do it, he just needed a bit of a refresher and he certainly got that in his first session back.
As he sat on a bench afterwards, a sweaty mess, Jake realised how easy it was to get out of shape and out of the loop. Maybe he had pushed himself a little too hard but Jake knew that he needed it. He ran the ropes so many times that he could already feel the rope burn rising into welts on his back. His muscles ached from countless slams, suplexes and leaps from the top rope. Jake ached all over, but he loved it!
As he headed home Jake had a spring in his step and a smile on his face. He had made it through a training session intact and his back hadn?t exploded or his head fallen off. The initial fear was gone and Jake was ready for his big comeback. Sure the doctors had advised against his ever wrestling again and what should have been at least six months off had been only two. Yet none of that mattered to Jake. He knew what he needed to do. Sure, it was only going to be a lumberjack match at first. But that would turn into a feud with one of the other lumberjacks and a programme that would bring the Rocket Kid back in the spotlight. As Jake walked home on a chilly evening he whistled to himself and knew that things were going to be alright.