The Rise & Fall of an Underdog #9
April 16, 2009
By: AJ Pearce of
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 installments, check out the previous Thursday’s posts or let me know and I can send it to you. I can always be reached at email@example.com and would always love to hear any comments, questions, or requests you might have. Happy reading!
Jake had been nervous before; as he waited to cross the stage at his high school graduation, or when his band played their first (and only) gig at the annual talent show, even as he sat watching the final quarter of the Super Bowl with his team up by 2 with 1 minute to go, all these times Jake had felt a little twinge of nervousness come over him. But as he stood behind the curtain in a tiny rec center awaiting his first ever wrestling match, nervous couldn?t even begin to describe what he was feeling.
Prepared was another word though that could also easily be used to describe Jake’s current status. His tights had arrived in the mail and his boots were back from Giuseppe in record time. Even his mother was impressed by the workmanship that had gone into them. When Jake put on his tights and boots for the first time he actually felt like a professional wrestler. He added his elbow pads and matching wrist tape and felt almost complete. The last piece to the puzzle was an old leather jacket that he hadn?t worn in a long time and was just collecting dust in his closet. His mother took one look at it and was struck with an idea. A couple of hours (and a lot of cursing at the sewing machine) later, Jake’s Mom presented him with his ring jacket. On the back she had embroidered ?Rocket Kid? in bold lettering. Jake took one look at it and grabbed his mother in a bear hug and held her until she was giddy with laughter. Jake’s look was complete and he was ready. All he needed to figure out now was what he was actually going to do in his match with the Crusher.
Jake had arrived early to the rec center and promptly began to help with the construction of the ring. With the ring set up, Jake focussed his attentions on getting some clues from the Crusher on what they were going to do in their match that night. As hard as Jake tried the Crusher was more aloof and unavailable than ever.
?Check with me in an hour kid.?
?Just let me finish this up and I?ll come find you kid.?
?Jesus kid I?ll find you when I?m ready!?
After that last one Jake decided to leave it be for a while and catch a quick workout in the gym before he got suited up. He did a quick, light workout; just enough to get the blood pumping and some definition in his muscles and puffiness in his veins. As he toweled down and began to dress the Crusher appeared, drinking from an energy drink and looking focused for the first time that day.
?Okay kid here’s how it’s gonna go. We both get in, I shout at the crowd, get in and out of the ring yellin? at ?em, the usual. You challenge me to a test of strength, more yellin? and avoidin? you. We tie up, go back and forth a bit. Then we go into the first spot we worked. Back and forth for a bit and then I sucker punch you when the ref’s not lookin? and begin the beat down. Just go with it. I?ll call it on the fly and then I?ll tell you when to go into the next spot we planned and your comeback. Momentum, momentum, momentum, and then you get me down and go for your finisher. Moonsault right??
?Right? Jake timidly and quickly replied.
?Good. Then I?ll storm out, shoutin? at the crowd the whole way and you stay in the ring for a minute and work the crowd. Slap all the hands you can and babyface it up as much as you can. You?ll go over just fine. Got it?
?If anything goes wrong I?ll just call somethin? new. Listen and pay attention. See you out there kid.?
With that the Crusher was gone, shouting orders at every wrestler he passed along the way, and Jake was left with his head spinning like an out of control amusement park ride. He knew that the Crusher had been speaking English but right now it was all foreign to him. He tried to remember all the spots they had worked out in training and the numbers that went with them. The Crusher had spent a whole afternoon simply barking numbers and launching into the moves that corresponded with them. It had been hard and Jake knew that having them whispered in his ear in front of a screaming crowd would not make it any easier. This would also be the first time that Jake would have to deal with another wrestler carrying the match and calling moves on the fly. Jake was fine with a choreographed, ordered match, but wasn?t sure that he could just do a move at the drop of a hat. What was a back body drop? How do I do a sunset flip? Do all moves go to the left or was it the right? Just like before a big exam Jake’s brain hurt and he hoped that his body wouldn?t be joining that pain when he stepped into the ring.
It was time for the show to begin and Jake was hanging out behind the curtain in anticipation. He nearly jumped out of his skin when a fierce Crusher back pat caught him off guard.
?You alright kid??
?Yeah I?m fine.?
?You don?t look fine to me? the Crusher chuckled. ?You look like you?re gonna puke!?
?Maybe just a little? Jake replied and attempted a chuckle.
?Well you won?t have to wait long, we?re on first.?
Another pat on the back and the Crusher went off to finalize some details before their match. Now Jake really felt like he was going to puke. He could see the lights go down through a tiny gap in the curtains and he could see that there was a decent crowd waiting to be entertained. The ring announcer shuffled past Jake and made his way to the ring. As the announcer did his usual introductory speech, Jake prepared backstage in anticipation of…
?Jake ?Rrrrrrocket Kiiiiiiid? Reeeeey-Nooooooolds!?
As the announcer finished elongating his name and his music began to play, Jake realized he had to go. He burst through the curtains and before he knew it he was slapping hands all the way around the ring as Metallica pumped out through the PA system. Jake leapt over the top rope into the ring and made his way to the corner, relishing the cheers the whole way. Those cheers quickly disappeared as the sound of Black Sabbath filled the arena and the Crusher made his way to the ring. The Crusher was an ominous figure at the best of times but standing there in the ring he was as menacing a heel as any. The ref checked them both for weapons and when he was satisfied he motioned for the bell and the match was underway.
The bell had barley finished ringing when Jake realized that he had forgotten absolutely everything he and the Crusher had planned. The Crusher was doing his menacing bit to the crowd when it clicked with Jake and he challenged the Crusher to a test of strength. Things were going as planned and Jake was loosening up a bit. Jake slipped up a bit though when he threw a punch that the Crusher didn?t think was up to scratch. Pulling punches was not something he liked and Jake had pulled that one way too much. They continued on and the Crusher tied up in the corner with Jake and whispered in his ear ?1?. With that Jake sprung into action. He reversed the momentum and sent the Crusher into the corner. As he staggered back to the center of the ring Jake left his feet, grabbed the Crusher’s head between his legs and delivered a picture perfect Hurricanrana. The Crusher slid out of the ring and complained to the crowd and Jake got a chance to catch his breath. Not for long though as the Crusher was right back into the ring. Jake threw another punch and although the Crusher sold it, Jake could see in his eyes that he was not happy. When it came time for the Crusher to punch back he certainly didn?t pull any punches. He landed them; straight on Jake’s face. He didn?t try to kill Jake but to teach him a lesson about realism in wrestling. And Jake got it.
Jake was enjoying his first match, albeit with a splitting headache, and was even enjoying the part of the match where the babyface gets the beat down from the heel. Unlike his purposely powerful punch, the rest of the Crusher’s moves were executed perfectly and Jake felt totally safe. The Crowd were getting behind Jake and a chant of ?Rocket Kid. Rocket Kid. Rocket Kid.? hung in the air as Jake mounted his comeback. The final pre-planned spot, and a few moves later, the Crusher lay stricken in the middle of the ring and Jake was climbing to the top rope for the finish. He signalled to the crowd and they cheered as he flung himself backwards. He got so much hang time on his moonsault that the crowd actually gasped as if he wasn?t going to make it. But he did make it and the crowd erupted as the referee counted 1-2-3. As the bell rang the Crusher stormed out of the ring, spitting venom at the fans, and Jake ran to all four corners of the ring; celebrating his victory and celebrating the fact that he had done it. He had made it through his first match and the fans loved him. As the crowd cheered Jake drank it all in. He wanted this moment to last forever but knew that it couldn?t. Now it was time for Jake Reynolds to make a name for himself in the world of wrestling and become the star he had always dreamed of being.