The Rise & Fall of an Underdog #3
February 26, 2009
By: AJ Pearce of

Before I present this week’s installment of ?The Rise and Fall of an Underdog?, I?d like to address something that came up after last week’s piece. I had a few e-mails about the character of Chris ?The Crippler?. This is a fictional story and has nothing to do with Chris Benoit. It just seemed like a good name for the character; a simple coincidence. To keep this securely as a piece of fiction, and to dismiss any connection to real people, f rom here on in the character will be referred to as ?The Crusher?. If you have any other comments or questions feel free to contact me at Enjoy!

After a grueling first day of training Jake had relaxed at home with a bowl of popcorn and an old tape of one of his favourite wrestling pay-per-views. It was just like old times. Jake settled in for an early night and was amazed at how he didn?t feel at all sore. His body had been stretched and extended in ways he didn?t know possible a mere handful of hours earlier but as he lay his head on his pillow he felt fine. Sure he ached a bit and his neck was a bit stiff, but that was natural. He felt confident in his ability and that this wrestling thing wasn?t going to be as tough as he had imagined. The next morning was going to be a different story though!

Jake’s alarm came to life and the room was filled with the sound of Fleetwood Mac on the radio. Jake stretched and sprang f rom his bed to get ready for work. That is to say he attempted to spring f rom his bed. No sooner had he thrown back the sheets than the pain began to shoot up his calves all the way to the back of his neck. It wasn?t a deathly pain; rather it was as if his body was one giant Charlie horse. He d ropped his feet to the floor and his legs felt like weights on the end of a fishing line. He actually had to propel himself out of bed like an old man. The accompanying groan was quite old man-like as well. He shuffled the short distance to the bathroom to complete the comedy of undressing and stepping into the shower. Jake had overdone it at the gym before but this felt like he had completed a triathlon forwards and backwards. He strained to reach up and shampoo his hair and as he pulled back the shower curtain he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror. His shoulder and chest were black and puffy f rom where his partner had run into him in the rope running exercise. Jake touched it and winced at the tender pain. He turned around to see the long purple marks criss-crossing across his back. He had felt the sting of the thinly protected ropes but hadn?t realized the extent of that sting. Jake was relieved that all of this would be covered by his shirt. Then he noticed his neck. He guessed it had been f rom the overzealous collar and elbow tie-ups he had encountered. A large black semi circle had formed all the way around the left hand side of his neck. His shirt would have to have a heck of a collar to hide that one.

Jake slowly but surely made his way downstairs and bid a hasty retreat to his car, skipping breakfast, so that he didn?t bump into his mother and have to explain his battered body. Still living at home was bad enough as it is without getting the third degree f rom his mother. Jake knew she worried too much but he also knew that it was because she had to raise him all on her own and that he was all she had; so he didn?t let it bother him too much. Luckily the drive to work didn?t require too many left hand turns because a mere sideways glance was all that Jake could muster. It was going to be a long day.

Jake parked out back and headed to the front of Electronics Emporium. He still sighed every time he looked at the ridiculously bright neon sign hanging above the door. It acted like a beacon for the eight hours of monotony he faced every working day. Jake wanted to do more with his life, but this would have to do until he became the next world’s heavyweight champion. He tried to stand as straight as he could and walk with as little a limp as possible as he made his way to the staff room. He realized that he probably looked like he had just soiled himself and this made him laugh a little. Only a little though because it really hurt!

The customers came and went and Jake made a passable effort at being courteous and interested; all the while counting the hours until he could safely have another dose of over the counter painkillers. Everything was going fine until he noticed his manager eying him up f rom across the room. Brad was only a couple of years older than Jake but always spoke down to him like he was a naughty child. The whole time Jake had been in the ring the day before a little part of him relished picturing Brad’s head on his opponents. Most days Jake had to fight off the urge to body slam him and give him a flying elbow d rop f rom the top of the TV display.

?Hey Jake.?

There was that tone again. Weasely faced little…

?Hey Brad, how’s it goin??

?Better than you obviously! What did you do, lie in front of a bus??

Jake clenched his teeth and suppressed the urge to deliver a clothesline there and then. ?Uh nothing. Just a bit sore f rom training.?

?Training? For what? Fight Club??

Brad laughed at his joke. Jake didn?t. He did manage a smile though and that hurt just as much as his sore muscles.

?Actually I went downtown yesterday and started taking some wrestling training.?

?Greco Roman??

?No….professional? Jake said as he tensed up and waited for the reaction.

?What? Spandex and baby oil? Guys in their underwear? That kind of wrestling??

?Yes Brad that’s exactly it.? Jake was now playing out the whole match in his head. Headlock, clothesline, leg d rop, frog splash. It would be amazing.

?You crack me up….brother! Go lay the smack down on some plasma TV sales for me will ya!?

With that Brad was gone. Chuckling to himself and looking for anyone to inform of his new found information. Jake relaxed a bit and headed to the TV aisle. Brad was a first class jerk, that was common knowledge but Jake had been dealing with that kind of response for years. Any time someone found out that he was a fan of wrestling he got the same reaction. The laughs, the jokes, the shocking revelation that ?It’s all fake you know!?. He?d heard it all before and brushed it off each time. Jake saw wrestling for what it was; a modern day soap opera for men. Yes they were men in spandex and baby oil but that was beside the point. Wrestling had helped him through some hard times and he wasn?t about to let some pencil neck geek of a retail manager get to him over it.

With his shift over and his muscles a little less tense (but not much) Jake made his way home. His Mother’s reaction was as expected and Jake’s assertions that it would only get better seemed to do little to calm her down. But she relented and Jake headed off to his room. Jake thought about how glad he was that this day was over as he eased himself down onto his bed. And as he fell asleep in his work clothes, shoes still on his feet, Jake began to dream about wrestling. It may have been a dream about Brad’s in ring demise or it may not. Regardless, Jake was dreaming about wrestling. And he couldn?t wait until next Saturday to again try his hardest to make his dreams become a reality.