Welcome once again to ?The Rise and Fall of an Underdog? and the story of Jake’s journey into the world of professional wrestling. As always you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any comments or questions. And along that line, a special shout out this week to Scott and the guys at froggy103. Thanks for reading and enjoy 😉
Jake always loved looking out the window of the airplane as it landed in a new city. They?d begun their descent into London and he was like an excited kid as they came through the fog and London came into sight. There was Big Ben and Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and the giant ferris wheel looking contraption the London Eye. It was a drizzly afternoon but Jake didn?t mind; he was landing in London. And so was Alana! What he had thought was going to end up being a divorce on his wedding day had ended up being a honeymoon. Due to their strict wedding budget they hadn?t planned on a honeymoon. A night in a fancy hotel would have to suffice. It turned out that although Alana’s family couldn?t make it to the wedding they still managed to send money. Enough money to afford Alana’s half of the trip and to turn a business trip into their first vacation as husband and wife. Alana had met up with Jake on the road a few times before but what had been primarily booty calls, were nothing compared to spending six weeks on the road together. And it wouldn?t be all fun for Alana either, as she would be accompanying Jake to the ring each night!
Once they had decided that Alana would be going on the trip as well, Jake made a quick call to the UK promoter and asked if it would be okay if he brought a valet. Since she wouldn?t have to be paid, and her travel expenses were covered, they said no problem. Jake had never used a manager or valet, so now they had the task of finding a character and costume for Alana. They didn?t want to introduce her as the Rocket Kid’s wife, it had been done before and Jake didn?t want it to get too personal. So Alana had gone with the obvious stereotype at first and picked up a Pocahontas outfit from a local costume shop. Now, as much as Jake was turned on by his Indian princess, it just didn?t work for his character. In the end they decided to just go with a leather mini skirt and jacket that matched the colours of his tights and Alana was christened Luscious Lightening. It was cheesy they knew, but on short notice it would have to do. What was important now was that they would be together day and night and enjoying their honeymoon.
Jake’s first few matches were in London with a promotion called LDN Wrestling. They were an up and coming company with sold out shows and even a spot on a cable sports channel once a week. The business wasn?t too different from America and Jake fit in pretty well from the start. The main thing that struck him was that although they were speaking English, he couldn?t understand a word anyone said! He had seen tons of British films over the years, and had studied Shakespeare in high school, but he was still in the dark. He?d never forget the first time someone asked him if they could ?bum a fag?. He wished he’s known it meant ?borrow a cigarette?; would have saved a lot of shock. It seemed they had a different word for everything. Elevator was lift, trunk was boot, guys were blokes and girls were birds, Jake just couldn?t keep up. Alana just nodded and smiled most of the time and then would ask Jake later what they had meant. They spent many an evening in their hotel room in fits of laughter over the culture shock they were experiencing.
Jake was also experiencing a bit of culture shock in the ring as well. Alana had gone down a storm with the crowds; a little too well sometimes. Jake was a jealous guy at the best of times, but with fans cat calling and reaching through the barriers he saw red more than once. Alana took it all in stride and handled the situations better than Jake ever could. Inside the ring Jake had another situation on his hands. The British style was certainly different to what he had become accustomed to in Japan. It was rough and tough and relied heavily on chain wrestling; long sequences filled with counters and tests of strength. A lot of the guys worked really stiff and Jake couldn?t help but wonder if it was because he was, in their words, ?a Yank?. All of this went away though after Jake got to know a guy by the name of Billy Starr.
Billy was a solidly built older guy from Liverpool, the next stop on Jake’s tour of the UK, and if Jake thought the Londoners were hard to understand, Billy could have been from another planet. His thick accent sounded as if he was chewing on half his words and then spitting them out. But Billy was a personable enough guy and would be working with Jake up and down the country. While he felt it his duty to initiate Jake into the world of British wrestling, he focussed more on initiating Jake into the world of British pubs.
?Come on mate? he would growl. ?Join us down the pub. We?ll show a yank a thing or two about chucking a few pints down your neck!?
Once Jake had deciphered that that meant going out for a few beers, he was away. But Alana wasn?t. She hated the grubby pubs they went to and the grubby wrestlers they went with. She was no snob, she had been around wrestling for years now, but it certainly wasn?t what she had expected when they had set out on their dream honeymoon. The first cracks had started to show.
They wrapped up in London and headed on to Liverpool. Jake had always loved the Beatles, so he was in heaven as they toured the Beatles Museum and the legendary Cavern Club where it had all began for the ?fab four?. Alana was a bit more of an R&B fan so she faked enthusiasm when she saw how much it meant to Jake. She was starting to get a bit bored and wanted to get more involved ion the action in the ring.
?Can?t I get up on the apron more and distract the ref or something?? she pleaded.
?No, I told you honey, I?m a baby face. Distracting the ref is what a heel would do. It just doesn?t fit my character.?
?Well, why doesn?t the heel threaten me or something. Drag me in the ring when you?re down or try and kiss me.?
?Are you sure you?d be okay with that? Things can go wrong you know.?
She was undeterred ?I?m a big girl Jake. I can handle myself. I can even slap them when they try and kiss me. Oooh, I can even kick them in the nuts or something!?
Jake found it odd that he found his wife’s enthusiasm so cute. She was talking about kicking a guy in his genitalia after all! He finally backed down and worked out an angle with Billy that involved him having a crush on Luscious Lightening and trying to get a smooch from her each night. It worked like magic and the crowd hooted an hollered as Billy puckered up with Alana in his arms. They screamed for Jake to get to his feet and save his valet. And there was always a collective groan from the men in the audience as Luscious planted her high heels in Billy’s crotch. Alana was a star and loving every minute of it and Jake was so happy for her. But things were about to turn sour as they headed for their next stop, Manchester.
Things had been pretty worry free on the journey so far, but when Jake took a bad bump on their last night in Liverpool, he became a mess. He had his usual concoction of painkillers with him but no shots for his lower back. He barely had time for the gym anymore so he had upped his doses of steroids and worked out like a maniac when he got the chance. The back injury was as bad as ever and with no cortisone in sight he became a constant grump. He and Alana had never really fought before; they had disagreements but never shouting matches. Jake felt bad that things were changing on his ?honeymoon? but he couldn?t help it. Maybe it was the pain he was in, or the mood changes that would have definitely been brought on by an increase in steroids, either way there was trouble in paradise. And then there was a Saturday night in Leeds.
Leeds, in the northern county of Yorkshire, was their last stop before heading to Scotland and then onto Northern Ireland. Jake hadn?t really understood a word of the ‘souse? accent in Liverpool and got even less from the Yorksshiremen he encountered in Leeds. If he wasn?t already a grump, then there was the food. Japan had been tough because of all the exotic things they ate but exotic certainly wasn?t the word to describe the cuisine in the north of England. If it wasn?t fried it was baked in a pie and if it didn?t come with a pint of ale, you went thirsty. Jake had grown a taste for English ales and on the night before their last big match in Leeds he enjoyed one too many. Alana had disappeared back home to the hotel room and they wouldn?t talk again until just before their match Saturday night.
Everything was going as planned as Jake faced a young guy called The Northern Light. Billy was a bit worse for wear and couldn?t make it off the toilet long enough to make it to the ring. Maybe it was their lack of planning or Jake’s own hung over sate, but something went wrong as he came to Alana’s aid as the Northern Light had her in the corner. Jake had thought he had explained the spot to his opponent who would swear that he hadn?t. Jake was too hung over to be totally sure. Regardless of who said what to who, as the Rocket Kid leapt across the ring Northern Light moved out of the way, but Alana didn?t.
Jake had crashed straight into his wife. Blood came spurting from her nose and she collapsed in a heap in the corner. Not knowing what to do, the Northern Light rolled Jake up and the ref did the quickest three count in history as he ran back to see to Alana. She had been winded and shaken up but her nose wasn?t broken and she seemed fine as the doctor gave her the all clear after the match. This would be the last time Luscious Lightening got involved in a match but not before she broke her silence with the Rocket Kid as soon as they got back to the hotel room.
?Maybe if you spent more time focussing on planning your matches than ?going on the piss? as Billy so eloquently puts it, I wouldn?t look like this!? She pointed to her bandaged nose and black eye.
?I know, it’s my fault! I feel bad enough as it is you know! I don?t need you to tell me!?
?Well someone has to tell you!? she shouted back ?You look like crap Jakey and now so do I. Thanks for the great honeymoon.?
She slammed the door to the bathroom and ran a bath. Not to be outdone, Jake slammed the room door as he headed to the pub to meet Billy. Maybe it was to be spiteful, to substantiate all of Alan’s ridiculous paranoia, or maybe it was just to get something to ease the pain he was feeling. At that moment though it didn?t matter to Jake why he was propped up against the bar enjoying a pint with the boys. He was enjoying it nevertheless. But the cracks were firmly showing now and as they headed to Scotland Jake didn?t know if Luscious Lightening and the Rocket Kid would make as big a difference in Europe as they had planned. And any chance of saving their honeymoon was probably long behind them. As Jake stood in a dingy pub he didn?t really care. And that was more worrying than anything else.