The Rise and Fall of an Underdog #11
May 2, 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 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 on a role of sorts and in the couple of months since his fateful first match with the Crusher he had worked consistently on every show. He wasn?t undefeated (he had lost a couple of pretty bad squash matches to a rather large wrestler called Grand Sumo) but he was building a rapport with the fans and impressing the powers that be along the way. His job at the Electronics Emporium had taken a back seat to his wrestling and his manager Brad was starting to get suspicious of Jake’s calling in sick so regularly. But Jake didn?t care; he was doing something he loved and that he was good at. What more could he need.
Even Jake’s mother was beginning to warm to the idea of her son being a professional wrestler. She even made it to one of Jake’s matches and cheered louder than any other fan in the place. She caught his eye in the middle of a tie-up and he gave her a little wink; all the while fighting to stay in character. Afterwards they went for ice cream while the other wrestler’s hit the bars. People had always called Jake a ?momma’s boy? and he always took no notice of them. She was all that he had in the world and the fact that she was proud of what he was doing in the ring meant the world to him. And he really liked ice cream.
Conspicuous in his absence was Steve. Jake had gotten so wrapped up in his own career that he had failed to notice that Steve hadn?t been at training or on the card for the latest matches. It was odd for Steve not to be around especially since he was a new champion. The mystery was solved though when Jake noticed a couple of the guys mentioning Steve after a training session. Jake confronted them.
?Hey, are you guys talking about Steve??
?Yeah, what an idiot!? said a young wrestler called the Mystic (real name Allan).
?What do you mean??
?He got arrested last night for selling steroids outside a gym in the burbs. Huge sting operation. He’s probably going to do time. Moron?
Jake was crushed. The guy that he had looked up to and had helped him to get a start in the company was a drug pushing convict. The worst part of it was that Jake had taken a pain pill from Steve after he hurt his back during that first battle royale. Did that make him an accomplice? Jake had always been aware of the presence of steroids in wrestling but would never have thought of Steve as a proprietor of illegal substances. He felt as if everything he had believed in Steve had flown out the window along with such a promising career. Steve could have been like a brother to Jake but now he was gone from the business he loved.
?Enough gossiping ladies!? shouted the Crusher as he approached the group. He didn?t look happy and Jake new that he was about to lay something heavy on them. ?So Steve’s gone. You all know why. No need to talk about it. Just know that if any of you do the same you?ll be out on your ass just as fast as I can throw you. Understood?!?
There were nods and mumbles of agreement. Nobody looked up or made direct eye contact with the Crusher. This made Jake wonder how many of them had been customers of Steve’s and how many of them would be emptying out their gym bags when they got home. The Crusher continued.
?Luckily I managed to get the international title belt back off that lowlife before he disappeared off the face of the planet. So next show we?re going to have a mini tournament to crown a new champion. I?ll take on Mystic and Grand Sumo will take on the Rocket Kid. Then it?ll be me and the Rocket Kid in the final and he?ll win the strap.?
Jake froze for a moment. Win the strap? Jake’s knowledge of wrestling jargon was pretty comprehensive so he was pretty confident that he understood correctly and that he would be winning the international title at the next show. The Crusher must have noticed that Jake was practically vibrating as he chuckled and continued.
?Don?t get too excited kid. I?m gonna get on the mike right afterwards and call you out for a rematch. ?If you?re a real man? blah, blah, blah, stuff like that. Then when the ref turns to ring the bell I?m gonna knock you out with brass knucks and win the title in a couple of seconds. You?ll have the shortest title reign in the company’s history but it?ll give me huge heat and put you over with the crowd even more. And a little ways down the road we can have a big grudge match and then we?ll put the title on you a bit more permanently. Sound good??
This was all a bit much for Jake to take in. First he had found out that one of his best friends in this crazy business was about to go to jail for drug dealing and now he finds out that he is going to win a title and lose it in the same night. He mustered a head nod and a grunt of a reply. This seemed enough for the Crusher. He dismissed them all and Jake was left to ponder all that would happen between now and the next show. He had six days.
Six days can fly by really fast when you?ve got a lot on your mind; and as Jake headed backstage after his match with Grand Sumo he realised that time flies even when you?re not having fun. Grand Sumo was what you would call a stiff worker. Meaning he liked to hit hard and make things look as real as possible. But his reality was Jake’s splitting headache. Sumo had thrown him from pillar to post and corner to corner. Jake liked being the little guy fighting back. Hearing the crowd cheering as he made his comeback. But the crowd was hard to hear when Jake’s head was being squeezed in a sweaty, overweight man’s arm pit. Jake made it through the match and scored a quick pin after playing possum for a bit. Up next was the Crusher.
Jake had wrestled the Crusher countless times in training and a handful of times in front of a crowd but tonight was special. As the Crusher lead Jake through a smooth match, calling the shots the whole way, Jake felt totally at ease. Wrestling, when it’s done well, can feel like a dace. One person leads and another follows. Their moves intertwining and their timing hitting like nothing else. This match was a dance and Jake was loving it. Everything went as planned and the Crusher gave Jake a good crack on the head with his plastic brass knuckles. Jake’s title reign, the shortest in company history, was over. But for two minutes and thirty six seconds Jake had worn that title belt with pride. He knew deep down that this wouldn?t be the last time a crowd would cheer for him as their champion.
After the show was over everyone headed to a local bar for a couple of night caps. Jake was shaking hands like never before and laughing about his mini title reign with the boys. He saw the Crusher coming and braced himself for the back pat but it never came. The Crusher simply held out his hand to Jake and they shook like old friends.
?Thanks for doing that job for me tonight. I know you understand the business and how we?ll both benefit from that. You got a good head on your shoulders kid.
?More importantly though, do you have a passport??
?Yeah. Why?? Jake replied. His passport sat in his dresser unopened. He?d had big plans after high school to throw a backpack over his shoulder and travel Europe. Instead he got a job at the Electronic Emporium and his passport sat collecting dust. Was he finally going to get to use it? Was the Crusher sending him to some exotic location?
?I need you to go to Winnipeg for me?
Jake mentally began unpacking his board shorts and sun glasses. His limited knowledge of geography was good enough for him to realise that he wouldn?t be needing them in the frozen north.
?Yeah Manitoba Canada. Big Ben, an old buddy of mine, has a promotion there. We used to wrestle together as a tag team for Stu Hart in Calgary. Now he runs the biggest promotion in Winnipeg. He’s looking for a few guys to do a tour for 3 weeks or so. It?ll be a lot of work but workin? the territories never hurt anyone. You up for it??
Jake didn?t hesitate ?Sure. I?ve just got to sort some things out but yeah, I?ll do it.?
?It’s done then? the Crusher said as he started to head off. ?I?ll pay for your trip up there but after that you?re expenses are your own. I?ll give Ben you?re number and he?ll sort out all the details. You?re doin? alright kid.?
The Crusher headed off to shake hands and slap backs around the bar. Jake was left to let his head wrap around all the things he would have to sort out. He?d have to take a leave of absence from work as he couldn?t afford to quit. As much as he?d like to tell Brad where to shove his job he needed the security for a bit longer. Then he?d have to tell his mother. This might have worried him a year ago but now he knew how much she appreciated what he did and how much she wanted to see him succeed. Barring any unforeseen traumas Jake was about to set out on his first tour as a wrestler. This was it, his time to shine. Making a name for himself began here and now. Jake ?Rocket Kid? Reynolds was taking the next step in his journey into professional wrestling and that next step was… in Winnipeg!