MD 137 - Titus versus Eve Taylor [non-title]
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Have you seen those action films where the hero, or the villain, gets beaten up so badly, but is still on their warpath of justice, or mischief? Y'know, blood dried up on their body, burn marks after an explosion or something, and ripped clothes, but their eyes are intently focused on the task at hand? Yeah, that walk making the character look like a bad-arse. Today, that was me, walking through the hallways of the WZCW Headquarters... although, it was a lot less dramatic than that. I mean, I was wearing ripped clothes, but that was more of a fashion statement rather than fighting multiple men wielding knives; however, there was no dried blood or burn marks on me today. All I was doing was holding my back, taking my steps slowly in my high heels - which, by the way, I should've gone with flats - and focusing on my surroundings so I don't do any more damage to myself. I looked like every other wrestler on the roster: recovering from their respective match at Kingdom Come, after giving it our all to make it a memorable night for the fans, and to attain victory on the biggest event of our calendar. I certainly did not look like a bad-arse; far from the notion, actually... but God damn, did I feel like a bad-arse.
The failures of losing the Elite Openweight championship, and the Lethal Lottery, both of which I was determined to make relevant, and win without any doubt, hurt me on the inside as much as my back is hurting me right now. As a wrestler who prides herself on becoming the greatest of all time, taking two major blows like that, almost in quick succession, placed so much pressure on my mind. I've always had an active mind, and the thoughts are very overwhelming at times, but the amount of times I was second-guessing myself was insane. I know it's all in my own head, and I see it a bit clearly in hindsight, but I needed to do something drastic to prove I still belonged in this wrestling ring. So, with the World title out of the picture, and not wanting to receive a championship opportunity as "compensation" for my horrible performances, I did the only thing I could do to justify my existence as a wrestler: I called out the greatest woman in WZCW history, Celeste Crimson, to a match at the big stage, with my career weighing on the outcome of this match.
And what a match we put on. The dream match between the best two female wrestlers ever finally happened, and it didn't disappoint. Late into the match, I couldn't have cared less if I won or not, despite putting my own career on the line, because we had put on a barn-burner of a match. If Eve Taylor was going to get knocked out of WZCW forever, this match would be the one to do it. Yet, what intrigues me is my attitude changing mid-match, and somehow fuelled a second wind that allowed me to hang on for dear life, and never let go of the Extreme Makeover until Celeste was the one to tap. When I took on Austin Reynolds to defend the Elite title, I was begging for some competition, because I thought I was unstoppable. I lost. When I entered myself into the Lethal Lottery, I put the entire roster on notice to step up their game, because I thought I was unbeatable. I lost. When I came up against Celeste, all I wanted to do was prove to everyone I still belonged, and when the heat began to turn up, I let go of being this unstoppable, unbeatable monster who cleaned up in 2016. No, I put myself in the same position that led me to success: I am nothing but another individual.
Yep. Pessimism. That's all that brought me the victory: being a pessimist. As I was getting wailed upon by Celeste's relentless assault, I continuously told myself that she was too strong. She was better than I. I had dug my own grave, and there was no way of climbing back out. These negative thoughts somehow unlocked another level inside me to continue the match, stick it out, and never give up, no matter how badly injured my body may be in the future, like today. But, y'know, it is worth all the pain that I have to suffer today for the victory I achieved over Celeste Crimson, because today I feel like an absolute bad-arse for going to my own personal hell in my own mind, and coming out the outside with a smile on my face, and a look of determination; I felt like I was ready to take on the world! I wanted glory. I wanted fame. I wanted the success that I strive to own... but, there was some administrative things I needed to take care of first, which is why I'm here in WZCW Headquarters. Heading into Kingdom Come, I may have told Mr Banks, the owner of WZCW, to shove a new contract up his arse - I'm thinking about arses a lot today (I wonder how Mikey's big arse is doing?) - and I wouldn't sign one until I won. Well, I won, so I need to go get my job secured before I lose it, right? This time, I wasn't going to be dealing with Mr Banks, but his associate, the General Manager of Meltdown, Vance Bateman. Apparently, he wanted to see me, so Banksy gave the whole contract dealio to him. I guess I made an impression on the Moneybag Matriarch (I know males would be called Patriarchs, but it ruins the wordplay, and if I'm right in my suspicions about him not liking me so much after telling him to do that thing with the contract, then he's being bitchy, so there).
Finally, I managed to walk my temporarily crippled arse to Bateman's office, and I decided to not go about pissing off another member of management by knocking on the door, and waiting to be called. I didn't have to wait long until Bateman ushered me in. I entered, and walked straight up to the desk, shaking the hand of Vance and looking him in the eye. Yeah, that's right, I'm a bad-arse, and I'm here to do some bad-arse business... oh Lord, Eve, really? Okay. Okay. Okay. Play the role. Sure, it's ridiculous, but you're going to own this meeting. Own it, girl. OWN. IT. Okay, I'm good. I hope.
"Bateman." I said, breaking the silence.
"Taylor." He responded in kind, stoic in nature.
Damn, he's good. Better try something out of left-field.
"You're looking well."
Fucking got him.
Shit! He's really good.
"Shall we start with the contract signing?"
Not even a compliment on my appearance? I look immaculate today... the pain from my back must be really noticeable... okay, think about your answer, Eve.
Bateman shuffled through his documents, and found my contract. Glad to know I'm a priority. He pulled a pen from his top pocket, and handed it to me. He placed the contract on my side of his desk, and slide it towards me, leaving his fingers linger on the page for a couple of seconds, before tapping it a couple of times.
"Here you go. This isn't the exact same contract as the one Mr. Banks offered you previously, so I'd be careful to read through-"
Before Bateman could finish his sentence, I had furiously scribbled my signature on the page, tossed the contract back over to his side of the table, and dropped the pen like a microphone.
"Mr. Banks mentioned you were very difficult in your previous negotiations. Why are you so eager now?"
I cracked one of my signature smirks. Old school style. A 2015 Eve Taylor special, with a little heel balm on this babyface.
"I told Banks that if I beat Celeste Crimson, I would sign. I beat her, so I'm signing, regardless of what the contract states."
I tossed in an eye-brow raise for good measure. More like an Eve-brow raise. Yeah. Solid pun, girl. Bateman nodded, and let out a chuckle.
"Good. I was hoping you were eager, or riding some form of emotional high, because I've got a heck of main event planned for the post-Kingdom Come Meltdown show, and it involves you, my dear girl."
Bateman signed the contract before continuing, making my "return" to the ring official.
"You've got the legendary wrestler with the legendary championship reign, Titus Avison, as your opponent."
The bad-arse persona I tried to pull for the entirety of this meeting has just gone out the window, because I'm getting mother freaking Titus as an opponent in my next match after Celeste Crimson. Damn, I'm on some sort of legends tour.
"With a World championship match happening on the one night return of Aftershock, and Ascension playing host to a slew of friend vs. friend matches, I figured we need to mix it up a bit on Meltdown, and give the crowd a reason to tune into Meltdown as well. So, why not slap two top tier talents together in a match - non-title, of course - and see what happens. And, promoting this match will be so easy. The story writes itself, really."
The story. Writes itself. Really? Along with my persona, my emotions faded away. I was excited. I was nervous. I was ready for this interview, but with this revelation of facing Titus Avison, and the 'story writing itself' as a reason to have this match, everything that made me feel like a new Eve Taylor, a bad-arse Eve Taylor, simply disappeared. I felt annoyed by these words; what story did I have in common with Titus Avison that was so easy for this promoter to sell our match?
"Titus Avison and I have never faced each other before. What story could you possibly tell? The first encounter between two stars?"
"Well, for a start, you're both from world's of the red carpet variety. Titus from the acting world, and yourself from modelling industry. The Actor vs. The Model, cashing cheques ousside their business. Howbow dat? Maybe, we could sell it as the woman who beat THE woman to become THE greatest female competitor ever, taking on the Hall of Fame legend, and a man who could arguably be seen as the greatest male ever? Or, even the absolute obvious: the longest reigning Elite Openweight champion against the longest reigning Eurasian champion? That's money, right there, Miss Taylor... and no matter how we spin it, there is a story to tell."
There he goes with that word again. A Story to tell. I'm really irritated, but I let out a bit of a sarcastic chuckle.
"Oh yes, I forget: the famous rivalry of Eve Taylor and Titus Avison, the one the fans have been talking about for so very long. The story of two individuals whose rise to the top of the world, and the top of WZCW, were parallel but never met... until today. Watch as these death-defying superstars put EVERYTHING ON THE LINE - in a non-title match - in their first ever encounter, and finally settle the score that somehow existed previous to this match. This is WZCW Meltdown, live on the Network, sometime in the near future! Don't miss out!"
I looked at Vance with a questioning look, yet a smile on my face. He looked back at me with confusion.
"Did I hit the mark? Did I get everything? Maybe I should look into a career of voice-over acting. I think I did pretty well."
"Mr. Banks was right. You are difficult. What goes through your mind when you walking into these meetings?"
"What goes through the corporate mind when they try to offer me incentives, and butter me up, to retain my name on your payroll?"
Even more confusion fills the face of Bateman, not understanding my annoyance.
"I'm not going anywhere, and yet, the management here still seems to give me the hard sell to sign a contract. First, Banks offers me a spot in the World title contenders match as compensation for losing the Lottery because I did well, and now you're buttering me up by putting me on the same pedestal as perhaps the greatest legend in WZCW, Titus Avison. I signed your damn contract, Vance. I signed that damn thing very quickly. You don't have to continue with the hard sell. Stop trying to convince me to stay. Stop with the lies about how I'm on the same level as Titus Avison, because I'm nowhere near his level."
"Surely you don't believe that."
The nerve of this guy.
"Oh, c'mon! Really? Did you not hear the bullshit you were trying to feed me when you were explaining how you'd promote that match? If I can see through the bullshit, can you imagine the fans? Hell, can you imagine Titus Avison when he hears how you plan to promote the match? He's a savvy businessman, and he's kind of a dick now, so I'd imagine he'd be chewing you, and me, out for such taglines. So, why don't I save some of his legendary breath, and let me do the chewing out.
"How long has it been since I've referred to myself as a model? How long? I'm not a model any more, Vance. Nor do I have any intentions of returning to the fashion runway. I got spat out long ago because I became too old, and too edgy, to become marketable... mostly the too old, part. I'm not even thirty, and I was kicked out to embrace the newest 15-year-old flavour of the month. The only time they ever wanted me back since then was when I rebuilt my brand here in WZCW. Titus Avison is a bloody 5-time Oscar winner. He's beloved by the industry, and I imagine he'd be welcomed back with open arms. You know what I got from being at the top of the modelling industry? A couple of covers for some high-profile magazine companies. That's the only real achievements we get, and it's nothing compared to 1 Oscar, let alone five.
"Or how about this argument about being the best female taking on the best male? Do you know how many women in this industry were called great? One. Celeste Crimson. That's it. No-one else. Sure, I might be a recent candidate who has popped up, and sure, I defeated Celeste Crimson, so I might be called the best of the women... but let's compare that to Titus Avison, who is only arguably the best. Some people think he is, but I could make an argument for Tyrone Blades being the best. How about "Showtime" Cougar? Matt Tastic, perhaps? Even if it makes me sick to my stomach saying this, but Constantine could be better! Screw genders here, Titus is amongst the best of the best. The only reason I'm considered the best is because of my gender. Measuring up to any one of these men, including Titus Avison... my resume just doesn't stack up.
"I mean, the greatest achievement I have to my name is being the longest reigning Elite Openweight champion in history, perhaps even the best. I beat both of Sam Smith's reigns twice, and my reign is considered to rival that of Constantine's successful and legendary run through the Elite gauntlet. I worked damn hard to earn that championship, and I worked even harder to keep it... but through the matches I had, the pain I suffered, and time I spent etching my name in history, it does not compare to the longest reign in history. Titus Avison is not only the longest reigning Eurasian champion, one that beats me record, but he also beat Tyrone's World title feat with the length he's spent as champion... and that is only ONE of his amazing achievements. He's a TWO time World champion, and I've yet to even have a title match. He's a damn Hall of Fame legend, and if Celeste isn't expected to be in any time soon, my idol and dream opponent, how do I expect to enter?
"See, Vance? No matter how you wish to spin your story, I can dismiss all these claims with the greatest of ease, and that's coming from the person you're attempting to hype up, and make this match seem more competitive, and less one-sided it really is... but all is not lost, Vance. If you really want to promote this match, there is only really one way to do it, and it's the most obvious one of all."
I paused for a moment as I corrected my posture, standing up straight and looking Vance in the eye, making sure he was looking at me.
"Heart. Titus Avison is a legendary competitor. He's won all the titles a singles wrestler can win. He's been a two-time World champion. He's won the Lethal Lottery. He's wrestled in the main event of Kingdom Come. And he's a Hall of Famer. He's got all the achievements. He's got all the talent. He's got all the glory... but there is one thing that happens to the people who have been at the top, and remain their for too long. The air gets thinner up there. People begin getting delusional. Titus Avison has become delusional, and he believes all his past achievements and success has given him the immunity from anybody who wishes to take his spot. Somewhere along the way, Titus Avison has lost passion for the wrestling business. Through all the experiences, he's grown jaded. The will to reach the top once again is dead, because he's never left the top. What else is there to do once you've reached the pinnacle?
"Eve Taylor is a rising star looking to legitimise herself in this business. She's has sacrificed her friends, her family, and her former life for just a chance at achieving greatness in WZCW. She's worked her arse off to beat through the stereotypical comments made about new wrestlers, and one from a modelling background, to become a respected wrestler. She hasn't won many titles, but of those she has one, she's shown improvement. She's shown determination. She's shown heart. Despite her not being a naturally-gifted wrestler, nor a person who was never always passionate about wrestling, she's brought the heart to the wrestling ring, and she has shown she will go to the furthest lengths to become the best. She is hungry. I am hungry. I want to be the best, and I am going to throw everything at Titus Avison to show I can, at the very least, hang with him in that ring. I want to remind him what it feels like to be focused, and hell-bent on reaching the pinnacle, and I'm going to wipe his delusions of grandeur from his brain. After I'm done with him, he'll be clutching onto that championship a little bit tighter, because Eve Taylor is looking to climb past the Hall of Famer on that mountain of success. And if he's not careful, Eve Taylor may be looking for a way to restart her Eurasian championship reign."
I smirk at Vance.
"That is how you sell a match, Vance."
As I turn around, I whip my hair, and strut out of the room. The pain I had in my back is no longer there, or at least the adrenaline from expressing my thoughts and feelings have at least numbed the pain. Either way, it didn't matter, because as I exited that office, and left Vance standing in a crowded room of silence, I really felt like a bad-arse. It didn't really matter to me whether Vance saw me as the villain looking to create mischief, or as a hero looking to stand up to justice, all I wanted to do was go out there in the middle of the ring, with Titus Avison standing opposite me, and kick some damn arse.
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