K.C. IX: Live Más vs Mark Keaton & Triple X
RP Deadline is Tuesday June 19th at 11:59pm PST
**NO EXTENSIONS AVAILABLE**
"There's chaos in the Kingdom, and one man thrives on it."
- Unknown E-Mail
"Listen Mark, we have a big interview with Sporting Tonight's Host Bob Wilkonson. Do you know what that means for our careers? This guy HATES wrestling! He only interviews people he deems are real athletes like popular Baseball players or Football players. We are the first two wrestlers ever on his show. We can't screw that up!" Mark woke up, he fumbled with his cell phone on his lap as he could still hear Triple X explaining something important to him. His head was swimming and he was really drunk. He had a raging party going on all around him, Big Road was passed out across the apartment, loose women were dancing, popcorn and beer everywhere....typical Saturday night....er day.
"Whoa man, slow down a sec, dude. Did you, did you shay I hate wrestling?"
"Are you drunk? It's 2:30 pm! Why are you drunk already?!"
"Because it's Saturday. Don't yell at me, you...you fuckin...guy!"
"Anyway, I'll talk to you more about it tommorow when you have a little more sense going on." Triple X hung up the phone.
Mark threw his cell phone in a nearby glass of vodka, ruining his phone in the process.
"Alright boss, I had a good time partying last night, but I gotta go. I ugh, I have to visit my grandma." Big Road waved as he walked down the concrete steps in front of the apartment complex.
"I thought your grandma died man? Didn't you say she died when she tried skydiving or some shit?" Mark crossed his arms and leaned on the door frame.
"Ya, I'm visiting her grave." The four hundred pound man said in a rushed fashion as he continued to try and create distance from Mark.
"In Houston Texas?! You're seriously going to Houston Texas right now?! Hold on a second, man! I'm pretty stupid, but I'm not THAT stupid! What's really going on? Get back here, you !"
Big Road closed his eyes, he slowly walked back to his boss, "Look Mark, I have to go and smooth a few things out with members of Skulls Angels Death Agents that Duran has looking for me all over fuckin Canada O.K?
One just had a knife to my throat after your match against Kagura and Callie. I have to keep these guys happy and do what they say."
"Well, I'm glad you told me the truth big wheel. Now go, run along and play with your extremely dangerous friends."
Big Road left in a cab, another car pulled up. Time slowed down....Vanessa Roady got out of the car, she removed her sunglasses and gave her long brown hair a little flick back over her shoulder. Mark immediately felt weak at the knees, Big Road's sister is here! My dream girl! And I'm wearing Star Wars PJ's!! She walked up the path towards him, her heels clicking, her legs clean and glistening in the sun under her business suit style skirt and silk blouse. She snapped her gum as she approached.
"Hey cutie. Is my brother here?"
"Sorry, he uh, you just missed him. Sorry about my PJ's, I wasn't expecting...well, I wasn't expecting company or....you know...a hot chick."
"Calm down. I just wanted to talk to him. See you later."
"Wait! You want to go out sometime? I like food!"
Vanessa smiled as she slowly turned around. She stood in silence for a moment, looking RMK up and down, his blonde hair all out of place, unshaven stubble, Star Wars PJ's on, bare feet.
"Sure kid, let's have dinner at Marvin's Hub on Queen St. 6:30 PM, don't be late." She put her sunglasses back on and walked away.
RMK did a fist pump and turned to go back in the building, but the door was locked!
- Where's the beef bitch? You're trying to call RMK and I'm not fucking home! Totally leave your name and number or whatever at the sound of the beep. Press what? Am I supposed to...wait let me do it Meatball....what button? Aw fuck they make these things.....BEEP! -
"Hey Mark, X here, are we still having dinner at Marvin's Hub at 6:30? That's a pretty long drive from here so I don't want to waste my time going if...."
"Ya ya man, you there?"
"Ya, meet me there. I'll probably be on a hot date too, but there's no reason we can't talk business at the same time, just sit at a different table than me dude."
"What? That's stupid, what are you just going to keep switching tables to talk to both of us? I hate that idea."
"Just do it man, listen, I gotta get ready so scram."
Mark hung up the phone and tightened his white tie.
6:30 PM - Marvin's Hub -
- Today's Special - Roasted Ham with fries or potatoes $8.99! -
RMK walked into the half classy resaturant with booths and lattuce seperaters everywhere. He saw Vanessa sitting alone in a booth wearing a fancy dress and too much red lipstick on. He smirked and made his way over. He spun around and offered her a red rose, she smiled and accepted it.
"Good evening chick," Mark said as smoothly as possible as he slid into the booth across the table from her, "you look absolutely edible tonight."
"Thank you, I guess." She seemed preoccupied, she snapped her gum as the waiter came by with the menus.
"What're you getting?" Mark scanned the menu, he lit a smoke then scanned the rest of the restuarant looking for Triple X, no sign of him yet.
"I think you should leave, this was a big mistake." Vanessa said nervously as she put down her menu, she had tears welling up in her eyes.
"Whoa, calm down there woman I'll probably marry and have twelve kids with. We just started the date, give me a chance to screw it up first at least."
Mark noticed Triple X enter the restuarant over Vanessa's shoulder, he was wearing a dark grey trench coat and had thick sunglasses on. He found a booth out of sight of their table. RMK nodded and thought of a clever explaination to be excused from the table. "Be back in a sec, good looking woman that makes my knees shake when she walks into a room, I need to go take a piss."
Mark stood up and strolled over to Triple X's table, he sat down across from him and looked at the back of the menu, he put his hand on top of it and lowered it down.
"What are you supposed to be, Blade Runner?"
"And who are YOU impersonating? Wayne Newton?"
"Nevermind, let's talk quick, my girl is getting flighty over there for some reason."
"Like I said earlier, we have a HUGE opportunity to gain star power with Sporting Tonight's Bob Wilkonson! Huge! No wrestler has ever been on his show before and I think we'll make global headline's just by being on his show. We'll change his mind on wrestling Mark."
"Well what if it's just to make fools of us, I've been on some of these talk shows where they have these alternate agenda's dude, like undermining what we do and shit. You know what I'm sayin?"
"Ya don't worry, just let me do all the talking. No offense, but I've seen some of your interviews in the past, that won't cut it with Bob. I assure you."
"Sure whatever man, just like Cooper used to do all our talking for us, just use my pretty face to show everyone how sexy wrestling really is. That's the big seller man, my pretty face."
"We make a pretty good team, to be perfectly honest with you. Probably tag team champions if the belts were still around."
"Exactly what I was sayin to Big Road, we'd be tag champions and run everyone away AGAIN. They'd have to retire the belts a second time. Now we get to FEAST on a legendary tag team Live Mas. I can't wait."
"They're overrated to the max. We shouldn't have much trouble with them."
"Well, I did beat them with Big Road. Plus I've kicked their ass in singles competition, even put big Stormrage on the shelf for a long time."
"Well, do it again at Kingdom Come."
Mark nodded, "I was thinking.When we faced Kagura and Callie, I had Callie occupied on the outside of the ring, I turned and looked in the ring and you totally smoked Kagura and pinned her....I realized something then and there."
"Ya, what's that?"
"I make an EXCELLENT team captain, dude!"
Triple X covered his eyes and slapped his forehead, Mark excused himself and returned to his date.
He sat across the table from her. She still had the worried expression on her face. He picked up the menu, he looked at all the items on the menu and thought they seemed reasonably priced.
"Are you ready to order?" A scratchy sounding waiter could be heard behind Mark's menu, Mark nodded, he was probably going to go for The Club House Sandwich. He lowered his menu only to see three well dressed Biker's standing at the edge of the booth, Duran Blackburn in the middle.
Vanessa mouthed the word - Sorry - as she slid out of the booth and hurried out of the restaurant. Two bald Death Agents slid in the booth next to Mark,making the seating arrangement tight. Duran slid in the booth across from him, swiping the menu up in his hand as he did.
"Place has reasonable prices." Duran muttered as he looked at the menu for a moment.
Silence. Muted sounds from other customers in the restaurant, Triple X had already left, flipping on his huge grey trench coat and glasses before leaving. Mark couldn't help but laugh in his mind, thinking on getting one of those coats himself.
Duran stopped reading the menu, he lit a cigar then held the menu up and half folded it so it stood up on the table. Out of sight of everyone in the restuarant, he layed a large Desert Eagle on the table with an extended silencer attached to the barrel.
"You have something for me?" Duran took the cigar out of his mouth tapped ash on the table.
Mark stared at the man with the pockmarked face and gulped, " Dude, I uh, I totally don't."
"That's not the answer I want to hear." Duran put his tattooed covered hand on the gun.
"Listen, I'm due for a huge payout coming up at Kingdom Come. Like huge, especially if we win. Me n Big Road both, he'll do everything in his power to make sure his boss...me, gets the win. I swear it. You will get paid, with interest dude!"
"I was expecting payment today."
"Fuck! Do you think I just carry around breifcases full of money everywhere I fuckin go dude?! Shit on a stick!!"
"Calm the fuck down and lower your stupid voice." Duran pointed the gun directly at Mark's head.
"Fine. You win, I get paid promptly. You lose...."
One of the Death Agents opened his mouth, "You die."
"The fuck Carl? Your job is to kill people, let ME do the fucking talking O.K? Just sit there and look scary. Got it?"
The Death Agent continued to be quiet and look scary.
"Ya, something like that you little blonde haired fuck face. You lose and...."
"Are we ready to order here today?" A preppy young waiter came to their table, he had a cheery, smiling face and had his pad ready to take their order.
"I'll get The Club House House Sandwich and...."
"No! We are not ready to FUCKING order yet! Fuck off!" Duran roared and the waiter dropped his pad and hurried off to the kitchen, tears welled up in his eyes.
"Just remember Rediculous Mark Keaton, you better win at Kingdom Come, or that'll be your last match ever. You understand me?" Duran put his gun away and nodded to his men, he stood up and left the restaurant.
Mark sat at the table alone, taking in the events of the day. He hoped this was going to be pale in comparison to the action that Kingdom Come would bring.....there was something in his blood, something in his blonde haired DNA that always dominated his being, that something was unbridled chaos, and he thrived on it.
Join WZCW now.
Matt: So do you have a plan?
Mikey: I don't know. Fast food jokes. Catchphrase. Go home.
Matt: I don't know, man. That feels way too simple for Kingdom Come.
We see Matt and Mikey in a car driving onward. Not knowing where they are going. We just see them talking.
Matt: Come on, man. We gotta think of something. Promo deadline is tomorrow.
Mikey: I seriously don't know. Why are these getting more and more hard for us? We used to be so good at it.
Matt: Age? Maybe we are stale.
Mikey: My sandwich which I forgot about is stale. We're hot as hell. And sexy.
Matt: Right. How's your head anyway?
Mikey: Fine. How about yours?
Quiet comes about in the car as they make a turn and keep going. The duo known as Live Mas has finally come together. After weeks of arguing, they were finally on the same page when Mikey Stormrage was attacked by Triple X and Mark Keaton. However before Matt and Mikey could have their formal reunion, Matt was attacked weeks later. Another week later, Mikey was attacked again. But now they are finally together. They now make their way to a Kingdom Come press conference, documenting their time together for posterity. They drive across Barcelona towards the Camp Nou. The conference being at the entrance of the enormous stadium.
=====At the press conference=====
Leon Kensworth: And now, ladies and gentlemen, here in their first public appearance together, give it up for the team of Matt Tastic and Mikey Stormrage!! Live Mas!!
The duo appears and takes the stage. Mikey is clearly ecstatic while Matt seems a bit reserved as they take the podium.
Mikey: Hola carnales!!
Matt: "Carnales" is a Mexican word, Mikey.
The crowd laughs as the two wait for a question from the press.
Press #1: How do you feel about your match with Mark Keaton and Triple X being a tag team match?
Matt asks Mikey if he can go first and Mikey obliges.
Matt: It's funny. When all of this started, I hated the idea of working a tag team match. I thought it was something pointless. There's no more tag team titles here in WZCW. But as the weeks went by and we were attacked over and over again by Triple X and Mark Keaton, I started to understand what happened. Where it all went wrong. We're selfish. This is a selfish business. And tag teams can't afford to be selfish. As time grew on, the roster learned to be more and more selfish. "It's all about me." "Hey, can you give some feedback on my promo." But they don't listen. They want to be an instant success and win a title. Because there's more options as a single's star than as a tag team, you take the single's route. It sucks. But as I realized it, I got it. What made me, Mikey and so many others a success in the first place. We look past our own selfishness. We learn from others. We adapt. We lean on each other. And we stand tall together. Just at others. Not just us two. But Cerberus or The Apostles of Chaos, the Pale Riders, hell I hate to admit it. But it's why Vis Imperium were a success. It is in fact what has gotten Mark Keaton to this point today And that is what makes him such a threat. He's gone past that selfishness. The question is if Triple X can.
Mikey pulls Matt and takes the stage now, wanting to speak his part.
Mikey: Dude, that was deep. Like deepthro** Wait, we're in publico.
Matt: That's bedroom talk there. And you said a Spanish word right. Good job.
Mikey: Right. On top of what Matt said, a lot of us forget a mayor part of all this. It's for sure why I came back and why I was so on board to team up with Matt again. Because it's fun. That's what WZCW means to me. It's all fun. Be with friends, fight your enemies and celebrate. So much of us have lost that. The ability to just have fun doing all this. Cutting promos, saying naughty stuff, beating the tar out of each other and then having a laugh about it. Hell, when me and Matt got together many years ago it was because we both stopped having fun. We were taking all this so seriously and we weren't really going anywhere. Months later, he's World Champ and then me a year after so there's the success for you. Now I don't know if Mark and Triple X have fun. Who knows. Maybe after being all angry on TV, they go home and have snuggle time while eating a tub of Ben & Jerry's.
Matt: For the record, I hate that stuff. I'd rather get an actual meal.
Mikey: Well, your idea of an actual meal is nachos with cheese and they get over the bed. But more to the point, Kingdom Come is a night for us to have fun and relive a very happy time in our lives. By kicking these guys butts.
Mikey stands down from the podium, waiting next to Matt for another question.
Press #2: Mr. Stormrage, you've had problems with Mark Keaton for months. Do you see this match as closure for your year long rivalry?
Mikey steps back up to the podium.
Mikey: You know, I don't really care that much. Yeah, he's annoying. Yeah, he injured me. Yeah, he keeps attacking me. But that's something that happens all the time. I don't hold any grudges against him. But I'm hoping once we whoop 'em, we can move on.
Press #3: As a follow up, Mr. Tastic, how do you feel about Triple X insisting on getting a World title opportunity?
Matt almost rushes to the stage. Seemingly eager to answer.
Matt: Let me tell you something. For years that man has had the potential to take the world by storm. He's won titles. He's had big matches. He's been popular. But you know what? He fizzles out. Over and over. Then he leaves and comes back. He is, as I like to say, a Flake. Why should this man who comes in, shows promise then chokes and leaves only to come back get a World title shot? And then there's just the overall "him". So let me get this straight, you're this jerk of a man who wants to be World Champion no matter what. Cheat, steal, attack people, all in the name of this opportunity he never gets. But then he's also a loving husband. Or boyfriend. I don't know and I don't care. I sit and watch the stuff he sends in and its just baffling to me. This isn't even a double life sort of thing. He's just a walking, talking contradiction of a man who claim to be a badass yet he's just a lovestruck skater boy.
Mikey: She'll say "see you later, boy".
Matt looks at Mikey who just steps in confused. The audience seems to groan and boo.
Mikey: Oh, come on. Avril Lavigne was like really hot when that song came out.
Matt: Yeah, but then she married the lead singer from Nickelback. The Triple X of music.
The audience is a gasp at the utterly harsh words of Matt.
Matt: Too far? Sorry. Lets move on.
Matt and Mikey stand back and wait for the next question but no one seems to ask. Instead security appears and drags Matt away.
Matt: Wait a minute, what the hell?! What did I do?!
Security: Sorry sir, but your comments violate Teledeportes standards and practices. We have to bring you in for questioning.
Matt: Mikey!! Mikey, save me!
Mikey looks on as Matt is taken away as Mikey looks somewhat worried.
Mikey: Matt! Whatever you do, don't drop the soap! Oh well. He'll be fine. He got out of Cuba. What's the next question?
Press #4: So after all that, what's your relationship with Matt Tastic?
Mikey: We're best of friends. Why?
Press #4: Is it just friendship? Or is it more?
Mikey: I don't know. I guess time will tell.
======All the way back in PR======
Granpa is on a hammock, napping. Having come home early from the road with Matt Tastic. Now that Matt and Mikey are together, Granpa has done his job. As he naps, we see his surrounding as an assortment of random farm animals cause general mayhem. As he naps, we hear in the distance a loud ringing. Granpa gets up from his hammock realizing he's getting a phone call. He slowly scratches his ass and sits before pulling his sandals.
He gets off the hammock and makes his way to the house.
======After the press conference======
The two are driving off after the press conference. Mikey is driving now as Matt holds a slab of raw steak to his face.
Mikey: Why did you pick a fight with them?
Matt: They said Limp Bizkit sucks.
Mikey: .............. but they do.
Matt: I will hit you with this steak, Mikey. I swear to God. I get it. I said something harsh on TV in foreign waters. I think I got enough.
Matt's phone rings and he checks it. We see what it says. It's a text message.
Just under the text notification is an email.
Matt: Fuck. Mikey.
Matt: Can you foot the hotel bill? I'll pay you back at the end of the month.
Mikey: Again?! Dude, I also paid the last one and the rental car. You gotta-
Matt: I know. I know. I'm sorry. But Becky docked my pay.
Mikey: How are you broke?! You nver spend what you make!
Matt: Ugh! Here we go again.
======All the way back in PR again======
Granpa is finally making his way into the house as he reaches the phone.
Granpa: Damn telemarketers. Hello? Eh? Oh. Hi. Want to talk? I mean, sure. Are you really going to fly over here? Bill Matt. Of course. Sure then. I'll be waiting. I'll put the coffee pot on. ..............the hell do you mean by "what's a coffee pot?"
Matt is alone in a hotel room in Barcelona. Sitting in the balcony as he holds up his camera as he speaks to it.
Matt: I don't know where Mikey went to. I just know he's gone for the week. I don't know. I guess I'm just happy. For the first time in a long time, I'm just happy performing. Man. Kingdom Come is just a couple of days away. I'm actually stoked. I wanted this big one on one match but. Instead I'm just teaming up with Mikey. And I'm fine with that. I can't wait to kick Triple X and Keaton's asses. I don't even care about what to do after. I just know things are good right now.
I guess you could say, I don't have a plan.
KINGDOM COME w/Mark Keaton vs Live Mas
The studio was darkly lit, with a cold, unwelcoming vibe. On the far wall was the ‘Sporting Tonight with Bob Wilkonson’ logo, emblazoned and huge for everyone to see. In front of that was a chair with a table full of notes to the side, opposing two chairs. The host; the aforementioned Bob Wilkonson, was yet to be in the room. Triple X stood there, waiting for both his host, and the man who would be his partner at the biggest show of the year in a weeks time.
One of the production assistants approached him; a surly looking woman with pointed features. ‘Do you have any update on Mr Keatons whereabouts? Mr Wilkonson will be through any minute and he doesn’t like to be kept waiting.’
‘I’m not his fucking keeper, lady. He’ll be here.’
The assistant remained stunned by X’s response for a moment before walking off.
He better fucking be here.
‘Thank fuck he isn’t here.’
X lay down on the bed, whilst Talia was applying her make-up in the mirror. It was 3:18pm, on a warm afternoon in a Barcelona hotel room.
Kingdom Come day.
‘Ohh, come on, I can see a little bromance brewing between the two of you.’
‘You need glasses.’
‘Well, I am with you, so…’
‘Ohh, low blow!’
‘Very low blow.’ She walked over to the bed and lay next to him, kissing his forehead as she did. ‘How you feeling? You haven’t been to Kingdom Come for at least-‘
‘Six years. It’s been six years since I was on the main card.’
‘Are you nervous?’
X looked at her, a slight smile appearing on his face.
‘I’m fucking terrified.’
‘FINALLY.’ X let out a huge sigh of relief as Mark Keaton walked through the door, wearing, of all things, a suit in the colour of the American flag.
‘What’s with that welcome for the team captain?’
‘You’re not the…you’re late!’
‘I’m not! You said be here for 7, right?’
‘No, I said 6. And it’s fucking 8.’
‘Yeah, you’re damn right-‘
‘No, not that. I got ketchup on the blue part of my suit.’
‘Five minutes please!’ The assistant had returned, shooting X a cold hard look, before looking over at Keaton.
‘How you doin’?’
Her entire iron-faced façade melted, and she smiled, walking off giggling.
‘How…’ X buried his head in his hands. ‘Okay, do you remember what we talked about yesterday?’
‘Yeah. You said we could be Tag Champs if I hadn’t retired them from being too awesome.’
‘I…not that. And for the record I don’t completely remember saying that. In those exact words…’ X’s voice tailed off towards the end, clearing his throat. ‘Keep quiet. I know how to deal with this guy, trust me.’
Mark straightened his tie and slapped X on the shoulder.
‘I couldn’t be prouder of my padawan. You know, it’s important for the team captain to delegate responsibility. Good for you!’ He slapped his shoulder again and headed to his seat.
‘I’m gonna kill you.'
As X said that, the door opened and Bob Wilkonson himself walked through. Average height, an average build with grey, receding hair and thick-rimmed glasses. Nothing out of the ordinary, but with a reputation for being incredibly hard hitting. Oh, and, without ever stating it publicly, hating pro-wrestling.
‘Ready when you are, Mr Wilkonson.’
‘Let’s do it. Gentlemen, take a seat. Let’s get this show on the road.’
X and Keaton took their seats, as the production assistant counted him in.
‘Welcome, ladies and gentleman. Bob Wilkonson here with Sporting Tonight and with me I have two very special guests. History making guests you could say. They are professional wrestlers with the WZCW and will be performing at their annual Kingdom Come event as partners. Mr Mark ‘Remarkable’ Keaton and Triple X, how are you both?’
‘I’ve got this. Bob, it’s a pleasure to be here to finally get your show some more exposure and bring the masses in to-‘
‘What my partner here means is, thank you for having us.’
The interviewer immediately looked down at his notes without even acknowledging the answer.
‘Kingdom Come 9 fast approaches, gentleman, and you’ll both be appearing on the card facing Live Mas. We’ll talk about those gentlemen in a bit but for now, describe to me what makes Kingdom Come special. I hear it’s like the Superbowl of Wrestling, am I right?’
‘We prefer to think of the Suberbowl as the Kingdom Come of football, but-‘
‘Okay, let me lay it out for you. It’s the BIGGEST party of the year. There’ll be booze. And girls. And more booze. And we get to kick some ass too. What’s not to like?’
Wilkonson cleared his throat and raised an eyebrow. ‘Clearly a family affair.’
Before Keaton could continue, X elbowed him in the gut, drawing a groan from the Remarkable one. ‘All my partner means is it’s a lively affair. But one for everyone.’
‘It’s also one you’ve both had success at. Triple X; you’ve defended a championship at the event and have a 100% record on the main show, and Mr Keaton; you’ve done the same on a tag team front. For you, Mark, that’s rather impressive as this will only be your second Kingdom Come, but for you, Triple X, this will only be your second appearance on the show in six years. The year after your first, you’d been relegated to the pre-show, then you left the company. Is there added motivation going into this event for you, to show you’re not a disappointment?’
X’s head twitched with the last comment. ‘I left on my own accord. There was no disappointment on my end.’
‘What about the fans?’
‘The fans never gave a crap about me. Not really. Why would I give a crap about them?’
‘Indeed.’ Bob said, with a half chuckle. ‘Tell me, both of you, where do you see your careers heading in the future?’
‘Glad you asked, Bob. I see myself being a World Heavyweight Champion. I mean, Eve Taylor’s great, but she doesn’t make wrestling sexy. I do. And Xander here; man, he’s a talented dude. He could light up the Mayhem division-‘
’You fucking WHAT???’
‘I’m just saying, that’s a good fit for you.’
X reached over, grabbing Keaton by the tie. ‘A good fit is my boot up your scrawny little a-‘
‘Gentlemen please, I’d rather you not fight in my studio.’
X settled back in his chair, while Keaton re-adjusted his tie.
‘Xander, do you think the World Championship should be your goal?’
‘Is it the occasion?’
X could see Talia staring at him even out of the corner of his eye. It was an hour later, and they were driving to the Camp Nou, Kingdom Come’s venue. X had deflected the best he could about his comment, but she wasn’t letting up.
‘No, it isn’t the occasion.’
‘Then the opponents?’
‘You sure? I mean, they are both former World Champions-‘
‘I said no.’
X sighed as they pulled up to a red light. ‘I remember way back when I first came in; I walked into Kingdom Come as Elite X Champion and walked out having had one of the best matches on the card. The next year, I was on the pre-show. This year, I retuned with all guns blazing, shooting for the stars. Now, I’m just in some match that came about because Mikey and Matt decided to get in my business. I need to beat them.’
‘Well yeah. I mean, Mikey and Matt did cost you a shot at the World Championship. And Mikey did beat you on Meltdown. If you didn’t want that then-’
‘It isn’t just that though. I need to beat them…so I don’t regress. Like I did way back then.’
Talia stroked his face, as he turned to face her. ‘That won’t happen.’
‘It’s been my target ever since I returned. To show I’m the best, and that the fans have no choice but to respect me, and to show them that they can’t throw me to the trash as easily as they’ve always done.’
‘Indeed. Actually, I’d like to show you a clip if I may-‘
Wilkonson gestured to where the giant logo was. In an instant it disappeared, replacing itself with highlights from a match. Not just any match.
‘You don’t know shit.’
‘And Mr Keaton, you’re a former Tag Team Champion, multiple times. You were a close friend and partner of former World Champion Justin Cooper.’
‘You got that right.’
‘Is it fair to say you’ve fallen on harder times since he hasn’t been around to be a lackey for?’
‘Hey, I’m nobodys lackey! Never have been! Cooper and I were partners!’
‘And yet, he was the one winning World Championships. You were relegated to only doing well in tag team competition. How does that make you feel?’
‘I’ll feel a whole lot better if I jam my fist down your-‘
‘Gentleman, I only ask these questions because, from what I can see, there’s an interesting dichotomy between yourselves, and Mikey Stormrage and Matt Tastic. In that, your team consists of a man more used to singles competition and one more used to tag team action. Similarly, once upon a time Mikey Stormrage was a tag team specialist, while Matt Tastic was the leading man.’
‘So…what’s your point, Bobbo?’
‘That’s where your comparisons end as far as I can see. Not only did Mikey Stormrage break out from tag team action to become a headliner and former World Champion, but he and Tastic have even shown themselves to be a Championship-winning team. You, Xander, have never shown yourself to be part of a winning team…’
The screen changed again to another match highlight;
’…and you, Keaton, have never shown the potential people believed you would have on your own…’
The two men sat there, silently, as Bob Wilkonson simply grinned away in his seat.
‘You think you’re funny, Bobby?’
‘I just find it interesting that two men have such bravado when they are clearly outmatched. And the whole world will see it on the biggest show in professional wrestling.’ He turned to the camera. ‘We’ll be right back after this short break. Don’t go anywhere folks.’
The music played in the background, as Bob stood up to exit the room for a moment. As he did, X grabbed his arm, stopping him.
‘The fuck are you doing?’
‘Get your hand off me now.’ He wrenched his arm free. ‘Who the hell do you think you are? I’ll tell you, both of you; you’re a couple of nobodies that your company provided because they couldn’t get anyone better, who are only on this show because your bosses begged me to cover their ridiculous show. And the only reason I entertained the idea was because my network saw some damn value in it; lord only knows what. So gentlemen, I’d ask you both what the fuck are YOU doing? Because right now, I’d suggest not very much. You can’t even sit still here without threatening to hurt each other. Wrestling is a depraved form of so-called entertainment that doesn’t even warrant being called a sport, and you’re both doing a fine job of advertising that for me. Bravo.’
He briskly walked off through the door. X continued to look into space in the direction of the door, before turning to Keaton, who had a similarly dumfounded look.
‘I…think that went well.’
The corridors of the stadium were like a maze. One wrong turn led you completely down a different path leading to somewhere you had no intention of ending up.
As a venue, this was fairly normal, yet it held a wonderful metaphor to Triple X’s career.The what might-have-beens, and never-were’s. He continued to jog, warming up for the night ahead. The nerves, the anger, they all had to come out. And he needed to get them out now.
He stopped, and leant against a brick wall nearby, placing his head against it.
If it weren’t for those two…Stormrage and Tastic…had they not eliminated me…
X lifted his head off the wall, letting it softly collide against it.
Fuck Tyrone Blades. It could…should…be me in that main event.
He lifted his head again, this time dropping it a little harder.
He was the one who stole my title all those years ago. And now, thanks to those two assholes, he gets to steal my moment again…
He slapped his hand against the wall in anger.
They will pay. Mikey for his betrayal. Tastic for sticking his nose in business where it doesn’t belong. And I’ll show them all that Triple X-
X turned to the door opposite the wall he was on and kicked it with all his might, leaving a shoe-shaped hole dented into it.
-isn’t to be fucked with anymore.
‘We’re back live here with Triple X and Mark ‘Remarkable’ Keaton-‘
‘Dude, it’s REMARKABLE Mark Keaton. RMK.’
Wilkonson sneered. ‘My apologies, ‘Remarkable’ Mark-’
‘Bob, I sense that you don’t particularly like wrestling.’
‘Now, I never said-‘
‘Hey, the kids got a point.’
‘I just don’t see the appeal gentlemen, that’s all. Now, in Basketball or Football I can see the passion. In MMA and Boxing I see skill. In this…what do I see? People throwing wild kicks and punches. Men dropping women onto their heads. Wannabe stuntmen jumping off of tall places for no reason.’
Mark nudged X in the ribs. ‘That’s you.’ He whispered.
‘What’s the point, guys? Why should I care.’
X smiled. ‘What’s funny, Bob, is that you sound just like them.’
Bob smiled. ‘Who is they? Live Mas?’
‘Nope.’ X pointed to the wall. ‘The fans. Every one of those idiots out there. Though you call them that because they watch the product; I call them it for a truer reason. Because they pick people like Mark and I up and drop us back down, only to hold certain people on a pedestal. People like Mikey Stormrage. Like Matt Tastic. People like Tyrone fucking Blades. And I’m sick of the double standards. And people like you, who dismiss things like wrestling because you think you know everything about it by reading a few sheets of paper.’
‘Yeah! You just assumed that the fat guy and the weird guy are gonna walk all over us! HEY! That ain’t right!!!’
‘You’re damn right it isn’t.’
‘Now wait just a minute-‘
‘Oh I ain’t done, Bob. See, you wanan know why I love wrestling? Why Mark loves wrestling-‘
‘It’s for the women-‘
‘Shut up, Keaton. It’s because we are fucking pro wrestling. And if you don’t get it, you sorry sack of shit, that isn’t our problem. It’s yours.’
‘You know what…’
Mark Keaton rose out of his seat, ushering Bob Wilkonson out of his own.
‘Excuse me! What the hell are you doing??’
‘It’s fine Bobby, we don’t need you anymore.’
‘It’s my show, you ingrates-‘
‘Not anymore, dickhead.’
X stood off of his chair and the two faced down the main camera.
‘See, you’re now tuning in to the X and Keaton Show-‘
‘Keaton and X Show…’
‘…whatever. Point is, I’ll tell you exactly why we’re going to beat Live Mas at Kingdom Come in a weeks time.’
-------------------------------------------------------------------------‘Because we are hungry…’
X sits alone in the locker room, fastening his boots up in the far corner of the room….
-------------------------------------------------------------------------‘Because we are determined…’
He tapes his fist and draws the X on the back of each in black pen…
He stops and kisses Talia, before she walks of to take her seat. He picks up his trenchcoat and throws it on, watching the monitors, ready to go.
‘Because we’re sick of being looked down on by every fucker out there…’
He closes his eyes. His emotions feel balanced. He is calm, and unafraid, and ready. It is time.
‘And because Stormrage and Tastic have nothing to gain. We, on the other had, have so much more to get from this than they do. How can they hope to beat us when we need this so much more than they do. They won’t win because they don’t have the drive to beat us in the same way we plan to pummel them into the dirt. And that’s what will cost them dearly.’
They both walk closer; Keaton stoically looking down the lens of the camera while X simply smiles with that shit-eating grin of his.
X takes his breath as the music hits, and throws the curtains to the side to walk onto the stage.
'Live Mas die by the hands of Triple X and Mark Keaton.'
Hey, I'm just sayin'.
There was a light rain as I rolled off my cot and onto the floor of Matt's childhood home. Despite the rain, the temperature was still creeping into the nineties, and Grandpa had no AC in the house, only a series of fans that I am pretty sure have already started like three fires this week, so of course I slept naked. My lil burrito and huevos were itchy, I hope I hadn't gotten some sort of parasite living out here in the middle of nowhere.
I stood and stretched (and scratched) and walked around the room a little to stretch my legs. Peering out the window, I could see Grandpa coming up the path to the house from the mailbox. I got a little excited when I saw the package he had under his arm. I threw on some shorts and a shirt and ran to greet him.
"Matt! Matt! Get out here, I have something for you!"
I flung the door open and ran and ripped the package out from under Grandpa's arm. I started to sprint back to the house, but ran back and told Grandpa thanks. I left the door open, and was screaming Matt's name again before I even got back inside. I ran to his room and started pounding on the door.
"Matt quit jerking off and get out here! Those pictures of Batti will still be online when we finish up!"
I heard the springs from Matt's bed as he got to his feet. A few seconds later he was at the door.
"I got a gift for you!"
I grabbed Matt's hand and pulled him into the living room where Grandpa was going through the rest of the mail. Ever since I had surprised Matt by leaving Spain early and showing up in Puerto Rico, he seemed agitated. Well, more agitated than normal. The guy was constantly in a sour mood it seemed, but I guess they didn't call him a killjoy for nothing. I forced him into a seat on the couch before I held up the package to show him.
"I swear to God, if that is full of Taco Bell coupons I will literally kill you. I closest Taco Bell is literally hours from here, and I have told you this a hundred times."
I ripped the package open and tossed the top half aside.
"I figure since we are going to be having Kingdom Come in Barcelona at Camp Nou, we should rep the local colors. I got us some Barca jerseys, so we get some of that cheap local support, especially after that stunt you pulled at the press conference."
In truth I was impressed with Matt. Usually I was the one getting us thrown in jail or kicked out of places or inciting angry mobs. He had really upped his game. I pulled out the first jersey, number nine.
"Here you go man, I got you Luis Suarez, because you guys are both Latino and he is a bit crazy. He is super talented and flashy, like you, but he also plays kinda dirty, just like you. Also, he totally bit like three different guys in his career, so you know he likes Mayhem. I figure it is the perfect fit."
I was excited, basically talking as fast as I could. Matt didn't look as thrilled. I pulled the second from the package. It had an old school look, and sported the number four.
"For Grandpa I got a throwback Ronald Koeman shirt, because for one, Grandpa is old and Koeman played back in the day. Two, Koeman went on to be a successful manager after his career, even though he fucked Everton and I will never forgive him. So like Koeman, Grandpa passes his old school knowledge onto us and helps us train. Plus, Koeman helped Barca win their first European Title, and once you started leaning on Grandpa, you won your first World Title. Seems like another perfect fit."
I tossed Grandpa his shirt and then grabbed the last jersey and held it up in front of me. It was much larger than a normal sized shirt. On the back was the number three.
"For myself, I got Gerard Pique. First off, he is banging Shakira, and you know how much I love Latino girls. But, anyway, Pique is a powerful center back who does the dirty work and knows how to use his size to make him a better player. He is a damn fine individual player, but like me, he works really well in a team and makes everyone around him better. Plus he is one of the few guys to win the Champions League with two different teams, and I'm one of the select few who have won tag titles with multiple partners. Speaking of multiple partners, did I mention that both Pique and I like Latino girls? It seemed like an absolute..."
Matt cut me off.
"Well hell yeah brother!"
Matt just tossed the shirt onto the arm of the couch, still not looking as enthused as I was. Grandpa started to take off his shirt so he could try his jersey on.
"Thanks. I'm sure the fans will love it."
Clearly Matt was being sarcastic.
"Who peed in your Cheerios today?"
"He actually had Captain Crunch this morning."
We both looked over to Grandpa, who was sitting shirtless, chest full of white hair.
"I just....I don't get you sometimes."
"What are you talking about man? This entire feud with Keaton and X has been over how the fans love us and how they hate the fans because the fans like us more. Get those guys some peanut butter because they are hella jelly."
"The feud....okay first off, no one says the word hella anymore. Second, Suarez is from Uraguay. That is nowhere near here. Just because we both speak Spanish doesn't mean we have anything else in common. Second, Shakira is from Colombia. She is both Hispanic and Latino. The girl in Spain you brought to the hotel room at 3am and kept calling Latino, was not actually Latino, she was only Hispanic."
"What's the difference? They all speak Spanish don't they?"
"Hispanic focuses on Spanish speaking origin. That means Spain is Hispanic, but say, Brazil, Brazil is not because Brazilians speak Portuguese."
I thought Brazilians spoke Brazilian I mumbled to myself. So it is actually a Portuguese wax then?
"Latino refers to people of Latin American origin. This includes Brazil and excludes Spain, because as you well know, Spain is in Europe!"
"So is Portugal Hispanic or Latino?"
"It doesn't fucking matter! This match is all that matters! This feud isn't just about just the fans liking us more, it is about Keaton and X trying to make their name off us. It is about them trying to tear down two legends. It is about them bitching and moaning about opportunities but never actually earning them, and that is somehow our fault."
"So why are you mad that I bought us some jerseys?"
"Because of this weird obsession you get when it comes to opponents, or me, or whatever city we are in. Like you have been talking nonstop about anime ever since we got back from Spain."
"I'm just trying to relate to you on a new level. You and anime are like me and video games. I just wanna show I care about the things you care about."
"Ninety nine percent of it has been One Punch Man! Everyday since we got back here, we do a hundred push-ups, a hundred sit-ups, a hundred squats, a ten kilo run, which frankly I'm impressed you properly converted from miles, eating right, and not using the air conditioning or heating to reinforce our mental fortitude!"
"It turned Saitama into a superhero! Plus One Punch Man is the only anime I watch! Well that and Attack on Titan, but we don't have the equipment to zip around the trees."
"That's one thing, but the entire European tour you have been soccer this and soccer that. Besides, every time you call it soccer in a press conference you look like an ass because they call it football."
"I just want the world to know I am a trendy American who cares about the sport even when the US national team isn't playing. Did you know the World Cup is going on and shit has been crazy? Japan beat Colombia. Harry Kane had to save England from a draw with Tunisia. Mexico beat Germany for the Germans first group play loss in my entire life! I just want people to know I relate to things. Why is that so bad?"
"That isn't us though. Sure, people love us, and I often question how anyone could ever cheer us, but people love us because we are different. We always have been. It doesn't matter how many times people said 'Live Mas' wasn't funny, you still went out and said it because it made you happy. No matter how many times we failed, we got back up and fought again. People related to us because they saw themselves in us. For every over the top Mark Keaton or crazy weird Flex Mussel, we were human. People like us because we march to the beat of our own drum, we don't have to blow up planes and turn funerals into concerts to get attention. We don't keep some shitty diary of the people who we dislike we aren't all dark and brooding. The people we are on screen, is who we are in real life. We have never been fake, never put up a front. How many guys backstage can say that? We are us, and god damn it we just Live More than anyone. That is why I'm happy you are back in my corner. That is why we are going into Kingdom Come as Hall of Famers, and that is why we are going to walk out with a big fucking win."
Matt's words were getting me hyped. He was right. From day one, Mikey Stormrage was different. I never conformed to what people around me wanted. Maybe if I had, I could have found more success early, but in the end, this weekend, Kingdom Come weekend, was going to be my weekend, our weekend, because we did it our way, and fuck you if you think that is a Burger King reference.
Suddenly, a crash from outside startled us. Matt and I ran to the window, potentially expecting some stupid and outlandish stunt from Mark Keaton, but it was just a wild dog that was trying to get into the chicken coop.
"I'll take care of it."
Matt grabbed a broom and ran outside to deal with the dog. I watched out the window as Matt ran, yelling, with the broom like some medieval lance, toward the dog.
"He missed you, you know."
I spun around and looked back at Grandpa, who was still shirtless. He seemed happy with his look.
"He is glad you are back. That is why he wanted to fight you at first, he thought you had betrayed him."
I pulled the foot stool over and sat next to Grandpa.
"I would never betray Matt, he is my best friend."
"Yeah, I mean, sure, people talk like we might be more, and I mean, I happen to think a man looks nice with good hair and a ponytail. But no, just best friend."
Grandpa looked a little confused. I realized too late he meant he was a bit surprised I considered Matt my best friend and not what I was implying he thought.
"He cares about you. When you were in the hospital he checked on you constantly, but he would never let the nurses tell you. When Mark Keaton helped Justin Cooper screw you out of the World Title last Kingdom Come, he was ready to rush out and have your back, but the medical staff had to restrain him to treat his injuries. When you moved to Denmark, he wrote you many times, only to discard the letters. He didn't know why you moved."
"Denmark constantly ranks as the happiest country on Earth, I figured it would be a good place to help fight my depression. Turns out I was just lonely and ate so much and drank so much while there that I put on about forty pounds."
Grandpa reached out and poked at my stomach. He smiles as he does so.
"You have always been the largest man on the island. When I go into town, they make jokes about how much I must feed you. But yes, Matt considers you his Mano, and coming from Matt that means a lot. He was always a loner, never easily making friends. When you were EurAsian champion and tried to befriend him, he would come to me and talked about the fat idiot gringo who wanted to be his friend. I told him, maybe you should be friends, but he would always laugh it off saying he needed no one. Matt though, he knew he needed you. Just like Matt needs me and he needs his home, he needs his Mano. On your own, you are fine. Both of you won titles, both of you had success and wealth. It was not until the two of you came together, or as you like to say, started to Live Mas, that you became great. Last year, Matt went into the Hall of Fame, he made headlines all over the island, we threw a parade in his honor. This year, it is your turn to receive that honor, and I am glad it will be Matt who inducts you. I can only hope that for you, the feeling is just as good. That in your home they will throw a parade and celebrate your name."
I looked at the ground.
"I don't really have a home anymore. Wrestling was the first place I ever fit in, the first place I ever succeeded, but it took almost everything from me. I lost friends, the love of my life, my family. I just sort of drift around, but thank you Grandpa."
"Then make this your home. I watch you Mikey, you may seem lazy and you drink much of the Devil's nectar, and frankly you have brought home more women than I can count, but you help us take care of this place. I know you care about this place and the people. You have understood the struggles many here have. Few outsiders are able to see the things you see, even less so are as eager to try to help as you have been. Sure, your Spanish is, well it is mierda, but you try. You try so hard to fit in here, and your effort does not go unnoticed."
I looked up at the old man.
"I did have this idea, for after the hustle and bustle of Kingdom Come settles down. I want to give back. Back to you, to Matt, to all the people who have made me feel at home here. I want to open a wrestling school with Matt, to help train the next generation. I know a wrestling school probably isn't high on the priority list of things Puerto Rico needs right now, and I know I will never be a real Boricua, but I would love nothing more than to make this my home. Matt and I are Hall of Famers, multi time World Champions. He a Grand Slam Winner and me a Triple Crown winner. We have both headlined Kingdom Come. We have done basically all their is to do in this business, so I want to give back, in my own special way."
"First learn the proper usage of Boricua, then try to help us. I know we would all appreciate the effort."
Grandpa smiled a special smile at me, something I had seen him do at Matt so many times before. It felt calming, like for the first time in years I was home. Even with his old teeth and chest full of white hair, the smile was inviting.
"Maybe I need Matt too. Mark Keaton, he almost took everything from me, and it seems like Matt has been the only man who has tried to help me get my life back."
"Mark Keaton is what we call a mamarracho. His partner, Triple X, he is a pendejo. Nothing more."
"Hey! Matt taught me that word, it means asshole! What is the other one? Mamarracho?"
"He is a clown."
"You are not wrong."
"Just remember Mikey, that you and Matt, you have something special inside that ring. Mark Keaton, he has always relied on the help of others. He rode the coattails of superior men to get to where he is. You should know his story well, you were once in his shoes, but you my friend, you managed to strike gold on your own. He will never accomplish what you have because he has no heart. And Triple X, he is a classic tale. The man with all the potential and talent in the world. But when the going got tough and he faced adversity, he took his ball and he went home."
"Yeah, he went home to write about how much everyone else sucks in his diary. Not that I ever read his diary, or anyone's diary for that matter. Well except for Anne Frank, but I mean a lot of people read that. Sort of a slap in the face though. Poor girl is hunted by Nazis, keeps her private thoughts in a diary, dies in captivity, only for her diary to be read by millions of people years after she dies. Pretty raw deal if you ask me. I digress though, I would never read anyone's diary, or go through their phone for that matter. Hey by the way, there is this number that Matt keeps calling, do you think it is a girl? I bet it is a girl."
Grandpa let out an awkward laugh.
"Mikey, that is probably just the number to the pizza place. Matt is a frequent customer, but you are missing the point. Mark Keaton and Triple X, they are both just lesser versions of Matt and yourself. I already spoke my piece about Keaton, and Triple X, he runs at the first sign of adversity. How many times did you fail in your quest to become a singles star and step out of the shadow of James Howard in Strikeforce? How many times did you fail to win the World Title before finally beating Constantine? How many times did it take you to prove to the world you can do it on your own, something Mark Keaton has yet to do. By picking yourself up and fighting back again and again, you have already beaten Triple X."
I nodded my head. Grandpa's words made a lot of sense. For the first time in a long time, I felt at peace. Being able to team up with Matt again was always going to feel good, but Grandpa's words made me feel at ease. I felt like maybe I did have a future here.
"Thank you Grandpa, that means a lot to me. Everything you said means a lot to me."
The old man smiled at me as I stood. I knew I needed to pack to be back in Spain soon, so I started to walk to my room. I took a couple of steps before turning and looking back at him.
"Hey, so I have known you for years, but Matt has never told me your real name. It has always just been Grandpa or Grandpa Tastic."
He smiled at me.
"I supposed it is only fair to tell you since you will likely be here much more often in the future. Most just call me Grandpa, but my name is actually...."
Just then, Matt burst through the door covered in sweat, mud, and feathers.
"I chased the dog off!"
I stared daggers at Matt, and for the first time in my life, I suddenly was able to relate to the feeling everyone around me had ever had when I interrupted something important in their life for some trivial shit.
I just placed my face in my hands and let out a giant sigh. Grandpa couldn't help but laugh. We both turned to look at him, now wearing the shirt I had gotten him. It was an incredibly tight fit.
"Hey, I look good hermanos!"
It was at that point, with Matt looking like a tar and feather job gone wrong, and Grandpa with his shirt two sizes too small that I caught a glance of my reflection in a nearby window. I was the only normal looking one in the bunch. I smiled, knowing that I had finally found my new home.
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