Post by Teo Blaze on Dec 27, 2020 13:49:34 GMT -5
“One second of bliss, of ecstasy, the second when you jump off of that rope, that feeling when the whole world's eyes are on you; when your health, your safety, even your life is on the line. When you push yourself away from gravity, and for that one second you are alone in the air, risking everything for them. Time slows down, and that one second is all there is. In a crowded arena of people, for just one second, people are no longer thinking of themselves, they are amazed, awestruck, you are the only thing in their minds.
My name is Teo del Sol...and one second is all I need.” -2015
*THOCK THOCK THOCK*
The sound radiated in Teo’s ears as his eyelids slowly peeled open, the weight of sleep listlessly dragging them over his eyes. Even in darkness, Teo could make out the details of the room rather thoroughly. He’d made it something of a habit to mark out the details of each hotel room in his mind, something of a point of comparison. This one would have a small wooden desk with a reading lamp, that one would have a recently scotch-guarded chair...it’s the little things that he had come to appreciate. In fact-
*THOCK THOCK THOCK*
The thought was chased from his head as he pulled himself out from under the sheets, wearing the same blue jeans that he had walked into the cheap hotel with. Stretching as he went, he walked over to the cracked door and pulled it open with a long yawn.
There, in the doorway, his arms extended, bearing a large white and gold box, was Teo’s longtime friend and companion Andre Jenson. Teo looked down at the present, then up at the beaming face of his compatriot, seeming perfectly content to stand in the Philadelphia winter at 3:00 in the morning. Teo let out a long yawn as he smiled at his friend.
“Do you know what time it is, man? I mean I appreciate it, for sure, but I mean…”
“Oh, sorry, must have set the watch to Kem time. I was wondering why it was so dark, but I assumed the bosses bought some kind of device to block out the sun or something.”
“I wouldn’t put it past those two. They have something of a flair for the dramatic...So, uh...you want to come in?”
Jenson looked over Teo’s shoulder at the hotel room he’d chosen to stay at. To describe the conditions as meager would be a compliment. The room was half a step above a crack den.
“Um...not that I’m one to judge Teo, but aren’t you...you know, kind of a millionaire?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean why in Odin’s name are you choosing to live in accommodations that would make Ebenezer Scrooge tell you to open up the wallet a bit? Is money tight or something?”
Teo’s eyebrows raise, as if the thought had never actually occurred to him, he looked over his shoulder and back to his friend.
“What? It’s got a bed. That’s all you need, right?”
“Teo, let’s get you a penthouse suite, my treat. I’ll take you there right now, it is Christmas after all, and I-”
“Andre, Andre...I appreciate it, I do. But...not yet.”
Jenson’s face shifts to that of a worried parent, a mixture of concern and disapproval. But after a few moments, he instead shrugs his shoulders, knowing better than to try and change Teo’s mind.
“Well if you insist, I’ll come in. But you must sate my curiosity. Tell me why.”
As if to accentuate Jenson’s point, as soon as he sits down on the pleather chair in the corner, a large cloud of dust emanates from the sides, as if it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. Teo walks slowly to the bed, stopping to reach into the mini-bar and grab a pair of $5 bottled waters, tossing one to his friend.
“Merry Christmas. I was gonna get you something after the show. Thought you were back on your island, ya know?”
“Teo, no dodging. The room, if you please.”
Teo sighs deeply, twisting the cap slowly off the water as he contemplates his answer. After a few moments, he finally begins to speak.
“What makes a king, Andre?”
His friend gives him a confused look, but after a few moments the answer comes.
“Big crown, I suppose. Fancy castle, staff. Queen at his side perhaps, maybe another king? Who am I to judge?”
“I’ll tell you what makes a king. A name.”
“A name. That’s it. Oh sure, you have the warlords, the conquerors. But at the end of the day? A king is just a name in the history books. That’s all they can see, it’s what they obsess over. The crown? The wars? Everything about being a king is simply a childish obsession with legacy. Believe me, I’ve been crowned more than once. King of Clash, King of all media? Once that crown is on your head, it doesn’t change a goddamned thing. It’s just a page for the history books.”
“You’re talking about Corey Black, aren’t you?”
A deep laugh escaped from Teo in response. The question reminded him of why he and Jenson had remained such great friends through the years despite their differences. Jenson knew him better than just about anyone.
“You caught me. There’s a man who’s been on my mind ever since Turmoil. The moment they announced my match, I wasn't able to get him out of my mind. Every punch I throw with a punching bag, every press, every rep of a barbell, every second in the gym, I’ve been thinking about our alleged King. Of course in his case, it’s not a title or an award that he won. It’s just a nickname, a boast.
Corey Black calling himself “King of All Wrestlers” has about as much weight as a child putting a crown on his head at Burger King. Everyone smiles and nods and pats him on the back as he points around the table and demands everyone bow down. And everyone just smiles and nods and continues the conversation. And there he sits, with his cardboard crown, absolutely convinced that he’s special because noone bothers to tell him otherwise.
The goddamned motherfucking delusional ego on this guy, am I right? First he was a king, then he was a god, then he was a king again after the whole god thing got a bit rocky. I can’t wait till next year when he decides to become “Godking Corey Black, All-Father and Progenitor of All Wrestling”
Do you know why Howard Black or QDT didn’t start calling themselves King of All Wrestlers after beating him? Because it doesn’t mean anything. It has no value. It’s a bullshit nickname Corey Black crowned himself with, and frankly anyone who thinks about it for half a second realizes that they don’t want to legitimize Corey’s fucking self aggrandization by pretending it’s anything more than the invention of a mid-life crisis!”
“A mid-life crisis?”
“You goddamned heard me. Yeah, let’s take off the gloves for a minute, that’s my christmas present to myself. Do you remember Corey Black’s retirement tour?”
“Oh yeah, I remember. In the waning days of WCF, he went on all this pomp and circumstance about how he was gonna hang up the boots and call it a career. Here, let me show you.”
Teo reaches over to the bedside table, pulling up the Youtube app, and typing into the search bar. After a few moments, he holds it up as Corey Black’s voice comes from the device.
But every story needs to have an end.
And finally, the curtain comes to a close on my career.
“Oh yes, Corey Black was all ready to receive his coronation, to be recognized for sixteen years of hard work. It was going to be a Viking fuckin’ funeral, he was going to go out and immolate himself so we could all reflect on how lucky we were to have known this shining king.”
The sarcasm in Teo’s voice is so strong that it seems as though he’s on the verge of throwing up. His eyes narrowed with contempt, his fist clenched tightly as he speaks, as though he is speaking directly to the man in question.
“And then, it hit him. The moment he stepped down for the “last time”, the moment he ended his career, people stopped giving a damn about him. In all of his delusions of fucking grandeur he forgot the most simple truth of this life:
People move on.
Why do you think the retirement didn’t even last a year? Why do you think he was in an AW ring by July? Two-timing the very company he claimed to have built? This is the guy who mocked Howard Black for a retirement tour?! I mean this goes so far beyond hypocrisy it’s getting into amnesia!
And WCF moved on from Corey Black, not the other way around! The company endured even without him! But stop for a second and really think about this. If Corey Black wasn’t actually going to hang up the boots...then why go through this at all? Why bother telling everyone that it’s going to come to an end?”
Teo chuckles to himself and takes a drink from the water bottle, shaking his head with a smile. But not a smile of joy, but of someone who just understood the punchline to a depressing joke.
“Do you know what a king is most afraid of, Andre?”
Jenson starts to speak, but he thinks better of it, waiting for Teo’s answer.
“The Guillotine. And I don’t mean the one that ended Corey’s reign as champion, although I suppose it might also apply. I mean the national razor, the one that took off Louis Capet’s head.
This all started by you asking me why I still choose to stay in rooms like this. Why I don’t throw around the money I’ve made buying luxury suites and mansions.”
“I mean, considering you’re friends with a multi-millionaire, it’s a valid question.”
Teo’s expression softens slightly, his friend’s humor calming him just enough.
“It’s because I don’t ever want to forget where I came from. There are people out there who are spending their last dollar to get a Teo T-shirt, or to buy a ticket to see me perform. I never want to forget the sacrifices people make for me. The fans in that arena? They can’t afford to stay in a luxury suite, so why should they pay for mine?
That’s something that people like Corey Black will never understand. It’s a simple principle, but it’s one that I’ve structured my life around. Mask? Glasses? Those are just symbols. The reason I keep fighting, the reason I’m going to keep fighting until I drop dead? It’s them. Every single person who dared believe in the name Teo del Sol, every man, woman, or child who stuck by me through this journey? Everyone who said my name on their lips? I am indebted to them. When I won that World Championship, when I held that belt over my head? I wasn’t thinking about my own legacy. I’ve never thought about my legacy, and I’ve damned sure never told anyone to call me a king.
I was thinking that their belief in me had finally paid off. Not that I had done the impossible, but that we had done the impossible.
And that’s something that Corey Black will never understand.”
As Teo finishes speaking, he turns to his friend, who is nodding slowly in his seat. Teo smiles. There was a bond between them, an understanding that left further conversation unecessary, so instead he went and lifted the lid from the present his friend had gotten him.
There, inside, was a small but very shiny piece of silver and leather. Something that was conspicuously missing from the final One.
It was the WCF People’s Championship. Teo smiled, removing it, feeling its weight again for the first time in years.
“Don’t ask how I got it, but just know that it was an expensive gift.”
“It’s perfect, Andre. Merry Christmas.”
“Merry Christmas Teo. Now go dethrone a king.”
The anger in Teo’s face slowly gave way to a look of excitement as he looked down, his face reflected in the shiny silver of the title belt.
“You want to cheer me like you cheered Sol? I welcome it. You want to boo me? Get it out of your system.
I stand now, the Phoenix on the ashes, the last man on the rubble. The standard bearer for ideals long forgotten.
Strength. Determination. Hunger.
WCF has grown fat with privilege, overstuffed by lazy, self-serving egotists who care nothing more than preserving their spot! We came within inches of losing everything because we knew that it would be around forever! That each week we could start fresh!
Well boys, consider this a wakeup call, nothing gold can stay!” -2017The scene has now shifted quite dramatically, and the “rustic charm” of the run-down hotel room has been replaced with what appears to be an abandoned warehouse- although it is far from empty. In the center of the room is a worn down wrestling ring, and surrounding it is a series of empty folding chairs, probably a couple dozen all together. Standing in the middle of the ring is Teo Blaze, a title belt on each shoulder. On his left, the WCF World Championship, on his right, the WCF People’s championship.
His outfit could be described as a bit of a throwback, the dark red coat and familiar red sunglasses contrasting with the torn blue jeans. It’s a look he wore for many years, but one that seemed to just fit him every time. This is not the outfit of a Luchador...this is the Blaze.
“You know, champ, I think that sometimes it’s important to remember where you came from. I mean don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing quite like standing in that stadium, hearing the roar of a million voices chanting your name. Let me tell you, if they ever made that feeling into a drug? We’d all overdose by the end of the week.
It’s an addiction, isn’t it? That rush, that feeling of excitement. Gets ya off, doesn’t it?
Oh, by the way, congratulations on beating Walter in that impromptu rematch. I’m sure that bronze medal is going to look real nice in your trophy case.
Because let’s not fuckin’ mince words, that’s what that was. 3rd place. The man who claims to be king of all wrestlers, the world champion!
With a big old fuckin’ asterisk right next to it.
But hey! At least you got the fan vote for wrestler of the year, I mean... it’s practically the same thing, right? Wrestler of the year! Asterisk.
And of course that hardcore title reign that you bring up every two goddamned seconds. The longest reigning hardcore champion in history!
But wait a second, I seem to remember things a little differently. Turmoil 2019, Teo Blaze vs. Corey Black vs. Johnny Stylez...the way I remember it I had you knocked out with a Blazing Knee, when Kevin Bishop came in and attacked me before I could get the pin! Funny how you don’t seem to mention that title defense, huh?
But it’s okay, I mean, I battered Kevin Bishop, and we had our rematch to settle-
Oh wait, that’s right, we never settled that, did we? Huh. So what we’re really looking at is a title reign that is only as long as it was because someone interfered on your behalf.
Another fuckin’ asterisk.
King of all wrestlers, give me a break, the way I see it you’re king of technicalities and caveats. But I mean at least you made up for it by main eventing One in a Champion vs. Champion- Oh that’s right, your title isn’t on the line, is it?
What’s the matter champ? Scared? I thought you were supposed to be a fighting champion?
But I get it. Why take a risk you don’t have to, am I right? If you want a shot at Corey Black, you’ve gotta earn it. Pin him clean in Turmoil? Nice, that earns you a number one contender’s match.
Give me a fuckin’ break you snowflake has-been con artist! God, I swear every time you open your fuckin’ mouth it’s some diatribe about how nobody respects you, and that you’re a king, an architect, a wrestling genius who everyone should stand in awe of, how Corey Black is the gold standard for wrestlers and we should all ascribe to his greatness.”
Teo is making a rather vulgar gesture with his hand as he speaks, jerking off the air as he grabs the camera, pulling it to his face.
“Newsflash you petulant, arrogant, piece of shit, Corey Black. The world doesn’t owe you a goddamned thing. You think that because you were in WCF for sixteen years that you get to have the world title belt? Like it’s a gold watch being handed to a retiree? Oh no, I’m not going to let you disrespect this title like that.
Do you even know what this means, Corey? This piece of gold represents decades of work and sacrifice, of people ground under their heel by frustration and agony. Of physical pain and fuckin’ politics! This prize is everything to everyone!
But that’s not how you see it, is it? You just see something to stick on your wall. A trophy, an old man talking about the glory days. “There’s the trophy I got for making three touchdown passes.”
You had your chance. You were right there in the office when I was fighting tooth and nail, when I was jumping through your hoops, collecting those ripoff stones for that belt. When I was defending that Television title week in, and week out, you were paying people to suck your ego’s dick!
And now? You want to rewrite history. This isn't about competition. This isn’t because you respect what this belt stands for. If you gave a damn about competition, you’d put that belt of yours on the line.
This is 1984. Revision of History. Erasure. A narrative that suits them.
You don’t want to accept the messy truth. That for all your claims of loyalty, that for all you say WCF meant to you, that for every lie that pours from that fuckin’ noisehole of yours about how much you care, this is all about your ego. So you can lie to yourself and say that you were the final WCF champion...
King of Asterisks. King of technicalities. Who cares how you got where you are? People won’t remember the details, they just remember the results.
But I fuckin’ remember.
I see through your facades. Your falsehoods. Your smoke and mirrors.
You think you’re a man made god? You’re nothing but a golden calf. A false idol thrown together from people who don’t want to accept the truth.
Teddy Blaze never strayed. Teddy Blaze never stopped fighting. And Teddy Blaze closed the book on this championship.
And guess what? You can take credit for that.
Kings need subjects. Gods need believers.
You have neither, Corey Black. And the sound of that guillotine is getting louder with every second.
And when you walk down that ramp, you stick your head out? I’m going to be the one holding the rope.
Because this gold? It does not belong to tyrants. It belongs to the people. And I will not have it melted down to erect a false idol.”
With that, Teo smiles, holding the World Championship out to the camera, the chipped gold bearing the weight of countless classic matches and moments.
“You will not take this from us, Corey. I will not let you place another asterisk on what we all believe in.”
As Teo speaks those words, the camera slowly fades to black, the light from the gold dancing in the shining red lenses.
“Every win, every loss has all been building towards this moment. You can choose to bury your head in the sand, to think of me as some rank amateur with his head in the clouds....
But that Teo is long gone.
I needed that Teo to become who I am today, but if you honestly expect that Teo to walk down the ramp..?
It’s going to be a reckoning.” -2019
The scene has shifted one final time. Teo now stands in the concrete recesses of the Wells Fargo Center. The routine had become somewhat of a tradition before matches. He would walk the halls of the arena, long before any fans had arrived. When he closed his eyes, he could hear their voices, the cheer, the roar. It was an electric feeling. It was something that he treasured, and something that was always in his ears, no matter how many times he walked the halls.
And as he walks, he speaks, freely. His voice echoing down the empty corridor. As he spoke, he could hear the crowd in his ears, roaring in approval.
He’d always had an active imagination.
But as he walked, he spoke as though his opponent was standing in front of him, as though he were listening, as though he could hear the crowd as well.
“I won’t let you take it from them, Corey.
This belt? This gold? It is everything. You’ve held it before, you know its weight.
It’s a corrupting force. Men have betrayed their dearest friends for this title. They’ve broken their bones, even lost their lives in its pursuit. All for this belt. And in just a few days, all of that loss, all of that sacrifice will be sent to history.
How funny that they would reopen a closed book just to close it again. I guess they didn’t like the ending.
I’m here so they can close the book once and for all. I am a torch bearer for a forgotten ideal.
WCF had its problems, I’m never going to deny that.
But WCF had something that can never be taken away. We believed in it. We were in it together. We didn’t want to accept that it was dying until it was too late to do anything about it. You want a prize for your trophy case, you want to take everything we believed in and let it die.
I want the flame to live on.
I never want that belief to die.
Teo Blaze defeating the World Champion of AW? Some would say it’s impossible.
But that belief has done the impossible before.”
Teo shakes his head, hearing the roar of the crowd ever louder in his ears.
“I could give a damn if you believe in Teo del Sol, Teo Blaze, or any incarnation. I could give a damn what you believe about me.
Because they believe. They believe that someone like me can be a World Champion.
That is what drives me. That is why I keep fighting. That is why you will have to beat me to death before I let go of this title.
Because no matter how hard you try to change history, these people, good people still believe in the impossible.
And I believe them.”
With that, Teo walks down the long stone corridor, his footsteps fading as the scene slowly fades to black.