Title: The Beginning
Featuring: Impulse
Date: 2/22/2016
Location: Backstage at DEFtv 61

Well, this was… different.

The last time I was backstage at a wrestling show, it was the Empire’s Wrestleverse show. I’d just won the Empire World Championship, and while I was unwrapping my wrist tape, the word came down that it was the promotion’s final breath. 

My phone rang off the hook, but my attitude at the time - after getting burned in the New Frontier and being disappointed in the Empire… professional wrestling can go kick rocks. In my mind, there was no going back to the idealism of my rookie years and if all the sport could offer was old men and their semi - talented sock monkeys making policy on who was featured in the main event and who would toil in the opener, I needed none of it. 

There’s nothing wrong with opening the show, but the fans deserve to see the best product they can, and they weren’t getting it two years ago in the companies I worked for. 

So I did the most logical thing I could think of: I told professional wrestling to take a flying leap, and if my win over The First was my swan song, at least I was able to leave with my integrity intact. 

I certainly didn’t forsee Cally jumping on Twitter and becoming friends with three people we knew and fifty that we didn’t. I didn’t forsee Cally jumping on Dan Ryan and getting us invited to a wrestling show for the first time since we were last booked. 

And I absolutely didn’t see it being Defiance Wrestling - the Home of the Number One Jackass, Eric Dane. No, seriously - we didn’t like each other but time colors everything, and being out of the business it seemed pointless to carry those grudges with me. Maybe he feels the same way, probably not, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t impressed.

Eight years ago, Craig Miles and Eddie Mayfield championed a Wrestling Revolution to counteract their insane brand of ‘sports entertainment’ that they’d pushed to that point. It didn’t last long since we got buried under a plumber, and some Hellfire, and an aborted fetus, but I’ve enjoyed every match here tonight: the Wrestling Revolution is alive and well and thriving here in Defiance Wrestling. 

Irony’s a bitch sometimes.

“Who’s that?”

“That’s Dusty Griffith, Rose.”

“Aaaaand… who’s that?”

“Mikey Unlikely, Rose.”

“And that?”

“That’s Kelly Ev - Sweetie, you’ve met Kelly Evans before!”

The other side of my respect for what these athletes do is Cally and her nonstop, rapid - fire barrage of questions, comments, and observations toward Dan Ryan. She’s recently discovered Twitter, and decided the best way to use it was to hit ‘follow’ on everyone that showed up on her screen, and engage them in conversation. It’s gone better in some cases than others. 

She belongs here, though: she’s good for morale.

To Dan Ryan’s credit, he’s humoring her quite well. I’m not really surprised: Ryan and I were opponents, but never really enemies. Most of our interaction was owner - to - wrestler in the Empire, and everything he did that might’ve been considered unpopular in the short term was done with the greater good in mind. I respect that. 

More to the point, I respect the way he’s treated me and Cally tonight. She’s relentlessly optimistic and good natured: even when the crap was hitting the fan back in the day, the only sign she showed was coming up with the ridiculous ideas to make the fans laugh. 

Cally was carrying a two - layered cupcake carrier: the top layer started with a dozen chocolate with vanilla icing, and the bottom started with a dozen… well… ‘special’ cupcakes. Those are for people she already knows, and since Ryan sticks with a few beers and we don’t really know and like anyone else here tonight, so she’s still got an even dozen.

The others are gone. She’s good at making friends.

I saw something online recently, I said, it was one’a those ten year old surveys where a bunch’a fans were asked about your ‘recent retirement,’ I said. Look at ya, sir; you’re a champ again.

“Things take a turn, my friend,” said Ryan, and then of course, he got to the meat of the reason why I’m here.

“We’re lookin’ for more talent,” said Ryan.

Every company on the planet is always looking for more talent. 

“This place is focused on wrestling, not on a bunch of idiots past their never-happened primes,” said Ryan.

Now he’s just trying to tease me.

I know what you’re doing, I said, and I get it - I agree with you on the majority of the talent they’ve got. But I’m not that guy anymore, I said. I’m outta ring shape, and I…

I stopped.

It’s impossible to put into words. 

How do I tell someone - anyone - that I don’t know if I’ve got it in me to be a hero anymore? Forget about a hero; that’s a best case scenario. All I wanted to do back in the day was have a match on the show, but it quickly became an ideological fight to the finish over whether it was more important to be honest and real, or ‘the superficially cool guy in the room’?

Listen, I said, as I extended my hand, thanks for the great night. 

He shook, and nodded his head. 

“Think about it,” was all Dan Ryan said.

I will, I said - and I will.

Rosie put her cupcake holder down and looked around. “This is a really cool place, RK,” she said, “I think we’d have fun.”

I smirked. Of course we would.

But should we?

“Hi, have you met Impulse?” asked Cally, suddenly approaching the gentleman previously identified as Dusty Griffith. He looked confused - Cally can have that effect on people, being so balls-out friendly. I thought it was the least I could do to step in and save him. 

Hi, I said, shaking his hand. Randall Knox. This is my girlfriend Rose, we’re Dan Ryan’s guests tonight.

“Rosalyn Callasantos,” clarified Cally. She looked at me with mock indignation, “If you get your full name, so do I.”

“Impulse,” said Dusty, “Last I seen of you, you were working for Dan Ryan up in Empire. Gotta say, brother, you were damn good - until you disappeared that is. What happened?”

Life happened, I said - and he was good enough not to press, nodding a wordless acknowledgement.

“Well,” he continued, “if you’re thinking about getting back into the life, you could do whole helluva lot worse than DEFIANCE - and I don’t think we could do much better… Place could use a little more honor.”

Thanks, I said, I appreciate the confidence. Really impressed by your work out there tonight too.

I looked at Dan Ryan, and he shrugged, only semi - mockingly. 

Alright, dude - don’t wanna keep you, I said, as I shook his hand again. Definitely made a fan tonight and I’m gonna keep checkin’ out your work. 

He nodded and we said our goodbyes: he couldn’t’ve been more gracious. 

“I’m just saying,” said Dan Ryan, who had come back around.

Dude, I replied, but I stopped.

He had a point.

I’ll think about it, I said. But it’s one thing t’want to work somewhere, it’s another to be offered a job.

“That’s all I ask,” said Ryan “just think about it.”

“Oooooohhhhhhhh…”

The unfamiliar moan caused us all to turn.

A fat man with chocolate all over his face and hands was looking down at Cally’s cupcake holder. 

“I don’t feel right,” said the dude. 

“And this is Bobby Dean,” explained Ryan.

“We twitter together!” said Cally, and she started toward him as if to say hello, or shake his hand, or give him a hug as she does, but stopped when she saw the holder.

Out of the twelve cupcakes, there were three left. 

“Do you guys drug test?” she asked Ryan, “because I’ve got a prescription but I don’t want Bobby getting in trouble.”

It’s funny: I haven’t been in a wrestling ring, or even in an arena during a wrestling match, for two years and I haven’t missed it. But here, tonight, surrounded by a familiar face like Ryan, an upstanding wrestler like Dusty Griffith, and a mess like Bobby Dean… 

It felt right. 

Felt like home.
 



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