Title: Blocked
Featuring: Dan Leo James
Date: 7/29/2022
Location: Charlotte, NC

Grady Cole Center Backstage Area

Charlotte, NC

7/29/2022

With now two hours removed from CLASH of the BRAZEN: ASCENSION, the career trajectory for one young man by the name of Dan Leo James changed forever. With the win in the first-ever Ascension Battle Royal, he earned a full-time contract with the BRAZEN roster at the young age of 2022. He’d been with BRAZEN for a little over a year now after gaining a tiny amount of buzz making it to the finals of the Tag Party 3 match last year with Uriel Cortez… and then subsequently tripping and falling on his face. Then he went back to BRAZEN and put in the work between getting better in the ring and taking night classes at UNL to finish his degree in business management.

It had been a very busy year. But tonight, one match changed it all. 

He was now going to make that big roster money and show his family that his hard work did indeed pay off. 

After removing his contacts, taking a shower and then icing his chest because Killjoy chops hurt like a bitch, he finds himself at a nice quiet corner in the arena. Pacing back and forth in the hall, Dan tries to make a call. 

Phone ringing. 

No answer. 

“Eh… probably just busy,” he says to no one. “Dad’s always got some work thing going on. I’m sure Mom showed him the match by now.”

He paces around backstage some more, then moves onto his text messages. He’s got a few congratulations from some of his friends in BRAZEN. A few from Kenny and Lee, Antonio, Logan, Walter and CAGE… Kid Back Jack. But among them… 

No Chad. 

No Dominic. 

Nothing from his brothers? The show ended a couple hours ago. What was the damn hold-up?

“Eh… y’all are workaholics.”

He keeps pacing around. Then he quickly pulls up another contact and fires off another quick text message to one person he knows was watching. 

Mom. 

He knew Dad wasn’t happy; he packed up his things last year and moved to NOLA, sight unseen, instead of staying with the family business. He had a guaranteed spot working in marketing and sales for Dear Old Dad’s construction company if he wanted it. But from the last time they talked about the job a little over six months ago, he was sure he’d left the subject alone. 

They hadn’t talked since then; Mom was more of the intermediary between the two. But they had to appreciate him putting in that work and making something of himself. 

He sends a text…

“Did you see the show, Mom?”

He waits a few moments. 

“Delivered.”

He waits a few more. 

“Read.”

He smiles. Someone’s finally going to respond. 

Dots. He gets the dots. 

He’s waiting. He knows even if Dad doesn’t give a shit about his dream of wrestling and that Chad and Dom will pretty much go where Dad goes… Mom supports him…

Dots.

Then… nothing.

He gets nothing. A few more moments pass by… still nothing. 

“Come on…” 

He waits. Has to be another five minutes, but feels like way longer when he gets nothing. He picks up his phone and then starts to call Mom. The ringing on the other end feels like forever… four rings… five rings… six rings. 

No answer. 

“Oh, come on… what’s going on?”

He dials the phone number one more time and gets his Dad… 

“The person you are calling is not accepting calls right now.”

The line goes dead and Dan is left stunned. 

“What…?” 

Then finally another text message. 

Mom. 

He opens the message. 

“I’m sorry… I told your father you got a job with Defiance. He doesn’t want to speak to you right now.”

Dan looks away from his phone. Stunned silent. 

He gets a big opportunity like this… and this is how Dad reacts? He knew they didn’t see eye to eye since he left home, but he at least thought he’d be proud. 

He looks up, about ready to chuck his phone across the hall…

“Dan? Dan, you back here?”

The loud, booming voice of one Uriel Cortez catches Dan in his tracks, about ready to break his phone in his hands.

“Dan… you okay?”

Dan casts a glance at his phone one more time, then looks back.

“Oh… oh, yeah. Just… just laughing at my mom. She spelled DEFIANCE in lower caps. I’ve told her this a million times and she gets… she gets so ticked when I correct her. Like… know where I work now, Mom.”

He fires off a very unconvincing laugh. Cortez looks at him like his face magically changed into a demon. 

“Right… hey, we want to take you out to dinner if you’re not busy. You busted your ass off for that contract and we want to welcome you to the team.”

Dan’s eyes grow wide and then he jumps over to try and give Uriel another awkward hug, but the giant stops him. 

“One hug was enough, thanks,” Uriel laughs. He offers up a fist bump and Dan gives him one in return. “Meet us out in ten, yeah?”

“Sounds good, man. Thanks…” Dan says. He pauses. “...for everything. Thanks for all you guys have done for me. Flying out here to come see me… I mean it. Thanks.”

Uriel nods. 

“It’s all you, Dan… you’ve been doing the work since last year. You deserve it. Before I found my way, all I had was greedy assholes and promoters telling me this and that just cause I'm huge. I don't want to see that happen to any good people if I can help it."

Dan smiles. "Thanks… Dad."

Uriel frowns. "What?"

"What?"



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