Title: THE PATH OF VENGEANCE
Featuring: Kerry Kuroyama
Date: 5/30/21
Location: THE WRESTLEPLEX TRAINING CENTER

It’s five in the morning at the DEFIANCE training center. Only an eager and dedicated few are using the facilities at this early hour. One such early arrival is none other than the DEFIANCE veteran known to the Faithful as “the Pacific Blitzkrieg”, KERRY KUROYAMA. 

Kerry is lying on the bench, doing presses at just over four-hundred pounds. Despite the impressive weight, it could be said he’s being a tad reckless without anyone present to spot him. After a few reps, he sets the bar, gets himself back vertical, and towels off the sweat.

He goes to the mirror for a moment of reflection on his work. There’s no doubt he’s been hard at work during his brief time off, given his increase in muscle mass. Yet in spite of the gains he’s made over the past year, the look in his eyes would suggest he’s still not content. There’s something still missing…

“Kerry!”

Kuroyama seeks out the voice that’s calling his name. A smile forms on his face when he spots two young men in official Dojo trainers crossing the workout room to meet with him.

Kerry Kuroyama:
Zack… Leo… 

There’s a familiarity among the men as Kerry greets the duo with a pair of bro-hugs, like friends he hasn’t seen in a long time.

Zack Daymon:
I knew we’d be running into each other sooner or later!

Speaking is “SKYFIRE” ZACK DAYMON, the son of Rocko Daymon. He’s a leaner looking chip off the old block, inheriting much of his father’s hair and facial features, minus the gray and the ancient creases. He is the definition of babyface, looking plucky and earnest. Standing at his side is “THE ICEMAN” LEO BURNETT, the product of Chicago’s South Side. He’s just as young as Zack, but a different upbringing in a different part of the world has given him a more stoic, wizened demeanor when compared to his partner.

Kuroyama looks over the newest generation produced by the Dojo Wrestling Academy back in his native Seattle. He looks slightly nostalgic, remembering his own coming to DEFIANCE years ago. He only needs to see the two of them standing there with him in the DEFIANCE training center to read the situation.

Kerry Kuroyama:
So, I guess if you guys are down here in New Orleans...?

Zack wears a proud smirk as he slaps his own and Leo’s chests.

Zack Daymon:
You’re looking at BRAZEN’s most recently signed tag team, the new and improved Rain City Ronin! Bringing the pride of Seattle’s Dojo straight to DEFIANCE!

Leo Burnett:
Yeah, man, we finally made it. Try-outs were a beast, but… well, I guess it didn’t hurt having a “legacy” on the team.

Zack Daymon:
Nah, man, we earned this. On our own.

They nod to each other in mutual reassurance. There’s a good energy between them, and Kerry can see it.

Kerry Kuroyama:
Well, I’m proud of you dudes, and I’m more than happy to help you settle in. If you need a decent place to crash, I know a few places close by you can get for cheap.

Zack Daymon:
Cool! Appreciated, dude! Cool, so… 

Zack moves in a bit closer and drops his voice a few decibels like someone speaking on the downlow.

Zack Daymon:
When do we move against the Kabal?

Creases form in the corners of Kerry’s eyes as he steels himself for the awkward feeling one gets when they have to tell somebody something they don’t want to hear.

Kerry Kuroyama:
Guys, I’m… not interested. Sorry.

The younger Daymon’s brightness seems to wilt into confusion. He is expectedly put off by this comment. He looks between Leo and back to Kerry with rising stress.

Zack Daymon:
W-what do you mean? Now that Leo and I are here to back you up, we finally have the strength to take them out!

Leo Burnett:
That was the plan, anyway.

Kerry shakes his head to reinforce his refusal.

Kerry Kuroyama:
...listen, I’m over those freaks. I have more important things to focus on right now.

He wraps up the towel and returns to the bench, gathering his things into his duffel bag and looking to leave. The new Rain City Ronin exchange glances. Unspoken words pass between them. Ultimately, Zack can’t take “no” for an answer.

Zack Daymon:
I can’t believe I’m hearing this! What’s more important than getting even with those bastards? Or did you forget what they did to you?

Kuroyama tenses up. This warm reunion just got a bit cooler. He turns back to face Zack and looks him straight in the eye to make sure he gets the point across. 

Kerry Kuroyama:
...believe me when I tell you, Zack... I haven’t forgotten. And that’s exactly why I’m done fucking around with them. Fighting the Kabal was--and still is--nothing but a waste of time and effort.

Zack is in utter disbelief. It’s as though having the opportunity to fight his family’s mortal enemies alongside his longtime friend and role model was his lifelong dream, and now it’s breaking.

Zack Daymon:
So, what you’re saying is, you gave up? You’re just going to let them win?

Kuroyama scoffs. The mere suggestion is absurd to him. He goes back to packing up.

Kerry Kuroyama:
Win what, exactly? Have you looked at the Kabal lately? No titles, no accolades, no major wins… no overall plan, by the looks of it. Just a lot of spectacle, speeches, and drama. 

Zipping up the duffel bag and slinging it over his shoulder, he turns to face the two young Dojo proteges, his eyes full of sincere empathy. He seems to understand more of the situation than they do. 

Kerry Kuroyama:
The Kabal are nothing bottom feeders… the kind of untalented hacks that have to band together and make asses of themselves to draw any kind of attention. Because that’s all they’re really after. But how much of a threat are they really? They got their asses kicked at DEFCON, and now their leader is apparently M-I-A. If you ask me, the Kabal haven’t won jack.

He sticks his thumb to his chest.

Kerry Kuroyama:
But as for me? Winning is all I intend to do. It’s all I focus on. The kind of attention I’m interested in is being recognized as the greatest and most successful professional wrestler in DEFIANCE. It’s the kind of attention that you only get when you actually put in the hard work. It’s the attention that only comes from winning important matches, against legit opponents, with something of actual value at stake.

He moves to the exit. Leo and Zack follow.

Kerry Kuroyama:
I don’t need to cut the house lights and speak through a voice modulator to turn heads. All I need to do is put shoulders to the mat. In the end, that’s all that matters.

Zack remains silent and contemplative. He still has a lot of resentment in his heart, but these truths are getting to him. Leo recognizes his partner’s inner struggle and steps up to speak on behalf of their team.

Leo Burnett:
I get it, man. The old man always said we all gotta choose our own paths, and you got your own ambitions to focus on right now. I can respect that. Both of us do.

Daymon nods. He may not like it, but he’s willing to accept it.

Zack Daymon:
Yeah… but, dude, try to consider our perspective here.

Leo Burnett:
That’s right. We’re looking to carve a place for ourselves in this federation, and if these guys are bottom feeders, then what better place for us to start than the bottom? You did your time fighting the Kabal, and we get that… so we’ll pick up the torch where you left it.

Zack Daymon:
Yeah, man…  let us keep that fight going, for as long as we have to! You don’t understand how long we’ve been waiting for this…

Kerry sighs in defeat. He knows nothing can be said to talk them out of it at this point.

Kerry Kuroyama:
...if that’s the path you guys wanna walk, then do what you gotta do. Just don’t expect me to bail you out if and when you realize you’re biting off more than you can chew. I’m not getting involved, end of story.

Leo Burnett:
...we can accept that.

Zack Daymon:
The offer still stands, though, in case you change your mind.

Kerry Kuroyama:
Believe me, I won’t. Now if you’ll excuse me, guys… I’m on a schedule. It’s… good to see you here, all the same. Really. I need all the familiar faces I can get around here. Hit me up if you need help settling in.

Leo Burnett:
Okay man, later…

Kuroyama heads through the door, leaving the duo of Daymon and Burnett on their own and empty handed.

Zack Daymon:
...FUCK… this wasn’t part of the plan!

Leo Burnett:
It’ll be fine, man, relax. We knew this wasn’t going to be easy. We just need to step up. Now c’mon, spot me…

The Iceman pats his partner on the shoulder and goes back to the benches. Skyfire reluctantly follows, still grappling with his emotions.



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