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Topics - Jonny

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1
AMA - Soldiers, Staff, & Fans / AMA: DEFILER
« on: November 07, 2014, 10:47:54 AM »
ask me anything.

srs.  anything.

2
Jonny Johnson / Profile: Jonny Johnson
« on: August 30, 2014, 03:28:04 PM »
JONNY JOHNSON
FOUNDER OF PROJECT: HERO (Non Profit)
www.projecthero.org
Name:Jonny Johnson
Handler:Jeff Hansen
Nicknames:The DEFILER, Jonny
Height:6'3"
Weight:217 lbs.
D.O.B.:11/21/1975
Hometown:Chicago, IL **NOW Residing in Henderson Nevada**
Music:"Ibi Dreams of Pavement" by Broken Social Scene ()
Alignment:Project: Hero
Biography:Born November 21st, 1975 to parents Carol Jennings and Daniel "Brick" Johnson.  Jonny spent most of his childhood under the care of his grandparents Elenore and Tristan Johnson.  He attended UCLA with a wrestling scholarship and graduated in the fall of 1998 with a bachelor's in business management.

He began wrestling professionally after being scouted by a few local So-Cal promotions who admired Jonny's natural charisma and intelligence.  He had a few matches, but didn't seem interested in pursuing it as a career, and instead attempted to get a couple production companies off the ground.  Those attempts ultimately failed and Jonny agreed to a pay-per appearance contract with the AODWF in early 1999.  He moved to Chicago right around that time and things took off.

In 2001, he was offered a contract to work with the internationally Touring company, SHOOT Project.  He accepted the offer, and moved to Nagoya, Japan.  It was here he would meet his eventual ex-wife, Li Aomori, with whom he still has ties to an independent record label she manages and he has stock in (11 Hour) 

Jonny's career has been widely considered a tumultuous ride.  He's a multiple time World Champion and an inarguably gifted performer, however, multiple instances of manipulative, backstage behavior, and an uneasy
Personality:Calculating.  Aggressive.
History:Accomplished performer.  Former member of The Beautiful People (W/ Chris Davis).  Former World and Tag Champion in multiple organizations.  Has "won" at every level of every game he's involved himself with. 

Founder of the nonprofit, Project: Hero. 
Awards:Multiple-time World and Tag Team Champion.
Wrestling Style:Technical
Finisher Name:The Demoralization Process
Description:Similar movement/rotation as a move like "The Roll of the Dice" or Cross Roads, but performed while his opponent is locked in a cross-face chicken wing.  (As opposed to the dragon sleeper).  He torques his opponents neck and shoulder around, spinning quickly and dropping them face first into the mat.
Moveset:At his current age of 38, Jonny utilizes a very strict, "situational moveset".  He has a few combo attacks that show up more frequently.  (Rolling knee drop, into standing moonsalt, into senton splash, as one example) but he generally approaches each contest with a unique strategy.  He aims to "win" and spends very little time with flashy or risky attacks if it doesn't significantly increase his chances of securing the victory.  That said, the early showboating days are not all together dead.  Under the right circumstances, at the right moment, Jonny will take to the skies and risk it all for the great, amazing SHOOT Project fans!  Jo.

3
The Epicenter / Project: Hero, A Nonprofit Organization (1)
« on: August 22, 2014, 07:15:03 PM »
The sounds of finger tips rattling over a computer keyboard.

"Where do they even get this shit?"

A familiar voice asks out loud in a sincerely stunned whisper.

Jonny Johnson, FOUNDER of PROJECT HERO and former SHOOT Project World Champion, stares dumbfoundedly at a macbook screen inside his spacious penthouse "home" at the Bellagio.  It's gorgeous: elegant shades of brown, multiple rooms, new furniture.  He leans forward from his seat on a luxurious leather "L" couch, or rather, appears to be being pulled into his laptop and toward the glass table it's sitting on.

The DEFILER: Trolling?  What? I'm...   (Distracted. Typing, shaking his head, genuinely confused)  Who the fuck am I trolling?

Rays of afternoon sunshine sneak in through the cracks of the drawn blinds.  Jonny's in a baggier, long sleeved, grey pajama shirt and red and blue flannel pajama pants.  He presses a few more keys, sits back and runs his hands through his "bedhead" blonde hair (which is actually a product of bedhead today).  Sighing loudly, he shakes his head and adjusts the Bluetooth piece in his ear.

The DEFILER: (To himself, still staring at the monitor) These stupid fucking int...  (Stopping, perking up) Hello?  Jo..

He rolls his eyes and takes a quick, calming, deep breath.

The DEFILER: Right.  Yeah.  That's fine.  (Looking down, keeping his cool, listening through his ear piece) No.  I get it.  (Nodding) Mmmhmm. Yeah.  It's cool. (A trying hard to not be mad, smile) Sure as shit not going anywhere, Steph. (Laughing) Seriously, it's fine.  I'll hold.  Just uhhh (Caught off guard by something he sees on his computer) ...uhhh Just put me through when his meeting's done.  (Eyes drifting back to his laptop screen, his interest in the phone chat gone) Yep.  Thanks, Stephanie.

He leans in closer to the computer.

The DEFILER: Who the fuck...?

His voice trails off, his right finger slides down the middle scroll button on his mouse and he makes a single left click.

"Heh."

Not a laugh of joy, or that he finds anything particularly funny.

Not an uneasy laugh, either.

He looks at the monitor, intrigued.

The DEFILER: There's no way...

His eyebrows are raised and his eyes, themselves, dart from word to word, or image to image or whatever it is that happens to have hooked his attention this drastically.  His lips quiver in between a scowl and dimming grin

The DEFILER: (Sighing loudly) Awesome...  This is...  heh.  Wow.

Jonny's vexed eyes lose themselves in silence.  He shakes his head, and grins through his disenchantment.

The DEFILER: Unreal... 

He clicks the mouse button, leans forward and pulls down his laptop

The DEFILER: UN-FUCKING-REAL!

He blurts loudly, forcefully.

The DEFILER: I PAY PEOPLE for this shit...

Jonny cracks his knuckle and breathes.

In....

...and out.

He tilts his head to the side, stretching his neck.

He stands up, eyes aimed at the tan carpet, and begins pacing, arms crossed, mind distant.

Another deep breath.

The DEFILER: (Huffing out a breath, talking to himself) Okay.  It's okay.  We'll make it go away.  (Shrugging) It's just the internet...  It's...

"Fuck.  Hello?"

Jonny puts his finger up to his ear piece.

The DEFILER: Josh?  (Adjusting the piece for better reception) Josh?  Can you hear me?

He stops and laughs.

The DEFILER: Yeah.  I'm...  What? (Listening) Ha!  Of COURSE you heard that.  I wait on this fucking phone for almost twenty minutes, and you pick up the five seconds I get mad at some dork on a forum...  (Listening, shrugging) I don't know.  I just DO.  It's my one weakness, man.  (Laughing.  Listening.)  Yeah.  ONE.  Hahaha.  (Shrugging again) Nothing.  Just uhh..  It was...  I don't know. Just the same shit that pisses me off that shouldn't...  (Rolling his eyes, still laughing) Oh fuck off.  No.  It was just some dumb bullshit rumor.

Near the window, Jonny slips a few fingers through the blinds and pulls two of them to the side.  More light rushes inside and he squints into the Las Vegas skyline.

The DEFILER: (Nodding) Right.  No, I get it, man.  You're a busy dude.  Largest fucking independent business in the states... so we're good there, but listen...  uhhh...  This show...

He pauses and pulls his fingers back, looking back toward the center of the room.

The DEFILER: (Interrupting) Josh.  Stop.  I KNOW you don't book it. I get the process.  Sean or Jason have their top secret committee or whatever...  (Pausing) Dude, whatever.  No one takes responsibility so until you release the names of the "TEAM", it's a fucking secret.  I understand the business model.  We just need to fix this uhhh... match thing.  That's all.

His emotions have gotten back in check fairly efficiently.

The DEFILER: (Nodding) Right.  I said I get that, Josh.  I'm not mad about it, and I'm not going to argue about WHY or HOW it ever got booked to begin with.  Things happen in SHOOT.  Weird, dark, silly, questionable, scary, terrifying, terrific things HAPPEN, and we both know that not all of them can be explained.

He speaks very plainly, simply.

The DEFILER: So we're not losing sleep over it, and we're not doing a point, counter point debate over logistics...

"We're just gonna problem solve.  Me and you.  Like we do best."


Jonny's put on pause by whatever is being said by "Josh" on the other end of the line.  In the meantime, he walks over into the kitchen area and opens the freezer door on the refrigerator.  He nods and responds with a couple "mmmhmm's" and "Sures".  He pulls out a bottle of Maker's Mark and steps to the counter and opens a cabinet over head to grab a glass.

He sets the glass on the table and pours himself to half-full.

The DEFILER: Josh, the PROBLEM is that Project Hero isn't a stable or team.  It's a NONPROFIT that happens to have an affiliation with the organization...  (Pausing briefly) No...  No.  Josh.  (Trying to redirect the conversation) Josh lis... No.  Josh.  Just listen to me.  I get WHY this mistake was made and I understand the "branding" of it on your end.  But TWO things.

He takes a sip of scotch and begins to walk back toward the living room.

The DEFILER: ONE, you leave me and MY organization vulnerable to all the normal shit talk that goes on in what we do, and that part's fine.  I'm not offended by it.  Paul's not offended.  We get why Rex and Angel said what they said.  They're trying to get some hype.  Some heat.  They're mad, I guess.  I don't understand the SITUATION between me and them or, I guess, Paul, me, and them, but it is what it is.  WE could live with that, but other people involved with what we're doing aren't as thick skinned.  They were kinda hurt, and ya know, I mean we smoothed things over...  but look, we have some great people doing AMAZING things, and I don't want their work trivialized.

He takes another short sip from his glass and sets it down on the table next to his laptop.

The DEFILER: Okay?  So that's the first part.  Not a huge deal...  just want us on the same page...  (A single nod) Perfect.  Cool.  Like I said, no biggie.  I get it.  (Pause) Right.  Exactly.  I appreciate it.

Pause.

The DEFILER: We're good on that.  So let's uhh... chat about the second thing...

His seemingly genuine empathy from moments ago is washed away.  His tone becomes far less considerate, open, and more demanding.

He speaks succinctly.

The DEFILER: I have a very specific clause in my contract that allows me the freedom of deciding if, when, and who I fight for you guys.  It's been in there for fucking years, Josh, and I've done my best to NEVER exercise it.  I've gotten in the ring with almost EVERYONE you've ever asked me to.  Some fights that made no sense.  Against stacked odds where I risked career embarrassment.  Against kids you wanted to give a chance to...  against old dudes you wanted to resurrect.  I've been one HELL of a fucking team player, man and NOT ONE TIME have I ever pulled the "Career Control" card out of my pocket and said "Nope.  Not today."

"And I don't want to have to do that..."

He seems to interrupt whatever is being said to him.

The DEFILER: Josh....  (Closing his eyes briefly, keeping calm) JOSH.  I'm not done.  I need you to listen to me.  Like I said before, I don't know who Rex or Angel went to or how this got through whatever "TEAM" you have in place, and I'm not going to argue any of that.  It happened and now we're simply fixing it.  So I need you to just...  listen."

He nods one time.

The DEFILER: Good.  Okay...

Jonny takes a deep, irritated breath and proceeds.

The DEFILER: I know it's not popular, but I DO have a pretty intense wrist injury.  I fucking hate it, Josh, and I get it.  It's lame, but JESUS CHRIST, if I was going to feign an injury for GOD KNOWS what reason, why the FUCK would I make it my LEFT wrist?  I'm right handed, and it's a WRIST.  People fight on broken necks and fucked up spines, dude.  Why wouldn't I give myself a BROKEN LEG or say that I'm worried about some sort of post concussion syndrome or career threatening BACK problems?

"FOR FUCK'S SAKE!"

"Everyone keeps pegging me as the (Making quotes with his fingers) "most sinister, evil, plotting fucking human to ever live" and yet they think I'd settle on "Hurt Left Wrist" as the BIG POWER PLAY?  I've gotten second, third, forth...  EIGHTH OPINIONS on this thing and every doctor tells me there's a VERY real chance that I'll lose the use of my left hand all together.  I might lose the ENTIRE LEFT SIDE OF MY BODY.  It's a fucked up condition and I'm trying to keep it under wraps because I don't want to deal with sympathy from strangers or having to answer a billion fucking questions about it every week...


He shakes his head.

The DEFILER: Josh.  Seriously.  I'm not done.  This is called ME opening to one of my three bosses.  Me opening up to a FRIEND. 

"So PLEASE. Don't say anything."


He's let his emotions get the better of him and he takes a moment to silently get his thoughts back in order.

The DEFILER: You booked me without asking about an injury, and whether that's your staff saying "Fuck you, liar" or just a simple screw-up...  It pissed me off.  Add in the fact that I SPECIFICALLY DECLINED the match at Revolution One Twenty-Eight, and now it's even MORE irritating.

"Paul and I AREN'T a tag team.  We just aren't, but we're both former tag team champions and we BOTH have too much respect for the ART of tag team wrestling to send out a message to the wrestling world that "Yeah, GO AHEAD just throw any two guys together and fight!".  I'm NOT doing that.  Too many peopled trained TOO MANY HOURS to master this shit and I will not be apart of anything that sullies the craft."

"And neither will Paul.  He just doesn't have the luxury of being able to do anything about in in this instance."


He pauses again.

The DEFILER: But I do.

There seems to be an awareness from Jonny, himself, that maybe he's pushing the aggression out a little too hastily.  He sniffs loudly, clearing his sinuses, and takes a seat on the couch.  He grabs his scotch glass and sips back the brown liquor.

The DEFILER: We'll find replacements and sponsor the match, okay?  I still get a bunch of kids that come out to train at the ranch back home and I know two in particular that'll be great.  They're like young twenties and super hungry.  They grind the indies..  they're tag champs in a couple different Midwest leagues and they even have a small little following.

"They can give Anarchy a run for their money.  I think it's a perfect fit.  You got a hungry team against a team that was being accused of not being hungry enough.  SPARKS, Josh.  Okay?"


He shakes his head, furiously  Apparently "Josh" is offering an opinion that Jonny isn't fond of.

The DEFILER: No.  Dude, you don't have to check shit out with ANYONE.  You sure as fuck didn't ask me if it was okay to book this thing...  So who CARES what Anarchy wants.  They're two mad, misguided dudes.  It happens.  You lose a match and you blame it on the last person you talked to, or whatever.  You make up dumb shit in your head.  What they NEED is their rematch for the tag team titles, which I can ONLY ASSUME will be signed for Master of the Mat.  It's right around the corner and they NEED to tune up against an ACTUAL TEAM.

"So just change the match.  Project Hero SPONSORS, Anarchy versus "Crusher and the Spot Monkey" and we...


He gets caught off.

The DEFILER: Crusher and the Spot Monkey.  (Confused, listening) Yeah.  That's their team name.  The one guy goes by Crusher and then...  (Pausing) WHY THE FUCK DOES EVERYONE THINK I'M TROLLING???  Fucking CHRIST.  JOSH.  It's a team name.  Okay?  You once employed Ringo Starr.  So fuck off.  They're good, talented kids.  You put them in a match with Anarchy.  We sponsor it and Project Hero donates Three Thousand Dollars to the charity of the winner's choice.  Done  It's competitive.  It's for a cause...'

"It's a compromise..."


He lets the last part trail off and listens intently for the response.

The DEFILER: Good.  Then we're settled.  I may have a doctor's appointment that evening, but I'll do my best to get there and award the check to the winners and everything.  It'll be great PR.

Nodding, but getting annoyed again.

The DEFILER: Crusher and The Spot Monkey.  YES.  Why is that the most crucial part of this to you?

He shakes his head.

The DEFILER: Yeah.  I'll be at the show.  Thanks for uhh...  for... working this out.  I like that I can go to you still, man.  Jason and Sean don't always make things easy on me. So uhh...  it means a lot, and hopefully I'll be able to get back in the ring for you guys soon.  (Nodding along to the response) You too man...  (Pause) Yeah.  Thanks.  Maybe see you at the show...

The conversation seems to be over...

"Oh, and don't forget to change the promotional materials for the...  Josh?   You still there?"

He isn't.

Jonny sits back in the couch.  His mind wanders for a second before his eyes find themselves back on the laptop.  He stares at it for a couple of moments and reaches into the pockets of his pajama pants, pulling out his Galaxy S5.

He presses a button and sits up.

Waiting.

Waiting...

Wai...

The DEFILER: Yo.  It's me.  You got a second?

Pause.

The DEFILER: I need you to help me fix something on Twitter.

"Thanks."

4
SHOOT Project Discussion / Revolution 127 - RP Feedback
« on: July 13, 2014, 10:29:36 AM »
I GUESS I WILL START THIS PONY SHOW

http://SHOOTproject.com/forum/index.php?topic=10576.0

The Isaac piece up at current is probably one of the better "good guy" promos you'll read.  The flashbacks to previous interactions were perfectly executed.  Nothing felt forced in terms of the development and you had all the grit and edge you want from Entragian, BUT NOW IN A CHEER-ABLE BOX!

Very very very great work.

5
“Tim was a…  Tim was a great man.  A… just uhhh…  He was great.”

Jonny Johnson stares out at a somber collective of friends, family, and associates, through impenetrable black aviators.  They’re in white chairs.   Some faces he’s never seen.  Some he’s seen often.  Jason Riley and Tom Quinn, both in suits, dapper, if not slightly uncomfortable are a few rows back;  Arms crossed, heads down.  They avoid eye contact.   His wife, Li, and daughter, Samantha, are, contrastingly, in the front.  Li, in a stunning, melancholy black dress, gleaming silver necklace, stares at him deeply.  He struggles to avoid her passion.  Samantha is attentive, but, ultimately, nine years old.  She’s spacing out, but couldn’t be any more adorable doing so.  She was also in black.  A girl; a child child, no doubt, but still pretty.  Still…  His.

He has to take an extra moment to gather his composure. 

The shades provide a wall from his brain.  They hide the tears he’s fighting off; the unavoidable sorrow that seizes his entire being.  His face is scruffier than normal.  He hasn’t shaved in weeks.  Maybe longer, but it’s well kept.  His dishwater, blonde hair, shaggy, droops in hip fashion near and over his eyes.   Jonny, in a fitted black suit jacket, grey button-up shirt, black tie, black slacks, shoe-shine black shoes, could not possibly look any more put together; any more sleek; sharp.

Cruel irony given the circumstances.

The day was beautiful.  There was a light breeze and chirping birds to fill the spaces between words.  Pouring rays of sunshine reflected off gleaming, perfect cherry hardwood casket behind him.  It was serene.  He swallows back a thousand words, and nods.

Jonny: You know, Tim, he uhh.  He always had this…  I guess… an “IT” quality.  He could walk into a room, and…  And you just KNEW.  You knew this was someone… important.  He could have taken that to the bank.  But that’s what made Tim amazing

He was feeling uncomfortable, shifting. 

Everyone was watching. 

What were Jason and Tom thinking?  Tim’s dad, Brian, who was also in attendance?  Tim’s wife?  Did she somehow blame him?  Tim loved the open road, and he had driven to Las Vegas…  for Jonny.  He’d never have been driving back.

 Never hit by that errant trucker…

If it wasn’t for him.

Jonny: He should have ridden his look to the bank, but he was bigger than that.  He wanted more.  He wasn’t content being a…  you know, the…  the “face”.  The…  guy shoved down your throats because a promoter told you to love him.  He worked his ASS off, and maybe he never reached the superstardom in professional wrestling that he wanted, but he sure as HECK reached it in life.

He takes a breath before continuing.  His cheeks are wet.  He hears the sobs.

It’s getting real fucking hard.

Jonny: He married the most beautiful girl in the room.  (Gesturing to a blonde woman in the front) Becky.  With two beautiful…  (Sniffling a bit, but trying to stay calm) umm…  two of the greatest kids in the world.  Pat and Blake.  His work with his dad, to uhh…  train and inspire a new generation of young wrestlers…  Tim Calahan was my BEST friend.  That rare time when a kid grows up faster than his teacher, and…

He takes off his sunglasses and wipes his eyes.  Each inhale becomes a desperate attempt to make it through.

Jonny: I loved him.  I…  f…

The tears openly flow, which just barely stops him from cursing.

Jonny: I loved him.  He didn’t deserve this, and…  and I’m gonna miss him.

“So much.  I’m sorry, Becky…”

“I’m so sorry.”

Jonny lowers his head and clutches the sunglasses in his right hand.

Becky stands up from her seat and immediately runs into his arms.  She clutches him, desperately weeping.  He tries to stay strong for her, but it’s a struggle.  He puts her head up against his chest, wipes his eyes, sniffles, and embraces her back.  The priest, overseeing  the ceremony, stares somberly at the earth, as do many of the faces in the gathering.

Jonny: (Whispering) It’s okay…  It’s…  (He sniffles more) It’s gonna be fine.

He runs his hands through her hair, like a father to his daughter.

Jonny finally steps back, though, and gives one final nod to Becky…  To the family. 

To the dead.

He puts his sunglasses back on and starts to walk around the chairs, but he never takes a seat.  Instead, he simply walks away.  He can’t look at the faces anymore.  They were all ghosts.  Memories he had to shake, but couldn’t.  Nothing felt good.  His heart races at speeds that turn his stomach and he keeps walking.  No one notices at first.  The priest consoles Becky, who’s sobbing has reached a peak, and everyone else watches on gravely, while the procedures continue.

His feet crunch softly through vivid blades of grass.

“Baby…”

He stops.

It was the last voice he wanted to hear.

Not now.

Please.

She runs up behind him, barefoot, holding a pair of high-heels.

“Baby, please.”

Paralysis.  Absolute paralysis.  His body becomes encumbered with a trillion pounds of emotional gravity.  He doesn’t want to look at her.  She doesn’t deserve this.  Him.

(Li): Jonny.  I don’t want to do this.  Baby…  I love you.  Please.  Please just come home!

Her voice is frantic, pained…

That’s all he wanted to hear.

But he doesn’t.

It’s just a whisper in his brain.  It’s just his…  fairy tale.

The last ditch effort.

She wasn’t chasing him this time.  No one was.  He left and they didn’t turn.  If she ran, what he even do?  They’d been down this road so many times, and each time they’d become more distant.  With his wife…  his friends…  everyone.

He stands in the center of a cemetery.

Alone.

It’s a tough pill to swallow, but he has no choice.  The parking lot is only a few paces away.  He’d get in his car, drive to the airport, and fly back to Vegas.  His home.  The place he loved; the only world that ever seemed to work for him.

The bridges were burned.

The bodies buried.

He was heading…  home.

I’m going home, King.

Like you suggested.  I’m… gonna go home and I’m…

 I’m gonna win a world title.

That’s my home.  In SHOOT.  At the top of the ladder.  That’is where I live, man.  Outside?  Here?  I’m nothing.  Weird, huh?  The guy who spent his entire career “breaking the forth wall”, tearing apart sacred industry structures and openly terrorizing those who LOVED this sport, had…  unbridled passion for it.  Heh…  TURNS OUT, King, that guy was always the most in love.  Maybe not by choice, and that’s always been the problem.  I never WANTED to be in love.  Not with…  this.   With a woman.  A family… a LIFE, but you don’t get to pick these things.

I know everyone’s questioning my sanity.  Jesus.  I know.  I read everything.  Every day… people commenting on my “downward spiral”, my…  “all over the place” conversations.  They see the sadness…  the desperation.  They comment on it.  Their stupid lives, FUELED by it.  I get it, dude.  I’m not in the business this time around, of being…  eloquent.  But if there’s a consistent through line in any of this perceived madness, it’s that I truly, with all my being, believe I am the best thing for SHOOT.

Now.

Then.

Forever.

They… you say I held a company hostage.  I say I DEMANDED a better life for it.  That’s what you do for the people and things you love, Donovan.  It’s not always easy, but…  but THAT’S.  WHAT.  YOU DO.  Freedom isn’t for everyone, man.  People need guidance.  Rules.  AUTHORITY.   I know you refuse to listen to me, but I’m right, King.   Those other names?  You know what the difference is between Chris Lee, Carver…  Davis, and…  and ME?

They’re past tense.

They.  WERE.

I…  AM

They took whatever they wanted from SHOOT, and when there was nothing left.  They took off, tail between their legs.  They NEVER had a vision.  They never demanded the best for SHOOT.  They, like you, simply demanded the best for themselves.

THAT IS NOT HOW YOU CONTROL A FUCKING HOME.

I did for Jason what NO ONE was willing to do.  I knew there would be backlash.  I knew there would be naysayers, but I BROKE THE FUCKING MOLD on how we perceive champions.  My reign was a THING OF LEGEND.  I did what I HAD to do.  What SHOOT Project NEEDED ME TO DO.  And that’s, ultimately, why Jason backed down.  Vanished.  He could FINALLY rest easy knowing that someone loved his baby as much as he did…  I did what I had to do for the thing I love.

And I will do it again if I have to.

That’s where we’re different.  I know you think you’re me, and, while I appreciate that you’ve finally admitted your obsession, you are FAR FROM IT.  I would have taken me out, King.  Completely.  Entirely.  But, despite the heinous assault that kept me on the shelf for seven months and, eventually, out of the ring for FOUR YEARS, you still operated within the bounds…  the CONFINES of our sport.

An asp?

Try a gun next time, you fucking idiot.

And that’s the whole shebang in a nutshell.  You’re bound by these… stupid ethics and mores.  This idea of “right” and “wrong” ways of doing business.  You believe in ideas like “deserve”.  Fuck your “self-entitlement” bullshit.  NO ONE DESERVES ANYTHING IN LIFE.  I will do WHATEVER I have to do to get what I NEED!  If that means holding the company hostage again?  If that means pressing charges on your assault?  Finding a loophole…  BURYING you if I can’t “pin you in a wrestling ring”. 

I’ll do it.

I won’t settle for compromise.  For handshakes.

I won’t SETTLE, period.

On Monday, I’m winning the SHOOT Project World Title.

On Tuesday, I’m abolishing Scar.

In Two weeks, I’ll defeat Dan Stein.

And after that’s taken care of…  I’ll once again rebuild this company in my image.

I will fix my home.

…..

I am MORE than a man with wings who died in the sun.

I AM AN ANGEL, King.

An angel who flew JUST HIGH ENOUGH.  Who TOUCHED the sun…  who CONTROLED IT.

I am Icarus’s success.

I am…

Alone.  He was alone at his car, hands wrapped around the handle…  but he stops.  Stares back at the procession.  No one had noticed.

Tim died.

But it was Jonny’s funeral.

His thoughts are abruptly ended by the buzzing phone in his pants pocket.  He reaches in and grabs it, stares at the screen.  It was a number he didn't know.  It was new...

"Hello...?" Jonny speaks hesitantly into the phone.

He nods, listening intently, though with trepidation.  He's confused, but not dismissive.

"Interesting..."  He trails off, while he listens to the response.

"Yeah...  I mean, lord knows I could uhh....  could use some Friends right now..."

6
"The glitz... glamor."

His words open on a black screen.  The audio is particularly sharp, well produced. 

No pictures. 

Just his voice.

"Special effects, man.  Painting a...  a picture. 

"Million DOLLAR promo-production city.  Call the presses.  Line 'em up, sell it out, do things...  right."


.....

"We obviously, uhh...  We don't need any of that."

From a nothing, imageless world, Jonny emerges under a single spotlight, seated on a stool in the center of some sort of studio space.  He's wearing a red T-shirt with a nurse's face in the center; her lips protected by "SONIC YOUTH" mask.  His jeans are hip, tight and torn at the knees. His beard is a little longer, hair a touch shaggier, blonde, but noticeably more grey than usual.  A black back-drop hangs behind him, adorned with a crude, simple recreation of the SHOOT Project's Helmet Logo in white.  His wounds are mostly hidden in shadows; faint shapes of scrapes and cuts; eyeliner bruise.  Deeper pain, stowed away.  In his neck, back; his heart, dimly projected through a chilled gaze.  Frigid blue eyes.

He stares straight ahead.

Waiting.

His breath is patient.  Meticulous, concentrated, deliberate.  Breathes in.  Out.  Softly.  He tilts his neck to the right, down. He stretches, wheels his shoulders back, but there isn't any comfort.

Deep.  Breath.

Jonny: You had...  what?  Four years?  ...Almost five?  You had a while, man, to...  to say sorry or whatever.  Patch things up.  Make things good between us  But... but, I guess that wasn't enough time?  Hmm?  You just... you woke up on May twenty-seventh.  Ate breakfast or...  or maybe you're not a breakfast guy.  A quick snack.  Made all your appearances.  Got in some gym time. Drove to work.  Took a taxi.  Train.  Plain.  How do you travel?  Limo?  Walk?  Run...  You jogged over to work with your trophy BELT on your stupid shoulder, signed seven or eight pictures of your face.

Wrapped your fists up.  Tied your boot laces...

Thought about Maya Nakashimi for a little bit

And then...  THEN thought about me?  Now?  Cause of some...  cute, clever, promo-happy association in your brain with the word...  The IDEA... of, of HOPE?

He nods, sarcastically; lips pursed.

Jonny: Oh.  Right.  Of course.  My bad.  MY logic flub.  I overreacted.  Like always.  I'm fucking CRAZY, dude.  I'm the paranoid, schizophrenic, DEFILER!  LIVING IN MY OWN SAD WORLD OF PAINFUL DISILLUSION!!!

His right hand clenches into a fist, and aggressively raises the middle finger.

Jonny: Fuck you, King.

He shakes his head, his eyes squinting back further rage while the lines in his face paint a picture of stern opposition.

Jonny: The easiest course of action for a man to take against an opponent in any walk of life is to... dismiss him.  IGNORE the things he doesn't want to hear and pass it off as misguided insanity.  Heretics.  Pagans.  SCAPE goats...  BORN out of sloppy, lazy, fear.  If you can't deny an accusation, simply TELL THE WORLD THAT YOU'RE ACUSER IS FUCKING NUTS!

Works like a fucking charm.  Usually.

But not anymore.

You...  Donovan, you, along with countless others always...  you always like to make a villain out of me because...  because if I'M the bad guy.  If... if what JONNY JOHNSON represents is EVIL.  IS HORRIBLE...  well, then, shit.  You're just the bees knees, Superman.

You're good.

You're JUSTICE.

You... are a hero.

Because you're not me.

Jonny waggles a finger. 

He's anxious.  Angry.  Determined.

Jonny: But if that was the case.  Then...  then wouldn't things have been better when I was...  "vanquished" all those years ago?

I mean...  right?

Hmm?

Then why does a group like SCAR get to exist?

Why do bad things continue happening to hard working, decent people?  Why does this roster CONTINUE to suffer the effects of bleak, directionless combat?  Why are they asked to sacrifice everything they have DAYS INTO MONTHS INTO YEARS to a cause... a GOAL that they will never harbor the fruits of?

He shrugs, though clearly has his own answer to all of these "questions".

Jonny: You got a decent answer?  Because none of that shit happened with JONNY JOHNSON as your World Champion.

And THAT'S why we're here.

He takes a deep breath.  There's pride.  Sinful pride in his body language at this juncture.

Jonny:  You know, it's...  it's sad, but I...  I uhh...

He shuts his eyes and struggles to get out the next sentence.

Jonny: I don't know that I ever loved my wife. If I ever loved my kid.

I don't know, man.

They're good people.  But love them?

I don't know, but...

But I...

I love SHOOT.  I love this place.

It's the only thing I've ever cared enough to fight for.  I love it.  I dream about it.  I...  can't stop thinking about it.  Four plus years I tried to ignore everything inside of me.  I wanted to...  to just...  to be ANYTHING else.  To be ANYWHERE in the world but here.  I couldn't.

I've fought, man.  FOR NEARLY THIRTEEN YEARS...  I fought for the future of this place.

I stood by Jason Johnson.  By SHOOT.

I CONQUERED, OBSESSIVELY, the people I felt were a detriment to the SHOOT Project organization.  I've done it my whole career only to be fought, tooth and nail, the entire time.

So sure...

By the time two thousand eight rolled around...  I wasn't going to stop.  There was no stability.  There were no leaders. 

There.  Was.  NOTHING.

So I took it upon myself to fix that.

For SHOOT.

Tell me I was wrong.  Go back, look at that roster.  Look at that time period AND TELL ME I wasn't right.

You can't.

All you can do is complain about my methods. 

But so what?

I saved this organization from a DISASTER and made it one of the most successful periods it's EVER seen.  MY leadership.  MY VISION, King, lead to the birth of the Epicenter.  It lead to bigger paydays for the employees, better lives.

That's what a CHAMPION does.

He makes the world a better place.

He PROTECTS.

And while you may disagree with how I assessed the "enemies", you CANNOT deny the efficiency with which they were dealt with.

There was no room for opposition.

He lets out a long sigh and takes a few extra seconds to center himself and maintain his composure.

Jonny: On May twenty seventh... You could have been patrolling the back.  Checking to make sure Project SCAR wasn't looming somewhere in the building, planning more terrorist attacks... or, or...  you could have been, I don't know...  (Shrugging, smugly) giving advice to newcomers on how to maximize their SHOOT Project debuts; checking in with old veterans, wishing them luck on Master of the Match or Sin City Champion Series bouts...

Donovan King could have been chatting with boys in the production truck, seeing if there was anything he could do to make sure the show was going to be able to go off without a hitch.  Maybe even... you know... thanking the guys for all the hard work they do night, after night, after night.

The SHOOT Project World Heavyweight Champion had a LAUNDRY list of things he probably COULD HAVE been doing to make his organization better...

Things he SHOULD HAVE been doing.

Things a CHAMPION does. 

Instinctively.

He smirks; chortles; bearing his discontent.

Jonny: You're not a champion, King. 

You're an excellent, albeit, SELFISH, professional wrestler who has mastered the art of winning.

But that's ALL you are.

The SHOOT Project's World Title, in your hands...

It's just a fucking belt.

It's a trophy.

It's a stupid symbol of all the matches you win.

Congrats.

His features grow dim as the room he sits inside of.  Lips curl into dire assertion.

Jonny: But when I held it...   When I HOLD it after Monday night...  When I DEFEAT you, Donovan King...

It will once again become the source of power this company NEEDS. 

It will SUPERSCEDE the petty revenge fantasies of Adrian Corazon. 

It will DEVOUR the terror of Project SCAR. 

And it will PROVIDE SANCTUARY FROM ALL FUTURE ATTEMPTS TO DEFACE THE ORGANIZATION!

I am it's aegis.

I am its GUARDIAN.

THAT...  is who I am.

Rubbing nose, he takes a moment for thought.

Jonny: You earned a BELT.  You got a fucking belt because you beat a guy who held that BELT before you.

He stares straight ahead.

Jonny: There's no denying your ability between the ropes, but...  but Donovan this...  (Shaking his head) This is about so much more than that.  You can't carry this company.  You don't have what it takes...  you never have and you never fucking will.

This is more than pins and submissions.  This is more than winning and losing.

This is about SHOOT Project.

A place that you've allowed to become a maddening cesspool of fear, terror and chaos.  That's the God-honest truth, and uhh...  I... I can't let that continue to happen.

And so now, I guess...

I guess the only thing you've really EARNED...  is a defeat at my hands.

A defeat at the hands of a champion.

At the hands...

...Of the DEFILER.

He lowers his eyes and drops his head.  The lights in the room come up and a white dude in a ragged white T-shirt and jeans comes out from wherever he had been stationed.  Actually, a couple guys do.  Some generic faces.  Some with beards and mustaches.  One guy, a black dude, clean shaven.  They bring out a couple ladders and appear to be doing some tech work.  Something with the lights.

There's banging.

Chatter.

Jonny doesn't move from his stool.

He breathes heavily.  Slowly, and finally raises his head back up and opens his eyes.  He looks around the room, nodding.

"Thanks guys."  He offers his gratitude to the crew.

"Yeah dude.  Of course."  One of them says back, still focused on adjusting several lights. 

Others start tearing down the back drop and Jonny stands up.

It looks like maybe he's planning an exit, heading toward an area that would take him off camera, maybe by a door (assuming that's the case since a bunch of other people came from that direction and it's doubtful they were all just hiding with ladders to the side) but before he can make it there, a man rushes in.

Familiar.  Grey suit and tie.  Jonny's legal aid and assistant. 

Peter Lolwen.

Peter's expressions are oddly grave, and Jonny notices.

Jonny: Peter.  Hey...  what's...  What?  We have to SHOOT something again or...

He interrupts.

Peter Lolwen: Jonny I...

Jonny: Peter, WHAT?

Lolwen takes a deep breath.

Peter Lolwen: I uhhh... Jonny...

"Tim Calahan was in accident this afternoon."

Jonny peers at Lolwen.

Jonny: (Concerned) A...  what?  An accident?  Well is he...  I mean, he's okay?  Or...?  What happened?  Do we need to book a flight somewhere or...

Lolwen shakes his head.

Peter Lolwen: No.  Jonny, he...  Tim...

He can't get out the words.

But he didn't need to.

Jonny goes white.

The scene fades to black.

"The funeral's in a couple of days."

....

"I'm sorry."


7
McCarran International Airport.

To the arriving star-gazer, it was the first spec of glitter on a sparkling future.  Slot machine jingles, bustling crowds, and a windowpane glimpse of all that awaits through dollar sign eyes are the most common symptoms.  They joke with friends, brag about blackjack strats, and pine for thousand dollar pots on pocket aces.  They also see through their future selves, seated at a machine for five hours, pressing buttons out of instinct, each push more depressing than the last.  The departing cling to bad beats, bad luck, and bad eight dollar prime rib.  There are thousands coming and going, from all terminals; walks of life.  Cameras flash and dreams explode.

It's funny, though, how an entire world can be drowned out... broken by a single thought.

Jonny Johnson, standing idly in a mostly empty terminal, stares outside through the tinted shades of pink-rimmed aviators; sucked in to every plane that begins its descent.  An older man naps a few chairs away and a younger girl rests her head on the boy in the next seat over, but they're entirely forgettable.  It feels warm.  He's uncomfortable and shift anxiously in his skin, while swiveling a sore neck side to side.  He dips down a shoulder, leans back...  to his right, left, takes a deep breath.

Nervous.

He swallows back a worst case scenario

It's hard to say if anyone would notice.  He probably looks like a distracted hipster to anyone else...  knee-torn skinny jeans, a pair of red chucks, and an Eleven Hour Record Tee; a white hourglass silhouette on a   He designed it.  The shirt... the label.  The bands, playing wildly successful shows, that were signed to it.  It was all his, and yet,  it wasn't HIM.  He owned it.  He made it, but...

But what?

"Hey, i uh.  I got you a coffee, man."

Temporarily unfrozen, Jonny runs his hands through his hair and exhales loudly as he turns to accept the gift of Tim Calahan.  Tim was a longtime student of his, not so different than Tom or Jason in that sense.  He just didn't ever really "click".  The kid had the look: six-four, muscular.  Attractive features.  Blue eyes, brownish blonde hair that looked cool messed up and rugged.  His dad was a twenty some odd year of the sport so he had the pedigree as well...  just never made it.

It used to be a harder pill for Calahan to swallow, but he started moving on.  Worked a few independent dates here and there, but opened a gym, does some training.  That kind of thing, and in turn, Jonny looked at him a little more differently than he did his other guys.

He treated him like friend.

Jonny: Thanks.

Tim hands him the cup and Jonny includes a quick nod as part of his gratitude.

Tim: Any word yet?

He shakes his head, and just like that gets devoured again by the runway scene.

Jonny: No...  It's uhhh...  He was low bars.  Heh...  What a shitty time to run out of power.  (Shrugging) It's not his fault, though.  I shoulda...  I mean... just...

He again to Tim.  Anguish melts his cheeks...  his eyes are cloudy, holding back streams of paranoid conclusions. 

He takes a deep breath.

Jonny: (Plainly) I fucked up. 

He shrugs again.

Jonny: I don't know why I didn't just leave.  I should have gone home man...  I...  I could have done...  I could have done everything or...  or anything else, ya know?  I could have seriously made ANY choice but the ones I made and...  (motioning broadly around him) And NONE OF THIS...  any of it...  None of this fucking happens, and I...

Tim puts a hand out and sternly grabs Jonny's arm.

Tim Calahan: Stop.

The gesture proves effective.  He stops rambling and Calahan continues.

Tim Calahan: You gotta keep it together, man.  Okay?  You can't change shit.  It's out of your hands and driving yourself nuts with your...  time travel brain...  Dude, just...  You have to stop.

His lips fidget through another deep breath.  He cracks uncrackable knuckles.

Jonny: But...  But uhh... what if...  what if she uhh... she ummm...

He takes yet another deep breath, stammering through his words.  Making a sentence right now seems impossible as he concentrates on holding back an emotional leak; the breakdown hiding behind his stern features.

One.  More.  Long.  Breath.

Jonny: (Exhaling) Ffffff.... You're right. 

He nods and tries to find anything to hold on to; to keep it together.

Jonny:I can't change it.  Whatever happens...  It happens, right?

Calahan agrees with a nod of his own.

Tim Calahan: Yeah.

They both fall into silence.  Jonny's eyes wander back out the window, trailing a new plane as it falls from the sky.  Tim, meanwhile, apprehensively wanders through his own mind, trying to think of what he can say to make this silence less uncomfortable without dumbing it down.

Tim Calahan: Ever touch base with Riles or Rogue?

Jonny laughs under his breath.  He doesn't change the direction of the gaze, and seems even more focused on a particular flight that appears to have just landed.  From here, it's all dots, but he watches them like a cat watching ants in a kitchen.

Jonny: No... 

He tries to make out details of the faceless dots, which Tim visibly finds maddening.

Jonny: I guess they did some kind of SHOOT at the Cali Pro show on Wednesday...  and then uhh...  then, Thursday night I think.... Josh called me up kinda weird cause they formerlly turned down the offer he made them.  So yeah...  We're probably not on speaking terms for a while.

His eyes narrow and he changes the subject at whim, saying words out loud, but, only to his benefit.  Only to himself.

Jonny: I think that's them...  I...

He moves closer to the window

Tim Calahan: When they get here they're here.

"Flight Seven-Thirty-Three, out of CHICAGO now Arriving"

Jonny goes cold, frozen.  He shuts his eyes and concentrates on every breath.  His shoulders tense up, back.  Neck.

Tim Calahan: C'mon, man.  Hang in there.

This was an eternity.  It feels like days in his brain.  Tim offers a pat on the back, but he's just as tense, just as nervous.  Frightened.  Anxious.  The two of them stand, waiting, and waiting...

And waiting.

Waiting.

Each second that passes by defies time itself.  Seconds... One, two, three.  His heart pounds frantically, fearful of its inevitable cracking.  Breaking.  It beats; THUMP! THUMP! THUMP!; for its own existence, it punches the ribs surrounding it.  LET IT OUT!

THUMP!  THUMP!  THUMP!

Jonny, like some kind of heroin addict, rubs his pectoral, feels his hearts pulsing punch.

Tim Calahan: What did they say?  Did you hear any of it?  Or, just someone gave you the heads up...   or what?

He blinks at Tim.  The words aren't processing.

Jonny: Huh?  Uh... ehh... umm yeah.  Sorry.  Fuck.  No, I uhh...  (Fighting for his composure) No.  No, I didn't hear it.  I haven't heard it.  Chris called me about it...

Calahan raises an eyebrow.

Tim Calahan: Davis?

Jonny nods.

Jonny: Yeah...  he umm...  I don't know why he had seen it.  Angel might work there...  I forgot.  But yeah.  Chris told me.  He was...

His voice trails off.

His heart sinks.

Tim Calahan: Jonny...

His lawyer, Peter Lolwen, arriving in Las Vegas, walking in their direction... was alone.

He was supposed to have Li.

She was supposed to be with him.

Peter, with a duffel slung over his shoulders and a stack of papers tucked in his right arm, can barely make eye contact with his client.  Jonny walks toward him frantically, hurried.  He can't help but peer for details; the papers...  He sees a signature... a couple signatures... the same one in different spots. 

He shakes.

Divorce papers.

Jonny: Peter...  (Almost pleading, desperate) Pete, please man...

Peter Lolwen: I'm sorry.  I'm so fucking sorry, man.

Nothing.

He goes numb.

No one knows what to say.  They...  all go numb.

I'm not what you're looking for, Valentine.

I agree.

Because what you're looking for...  It's a way out.  It's an emotional get-a-way car.  You want someone, something to JUSTIFY who you are; WHAT you do.  And I'm not that guy.  I'm not that THING.  You might find it with Corazon or Project SCAR.  Broken.  Brutal.  Fine.  Someone to inflict the kind of torturing physical pain that blacks out the EMOTIONAL suffering you're too chickenshit to endure.

Maybe Adrian Corazon or Issaac Entragian are some kind of twisted elixer to numb whatever you're running from...

But they're not an option.

You don't get to find that out.

Because to test them... to PLEAD WITH THEM for whatever sick release you need...

You'd have to get through me.

And I already told you that that wasn't happening.

I EXPLAINED TO YOU the situation. 

Did you think I was fucking around? 

HUH??? HUH?  DID YOU TAKE THAT SHIT LIGHTLY?  LIKE IT'S JUST SOME KIND OF PAINT BY THE NUMBERS PROMO HORSESHIT????  You don't GET Corazon.  You don't get SCAR or Loco or Tanya Black or Mason Pierce or Trey Willett...

YOU.  GET.  ME.

We good on that?

Where you plow through life, bull headed, terrified that you may ACTUALLY feel...  I take it.  I take it all, bro.  I let it hurt,  I let the tears run down my fucking cheeks.  I LET THE BUTTERFLIES EAT MY STOMACH APART and I spend hours, alone, in dark rooms, figuring out how the hell I'm going to get out of it. 

I sacrifice your stoic, impenetrable stone fortress for humble flesh and bones.

And here I am.

Fifteen some-odd-years later.

Hall of Famer.

World Champion.

Speak my name and LISTEN as the reverence echoes off the walls.

Where you've built an...  image.

I have a LEGACY

So, please, tell me again what I should be doing differently?

Hmm?

....

See...  a real monster, Valentine...

You'd never even know he was one.

A wolf in sheep's clothing.  Right?

A man in plain sight.

Not a DEFILER...

Just a guy named Jonny.

He was just a guy, in an airport.  Just a guy named Jonny.  He's stunned, lost in a million worlds.  Does he fight?  Does he walk away?   He can't come up with the right words.

Peter and Tim can't come up with the right thing to do.

Peter Lolwen: I'm...

Jonny musters the strength to hold up his hand.

Jonny: It's fine...

"I'll sign whatever I need to."

8
His hands form a loose fist; arms planted firmly on a black foam mat, body propped parallel to the ground.  Strands of blonde dangle over his eyes, funneling sweat from his forehead into a leaky faucet-creek that navigates down his nose, over his mouth, off his chin, and into the threads of a soaked, grey tank-top.  He takes short focused breaths as he waits out the plank; his body tight at the tail end of an hour-and-a-half-long work out.  His eye was still bruised, but healing and there was some general discomfort after the altercation he had a couple weeks ago.  But he was making it by.  That's what professional wrestlers did.  The Time-Share had a gym that hardly anyone used, especially not at Eight AM.  Vegas wasn't traditionally famous for being a place people went to make themselves "better".  Besides, no one was up this early...  or, at least, hadn't been to sleep.

Jonny appreciated the solitude.

It kept...  keeps his mind off the other things he wasn't quite able shake.

With his reflection staring back from the mirrors surrounding the room, he closes his eyes and lets out a circle-lipped puff.

"Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction"

The room is suddenly over-taken by dark, blaring guitars and anti-war messages.  Jonny sighs loudly, though tries to maintain his concentration.

Jonny: Turn that shit OFF!

"Oh.... I'm sorry.  Who died and made you king of the fucking Time Share gym?"  A familiar voice shouts back.

"Jason.  Seriously, man.  Tact."

Jonny shakes his head and falls into a relaxed position on his knees.  Black Sabbath's popular "War Pigs" does not relent.  He looks at the ground, trying to keep his cool, while JASON RILEY and TOM QUINN join his side.  Quinn, full beard, about six-two, one ninety, in Adidas sport shorts and a grungy, Man-U workout Tee, apologetically pats Jonny on the side.  Riley, a little smaller all the way around; buzz cut, in Nike basketball shorts and a Joakim Noah Bulls Jersey, is not as forgiving. 

The brash, younger cousin rolls his eyes.

Jason Riley: You've been here for like two hours, man.  We have a fucking show tonight and WE fucking like this song.

Quinn, who traditionally plays foil to Riley's antics and, in general, acts as the duo's voice of reason, shrugs, surprisngly, in agreement.

Tom Quinn: We gotta get some work in, old man.  TECHNICALLY this is an open gym...

Riley, at his buddy's side, keeps his hands on his hips and gives a pretty aggressive "take that" stare.  Jonny stands up, stale beads of sweat falling off his body, and tilts his head...  staring back, miffed.

Jonny: TECHNICALLY, this is MY time share, and TECHNICALLY you are my GUESTS, which means TECHNICALLY, for both of you, there aren't really any technicalities.  (Staring a hole through both of them)  Just turn the fucking music off.

Quinn puts his hands up in the air, "Okay...!" and walks over to the small stereo system set up an abandoned corner of the room, behind a few of the exercise bikes but Riley does not appear willing to drop this one.

Jason Riley: What the FUCK dude?  Seriously.  We just put some fucking music on and you rage over it?  Who FUCKING CARES?

Dismissively, Jonny reaches down and picks up a water bottle.

Jonny: (Taking a quick swig from the bottle) I care.  (Stern, to the point) And... that's all that really matters, right now.  I don't want to listen to that song, and if you play it,  I'll ask you to leave and you can go back to whatever fucking heroin den couch you were sleeping on before ..

Riley smirks out of disbelief and starts laughing.

Jason Riley: Oh, nice.  Back to the drug shit again.  Right.  Cause me being sober for two years means nothing.  I'm still always your fuck up cousin...

He shrugs at Riley.  Meanwhile, Quinn, sensing trouble brewing, turns the music off and quickly rejoins the warring relatives.

Tom Quinn: Guys.  Knock it off.

Jonny looks at Quinn now.

Jonny: Excuse me?  Guys?

Quinn realizes he may have stepped over a line by trying to mediate this situation and holds an appologetic hand in the air.

Tom Quinn: I'm just saying man...  Music's off.  I get it.  We're your guests, but at the same time...  I mean, dude, Riles has been the best he's ever been.  He's mostly clean.  I'm mostly clean.  We're not perfect, but...  just ease up on the addict shit.

His eyes fall to the floor and he rubs his forehead.

Jonny: Is this...  (Looking back up) Are you guys for real?  This is happening?  You're lecturing ME...?  On...  on what I should be saying or doing?

Before either of them can say anything in response, Jonny signals "one second", holding up his index finger and silencing any potential rebuttal.

Jonny: No.  (shaking his head) No.  You guys get free press at the station a couple days ago...  you got Sean and Josh actually HEARING YOU OUT on a possible return to the company...  and... what?  I don't want to listen to fucking Black Sabbath and somehow I'm a bad guy?

While he may be overreacting, Jonny's truly in disbelief.

Jonny: What's wrong with the fucking world?  Huh?  You two shit heads have the answer for that?  What's wrong with this picture?  Clean ISH for two years and working for...  CALI PRO?  CALI-fucking-PRO?  Now you're sober heroes of the universe.

Tom Quinn: Dude...  you're being ridiculous...

He points to exit.

Jonny: Get out.  Leave.

Quinn hangs his head, but Riley does not seem willing to drop things that easily.

Jason Riley: Oh FUCK THAT.  News flash, you fucking idiot.  It's not two thousand seven.  We're fucking happy with how shit's going and if it means getting to be independent of your dumb ass paranoia, control-freak, STRAIGHT UP HORSESHIT...  you can tell Jason or Josh or Kygon or who-the-fuck-EVER, that we're not interested in a job!

The tension continues to mount.  Quinn tries to pull Riley back, while Jonny maintains silence.

Jason Riley: (Shrugging Quinn off) Get the fuck off me.  (Back to Jonny) Are you really SO FUCKED that you think some kind of good bye SHOOT run or winning Master of the Mat or any wrestling PERIOD is going to erase whatever crazy batshit is still locked away in your head?  Why are you back?  Huh?  You have like the hottest fucking wife in the world...  you have a family....

Jonny takes a deep, agitated breath.  His once shallow, empty gaze now springs into a very menacing glower.  Riley takes a few steps closer and Quinn tries, again, to stop this from going any further.

Tom Quinn: (Grabbing Jason's arm) Jase!

Riley rips away from Quinn, his stare not once leaving Jonny.

Jason Riley:  No!  Fuck that.... And what pisses me off the MOST...  no matter how many times you try to shit it all away... you've ALWAYS come out on top of it all.  You fuck the entire world over and it keeps giving and giving.  Jonny ALWAYS GETS WHAT JONNY WANTS.  LI LEFT YOUR ASS FOUR YEARS AGO.    But she came back.  You didn't even lift a fucking finger.  She just came back..  And now you're doing it all over again.  Back in Vegas...  (Shaking his head) I'd give anything to have your life.  I've ALWAYS wanted to be you...

He glares at Jonny and moves in mere inches away.

Jason Riley: Not anymore, though.  YOU'RE the addict, COUS.  You don't deserve your life.  Li's to good for you, bro.  She needs something better.  (Shrugging) Who knows, maybe while you're out here trying to fix imaginary problems, I'll sneak back to Chicago and I'll fuck your wife.

Tom Quinn: JESUS!!!  JASON STOP!

Riley shakes his head, Jonny's body tenses, paralyzed with rage.

Jason Riley: I'll fuck your wife...  and....  and then after you sign the long term contract everyone knows you'll eventually sign...  I'll raise Sam...  I'll raise your fucking daughter until she's eighteen AND THEN I'LL FUCK HER TOO, YOU...

Jonny: AHHHHH!!!!

Without hesitation, Jonny HURLS his fist forward and DRILLS RILEY IN THE SIDE OF THE MOUTH!!!  He staggers back, but doesn't fall to the floor...  just to a knee, and he silently holds the side of his face, possibly expecting the blow.  Quinn races in between the two of them, but Jonny, breathing frantically... pushes him away and stands his ground.

It's a public gym, and although Jonny's body language is telling a very angry, disturbing story, it's not the place for doing what he wants to do. 

Instead, he goes eerily calm.

Jonny: Get the fuck out.  Right now.

That's all he says. 

Quinn doesn't utter a word, while Riley, spitting out some blood from his lip and rubbing a cheek that will surely be bruised later on, simply laughs.

Jason Riley: Have fun being a fucking hero, you faggot.

Quinn now VERY VIOLENTLY yanks Riley away.

Tom Quinn: ENOUGH dude.  Just... let's get outta here...

Riley shoulder bumps Jonny on the way out, but the artist formerly know as the DEFILER stays still.

And the Earth joins him.

Everything.  Comes.  To a...  crawl.

A blinking eye lasts an eternity.

I want to keep this simple, Valentine...

Because I think simple's the way for us to go. 

I get the feeling that you're not a reasonable human.  Not by any stretch of the imagination...  In fact, even calling you "HUMAN" could be misleading.  I obviously don't know you that well, but two introductions deep and I at least have a decent idea.   You lead a miserable, joyless, cruel existence, and I have to accept that on Monday...  I'll be in the ring with a fucking monster....

...Two monsters.

You.

And me.

That's what this is man.  A simple story...  Two terrible human beings, deep down...  at the end of it all, trying to win something because...  because why?  Because it's all we have, man.  I can't stay happy and you don't even know what happy is.  That's scary.  Scary because two people like that have the potential to cause a lot of shit.  Terrifying, man...  because anything could happen.

COULD but...  won't.

Only one thing is going to happen.

Me.  Winning.

I'm not going to be able to change the mind of a man like you, Valentine.  I get it, but you have to understand that I can't lose on Monday.  That's not a possibility no matter how you try to reason with me otherwise.   I HAVE to do this.  I have to...  And...  and... so, while I don't generally adhere to being bullied into meeting the demands of terrorists, I don't see what other choice you've left me...  I' have to cave in to everything you're asking.

Defile.  Kick, Punch...  bleed you.  You got it, man.  Punish you.  Call for your head. 

...the transgressions thing. 

Fine. 

I will DESTROY you.  I will make you humble. 

And I will beat you.... 

At your request.

Because that's the only way I can go on.  That's...  that's the only way it can be, man.  If I lose...  If I lose to you...  after...  a month... a fucking MONTH of destroying everything around me...  ONE MONTH...  that's all it took me.  One fucking month...  I've wrestled only ONE MATCH and...  and to lose and to...  to see...  to see the faces of my... of uhh...  their faces... to ummm...

No.

I can't lose to you.

So then what choice do I have but to do everything you've asked me to do?  It might make me weak...  it might... tarnish the defiant roots upon which I've staked my career but... but this is bigger than my image.

This is Master of the Mat.  This is my marriage.  My family.  My record label... 

My... my everything.

This is...  my life.

And I'll never forgive myself if I don't beat you.

I'll never fucking leave this horrible place.

I'll never find peace.

I'll haunt SHOOT Project.

Forever.

So please...  let's keep it simple.

Lose.

Like you're supposed to.

"...Jonny?"

He's pulled out of his brain and looks up.

Jonny: Oh... Tim... uhh...  hey, man...

Behind him is a man about six feet, four or five, taller than he is.  Bigger.  Good looking kid, probably in his late twenties or early thirties.  He's in jeans and a white T-shirt.  Nothing fancy.  He's another familiar face.  A real....  superfan.

He looks confused.

Tim Calahan:  Sorry I'm late, but... uh..  (looking around, noticing an empty scene) Hey, is...   Is everything...  okay? Tom and Riles aren't answering their phone.  I thought we were on for breakfast...

Jonny stares away, blankly.

Jonny: Yeah.  I...  I guess I kinda fucked that up... 

He trails off with a breathy, sad laugh.

Jonny: Fucking Black Sabbath...  ya know?

9
X...  ONE-OH-SEVEN... FIVE

"And, welcome back to the program.  Brian Kelma here, as always, with our guest, Jonny Johnson of Eleven Hour Records..."

It's an average studio, to be sure.  There's a long, wooden table acting also as a desk with a couple of pro-grade microphones and a soundboard, separating host from guest.  Band posters on the wall from various, station-sponsored events.  Decent lighting.  (Cool story)  The nameless producer and crew watch on from a small room off to the side, where there's even more tech-gadgets at their disposal.

X107.5 host Brian Kelma sits in a swivel-chair across from the very familiar frame of former SHOOT Project World Champion, Jonny Johnson.  Kelma's in jeans and a X107.5 polo, gel-brown hair slicked back, casually, and parted to the left.  He's a little smaller than his counter-part, Jonny, who looks comfortable in the studio surroundings, rocking a white LINDSAY band Tee (Lindsay written in cursive with a period after the "y")  with black skinny jeans and a pair of red chucks.  His aging, blonde locks swoop across his forehead, with strands asymmetrically sticking up in the back, and, duh, he sports a graying, rough and tumble, hipster friendly beard.  His eye has a fading bruise and his cheek is a little scratched up, but otherwise the man looks as cool as ever.

Brian Kelma: We've been chatting about the label, and, again like I said at the top of the show, congrats on all the success.  Lindsay's obviously on a tear.  That Goodbye Copter stuff... top notch, and it's just super cool to see someone like you transition, really, so flawlessly from something like pro-wrestling into music like you have.

Jonny offers an appreciative smile.

Jonny: (Nodding) Thanks...  it's uhh..  yeah.  Everything just seemed to... work out, I guess.  I'm lucky, man.  It's...  ha...  it's not really supposed to be this easy.

Kelma looks over at his producers and then at the clock hanging on the wall to  his left.  It shows 9:10AM.

Brian Kelma: So we have about...  five minutes left.  And, if it's cool with you, I know we get a lot of MMA and wrestling fans listening to the program.  Myself included...  The SHOOT Project's really become a staple of the city since the Epicenter went up... and I gotta say, man, it's been awesome to see you involved with the organization again.

Jonny: It's been awesome to BE back, Brian.  Heh...  Ya know, you get to a point...  or... I got to a point, rather, where I just...  you know, you just think, maybe that's it.  I didn't really leave the way I wanted to, but I also didn't want to be that guy that was "trying to get it right" either.  Because that's not how this sport works.  You start tryin' to leave on your terms or go out on your sunset horse...  Weird things happen.  You get hurt.  Or maybe you get over and they wanna keep you around for another year.  It's tough and...  and so a lot of guys in the business... they're just always lingering.

He shrugs and takes a second to find his next series of words.

Jonny: I told myself at the end of that last run with SHOOT...  I was starting to feel the wear and tear of being Champion for almost a year, and...  I knew it was getting close for me.  I wanted a life after pro-wrestling.  Some things happened and I was put on the shelf...  indefinitely.  For a while...  I just figured that was it.  I was ready for the next stage.

Brian chimes in.

Brian Kelma: But here you are.

He laughs, eyes at the ground, nodding.

Jonny: Haheh...  I'm back.

Brian Kelma: Family's been cool with it?

Jonny pauses, visibly uncomfortable, but he handles it professional.

Jonny: It is what it is, Brian.  I love my daughter and my wife very much.  They're the world to me, but, ya know.  I've always done what I need to do, and.... this is just something I need.  They understand, and that's all there is to it.  Ya know?

The host nods, and takes the response as a sign to quickly transition into a new subject.

Brian Kelma: Totally man...  And then this current contract...?

Jonny: I'm good through June Forth...  well...  actually, it's June Seventh, but we're saying Forth because it's the day after Master of the Mat.  But it's wrestling...  we get to make shit up.

Brian Kelma: (Laughing) And so June Forth...  or, seventh...  you're done?

He nods, though not without a second or two of thought being put into his response.

Jonny: Yeah...  the uhh...  the plan is to go in, win the tournament and... (Fishing for the right phrase, shrugging)  ...Go home.

Kelma raises his eyebrows.

Brian Kelma: No Donovan King, World Title?  (Grinning) Eh?  Just taking off?

Jonny laughs and confidentially holds his position.

Jonny: Nah.  They can handle that stipulation however they want.  Josh, Sean and Jason knew my deal going in...  Hah...  I'm sure they think they can change my mind, but...  man, listen...  I'm as neurotic as all of you guys.  I know Donovan King's there.  I know if I get through my match on the Twenty-Seventh, Adrian Corazon could be right around the corner.  I could see Project SCAR and Entragian in the finals, or Jay... Loco Martinez.  I do all the fantasy booking, too, but it's really simple.  Four wins.  I'm winning four times and on that forth win, I'll cry.  I'll wave to the fans, tell my wife and daughter I love them...  And then it's Disney Land for the rest of my life.

Brian can't help but chuckle, and the two men share the laugh together.

Brian Kelma: Fair enough, man.  (Gesturing to the eye and Jonny's general condition) You good for Revolution?

The former DEFILER grins and touches the wound.

Jonny: Oh this?  It's just make-up, bro.  Wrestling's fake!  (Laughing) Yeah.  I'm gonna be fine.  It's healing pretty well.

Brian Kelma: Valentine go stiff on ya?

Jonny rolls his eyes and laughs.

Jonny: Look at you, smark.  (Still laughing) Everyone in SHOOT works, stiff man.  You see a dude get punched or kicked or flipped on their head...  That's what is ACTUALLY happening.  It's MMA but with DDTs and moonsalts.  Heh... and  Jason gets away with it because everyone assumes we're acting out some kind of ultra violent play.  Pretty rad, right?  Ha.  (Shrugging)  So yeah. Valentine got me pretty good.  But uhh...  hey man... it's what I signed up for.

Kelma nods and leads into a plug.

Brian Kelma: And so it's you and Valentine Lionheart, Revolution...  Monday the Twenty-Seventh.  Right?

Jonny: Yep.  Kicking off the show...  so people who go with the live stream, you gotta get your shit together.

Brian chuckles.

Brian Kelma: Jonny, it's been SUCH a pleasure.  Lindsay's picked up a bunch of west coast dates, so fans, make sure you go to THELindsay dot om or check out Elevenhour dot NET, and hit up a show.  Mister Johnson, good luck in Master of the Mat, and hey, man, don't be a stranger...

Jonny reaches over the table to shake hands with Kelma.

Jonny: Thanks Bri, and I won't.  I'll come back on June eighth and we can celebrate my tournament win and hall of fame career.

Brian, still grinning, extends his hands as well and the two men officially shake.

Brian Kelma: Perfect, my man.  Folks, we got a thirty minute block of music coming up for you.  New stuff from Of Monsters and Men...  Fall Out Boy, and I’m sure some Nirvana or Red Hot Chili Peppers.  We’re alt rock.  X, One Oh Seven.

After the segment tag, Jonny stands up and Brian takes off his headset, flashing a thumbs up to his producer in the other room.

Brian Kelma: Great shit, man.  Thanks for the wrestle chats at the end.  Self indulgent as fuck, but I figure if we do MMA blogs on the website, I can talk pro wrestling with Jonny Johnson.

Jonny laughs and nods, and both men move in for an instinctual “bro-hug”.

Jonny: Seriously, anytime dude.  It was fun...

Brian Kelma: And I’m holding you to the June Eighth thing.

He nods.

Jonny: Fuck yeah.  Absolutely do that.

Jonny grabs his wallet and cell phone from off the table and appears about ready to wrap things up and head out.

Jonny: I left ten tickets for the Planet Hollywood show with Mike...  For the uhh...  what did I say...  San Diego this weekend...  so I think that’s the eighteenth they’re back for the closing?  Anyway, ten tickets you can give away.  Show’s part of some VIP thing.  So tell your Fall Out Boy fans to dress hip.

Brian laughs very loudly and Jonny gives a slight grin.

Brian Kelma: You’re such a dick...

The friendly banter is interrupted by a swinging door and a two man MOB that jumps at Jonny!

Jason Riley: Fuuuuucking radio nerd!

Tom Quinn: I know someone famous!!

The members of one time very fake SHOOT Project Tag Team Champions leap playfully into their long time friend.  He laughs while pushing them away like an uncle that was just clowned on by his nephews.  They back off and all three slap low fives and hug.

Jonny: You fucking dorks.

Riley shrugs while audibly “pffting” the remark.

Riley: Dork MY DICK, shitface.

Jonny rolls his eyes at Riley’s mostly nonsense reply, while Quinn, always the more put together, introduces himself to Brian.

Tom Quinn: Good to meet ya man.  I’m Tom, and this is my life partner, Jason.

Riley does NOT like that at all and immediately turns his attention from Jonny to Quinn.

Jason Riley: FUCKING STOP DOING THAT!!!  (To Brian) We’re a tag team.  I don’t suck his dick or whatever.

Quinn feigns disappointment.  Jonny laughs and Brian continues to listen, playing into their antics.

Tom Quinn: Baby...

Jason Riley: Fuck you.

Riley rolls his eyes but still manages to shake Brian’s hand.

Riley: I’m Jason.  Jonny’s baby cousin.

Brian nods, but in a familiar, “I know you” sort of way.

Brian Kelma: Big fan, actually.  I’m Brian.  Huge wrestling nerd so I go to a ton of Cali Pro shows.

Riley looks back at Quinn with a smirk.

Jason Riley: See, I told you we had fans other than my girlfriend.

Quinn nods, impressed, but before the banter can continue, Jonny takes center stage and changes the direction of the conversation.

Jonny: Brian’s got a job to do, fellas.  (To Brian) We’re gonna peace out of here.  Thanks for letting these idiots hang out for a second.

Brian Kelma: Dude.  Of course.  (To Quinn and Riley) You guys back up in the Bigs anytime soon?

Quinn and Riley look at Jonny, who rolls his eyes.

Jason Riley: Only if big shot works his magic.  We would RUN ALL

THE FUCK OVER SHOOT, man.

Quinn looks a little embarrassed for Jason’s behavior.

Tom Quinn: Cool it, Captain Kayfabe.  (Back to Brian) We’re just happy to be getting consistent work with where we’re at.  If it works out...  (shrugging) sure.  We’d love to be back.

Jonny motions for everyone to start leaving.

Jonny: Solid diplomacy, Roguey.  PR guy of the year.

Tom Quinn: Just helping my mentally challenged friend out.

Jason Riley: Pfft.  Friends.

There was more eye rolling and laughter.  Brian seemed to be in wrestling nerd heaven, and they would all eventually go on to leave.

But the scene cuts right about now.

10
Dominion / Brittney's Dad (2/2 vs LAURA SETON)
« on: April 09, 2013, 04:58:52 AM »
"DAD!"

The screaming daughter goes unnoticed. 

Jonny's wearing his headphones, staring at a forty-six inch watching something on Youtube.  It says Icon something or other, and looks like a music video, though it's hard to tell from this angle.  He's reclining in a black leather chair, singing to himself, and playing air drums.  Obviously music...  or a cat video with rockable percussion.  (It's the first thing)  This is a pretty sweet room, by the way;  Basement space, evidenced by the very tiny amount of light shining in through a singular, small window. Record art all over the walls...  from Dylan to Velvet Underground to Joy Division...  Arcade Fire, Tegan and Sara.  There's an award case in the corner with a ton of plaques, trophies and framed pictures.  Jonny with a few different wrestling personalities...  but most of the pictures seem music oriented.  Then, there's also some very expensive looking stereo equipment and a turn table as well, accompanied by an entire shelf of his vinyl collection.  It's a room he earned after countless hours in wrestling rings and studios.

His space.  His time and he rocks out alone, oblivious that a nine-year old girl is running downstairs to shout at him about something.

"DAD!!!  UGGGGH!!!! DAAAAAD!"

He mouths a few lyrics of whatever song he's listening to.  It's a casual Monday evening.  Sure, he'd be in the air on his way back to Las Vegas for the first time in almost five years in a little less than twenty-four hours, but fuck all of that for the time being.  He's in comfortable adidas track pants and a white T-shirt, and his hair's a little more unkempt than usual. His dirty blonde bangs still swoop across the front of his forehead in typical, Chicago Scene style, but it's a little matted, dirty, sweaty...  like he just finished a work-out.  He probably did.

"Oh my, God.  Dad!!!  Why aren'...."

Samantha Johnson stares at her dad and rolls her eyes.  She has dark hair, like her mother, but clearly life presence from her old man, a hip kid in "intentionally" torn jeans, and a black, spaghetti string tank-top.  Jonny doesn't notice her, which is certainly NOT COOL.  Samantha shakes her head and walks up behind Daddy-dearest, pulls off his headphones in such confident, flawless fashion, that she's so clearly done this before.

Samantha: You WOULD love this song.

The music is turned waaaaay up, audible, through the earpieces, to anyone close by.  Jonny, momentarily stunned, looks up at his daughter, taken aback by her aggressive, presumptuous behavior.

Jonny: Ummm...  excuse me?

Samantha hands her dad back his headphones and immediately grabs a few unattended CD's off his desk, sifting through them with the attention span of a gnat.

Samantha: No one listens to CDs...  Who's this?

Jonny reaches out and grabs the albums back from his daughter who puts up zero fight.

Jonny: They're demos...  (Getting back to the matter at hand) Nibs, what did we talk about you acting out like this?

She seems entirely apathetic to whatever lesson her dad is reminding her of.

Samantha: As if.  You've been down here for, like...  ever.  Mom says that if you start listening to music for too long I'm allowed to take your headphones off.

Jonny sighs, but not without a little smile to accompany his defeated frustration.

Jonny: What do you need, baby?

She gets right to the point.

Samantha: (Very abrupt) Brittney said that her dad said you were going to be a wrestler again?  Are you seriously going to do that?

He was definitely not ready for that.

Samantha never really knew her dad as a professional wrestler.  She was born in two-thousand three, while Jonny was only really working part time, and, kids... they don't seem to remember anything before eight...  That would have made her about two when he went to work for True Talent Wrestling...  then another break, and some part time work with SHOOT Project.  And, yeah, in two thousand seven and eight, his only other major stint, she was only about five.  Jonny always kept her and Li out of the picture. 

Samantha never went to a show.

She wasn't allowed to watch wrestling on TV.

She never knew Dad, the SHOOT Project, paranoid, heel maniac.

So this was definitely weird.

Jonny: (Off guard) ...what?

She sighs, annoyed.

Samantha: Brittney's dad watches wrestling and she said she saw YOU in some thing, or whatever...  but, ugh, Dad, you're not a wrestler right?  Cause that would be SO LAME and totally ruin my life right now.  I'm trying to get in with Matt and Sarah and Kyle but they'll totally make fun of me for being a hick.  And then I'll probably never have a boyfriend until at least eleven, which would make me so so uncool, and DAD...  AHH!  Everyone is going to think I'm like the most white trash now!

He shakes his head in utter amazement.

Jonny: Whoa...  wh...  What?  Boyfriend?  White trash?  Who are you...  and how did you even manage to construct that rant?  You're nine...

She seems offended.

Samantha: Umm.  Dad.  I'm nine and three quarters.  I'm basically ten.

Jonny blinks.

Jonny: That is maybe the dumbest thing you've ever said.

She lets out a groan and the eye rolling parade continues.

Samantha: Why are you a wrestler?????  UGH!  It's seriously the most annoying thing you've ever done.

He holds up his hand, clearly ready to exercise some Dad power shortly, if things don't get reeled back in.

Jonny: First of all, cool your jets, Juno.  And second, I'm your father.  The reason you even get to TALK to Britney on your super awesome, expensive phone, WHICH by the way, you're NOT going to be allowed to use for a WEEK...

This does not make the little one happy.

Samantha: WHAT????  NO!  DAD!  YOU CAN'T DO THAT TO ME!!!

He quickly cuts off her whining, which she concedes to...  clearly smart enough and respectful enough to know that things can only get worse.

Jonny: I definitely can.  That's the ONE perk about making tiny humans.  You kind of can do whatever you want to them.  And all of these cool, awesome amazing things you have...  you have them because Daddy busted his BUTT OFF being a wrestler...

Samantha is quiet.  Sheepishly so.  Around the same time, the daddy-daughter team is joined by Mother-Dearest.  Li enters the room, having obviously heard a bit of the comotion from whatever room she had been in.  Samantha sees her out and runs to her mom side, abandoning her humility for a new waist to bury herself in.

Samantha: MOMMY!  Dad is going to be a wrestler and turn off my phone and ruin my life!!!!

She puts her face into the waistline of her mom's super skinny jeans, tugs the base of her "Ramone's" T-shirt and gives a very half-hearted "melancholy" performance.  Li, confused, looks at Jonny, and, instinctively puts her arm around her daughter.

Li: Honey...  it's...  Look, just go upstairs to your room and we'll talk about this in a little bit.

Samantha pulls back, dramatically wipes her eyes and nods.

Samantha: Okay...  (Sniffling) I love you.

Li nods and pats her daughter on the head before she scampers out of the room, footsteps trampling loudly up the stairs until it's quiet.

Too quiet.

Li stares at her husband, clearly unhappy.

Li: (A bit passive aggressive) I thought we agreed we were going to wait to tell her, Jonny...

He sighs, though remains seated in his computer chair.

Jonny: Yeah.  WE were...  but WE forgot to get Brittney's Dad in on the "WE" plan.

The answer is unsatisfying.  She runs her hands through her fine, dark hair and starts pacing a little bit, the frustration obvious in all of her mannerisms.  Jonny doesn't say anything, though.  He knows it's probably not going to matter.

Li: I just...  (Trying to speak with a clear mind) This is the shit, Jonny.  I mean, we're basically turning her life upside down.  And she doesn't even get to hear it from US, and...    It's just....  I mean it's irresponsible.  You KNEW this was a risk, and now...  I mean, you're already fighting with her and...  and then...

He finally waves her off.

Jonny: Whoa, whoa...  What?  (A little shocked) Are you for real, baby?  She's NINE.  She's our DAUGHTER.  I'm not going to make decisions based on her...  social life.  I mean, Jesus, Li.  This isn't some fucking Diablo Cody movie.  My little girl is NINE.  NINE YEARS OLD.  She doesn't get to listen to Sonic Youth and, "tell us how life REALLY is".  Jeus Christ.  Fuck....

He stands up, now, his back to his wife, trying to stay calm.

Li: (Not letting him get the better of this) And YOU are her FATHER, Jonny.  You make decisions for the FAMILY.  She's not just a trophy that you can show your friends...  "IM THE COOL DAD".  You're the fucking DAD.   Period.  And a Dad...  a FATHER would realize...

He does NOT like where things are going, and cuts Li off with a very stern, forward glare.

Jonny: We're not doing this.

She falls silent.  He does too.  His eyes stay on her, while hers wander.

Li: I'm gonna take Sam and we're gonna stay at Beth and Sydney's.

He looks confused.

Jonny: What?  Baby...  I thought...  baby, it's fucking movie night.  I thought we were gonna watch a movie...  hang out.  I leave tomorrow.

She smirks.

Li: I've been staring at the Netflix screen for two hours...

Jonny: Two hours?  (Looking at his computer) No...  c'mon...  you're...

She cuts him off.

Li: It's been two hours and fourteen minutes.  You said you'd be right up...  but I guess...  what?  It takes a while to find the perfect entrance song?

It's clear that Jonny wants to defend himself, but doesn't have the words.  Li plows over his hesitation.

Li: I know you mean well, but this is what happens.  First it's your entrance music.  Then it's a fight with your daughter...  It always builds.  Small shit at first.   I KNOW, Jonny.  I know...  but it's always like this.  You've been down here for over two hours.

She looks at his computer screen and the back at him.

Li: And judging by the eleven other tabs you have up...  I doubt it was JUST music.

She moves toward his desk.

Jonny: (Half-heartedly) Baby I...

Li takes a seat in his chair and starts clicking various tabs on his google chrome browser.  One leads to 411mania.  Another goes to Rajah.  One is the SHOOT Project homepage...  A wrestling blog.  She clicks each one, and laughs...  embittered laughter.  Breathy.  Disbelieving.

Li: Laura Seton blog sites???  Nice.

She shakes her head, while Jonny tries to console her.

Jonny: It's not like that.  I'm just doing some research.  Laura put a link on the SHOOT Project site to her blog and I clicked it and...  then I just...  that was it.  It was a force of habit.

She stares blankly at the screen.

Li: I know, baby.

...And stands up, facing her husband.

Li: I'm trying to stay supportive.  I know what this means, and I know that...

Before she can finish saying anything she catches something out of the corner of her eye.  If someone was watching this, they would have made direct eye contact with her.

Li: Why is your camera set up?

Jonny turns to look where Li is looking.

Jonny: I just keep it running in case I get inspired...  you know...  just...  for ideas or promotional shit.

Li moves away from her husband, her thoughts starting to move in a precarious direction.

Li: Are you taping all of this?

Jonny seems caught off guard by the question, but not in a damning fashion...  He seems generally confused.

Jonny: No...  Well, I mean...  yeah, it IS recording but...  I mean...    I didn't set this up to...  I didn't plan on any of this happening.

Li moves closer to the camera.

Li: Do you do this...  a lot?  Do you tape the house?  Have I...  (Swallowing back suspicion) Have me or Sam....  are we...  do you...?

She doesn't quite know how to ask, but Jonny has the answer, anyway.

Jonny: One time.  The only time... Ever.  In twelve years.

She freezes.

The world goes cold.

And the colors fade.

I can't get anyone on my side. 

I tried not to read anything, but Jesus Christ...  It's impossible.  The shit calls to me...  like this horrible car crash or whatever.  I sign on to find a theme song, you know, and write up a description for the techies how I want everything to go down for Tuesday and BAM I'm at 411mania or NOW, or Backstage Pass or Rajah or...  fuck...  I'm just there, clicking links.

And I read everything.

I'm addicted.

Obviously, I checked your shit out, and I gotta say, Laura...  it's a really awesome thing you have.  The blog.  And...  shit, your fans are so fucking cool and supportive.  I don't know if that's just normal to you, but KUDOS to your forum moderator or whatever you use because there was almost ZERO trolling.  That's INSANE.  Compared to me, who gets trolled by HIS OWN FANS.  And if I had my own site for people to post things?  HA!  I can't even imagine.

Heh.

I remember one time, this dude emailed my old fan mail account...  this was maybe Two Thousand Seven?  I had just "won" the SHOOT Project Championship...  and I did this promo shot thing...  Suit, tie, belt...  and... well my "fan" edited out the World Title, and replaced it with this giant... I mean...  HUGE...  this gigantic improbable dildo...  so I have a dildo draped over my shoulder.

And he adds this caption.

"One of these a giant gay dick.  And the other is a penis I photo-shopped into a picture"

That's my fan base, Laura.

Homophobic, moron, computer nerds.

And the people I WANT to cheer me on, would never be caught dead watching wrestling.

It sucks.

Your fans, meanwhile, are having these polite, very kayfabed chats about how our match is going to go down.  Psychologically sound debates back and forth.  Even the screen names are sensible.  And like...  what, ONE poster disagrees with some stuff, but they're super cordial...

Unreal, Seton.

I'm fucking jealous.

I don't know if you actually read that stuff.  But man alive...    Some of their shit was almost SPOT ON.  Insane.  And it's so weird being called out like that.  I mean, it's shit you THINK about... or, well, I think about...  but then when you see it typed out, it just..  It becomes very real.  The psychology of the match...  my trends and your trends.  Just...  I mean...  dedicated fans like that are the best.

I AM used to getting under opponents skin.  I forgot which poster said anything...  but yeah...  Let's call a spade a spade.  I do that Or, well... DID that, I guess.  I honestly, have no idea what's going to happen Tuesday.  How I'll react...  but, generally...  HISTORICALLY, yeah I've thrived off that aggression shit before.  And it almost ALWAYS works.  I know it's kind of a heel play to brag, but...  I won a lot of matches by kinda... just...  being a huge pile of shit.   Human beings can make some really, really, really, REALLY dumb decisions when they're angry.

But you're cool.  Collected.  It's scary. 

You'll take your time.

Control the pace.

And like an idiot, I'll probably Demoralization Process MYSELF out of boredom.

And then what else were they saying...?  They listed your entire resume.  Seriously, I will gladly trade fans with you any day of the week...  Soooo goood.

But what else?

Oh.  Yeah.  You've lost the sin city title twice.

I haven't done that

You beat Loco Martinez...

Kinda did that, but...

You beat the Goddamn Champion of All Wrestling Justin Moreno.

Jesus, Seton.  You've literally taken down every legendary figure in the game.

And this is all I was trying to tell you, earlier.

Ignore the hate.

Ignore the people saying how OBVIOUS it is that you'll lose.  How lopsided everything is going to be.

And listen to YOU.  Listen to your fucking fans!!!

Now, sure, I'm being a little catty, but we gotta get asses in the seats, Laura.  You know?  Gotta make it a LITTLE personal, right?  And since you're putting over marky internet chats, I figure I'll help out on my end and put over the match we're gonna have.

It's gonna be the hardest one in your life, Laura... 

Okay?   

And whatever you THINK you've overcome in some Rob Belote Operated, TTW-Rip-Off Shit House...  Whatever it took for you to beat a jobber like Justin Moreno...  or a tag team wrestler like Loco...  it PALES in comparison to what you'll need to get through me on Tuesday.

The selling point in me and you is ME.  It's MY return.  That's selfish.  That's a horrible thing to tell you, but it doesn't make it any less true.  I'm fucking up a very stable family life to do this.  My wife is mad...  my daughter is mad.   But I'm here...

For one last run. 

For a shot to do things right!  And, Laura, it will take nothing short of HOMICIDE to stop me.  You will have to KILL ME, Ms. Seton, to keep me from leaving round one with a victory.

So can you do that?

Can you kill me?

Huh?

I'm guessing not.

You know...  because of all the reports I read online.

Heh.

See you at Dominion, Laura, and if you can, check out Goodbye Copter's new single.  "Deal Me In."

It'll be available on iTunes April Seventeenth.

The day after I beat you.

"We'll talk after Tuesday.  After Dominion and all this craziness, okay?"

Li speaks her husband very simply.  She's a woman that understands, but not a woman without her own convictions.  Jonny sees her eyes, knows this look, and he's hard pressed to try and convince her of anything else.  The week's been rough, and they keep fighting.  Time away from the situation is probably best, but he...  he just loves her so much.

He hates seeing her like this.

He's always hated it.

Jonny: Yeah...  I'll uhhh...  I'll text you when I land, and...  and yeah.

But he never does anything about it.

Not then.

Not now.

There was more conversation, but for all intents and purposes...

She leaves the room.

Leaves a man who may as well still call himself...

DEFILER.

Jonny: Fuck.

11
Dominion / Skinny Jeans and an Aging Face (1/2 vs LAURA SETON)
« on: April 01, 2013, 01:03:27 PM »
"Wait...  What?"

To say she was taken back by the news would be a tremendous understatement.  Li shook her head, while her husband, a thirty-eight year old record producer, tried explaining why he signed a short term contract with a professional wrestling organization over a cup of coffee and the morning news paper.

Jonny: Baby... Li...  Ugh.  (Sighing) Please...  just...  LI!  Just sit down and listen for a second okay?

She paces frantically in their kitchen.

It wasn't anything particularly luxurious, but it was appropriate for a hipster family living off the come-and-go wages of the independent music scene.  (Granted, there was probably a nice savings from the "long time, huge draw, very talented, world class, world champion wrestler wages stowed away somewhere, but... modesty...)  Table in the center of the room, with four chairs.  Modern appliances.  A few pieces of Li's art, framed and hanging in appropriate locations, mixed in with things like a picture that says "Ghouls Just Want to Have Fun" and then a few tribal masks Jonny had drunkenly "borrowed" from some Tiki-Bar.

Li: So it's just...?   Done?  You just decided you were going to do this and not tell me, and...  Christ, Jonny.  What are we going to tell Nibs?  (Irritated, mockingly) Daddy's maybe never coming back home again because he went insane trying to be a wrestler again!

She stops and hunches over the sink, doing what she can to compose herself.

Jonny sighs loudly, but doesn't move from his chair.  For the most part , he's collected.  That's what you had to do.  Two people shouting wasn't going to make anything better ever.  He rubs his aging face...  hints of grey in his thick stubble, though, balanced out by a Secret Machine's "T" and skinny jeans.

Jonny: Baby.  It's not like that at all...  okay?  Look...  Josh and Jason gave me a great deal.  It's a lot of money for MAYBE two months?  (Standing up) Two months, Li...  til May or so...  They're gonna let me promote the label, and the exposure those kids are gonna get...  Li, it's the kind of thing that gets you out of the Abby Pub and into Aragon or The Vic.  Gets you out of Chicago...

He trails off and slowly saunters toward his wife.  She's quiet, and maybe a little calm, trying to understand.  Jonny puts his hands on her shoulders, squeezing, lovingly.  Gently.

Jonny: It's just a short term thing.  Master of the Mat.  Just one fucking stupid tournament.  I work a few matches...  put over the band... well, band-S... and, then, yeah...  honestly..  it's also a chance to...  to say bye.

"I didn't get that....  Ya know?"

Li takes a deep breath.  A good sign.  Though, she remains facing away from her husband.

Li: Okay.  Sure.  That sounds wonderful.  On paper.  Out of your mouth, but what happens when you win one or two matches, huh?  What happens if Jason sees those dollar signs flashing in his face, or...  YOU see them.  And you start obsessing...  like you ALWAYS do.  Now you want to win.  Now you start thinking...  maybe ONE MORE run at the top because...

She turns around.  Her anxiety, frustration is rising along with the volume of her voice.

Li: Because (mockingly) "I just want ONE MORE run at the top...  for the...  uhhh...  for the fans baby"  Or whatever nonsense you try convincing me of.  And then what happens when the first kid in the back says he hates that some Thirty-Eight old music guy is taking his spot.  What happens when you can't keep your mouth shut and say something...  or get him fired and the fans start turning on you...

Jonny shakes his head and holds his hand up.

Jonny: It isn't...

Li puts raises her hand, and Jonny shuts up.

Li: ...Like that?  Jonny, it's ALWAYS like that.  "Baby, it's fine...  Me and Kast are best friends...  Baby, I'm just working as a heel to put this kid Corazon over...  Baby...  IT'S NOT LIKE THAT!"

It's her turn to put HER hands on her husbands shoulders.  She lowers her voice a little bit.  It's so obvious how much she loves him...  he, her.  But there's a very deep, deep concern in her brown eyes.

Li: I've been with you for almost thirteen years.  It's ALWAYS like that.  You obsess...  you can't take NO for answer.  Fuck, what happens if you LOSE?  Huh?  Conspiracy theories?  People holding you down?  STILL?  You become a monster, Jonny.  Wrestling CONSUMES you.  You read every article on every stupid...  smarky website, and you OBSESS.

Jonny's silent, while Li continues.

Li: Samantha's nine years old.  She doesn't know that her father is capable of being the worst human being in the fucking world.  She doesn't know the lengths her dad has gone to RUIN another person's life.  To strip them of their livelihood so he has a "little more breathing room".   She doesn't know the Defiler.  She doesn't know the Demoralizer.  She doesn't know the Jonny Johnson that doesn't sleep.  That doesn't eat.  That falls into a black hole of paranoia and vengeance and kicks and claws and drags everyone and every THING down with him until there's nothing left...

Jonny continues to shake his head, and finally, forcefully, clasps his wife's hands.

Jonny: And she won't.  (He says again, reassuringly)  She won't.  Our bands won't.  My friends won't.  That isn't a person that ANYONE can or will ever know, because that person doesn't exist.

A moment passes where neither of them say a word.

Everything comes to a halt.

He doesn't exist.

That person, Laura, that you might have heard about.  Or maybe WILL hear about...  He's not the man you're facing at Dominion on April Sixteenth.  The guy that podcast hosts were freaking out over, that idiot "wrestling analysts" and "nostalgia fans" started whispering  about for the first time in close to 5 years...

The DEFILER.

The DEMORALIZER.

That's not who you have to worry about.

My name is Jonny Johnson.  Yes.  It's a very, very underwhelming name for someone who's supposedly been one of the most notable villains in wrestling history.  In our SHOOT Project universe.  I didn't have much say over that, and so it's weird and a little naked.

I'm Jonny Johnson.

I'm thirty eight years old and I own and operate 11 Hour, an independent record label.  I work with about five bands at the moment.  Two of them are really good...  they're ready.  "Goodbye Copter" and "Lindsay".   And the other three are just starting out.  They have a raw sound, and I fucking love it.  One dude is just a solo project.  His name's Derek Teme...  sorta Brighteyes, Dylan?  Maybe.  I don't really make comparisons.  The other two bands...  you can catch them at the Empty Bottle in Chicago on April sixth...  The Billboard Top Six and then a four guy punkish group, "Mad Mad Traffic".

I also happen to have about seventeen years wrestling experience under my belt, which is REALLY the reason I'm opening up a dialogue between the two of us.

We're opponents on a card that people are paying to attend.

That's a big deal for both of us.

You're going to read and hear a lot of things in the next couple of weeks, and, between us, it isn't going to be pretty on your end.  No one is going to think you can beat me.  And it's not fair.  It's unfortunate.  You seem like a talented worker.  Have some history with my boy, Jay.  Made a nice name for yourself in SHOOT.  Sorry about the Iron Fist Title sitch, by the way...

You got a lot of things going for you, and no matter WHAT you hear from anyone else, or fuck, even what you hear from me...  you have to hold on to that.

It's going to be hard.

I'm the kind of guy, with the kind of reputation that people will never stop talking about.  There'll always be some nerd in a SHOOT Project locker room, who's done his or her research, who will idolize me and when I make returns like this...  they will go bat shit insane.

IGNORE IT, Laura.

You do this for a LIVING.  I'm doing it for a cup of coffee.

Granted, it's the best cup you or I will ever have.

But once I drink it... 

I'll have to get back to the office.

I have no idea what to expect out of you, and that's exciting.  One of the reasons I agreed to come back was because...  this SHOOT, it's new.  It's...  it's different.  There's a new attitude...  new faces.  NEW, NEW, BRAAAAAAAAND NEW, Laur.  It's exciting now.  It's what I always wanted when I was here, and...  I want one last whiff.  I want ONE final breath.

And I want to be able to say bye on my terms.

I don't want to be that guy that Donovan King took out before he could wrestle one last match.

I don't want to be that guy that went out with everyone asking...

"Did he REALLY have leukemia?"

I want to look everyone in the face...

And I want to say good bye...  and I don't want anyone asking questions.

I just want 'em to say...

"Bye, Jonny"

Now whether that happens in two weeks after I find myself on the losing end in a bout with Laura Seton...  or in two months, when Samantha Coil is saying, "Your TWO THOUSAND THIRTEEN MASTER OF THE MAT...  JONNY JOHNSON!"

I can't say for sure.

But for now.

I wish you the best of luck.

And all the hope in the world, darling.

Sincerely.

"Sincerely, baby..."

He looks into her eyes, and sees the most beautiful woman in the world. 

But deeper...  he sees his reflection.

And it catches him off guard.

Just for a second.

Jonny: Everything's fine.  It's...  it's gonna work out.

She nods, solemnly, acceptingly.

Li: Okay.  Okay, baby.

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